‘Wicked City’ Lives Again on Hulu

This cancelled show’s revival on Hulu has a twist: Most other shows that get a second life on streaming were beloved to begin with

The cast of "Wicked City"

Disney’s ABC has tossed unseen episodes of “Wicked City” onto Hulu’s streaming-video service, after it cut the serial-killer drama with ratings that plumbed historic lows.

The fourth through seventh episodes, which were already shot when ABC pulled the show from its lineup in November, were available to watch on Hulu Wednesday. The eighth, final episode is expected to join the others later, but there has been no suggestion that Hulu will produce any additional episodes.

It follows a budding practice among streaming-video services of reviving traditional television shows that were canceled by their networks, but with a twist. Most of these programs have devoted, niche audiences, but “Wicked City” never inspired much fandom, neither among viewers nor critics.

Netflix ordered additional seasons of shows like “Longmire,” “The Killing” and “BoJack Horseman” to cash in on those shows’ passionate niche fanbases. Even though such programs lacked audience large enough to justify their slots on regular TV, Netflix isn’t constrained by the same 24-hour line-up that linear channels must fill with most-watched programs.  The company’s rationale: These rabid fans may not be big enough in number to attract advertisers to regular TV, but they would sign up for its $10-a-month service if they could watch their favorite characters live on there.

“Wicked City,” however, was hammered by critics for being unimaginative and misogynistic, and its ratings were historically low for a show of its kind. The third episode matched the lowest-rated non-Saturday drama original program on one of the major four broadcast networks, according to Nielsen People Meter.

But ABC had already shot a eight episodes when it pulled “Wicked City” off the air, so tossing the remainder of the program onto Hulu has little downside.

Hulu is partly owned by ABC, sharing ownership alongside Comcast’s NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox.