Earlier this year HBO aired their 10-part miniseries The Outsider. Based on the 2018 novel by Stephen King, the show follows an investigation into the gruesome murder of a young boy named Frankie Peterson, but when an otherwordly being forces itself into the case, it leads Flint City seasoned cop Ralph Anderson to question everything that he once believed. Receiving a 7.9 on IMDb and an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s no surprise that there’s already been talk of a season two, and while I loved watching the show, I don’t want it to be renewed for another season: because it doesn’t need one.
The final episode of the miniseries aired on March 8th, and (Spoiler Alert!) Ralph Anderson confronts the Outsider and smashes its head in with a rock, and while it may have been a different ending from the book, where private investigator Holly Gibney beats its head in with a sock filled with ball bearings (a weapon which she calls ‘happy slapper’), the Outsider is still defeated. Even though the show has left the door open for the continuation of Ralph and Holly’s quest against the ghouls, goblins and ghosts that lurk in the dark corners of our modern society, in reality, there’s no more story to tell.
Of course, we all know why HBO greenlit a second season of The Outsider: because shows make their networks money, and in the end, networks are just another business. Still, it’s a shame that so many channels are willing to sacrifice the lasting reputation of their greatest shows just to appease their advertisers. Many argue that The Office should have ended once Steve Carell left in season seven, and that The Walking Dead should have ended in season five. Shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons are also criticized for having become uninspired, stale versions of what they once were. These days, it’s rare for a show to choose to end.
While there isn’t a cut and dry formula yet for when a show overstays its welcome, if that show is an adaptation, my philosophy is that its story should not continue on past the original source material. Anything that the showrunners of The Outsider come up with for season two will just feel like a poor imitation of the plot points and emotional beats of season one, because they would have lost their inspiration. Adaptive works are created by interpretive artists, and interpretive artists are lost without a story to interpret!
I’m of the opinion that most of Stephen King’s stories are unfit to be told in a visual medium, but I loved The Outsider, which is why I don’t want to taint my opinion of it with another season that, according to my personal philosophy, will most likely suck. A bad ending could ruin one’s entire perception of a story they loved. Just ask any fan of Game of Thrones!