The following story contains spoilers for the end of Brand New Cherry Flavor on Netflix.
Horror fans got a real treat with Netflix’s Brand New Cherry Flavor, an eight-part series set in the cutthroat world of early ’90s Hollywood. Our story here follows Lisa Nova (Alita: Battle Angel star Rosa Salazar), a young filmmaker looking to expand her groundbreaking short film into a major motion picture. Along the way she meets sleazy-but-talented producer Lou Burke (Eric Lange), a rising star actor (Jeff Ward), and an eccentric woman who…is basically a witch (the great Catherine Keener).
The story is the best kind of horror—basic enough to follow, but with enough disgusting, David Cronenberg-esque body horror, and enough what the fuck? style David Lynch existentialism to really make you question just about every minute of what you just watched. Salazar has a rough edge to her protagonist that makes us root for her just enough, while Lange channels his inner Jeff Goldblum to play the slimy-but-charismatic type of Hollywood producer we’ve all heard so much about.
The series gets increasingly gross and violent as it moves along, but when it finally reaches its conclusion, you may have one simple question: what’s next? Brand New Cherry Flavor is based on a novel, and while Season 1 only barely gets into the novel’s storyline (less than 100 pages in, to be precise), it changes enough that the story, really, is not following any sort of source material anymore outside of the basics. Could it pull a The Leftovers and expand its footprint far beyond the existing story? We’ll have to see.
Brand New Cherry Flavor isn’t likely to have a Season 2.
While some threads are left open that could certainly be expanded upon in a potential Season 2—Boro taking on a new body, Lisa going to Brazil, Lou still being alive but blind—every piece of branding in the show’s marketing campaign has referred to Brand New Cherry Flavor as a “limited series.” In full, the show’s official poster (and on Netflix’s platforms) it’s called “A Netflix Limited Series,” which pretty definitively means the story that was meant to be told got told.
Now, that’s not to say it definitely won’t come back. Netflix called The Queen’s Gambit a limited series, but many in that show’s cast have teased a potential return. But Netflix has mostly kept to its ‘Limited Series’ promise with shows, with When They See Us, Unbelievable, and Godless as a few other key examples. If you look over to Netflix’s rival, HBO, though, there’s a bit more precedent, as initially-planned limited series including Big Little Lies, True Detective, and, most recently, The White Lotus, have all gotten eventual Season 2 pickups. In short: we’ve probably seen the end of this story—but you never know.
MERIE WEISMILLER WALLACE/NETFLIX
There could be more where Brand New Cherry Flavor came from, though.
While Brand New Cherry Flavor seems likely to be a one-and-done series on Netflix, creator Nick Antosca has long focused on telling short and contained horror stories. Before he moved to Netflix with Cherry Flavor, he resided over SyFy’s Channel Zero, another very dark and often disturbing horror series that told four distinct stories over the course of its four seasons on air. He also was the showrunner of Hulu’s Emmy-winning The Act, which told its Mundchausen by Proxy story in one limited season. He’s even a 2009 Shirley Jackson Award winner for Best Novella for Midnight Picnic. In short? The man knows how to write a scary story, and wrap it up on his own clock.
Does that not sound similar to another major horror player for Netflix? Mike Flanagan has evolved into one of the biggest names in horror over the last decade, and while he’s had successful movies in theaters like Doctor Sleep and Ouijia: Origin of Evil, its been his Netflix series that have really taken off. The Haunting of Hill House was a smash when it first landed in 2018, and its follow-up, The Haunting of Bly Manor was a similar success in 2020. Flanagan’s next, Midnight Mass, is hitting Netflix next month (with another series, The Midnight Club, currently in production).
Which is to say: if Brand New Cherry Flavor winds up hitting on Netflix—and with strong early returns critically, it should—it could be a great opportunity for the streaming giant to give Antosca the Flanagan treatment, and just let him keep telling whichever terrifying, creepy, single-season-contained stories he wants to. If it’s anything like Brand New Cherry Flavor, we’d certainly be tuning in.
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