HBO’s The White Lotus was meant to conclude the Sunday with a sixth and final episode. But, the network announced today that Mike White’s series will be getting a second season with new characters and a new locale.
“Limited” series have been a way for TV shows to anoint themselves as prestige without calling themselves a “miniseries,” a term that has gone out of vogue. But the beauty of “limited” is that it doesn’t really have any meaning. We may assume it’s on par with a miniseries, and that smaller scope is something that appeals to movie actors who may not want to sign a contract for a traditional 22-episode or even 13-episode season that could run and run, but it all depends. What it mostly means is that if a show is a dud, the network can say “well it was limited” and not renew it. But if it’s a hit—and these days, the metric for that is pretty low—then it can be given another season in the hopes that it will keep that buzz going in an oversaturated streaming environment.
HBO has done this with a few series recently, including an ill-conceived second season of Big Little Lies (there’s also talk of bringing Mare of Easttown back). It rarely works well. It’s become refreshing, actually, when a limited series is actually limited, like Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit. Would I watch more of that story? You bet, for multiple seasons. But that doesn’t mean it should happen. Go out when you’re still on top! Leave us wanting more!
In any case, Francesca Orsi, the Executive Vice President of HBO Programming, said of the renewal: “Mike [White] has once again delivered a quintessential HBO show, and it’s the talk of the town. We were thrilled to hear where he wanted to go next, after closing this epic chapter in Hawaii, and can’t wait to keep following him wherever he takes us.”
Stay tuned for our coverage of The White Lotus season—not series—finale coming on Monday.
Allison Keene is the TV Editor of Paste Magazine. For more television talk, pop culture chat and general japery, you can follow her @keeneTV
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