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The axe of cancellation has been swung at Hulu, and its victim is 'Castle Rock'. Was it down to the cast? Here's what we know.

What killed Hulu’s ‘Castle Rock’? Poor cast? Bad acting or bad marketing?

The axe of cancellation has been swung at Hulu, and its victim is the Stephen King anthology series, Castle Rock. Running for two seasons at the streaming service, Castle Rock was from King and JJ Abrams, both serving as executive producers. The series took place in the eponymous fictional town in Maine, which served as a location for many of King’s stories. 

Over the course of two seasons, one in 2018 and the other in 2019, Castle Rock took cues from such stories as Misery and “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”. During its brief life at Hulu, Castle Rock generally garnered positive reviews from critics. Season one’s “The Queen” is considered a standout hour of television from the series.

So what led to Castle Rock’s cancellation? Was it due to convoluted storytelling? Poor casting decision? Bad acting? Bad marketing? Well, the reality of the cancellation is probably not as sexy or exciting as that, unfortunately. Here’s what you need to know.

It was HBO Max that did it!

No official reason for Castle Rock’s cancelation has been given at the time of writing this article. Right now, it’s just speculation and conjecture. The main speculation comes down to that Warner Bros TV didn’t have time to focus on the series. HBO Max, the WarnerMedia streaming service, launched back in May 2020. With it, there are a ton of new shows in the pipeline.

Warner Bros was one of the first suppliers for Hulu when it started to branch out into premium original content. Now with its own site to focus on, it looks like Warner Bros is keeping a closer eye on their own projects at this time. Again, this is just speculation. Castle Rock did garner strong reviews. Lizzy Caplan’s performance as Annie Wilkes in season two of the series was especially praised. 

Now, of course, just because a series does favorably with the critics. It doesn’t guarantee a long life. Another option is either low viewer engagement or COVID. Netflix, in particular, has canceled a plethora of shows due to the COVID pandemic. This could mean that, due to this, it just wasn’t viable to continue filming Castle Rock. Basically, take your pick of the options on the table. 

What do the rest of the Hulu Originals look like?

In addition to canceling Castle Rock, Hulu has also axed the television remake of High Fidelity, which starred Zoe Kravitz. That’s a pretty big bummer because that was also a really good show. Recently, series like Maxx, Woke, and Helstrom premiered to the streamer. We’re also expecting season four of The Handmaid’s tale along with seasons three for Ramy and The Orville.

Other things slated (but not limited to) are the back-half of season two for Pen15 along with renewals for The Great and Love, Victor. So, they’re not going ham with the cancellations if you’re worried about a Netflix-esque bloodbath over at Hulu.

Future release

Hulu also has a lot of different projects in the pipeline as well. There’s the highly-anticipated revival of the beloved series, The Animaniacs that’ll premiere on Nov. 20. The comedy, Only Murders in the Building, which has a star-studded cast that includes Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez. A true-crime drama The Girl from Plainville, which will star Elle Fanning.

Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy star in an adaptation of Nine Perfect Strangers, which hails from the author of Big Little Lies. Also in the works is the opioid crisis drama Dopesick and Rodham, an alternate history series focusing on if Hillary Clinton never married Bill. If you’re missing Castle Rock, then keep an eye on these series to see if something will catch your fancy.

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