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Hulu gives Castle Rock the axe after two seasons

By James Comtois
Castle Rock Lizzy Caplan as Annie Wilkes

Sad news for Castle Rock fans: After months of uncertainty, Hulu has given the horror/thriller series the axe, sources familiar with the matter have confirmed to SYFY WIRE. Sure, the place had creepy vibes, murderous nurses, and rabid dogs, and even bordered a town infested with vampires. But for many Stephen King fans, it was home.

Inspired by stories and characters written and created by King and set in the fictional, titular town the author frequently used as a setting for his novels and short stories, the easter-egg-laden anthology series from executive producers J.J. Abrams and King and creators/showrunners Dustin Thomason and Sam Shaw ran for two seasons on the streaming service.

Season 1 starred André Holland, Melanie Lynskey, Bill Skarsgård, Jane Levy, and Sissy Spacek and was inspired by the novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. Season 2 featured Lizzy Caplan, Paul Sparks, Barkhad Abdi, Yusra Warsama, Elsie Fisher, Matthew Alan, and Tim Robbins, and centered on Caplan's Annie Wilkes (from Misery) and Ace Merrill’s family (who appear in a slew of stories, from "Nona" to Needful Things to The Body).

The series received favorable notices from the critics, earning an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes

Shaw said in a featurette from the home-video release of Season 1 that he and fellow co-creator Thomason deliberately set the series in the present day, rather than during the 1980s, “when some of the great Castle Rock novels were being written,” because they wanted "to look at a Castle Rock that was boarded up ... where the younger population had basically fled." Well, it looks as though even the older population has left the boarded-up town.

In advance of the second season airing, Thomason told SYFY WIRE they wanted to explore the character of Annie Wilkes and “see what sort of made her what she is.”

Caplan told SYFY WIRE at the time that playing Annie was more about leaning into Kathy Bates' iconic Misery portrayal than trying to stay away from it, admitting: "if I were a viewer of the new Annie Wilkes story, I would feel ripped off if it didn't have even a couple of shades of what Kathy Bates did so perfectly."

But fret not: Although Castle Rock may have turned into a ghost town, many of King’s works are now getting newly adapted for the small screen. CBS All Access is about to unveil its adaptation of The Stand. HBO recently aired The Outsider, based on King’s 2018 novel, and it looks as though a second season is on its way. Apple TV is giving us a limited series of Lisey's Story. And Warner Bros. TV and Abrams (who made Castle Rock) are joining forces again to create Overlook, a spinoff of The Shining for HBO Max. So at least we won't be wanting for any King fare anytime soon.