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Agents of Channel Change: HBO Cancels Enlightened

enlightenedLACEY TERRELL / Cinemax

Just how much postage will it decide to try mail a ocean turtle to some TV network? The couple of fans of Enlightened could get that reference, and since you will find so very, very couple of people, Cinemax introduced yesterday it had become eliminating the brilliant spiritual-dark-comedy series after two seasons, probably putting it beyond the aid of any mail-in Save Our Show campaign.

It isn't exactly a stunner that the network would cancel a motion picture with Enlightened’s rankings, that have been within the low six figures because of its first-run showings, tiny even by pay-cable standards. What’s more rare, honestly, would be that the show would obtain a second season to start with, being an acknowledgement of the items an excellent factor Laura Dern and Mike Whitened produced: a poetic story of private growth, serious yet shot finished unflinching humor. More rare is still that the acclaimed, low-ranked show would obtain a fitting ending Whitened, no stranger towards the cold details of rankings, ended the nigh-perfect second season solving Amy Jellicoe’s story of coming the whistle on her behalf corporate employer.

So for Enlightened fans, this really is sad, but it’s sadness with closure, which within the TV business counts as something of the win. But has Cinemax lost something here, in the status like a network that–within the bounds of the for-profit business–makes great implies that nobody else will, and keeps them alive simply because they deserve it?

Not here–not yet. In the end, Cinemax did make Enlightened, and cure might have, a smaller amount designed a second season? The network released a pained statement around the cancellation, and call me naive but getting adopted the network for a long time I've pointless to think it insincere: “It would be a very hard decision. We’ve made the decision to not continue Enlightened for any third season. We’re happy with the show so we anticipate dealing with Mike Whitened and Laura Dern later on.”

(Disclosure: Cinemax is TIME’s sister company over time Warner, although the companies be separated underneath the the Time Corporation. spinoff offer process.)

Cinemax takes chances on art, however with limits. It restored the reduced-ranked Luck–which needed to cost you a good little more than Enlightened to make–though the racetrack drama’s second season wound up dying and among its horses inside a production problem. It’s keeping Treme alive for just one last, reduced season.

If there’s a unique difference here, it’s that Cinemax rarely cancels shows in the peak of the acclaim. (The murky story behind the finish of Deadwood notwithstanding.) Shows like Bored to Dying, Hung or Steps to make It in the usa had their fans, however their reception was mixed at the best. I can’t imagine Enlightened not presents itself my favorite-of-2013 list, and that i wager it will likely be on many more. And it is not only experts much like me: its fanbase is small but noisy, also it will get hosannas within Hollywood.

Cinemax, however, appears to possess made the decision as Amy’s practical mother Helen may have stated to her: good reviews won’t place a roof over your mind. Now, Cinemax has lengthy needed to balance its commercial hits using its labors of affection. Also it could reasonably express it designed a creative decision here too: that Whitened gave the show an enjoyable ending also it had told its story. That’s defensible, if disappointing.

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