Whether you’re a republican or a democrat (or somewhere in-between), 2020 has been a rough year and, with last night’s too-close to call election results sending everyone into a veritable caffeine withdraw tizzy, this bit of non-partisan entertainment news might not improve anyone’s respective mood. But hey, it’s what I get paid the big bucks to do, even when – self-respecting Stephen King fan that I am – I may not like the straight dope I have to peddle with a particular article. Such is the case with today’s announcement from the fine feathered Hollywood Reporter that streaming giant Hulu has pronounced last rites on their fan-favorite show based off of author Stephen King’s fictional town of Castle Rock and called- appropriately enough- Castle Rock.
News of the J.J. Abrams executive produced show’s cancelation arrives on the heels of a very bad year indeed for scripted episodic shows. Once sure bets for renewals such as the Netflix phenom GLOW have taken many an industry insider and observer by surprise with announcements of what feels to be premature cancels brought about, in part, by the worldwide pandemic which has been performing a daily Bristol Stomp on the collective psyche of the planet. Apparently the horror anthology which is Castle Rock was not immune to the above, much to the chagrin of fans of the widely popular show.
Castle Rock the television show was notable in that it acted as a streamlined clearing house for a lot of the mythology that author King had laid out in his novels and short stories, folding in Easter eggs for observant fans such as the inclusion of the characters of Ace Merrill from King’s novella The Body or Annie Wilkes from Misery. Geography-wise, too, fans were excited to see the re-emergence of such fictional locations as the town of Jerusalem’s Lot (also known as ‘Salem’s Lot for anyone planning a quiet getaway to the small New England burg).
There might be some clearing of the decks by the chief creative’s of Castle Rock as they prep for an actual Shining spinoff show: Tentatively called Overlook Hotel (after the uber-haunted hotel of King’s novel, The Shining), this new project looks to be a consolation prize for fans upset over losing Castle Rock and, in fact, will feature many of the same behind-the-scenes talent associated with the show such as J.J. Abrams and Warner Bros. TV. This series, set to premiere on HBO Max, feels like a fulfilment of an early teaser in the first season of Castle Rock which, in the course of one episode, had the laid the groundwork for a storyline to feature King’s haunted Overlook.
So Castle Rock is now defunct after two seasons but with the promise of a continuation of tenuous sorts with Overlook Hotel which makes this perhaps better news than the quagmire that is currently our convoluted political process. So take faith republicans, democrats and free thinkers of the world: all is not lost, at least as far as future Stephen King projects go. Now if only Hulu would just go ahead and cancel 2020 we could perhaps get onto a better spinoff: 2021, anybody?