It was the shock heard around the Internet on Friday when Netflix announced that it was canceling I Am Not Okay with This and The Society, both young adult dramas that had previously been renewed by the streaming service. Netflix explained that due to COVID-19 and the scheduling conflicts the pandemic production shutdown has caused across all of Hollywood, it would no longer be feasible to bring the shows back for sophomore seasons.
For Chris Keyser, showrunner and executive producer of The Society, the news came after months of working diligently to get his cast and crew back to set. In an exclusive interview with Variety, the producer revealed that they had been set to film the second season in March before everything was shut down, and expected to return to work in September, but Netflix pulled the plug ahead of time. Since Netflix owns and produces the show, Keyser admitted it's a long shot that the series could be revived at another network, but he is beginning to think about how to tell fans what the plan was for the season.
In the meantime, he revealed the broad thematic strokes of what was going to happen in Season 2. At the end of Season 1, the kids of New Ham -- a group of high schoolers who were mysteriously dumped in an alternate dimension version of their hometown without their parents and forced to create a new society of their own until they could figure out how to return home -- managed to find farmable land and animals to hunt for new food. Keyser teased that the kids who ran the new outpost and those in town would come into conflict in the new episodes.
"[The season] raised a lot of large questions about the way in which we treat each other, and the way we create caste systems and an underclass," he said. "It had big political implications, but also a lot of new relationships — and also resolving questions about who was in power, and who wasn't."
That conflict would put a lot of tension on the tenuous set of laws the kids had created to maintain order amongst themselves. There would have been, "a descent into greater darkness — the rules don't hold," Keyser said cryptically.
For now, the cast and crew are still mourning the loss of the show and have made no concrete plans of how to move forward. However, Keyser acknowledges that The Society's cancellation is just one of many losses caused by the pandemic.
"This is extremely upsetting," he added. "But it would be for anyone. We have no choice but to, as so many people do within this period, deal with the losses that this pandemic has caused. I guess we're like all those small businesses and restaurants that closed and aren't going to reopen. Our people are out of jobs, but that's true all around the country."
The Society Season 1 is now available to stream on Netflix.