There is a season 2 syndrome. I call it the Season 2 Blues.
It’s a widespread entertainment epidemic that has let down millions of people. In most cases, the blues only hit when the series could have been or was supposed to be a limited or mini series (only having 1 season). Sometimes, writers and directors make the mistake of continuing the series simply because it was so successful the first time around. This isn’t to say that it can’t work, but should it have to? Loyal fans will tune in out of obligation, even when the content is suffering. What is wrong with creating one super long and movie-like story, and then moving on?
Notice how all of these shows are originals from streaming platforms. The Internet is where my loyalty lies. Cable/network TV just isn’t set up the same way. They always prepare for more than 1 season, as keeping it on the air is the whole point once the network picks the show up. Many shows have too many seasons, which is just annoying. Even the debut seasons of American Horror Story (or AHS) and American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson (now The Assassination of Gianni Versace), could have finished there. Instead, the creators kept the series going by changing the themes and characters with each new season (which I personally, if you don’t mind me venting real quick, find difficult… In AHS’s case, I got connected to the characters from the beginning, so it still takes me a while to get used to seeing the same actors take on someone entirely new.)
Take True Detective (HBO) as an example. Season 1 was a sensation, and season 2 was widely disliked and badly criticized. Many fans felt like what they loved most about the show was taken away in the follow up. The debut season focused almost solely on the case, while the second season centered more on the private, very damaged lives of the detectives themselves. The audience made it clear that was not a change they were on board with. True Detective is set to return with a third season and I bet they are hoping to redeem themselves. Bring back McConaughey!!
Stranger Things (Netflix) kept up their momentum, as the second season was just as – if not more – beloved. Stranger Things could have easily been limited – played out like a lengthy 80’s horror movie – but the creators were creative enough to keep us obsessed. They went for deeper humane trauma as the new threat, prepared new strengths for each character, new relationship dynamics, and a new pattern of curse words from Dustin. The only idea that remained the same was the purest of pure relationship between the boys and Eleven. Oh, and the memory of dearest Barb.
WE SHALL SEE
80% (according to Rotten Tomatoes) of the audience is enjoying season 2 of West World (HBO). It dives deeper into the concepts learned about in the first season, making for a smooth continuation of information and discovery. It also hasn’t lost its stylish gore. I guess when it comes to technology and futurism, you can’t ever truly go backwards. The writers can make up the craziest plots because anything can happen in the future. I just hope they don’t get ahead of themselves. Realism is still possible.
Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu) is also currently in motion and like Stranger Things, faces major pressure since the first season was such a phenomenon. (Handmaid’s Tale won Best Drama at the Globes AND Emmys) So far, the new season is no let down, and not any less riveting than the first. By riveting, many critics meant torturous. The only frequent complaint is how gruesome it is, many wondering if the torture will ever stop. What will come from the torture of these women? Rebellion?
While fans are excited to see what the creators do with the second installation of 13 Reasons Why (Netflix), fans also can’t believe it’s actually happening. The whole purpose of the show – why Hannah Baker took her own life and what really went down in the events leading up to her death – has been answered. The show was the MOST streamed TV series ever, breaking records for online platforms. It’s not surprising the writers opted to find a new perspective so that they could continue the story. Hannah herself must be largely present in flashbacks and hallucinations.
Super beloved Big Little Lies (HBO) is also returning, the casting of Meryl Streep being the main draw for season 2. Not initially intending to do a second run, the writers are focusing on keeping the voices of the characters consistent. Season 1 ended on a climatic, murderous conclusion. Are more deaths to follow? The unknown plot of season 2 is already as mysterious as season 1. I hope the aesthetic is still dark and gloomy. I like my females to embrace their dark side, with a touch of cynicism.
13 Reasons Why and Big Little Lies are both based on a book, which is a single novel, not a series of them. Therefore, the completion and journey of these stories is entirely up to the TV writers. They can do what they wish.