The news was announced last week that the TNT television series Will, a reimagining of the young William Shakespeare’s entry into the Elizabethan theater scene, has been canceled. Despite my early excitement (see here) and intense interest, I’m not disappointed. Here’s why.
My wife and I watched the first four episodes of the program, which debuted July 10, 2017, to 633,000 total viewers and eventually dropped to about 300,000. But we were both ready to stop watching by then, because it was clear that the show had become less about Shakespeare and his work and more about graphic torture scenes and sex scenes.
Speaking only for myself, the reason I would watch a show about Shakespeare (even one that plays fast and loose with history) is to watch a show about Shakespeare. Sounds redundant, I know. But I was not drawn to Will by the promise of blood or other bodily fluids. And I’m pretty sure that people who want those things would not look for them in a series about the greatest poet and playwright who ever wrote in English. In other words, I think the series, after a promising and clever start, tried to deliver what no one had ordered.
So I’m not sorry it was canceled. And I hope the entertainment industry will draw the right conclusions from the show’s cancellation. But I doubt it.