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HBO’s ‘Sharp Objects’ will end when the book does. That’s rare these days

July 28, 2018

When you’re making a critical darling of a TV series that’s also based on a book, it’s oh-so-tempting to go beyond your source material.

But HBO isn’t doing that with “Sharp Objects.” The drama starring Amy Adams and based on a 2006 psychological crime novel by Gillian Flynn won’t return after its eight-episode run, according to reports coming out of this week’s Television Critics’ Association summer press tour. Episode 3 airs Sunday.

“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,” HBO president of programming Casey Bloys told Deadline. “So no plans for a second season. We are very happy with this living as a limited series.”

Sure, it makes sense that Adams may not want to keep playing Camille Preaker, a journalist who returns to her rural hometown to report on the disappearance of a girl. And maybe she has other projects in the hopper that she wants to tend to, too. But showcasing “dark material” hasn’t stopped other shows from forging ahead.

Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” may very well be the epitome of “dark material.” The first season received widespread praise, winning the Emmy Award and Golden Globe for best drama. And star Elisabeth Moss won the best-actress prize at both awards shows for her portrayal of Offred/June, a character who had her triumphant moments but lived in an incredibly depressing world.

The series moved beyond the book with its second season, which was marked by several brutal and stomach-churning scenes and a finale that left many loyal viewers vowing not to return. Hulu has already renewed “Handmaid” for a third season.

HBO’s critical hit “Big Little Lies,” based on Liane Moriarty’s best-seller, showcased the complexity of women’s relationships, including moments of joy and humor. But it certainly had its dark moments, too: Much of the plotline centered on a rape, and there were multiple scenes of domestic violence in which Nicole Kidman’s character is horribly abused.

The show won several Golden Globes and Emmys, with most of its movie-star cast members taking home top acting prizes. After the first season’s finale aired, the stars eventually revealed they would return for a second season that would pick up where the book left off. Meryl Streep has joined the cast. The show may return in 2019.

Sometimes there’s the promise of more literary material to draw upon, but the book takes longer than the show. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” moved beyond George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Fire and Ice” books during its sixth season, as the author was still busy writing the next book, “The Winds of Winter.”

The Martin book was expected to come out in 2014. We’re now in 2018, and he will release a different book this year. “Work on ‘Winds of Winter’ continues, and remains my top priority,” Martin wrote on his blog in June. “It is ridiculous to think otherwise.”

Meanwhile, “Game of Thrones” will return in the first half of 2019, book or no book. It is TV, after all.

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