Despite being one of the most celebrated series of 2020, HBO have announced they will not be moving forward with Misha Green's Lovecraft Country. Blending a period setting, with Lovecraftian horrors and themes of race discrimination, the 10 episode series arrived last August and thanks to strong word of mouth saw a 1.5 million viewer peak with its final episode, maning it the most watched episode of an original series watched on HBO Max in its first day on release. As the finale aired, the first episode of the series had been watched by over 10 million people.
"We will not be moving forward with a second season of Lovecraft Country," HBO said in a statement to Deadline. "We are grateful for the dedication and artistry of the gifted cast and crew, and to Misha Green, who crafted this groundbreaking series. And to the fans, thank you for joining us on this journey."
In February, it looked like there could be a second season coming, with HBO's Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys saying in a Deadline interview, "Misha is working with a small team of writers and they're coming up with a take. She had a book to go on in the first season. She and the writers wanted to go off and take some time to go out and figure out without a book with these characters, what's the journey we want to go on. We all want to be sure she's got a story to tell. That's where she is right now, working on those ideas. I'm very hopeful, as is Misha, so we're giving them the time to work."
Whether working without source material proved to be a step too far, or the storyline that Green and the team came up with was not up to scratch, it was enough for HBO to decide to cut ties and call it a day. Around the time of the season one finale, Green had appeared to have a good idea of where she wanted to take the story next. "I envision a second season that carries on the spirit of Matt Ruff's novel by continuing to reclaim the genre storytelling space that people of color have typically been left out of," she said in another Deadline interview.
The first season told the story of Atticus Freeman, a man travelling across Jim Crow America in the 1950s with his childhood friend Letitia and uncle George, in search of his lost father Montrose. The tale sees the trio struggle with the horrors of the real world, a world of racism and terror, and the fantastical beasts of Lovecraft lore. The series gained a lot of recognition and praise throughout its run, and held an 88% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it seems that just wasn't enough for HBO to want to greenlight a second series.
While there are questions over the scripting and story being potentially below par, the series budget could also have played a part in the cancellation, as being a special effects laden spectacle made it an expensive affair for HBO to fund. While ratings on the opening episodes and the finale almost landed in double figures, the middle episodes took around a 20% dip, which would also place doubt as to whether the risk of a second season would be worth it. Whatever the reason for the cancellation, there will be a lot of people sorry that it will not be returning.