Sex Education has rocketed to the top of Netflix for its third season debut, a show that often flies under the radar among the service’s higher profile offerings, but clearly, it has an audience. Not that many Netflix originals make it to three seasons in the first place, and when they do, you don’t often see them debut at #1 on the charts.
So, that begs the question, will the apparent success of Sex Education season 3 mean season 4 is a sure thing?
“We don’t know [whether there will be more],” Asa Butterfield told Cosmopolitan when asked. “It’s out of our hands at this point. I wish I could tell you more; I genuinely don’t know.”
It does seem likely, however, that Sex Education has a better chance than many other series. Being number one helps, certainly, but compared to other potential rivals, this is a show that does not command a terribly large budget due to the ease of filming it (70% of the show takes place in a school and couple houses) and no big name cast members commanding giant salaries (though I hope all these kids are getting raises). Its biggest star is probably Gillian Anderson, but even still, I can’t imagine she’s getting some sort of wild payday here. And importantly, this is a wholly owned Netflix production, not something they’re splitting licensing fees on with another network. It was created specifically for Netflix by Laurie Nunn.
Netflix has a problem cancelling shows the longer they go on, not because they’re performing badly per se, but they have metrics that tell them additional seasons of shows do not often draw in new subscribers. So this is why some “obvious” renewals have not panned out in the past. I do, however, feel like Sex Education is in a pretty strong spot for season 4, and it certainly did end on a number of cliffhangers that need to be resolved going forward in at least one more season.
The main one, of course, is that Otis and Maeve are finally on the same page in terms of admitting their feelings for each other. We have now had three seasons of them “missing” each other, dating other people despite them being seemingly destined to end up together. The wrench in the works is Maeve going to America for a gifted student program, though we don’t know how long that’s supposed to last. I would be mildly annoyed if Maeve came back with some American boyfriend or something. Though I do know there is a contingent of fans who want Otis to end up with Ruby, a character who was given a lot more depth this season, and I sort of see where they’re coming from.
I think Netflix needs to support shows like Sex Education to show that they don’t just axe 95% of things after 1-3 seasons. Netflix needs to set up originals it can add to its long term stock of shows, ones that sure, can span for 4, 5, 6, 7 seasons in the long run. As long as there’s a story to tell, as long as people are showing up to watch (as they are here, clearly), season 4 seems like a no brainer. But we’ll have to wait and see for official confirmation, as these things tend to take a long, long amount of time to be greenlit, even in the case of “obvious” answers.