When Hulu announced The Great Season 2 had been ordered, it came as a welcome surprise. The period drama/comedy series was initially billed as a limited series, but throughout production it quickly became clear they had something special that was worth revisiting. Indeed, Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult deliver astoundingly good performances as Catherine the Great and her impulsive and power-mad husband Peter, respectively, as the first season chronicles their marriage and Catherine’s decision to stage a coup.
The show is a tonal balancing act, weaving from drama to comedy to romance sometimes all within the same scene. That’s largely due to the writing of showrunner Tony McNamara, who is deservedly nominated for an Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Emmy this year, and when I spoke to McNamara by phone recently in the wake of his nomination (look for the full interview on Collider soon), he talked a bit about The Great Season 2.
To begin with, McNamara revealed that he had always wanted a couple of seasons to tell this story of Catherine the Great, and now he’s glad he has another season’s worth of story to tell. But as for an endgame, he hasn’t thought too much beyond the fact that it won’t run too long:
“I mean we could tell it in four [seasons], we could probably tell it in three [seasons]. I don’t really know. I think it’s also now I realize the characters are so great across the board – we have 12 great actors playing really great characters and that’s just good TV, so it does seem like there’s a lot to get out of them. I’m not sure [how many seasons it will run] at the moment, I’m just telling the story and we’ll see where we get to.”
And while McNamara originally pitched The Great as a The Crown-like show that would swap out actors as the characters got older, he’s in no rush to let go of Hoult and Fanning:
“I think the initial pitch was we’d sort of do a few seasons of young and a couple of seasons of middle, but at the moment that’s sort of in the deep background of my mind. At the moment I’m really happy with these guys.”
As for what’s in store for The Great Season 2, McNamara was tight-lipped on details only to say the ending of Season 1 changed due to an idea he had to move certain plot points to the second season.
But the second season is on track to start filming this November, so that means as long as production can happen safely, we should hopefully see the second season hit Hulu sooner rather than later.