Some cancellations hit harder than others, and the cancellation of Canadian hit Kim's Convenience is one of those.
The fifth season of the comedy about a Korean-Canadian family running a convenience store just hit Netflix in the U.S. on June 2, and fans might be surprised to know that it's also the last season, despite the fact that the show was originally renewed through season six. The creators of the show, Ins Choi and Kevin White, decided to leave after the fifth season, and the production company, Thunderbird Films, chose not to continue with the series.
However, the world of Kim's Convenience is not going away. Choi and White are now focusing on a spinoff called Strays, which focuses on the character of Shannon, played by Nicole Power.
Star Simu Liu, who played the Kims' somewhat estranged son, Jung, and will soon star in Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, has not been quiet about his anger over the abrupt ending to the series. As the show arrived on Netflix, he explained his "host of emotions" in a lengthy Facebook post, and explained why he will never reprise his role of Jung on the spinoff, which is about the character he was dating for much of the series.
"Season five of Kim's Convenience comes out on Netflix today, and I'm feeling a host of emotions right now," he began. "It is, of course, our last season, thanks to a decision by our producers not to continue the show after the departure of two showrunners."
Liu went on to explain that the show "cannot be saved," and is only ending because the producers, who own the rights, chose to end it.
"However, the producers of the show are indeed spinning off a new show from the Shannon character," he said. "It's been difficult for me. I love and am proud of Nicole, and I want the show to succeed for her... but I remain resentful of all of the circumstances that led to the one non-Asian character getting her own show. And not that they would ever ask, but I will adamantly refuse to reprise my role in any capacity."
Liu also confirmed that he wanted to participate in the sixth season, despite rumors that he would have left because of his newfound Marvel fame.
"This could not be further from the truth," he wrote. "I love this show and everything it stood for. I saw firsthand how profoundly it impacted families and brought people together. It's truly SO RARE for a show today to have such an impact on people, and I wanted very badly to make the schedules work."
However, Liu was also frustrated, he said, with the way his character was being portrayed, without any career growth or attempts to "improve himself." He says that the actors were never given "leeway" to the actors to help develop their characters, and that the writer's room "lacked both East Asian and female representation," and the only Korean writer was Choi.
"I can appreciate that the show is still a hit and is enjoyed by many people," he said. "But I remain fixated on the missed opportunities to show Asian characters with real depth and the ability to grow and evolve."
When Choi left, Liu says he tried to make it clear that he wanted to continue the show, and that he and other cast members were trained screenwriters, "but those doors were never opened to us in any meaningful way."
Liu also admitted that he and the rest of the cast often did not get along, and he felt "like the odd man out, or a problem child."
"This part really breaks me because I think we all individually were SO committed to the success of the show and SO aware of how fortunate we all were," he wrote. "We just all had different ideas on how to get there."
Despite all the troubles, Liu ended his post by recognizing that the show was important to a lot of people, even if the end leaves a lot to be desired.
"I'm so incredibly saddened that we will never get to watch these characters grow," he said. "That we will never see Jung and Appa reuniting. That we will never watch the Kim's deal with Umma's MS, or Janet's journey of her own self-discovery. But I am still touched by the volume and the voracity of our fans (Kimbits...still hands-down the best fandom name EVER), and I still believe in what the show once stood for; a shining example of what can happen when the gates come down and minorities are given a chance to shine."
Liu also spoke to E! News about the untimely end of the beloved series with a message for fans, new and old: Whether they're checking out the show because of its arrival on Netflix or because of the impending arrival of Shang-Chi, he's all for it, even with all the drama behind it.
"We're so proud of what we made, this kind of little Canadian show that could, and we've been able to make five seasons of wonderful television about this humble Canadian family that that owns a convenience store, a little bodega on a corner in inner city Toronto. It's such an incredible story," he said. "It's so quintessentially Canadian. To be an immigrant, to be a newcomer to the country and to struggle with all the things that immigrant families struggle with, that is a part of Canadian and certainly American history as well. It's an incredible run that we had. Obviously I'm very, very sad and a little angry that the show ended the way that it did but that doesn't counteract all of the good that it did. We have such incredible fans, and while I'm so sorry that we weren't able to give them the ending that they wanted to kind of wrap everything up nicely, I am very happy that they got to experience that with us and that we got to experience it with them."
All five seasons of Kim's Convenience are now streaming on Netflix.