Stop renewing the limited series for season 2


Television may be living an endless golden age, but that doesn’t mean that everything put in front of us is worth watching. Not everything can be good, but that’s okay when there’s a decent amount of good stuff. Even then, the real challenge comes when a good show gets a second season.

Of course, some shows are designed for a traditional progression into a new part of their story by virtue of the network they were made for or what they were adapted or based on. Grey’s Anatomy may seem tired after 18 seasons, but it’s written to continue until Ellen Pompeo decides she doesn’t want to be Meredith Gray anymore. NaughtyThe first season of may only be 8 episodes long, but the finale ends in a place that means there’s no has be more to the story. Many shows, good or bad, are able to keep us watching because they know how to keep viewers invested at the end of a story arc and stay entertained once a new one begins. This is the most basic part of keeping a multi-season show alive, and even in the age of streaming, many shows have managed to keep people enthralled. Orange is the new black, The Handmaid’s Taleand the good seasons of game of thrones kept viewers coming back because they had more to offer their audience. The same cannot be said of many of their contemporaries.

When big little lies Premiering on HBO in 2017, the series was adored by critics and general audiences alike, and quickly garnered a huge following. Although it was originally planned to be a limited series based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty – and has been submitted as such for several awards – HBO has renewed the show for a second season. Despite the addition of Meryl Streep to the cast, season 2 of big little lies is generally seen by fans as a disappointment. It was best left as a single story that ended when the book it was adapted from did. Ironically, big little lies suffered from a similar problem to the last seasons of Game of Thônes. Although there were fragments of source material to base the story on, the quality of both series suffered when there was no solid story left to adapt. big little lies Season 2 was based on an unpublished short story written by Liane Moriarty specifically to give HBO more material to adapt, but adding to a story that’s finished isn’t easy. People can tell when the heart of a show is gone, and just because you have something that’s technically another canon addition to the story doesn’t mean what you get out of it will be any good.

This isn’t just a flaw in adapted shows. Another of HBO’s giants, EuphoriaThe second season of did not receive the same reception as the first. Contrary to big little lies, Euphoria was never announced as a limited series, but it managed to feel like one when the Season 1 finale wrapped. For all intents and purposes, the series could have cut it short. We would have been left wondering what really happened to Rue after she didn’t get on that train; ambiguous endings are not unheard of. The fact that the second season had more and more people wondering if the show was even any good (aside from the talent of a select group of actors) is enough of a sign that maybe Sam Levinson should have considered to leave things where they were. It’s not like there’s no more story to tell Euphoriait’s just that the story we ended up having didn’t live up to the expectations that were rightfully set.

Even shows that manage to push each other to make a well-regarded Season 2 aren’t free of problems. HBO Max hit announcement The stewardess would get a season 2 took me by surprise. I had assumed it would be a limited series simply because that was the vibe it gave off. The little tag at the end of Cassie’s new work felt like a nice closing note, not something the writers would use to fuel an entire second season. That doesn’t mean that The stewardess Season 2 is a disappointment like big little lies was, but it felt disjointed in a way that is similar to Euphoria. It’s a wonderful character study, but it can’t retain the elements of spy drama that fueled its first season. These elements are far from gone, but they feel like a second thought from Season 1. Instead of action and character development collaborating in a balancing act, the two are constantly in an uphill struggle throughout the second season that leads me to ask the same question I have about a lot of these shows: Was it worth it?

Ultimately, more television needs to take notice of shows based on wild, real-life corporate meltdowns or true crimes. You don’t see people begging for a second season of The stallbecause the story is over and it wouldn’t make sense. Invent Anna may have been plagued with maddeningly long episodes, but at least there won’t be a season 2 because, despite its success,it wouldn’t make sense. These shows are forced into the limited series box due to the nature of the real events they’re based on, but that shouldn’t be a requirement to tell a story that’s best left alone when it’s will reach its natural conclusion. If HBO produced a second season of Sharp objects jumping from the killer’s shocking reveal would be terrible, because said reveal is meant to serve as the stopping point for this story. (It’s surprising they didn’t, because HBO is one of the worst offenders of this trend, with limited series Easttown Mare and The White Lotus renewed for second seasons).

It’s not hard to understand the desire to expand a beloved show into something bigger. Streaming services like Netflix consider subscriber growth a factor when considering the fate of their projects. If the first season of a show attracts more users, it is more likely to be renewed, whether or not a new season is the best for the story. The limited series may have become a TV staple over the past 5 years, but ultimately the money is the bottom line that TV distributors worry about.

Either way, trying to squeeze something out of the dried envelope of a TV show that’s done a great job of wrapping it is, in the roughest way possible, a bad idea. Just because something is good doesn’t mean it will stay that way, and letting things die after a season leaves more room for shows that can be just as good, or even better. It’s usually best to let sleeping dogs sleep, especially when they have nothing more interesting to say.

Kathryn Porter is a freelance writer who will talk endlessly about any entertainment if she gets the chance. You can find her @kaechops on Twitter.

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