It’s of the nature of American TV to want to propagate itself. Given how soul-crushingly hard it can be to find a project that the wider watching public can connect with, once you’ve got one, you inevitably want to keep it going—even if the source material you’ve been basing it on runs out after the first or second year. Sometimes that pays off in a great and interesting fashion—HBO’s The Leftovers only got deeper and stranger after it finished covering the Tom Perrotta book it was adapted from—but we’ve all suffered through a late season of a show that everyone knew should have packed it in before it ran out of things to say.
Which is why it’s kind of refreshing to hear that HBO’s Gillian Flynn adaptation Sharp Objects won’t be coming back for a second year. That’s not a knock on Amy Adams, Marti Noxon, or director Jean-Marc Valéee, either; it’s just nice, in an environment where every “limited series” carries an “unless you really want some more?” asterisk, to see a show committed to telling a single story in the most robust and complete way possible.
Per HBO programming president Casey Bloys, at least part of the reason for the show’s short-lived nature comes down to star Amy Adams. “Unlike Big Little Lies, where all of the stars wanted to come back, Sharp Objects, it’s a very dark character, very dark material. Amy doesn’t want to live in this character again and I can’t blame her. It’s a lot to take on for an actress.” That creator-driven rationale is borne out by the numbers; Sharp Objects has been a quiet ratings hit for HBO, offering up its biggest debut numbers since Westworld. The single-season series is currently halfway through its run; the fourth episode (out of eight) airs this Sunday night.