HBO is moving its way out of Lovecraft Country, as Deadline reports this evening that the cable channel has opted not to order a second season of the 2020 supernatural show. Adapted from the novel of the same name by Matt Ruff, and developed and largely written by Misha Green, the series explored Black life in 20th century America through a horror lens—and not always of the “magic and monsters” stripe. (Although, yes: There was a lot of magic, and a lot of monsters.)
Given that Lovecraft Country was critically well-received—with our own review of the series premiere praising the show as “a delight for readers fond of [H.P. Lovecraft’s] monsters, but not the man himself”—and that its ratings were steady, Variety speculates that the cancellation may be the simple result of the show running out of source material. After all, the first season—which starred Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Aunjanue Ellis, Courtney B. Vance, and more—pretty fully covered, and even expanded on, all of the events of Ruff’s book. And unlike, say, Big Little Lies, which received a raft of new written material for a second season in the wake of the popular reception of the first, Ruff’s most recent novel was the video game-focused 88 Names, rather than a deeper dive into the show/novel’s pulpy roots.
Of course, Green actually addressed that question before, with the Underground producer telling Deadline late last year that she had ideas for how the show could move forward: “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,” Green said when the season (now-series) finale aired. She also noted that she’d “wanted to bring the arc of the first season to a close, while opening a door to the next.” Said door has now, apparently been closed, though; Lovecraft Country is a production of Warner Bros. Television, so the idea of parent company WarnerMedia shopping it around to another network now that HBO has passed on it seems unlikely at present.