Deadline (opens in new tab) reports that Prime Video has passed on a second season of Night Sky. The news that the ambitious sci-fi show is canceled comes less than two months after the show’s entire eight-episode first season dropped on Amazon's streaming service. It's reported that high production costs and a lack of “significant viewership impact” are the primary reasons for the show’s early termination.
Regardless of its short-lived lifespan, Night Sky did make its mark on television history. The show’s first episode was beamed into outer space and set a record for the furthest distance from earth a TV series has been distributed. Let’s just hope there are no Martians out there desperately hoping for a season two.
What was Night Sky about?
Created by Holden Miller and Daniel C. Connolly, Night Sky was a sci-fi drama centered on a seemingly normal husband and wife living in Illinois. Irene (Sissy Spacek) is a retired English teacher, and Franklin (J.K. Simmons) is a former woodworker, on the surface, there is nothing out of the ordinary about the married couple of 50 years.
However, the pair are actually hiding a secret: years ago they discovered a portal in their backyard that leads to a strange (apparently) deserted planet. Irene and Franklin have guarded this secret ever since, but when an enigmatic young man (Chai Hansen) comes through the portal and into their lives they discover not everything is as it seems. Soon the retirees are dragged into an intergalactic adventure that revolves around a mysterious cult.
Alongside Spacek, Simmons and Hansen, Night Sky also starred Adam Bartley, Julieta Zylberberg, Rocío Hernández, Piotr Adamczyk and Kiah McKirnan.
What did the critics say about Night Sky?
Critics were mostly complimentary about Night Sky, with the performances of Simmons and Spacek earning plenty of praise in particular. The high-concept show pulled a solid, if unspectacular, 73% on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab), but its audience score was a little higher at a slightly more impressive 81%.
Brain Tallerico of The Playlist (opens in new tab) heaped praise on the show’s leads: “Every time that Night Sky threatens to drift off into something disposable, Simmons and Spacek shine, reminding everyone that they’re true stars."
The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab)’s Dan Fienberg was equally impressed by Simmons and Spacek declaring “the two Oscar winners are never less than compelling.” Although Fienberg wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about the show surrounding the two actors suggesting the writing wasn't able to keep pace with the performances of the leads.
A more negative review came from Lucy Mangan of The Guardian (opens in new tab) who labeled the show “more of an exercise in frustration than anything else.” Some critics also questioned whether Night Sky would have worked better as a two-hour movie rather than a drawn-out eight-episode TV show.
Analysis: Prime Video does a Netflix
Prime Video’s decision to cancel Night Sky, which was heavily promoted pre-launch, is further proof that the streaming wars can be brutal. This sci-fi show can now be added to the very long list of streaming shows that never got to fulfill their potential, expect it to appear on lists of “TV shows canceled too soon” in the future.
This cancelation really stings because Night Sky had a hooky premise and perfectly cast leads. While the first season was a little rough around the edges, it seemed primed to find its footing in its second season. Unfortunately, we’ll never know if Prime Video could have had another Expanse-sized hit on its hands had the streamer given the show’s creative team just a little more time.
Of course, sci-fi content is notoriously expensive to make, largely due to costly special effects, so it stands to reason that Night Sky’s failure to draw significant viewers during its release window was a death blow. Nevertheless, for the viewers who did watch, and enjoy, the sci-fi drama, Night Sky will remain another what-if?
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