Kim's Convenience Cancellation Leaves Unanswered Questions

CBC's Kim's Convenience is the most popular sitcom on Canadian Television and a global hit on Netflix, so its sudden cancellation came as a shock to fans and cast, and crew. So far, there has been no explanation for why beyond the producers announced that the show's creators had opted to move on.

Kim's Convenience is the little sitcom that could, a light comedy based on a 2011 play by Ins Choi and developed into a sitcom in 2016. It follows a Korean immigrant family in Toronto where the father owns a neighborhood bodega and finds himself often befuddled by the ways of the West and his grown children's comfort and embrace of them. The 5th season is currently running in Canada on CBC and will premiere on Netflix in April after it completes its Canadian broadcast run. Kim's Convenience had a 6th season greenlit and the actors expected to return for one final season that might finally move the characters' stories forward to a kind of ending.

Kim's Convenience Abruptly Cancelled at 5th Season
"Kim's Convenience", CBC, Netflix

The characters in Kim's Convenience seem comfortably suspended in a sitcom limbo where the same comedic situations involving minor lies often spin farcically out of control before everything collapses and they have to come clean. It's a formula that has kept the show running on a steady stream for 5 seasons and its fans seem content to continue watching. This begs the question of why the show's creators and writers Ins Choi and Kevin White suddenly decided to leave rather than work on the 6th season. If this was a US show, the network wouldn't have hesitated to hire new writers in to write the 6th season. Instead, the producers opted to end the show. Do the creators own a percentage of the show and have approval? Did they suddenly leave due to a disagreement over the direction of the show in the 6th season, which the actors expected would be the last?

Was there a major disagreement about whether the characters in Kim's Convenience should stay static? Sitcoms generally keep the characters unchanged and unchanging so they can play out their foibles over and over again. Simu Liu said in his statement that he begged the writers to move Jung and Mr. Kim's (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) story forward towards a proper reconciliation between father and son, as well as have Jung finally figure out what he wanted to do with his life instead of continuously blowing it up every season before running back to work at the car rental. Mrs. Kim (Jean Yoon) has a health scare in season 5 that may or may not provide a story arc. Janet (Andrea Bang) is still chafing at being treated like a child when insisting she's now an adult, despite moving back home and living in the basement. A final season would have been a good reason to finally move the characters forward at last towards an ending and some kind of closure.

It's very unusual for the creators and writers of a hit show to suddenly decide to leave when they have just one more season left to tie up the show and give it an ending. It's just as unusual for the producers to issue a statement but not the writers. The cast members have been more vocal in their public reactions, with Simu Liu giving the most detailed statement that hinted at some frustrations he felt at the show's lack of forward-movement in its story arc.

Kim's Convenience Seasons 1-4 are currently streaming on Netflix. The 5th season will premiere on the streamer in April.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist who just likes to writer. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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