Like a would-be rescuer hit in the chest with an axe, Overlook — the horror series based on Stephen King‘s 1977 novel The Shining — has been stopped in its tracks. Though unlike the doomed Hallorann (Scatman Crothers), who suffers the above-mentioned fate in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of the novel, there may be hope for the project.
In February, HBO Max chief Casey Bloys told Entertainment Weekly that Overlook was still a go on the streaming service; apparently, something changed. Yesterday, Deadline reported that HBO Max had decided to not move forward with the spinoff series to The Shining, saying that Overlook wasn’t a good match with the streaming service. The news comes in the wake of the cancellation of another Bad Robot series, the Emmy-nomination magnet Lovecraft Country.
While HBO Max may not be interested in the companion series to The Shining, this still may not be the end for Overlook, however. Deadline reports that Bad Robot is shopping the series around, and calls Netflix a “likely destination.” As reported by Deadline in September 2019, Overlook was one of the series in Bad Robot’s slate when J.J. Abrams closed his megadeal with WarnerMedia. Along with the spinoff to The Shining, the slate also included Justice League Dark and the upcoming series Duster starring Josh Holloway.
Promising to feature iconic characters from the original story, Overlook acts as a prequel to the 1977 novel and its various adaptations. The Shining tells the story of the evil that befalls the Torrance family when its patriarch — struggling writer and recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance — accepts a job as caretaker at the remote Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. Jack’s sanity is besieged by the supernatural forces at work in the Overlook and he ultimately tries to murder his wife Wendy and his young son Danny.
In both the source material and every adaptation of The Shining, it’s made clear that the Torrances are only the latest in a long line of the hotel’s victims. For example, we learned the previous caretaker — Delbert Grady — murdered his family while at the Overlook and afterward committed suicide. It’s the ghosts of Grady’s murdered twin daughters who Danny sees while exploring the hallways of the Overlook, and who — in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation — helped create one of the most creepily iconic images in the history of film. Presumably, it would be previous victims to the hotel’s influence like Grady who would appear in Overlook.
The Shining remains one of Stephen King’s most popular and oft-adapted novels. Along with Kubrick’s adaptation, ABC broadcast a new version as a miniseries, with Steven Weber of Wings fame stepping into Jack Nicholson’s shoes. Believe it or not, in 2016 the Minnesota Opera in St. Paul, Minnesota actually produced an opera based on the story. In 2013, King brought Danny Torrance back for the sequel novel Doctor Sleep, and Ewan McGregor played Danny in the 2019 film.
Assuming Overlook does find another home to bring The Shining fans back to the haunted hotel, it will be one of four collaborations Bad Robot has worked on with WarnerBros. Television on an adaptation of King’s work. Their other collaborations include Hulu’s 11.22.63, the horror series Castle Rock set in the fictional town that makes up the setting for so many of King’s stories, and the Apple TV+ miniseries Lisey’s Story.