Netflix set to allow Starz wrestling drama ‘Heels’, 2021’s most underrated gem


The drama of the struggle Heels aired its first season finale last night, but I don’t want to say anything about the show beyond what I wrote about it in my pre-premiere review – it’s phenomenal, Friday night with wrestling, and one of the best shows of the year. Typically, one can recap an episode to give space for those who have watched a play to reinforce or contradict their opinions, offer ideas, or just give viewers a space to chat.

I don’t want to do this here because, from the notes I’ve seen, Heels – with Stephen Amell and Alexander Ludwig – was not a very watched series, seen by less than 100,000 people per week, so there is very little to discuss the finale with. Admittedly, this is not a bad number for Starz, where his most popular series, Foreigner, recorded less than 100,000 viewers for each episode of its most recent season (although, Foreigner reached up to 1.72 million viewers in previous seasons). Starz has approximately 9.5 million subscribers in the United States. Heels audiences represent nearly 10 percent of its subscriber base.

Yet Starz did not make a decision on whether to renew Heels for another season, although creator and writer Michael Waldron (Loki, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness) is open to him and has several ideas on how to approach it.

It’s a terrific, heartfelt, brilliantly written, audience-enjoyable, and incredibly satisfying TV season with an exceptional twist that I didn’t see coming. He deserves another season. It also deserves a larger audience. This is really the kind of show – like Ted lasso – which has a chance to explode in a big way if more people got the chance to watch it. I’m grateful Starz picked him up and gave him a home, but I’m not quite sure Heels a perfect fit for a streaming service whose most popular shows are Power, Foreigner, The white princess and the recently canceled American gods (really, there is probably more of a cross between Heels and the next restart of To party than these other dramas).

I’m sure there are a number of contractual issues that need to be ironed out, but Heels would be perfect for the Netflix audience looking for a wellness frenzy. It might only appeal to wrestling fans initially – which I don’t include myself in – but word of mouth (this show has a 96% score for Rotten Tomatoes and a 97% audience score) might expand its audience. well beyond this base. Heels is to tear off in the same way as Friday night lights concerns football. Sport exists to tell stories about characters, much like GLOW, another underdog wrestling drama that was a big hit for Netflix (it was canceled due to the pandemic and the cost of filming a show with so much physical contact with COVID restrictions and not because it was unpopular).

Heels could be next Manifesto for Netflix only, like, good. There are a lot of great TV shows out there right now, but too many of the best shows often go unnoticed because viewers don’t want to pay for another streaming service (see also Wrong, which aired its second season finale this week on Paramount TV). Netflix has clearly a proven track record of turning cult hits into mainstream hits (see breaking Bad), and licensing deals like this would prove to be a boon to both Netflix (more quality content) and Starz in terms of a larger audience. it works for both Foreigner and Ash vs. Evil, which I think are probably watched more on Netflix than their home network, and it would definitely work for Heels, a spectacle that deserves more than shining in the dark.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You can email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Source of header image: Starz

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