Will HBO's 'Looking' Return With More Episodes? 'The Movie' Will Just Make Fans Want More
In March of last year, HBO's Looking was cancelled, falling victim to the same "two-season-and-done" curse that has befallen other recent low-rated but critically-acclaimed HBO comedies like Enlightened and Togetherness. But fortunately for fans of the series produced and directed by filmmaker Andrew Haigh (Weekend, 45 Years), Looking was granted the reprieve of a made-for-television movie with which to conclude its dangling storylines. But will Looking: The Movie — which premieres on HBO this Saturday — truly "conclude" the show? Or will there be more Looking somewhere down the road?
On the face of things, this weekend's 90-minute special seems to be the end of the road for the short-lived series. Back when the show was first cancelled, the brass at the premium cable channel issued the following statement:
After two years of following Patrick and his tight-knit group of friends as they explored San Francisco in search of love and lasting relationships, HBO will present the final chapter of their journey as a special. We look forward to sharing this adventure with the shows loyal fans.
That's pretty definitive: "the final chapter." The trailer for Looking: The Movie — which teases a time jump, a wedding, and a long-awaited resolution to the Patrick/Kevin/Richie love triangle — certainly feels like the end of the road.
But only four months after the show was cancelled, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo was already expressing regrets about the decision, telling the audience at the Television Critics Association press tour last July that it was "very painful on a personal level," as reported by Out. "I thought the show, creatively, was really doing something that I hadn't seen on any other show, particularly dealing with gay lives," Lombardo said. "As a gay man, in particular, I was very proud that there was a show that felt like it was dealing very honestly and openly with gay men and their lives, without putting them into a comedic mode."
Then, in November, Looking star Jonathan Groff further stoked the fires of speculation in an interview with Billboard. In the course of the conversation, the interviewer pled with the Tony-nominated Hamilton actor not to say "'wrap-up,' because there’s always the possibility it could go on, you never know," to which Groff responded, "Oh my god, I love the way you think. OK, I won’t. I’ll stop saying it. I’ll just say, 'Yeah, we’re shooting the movie of Looking. The first movie of Looking.'"
So with both the president of HBO and the star of the show onboard with the idea of more Looking, could the dream become a reality? If the movie draws in big enough ratings, would the network consider resurrecting the series — or at least making another movie or two? Unfortunately, that seems extremely unlikely. While Lombardo may have been a champion of the series, he has since left HBO, stepping down as president this past May. And after his second Tony nomination, Groff is in more demand than ever; not only will he be reprising his role as Kristoff in Frozen 2, he's also set to star in David Fincher's upcoming Netflix series Mindhunter alongside Fringe phenom Anna Torv.
Rather than clinging onto false hope and ending up disappointed, Looking fans should take the upcoming movie as a way to say goodbye to Patrick, Dom, and Agustín. That way, if (when?) Haigh and Groff and the rest of the team decide to reunite in five years or so to check in on what the characters have been up to, it will come as a pleasant surprise to everyone. (OK, now I've got my own hopes up.)
Images: Melissa Moseley/HBO (3)