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Haunting of Hill House Showrunner Is Right to Move Away From Crain Family in Prospective Season 2

The kids can all sing "So Long, Farewell" from The Sound of Music.

carla gugino

There is no official word yet on whether or not Netflix sensation The Haunting of Hill House will receive a second season order. However, showrunner Mike Flanagan has already announced that, should they be picked up for season two, the series will shift focus away from the Crain family and their trauma to focus on other characters and haunts. He said in an interview, “I felt like the Crains have been through enough, and we left them exactly as we all wanted to remember them, those of us who worked on it.”

That’s a relief, as it’s been something that’s been haunting me (pun intended) since I finished binging the show’s current ten episodes. I do not want to see the Crains again after their last scenes in “Silence Lay Steadily,” because the ending for the characters was perfect as it was. To reintroduce them to the horrors of Hill House would be to undo ten episodes’ worth of character development, which in turn would undermine the entire series and what makes it so excellent. Let the characters live, god damn it!

Thankfully, Flanagan is of the same mind, so I don’t have to write an angry thinkpiece about letting the past die. However, this does beg the question of whether or not the show even needs a second season.

Flanagan talked about doing more “with the house or with something completely different” and even supported the idea of an anthology. This has a few perks: Flanagan is a talented director with an eye for horror, and I’d love to see another miniseries from him. However, to revisit Hill House would automatically draw comparisons to the first season

We could learn about Poppy, the Dudleys, and the other ghosts who reside in the walls of the house, but that would be an unnecessary prequel. We know what the Crains know, and that’s what matters. We don’t need a prequel.

An anthology-esque series would probably be their best bet. This could take them to a different location and haunting, with a new set of characters and a few new themes to explore. Take it as far away from the story of the Crains as possible and use ghosts as a tool to talk about something new, because otherwise it will draw comparisons to the first season, and Flanagan needs to be able to show he can do more than just one kind of ghost story.

Still, I wonder if the best bet wouldn’t be to just simply leave well enough alone. The Haunting of Hill House is exquisite as a standalone, and it might be best to leave it alone and tell a completely different story. Flanagan now has enough critical clout (with awards hopefully to follow) that he can do whatever he pleases. He can adapt or reimagine another work, or tackle an original story. His devotees will definitely flock to whatever his new project is, but it might be nice to just let the ghosts of Hill House rest as a single story, rather than as part of a brand.

No matter what happens next, I’m glad to know that the Crain siblings will find the narrative peace that they so richly deserve. Their concrete ending makes the series work, and I’m glad that Flanagan is wise enough to recognize that.

(via Vulture, image: Netflix)

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Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.