Fans of J.K. Rowling have had reason to rejoice this summer — the television adaptation of her Cormoran Strike series of detective novels (written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith), has come to Cinemax in the form of C.B. Strike. It's unclear whether C.B. Strike will return for a second season after its July 13 finale, however — no matter how popular it proves to be with American audiences.
The circumstances are a bit complicated. While C.B. Strike has just come to the U.S. recently, the British crime series already aired its second season on BBC One, under the name of Strike, according to Den of Geek. But though Strike broke up the adaptations of the three existing Cormoran Strike novels — The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil — into two seasons, Cinemax has released them all together, as one miniseries. The benefit is that fans won't have to wait another year to get their hands on the third chapter in the story. The downside? No second season, most likely. At least, for right now. The show is currently out of its source material, since they've already adapted each of the three novels in the series. And the producers of C.B. Strike seem a bit reluctant to go off-book.
“We’ll definitely wait ‘til the next book comes out, and then we’ll start prepping again,” RadioTimes reported that executive producer Ruth Kenley-Letts said at a screening of Strike. “I literally have no idea what the next book is about.” But the report also says that producers seemed pretty emphatic that when those new books are released, the show will return to adapt them, even hinting that J.K. Rowling has been in touch about what they might be able to expect from future installments.
“Jo was able to help and give us hints as to how to prepare for future books without having a clue what was going to happen," Kenley-Letts shared at the same event. So, fans of the show can rest easy. It seems like as long as there are Cormoran Strike books to be written, the show will continue on.
But if the show is to continue airing on American screens, it might have to adapt a bit to appease American audiences and American critics, who, so far, don't seem to have fully embraced the series. "The seven-part Cinemax miniseries is certainly handsome and well acted," Inkoo Kang from The Hollywood Reporter wrote in a review of the show. "It's also brutally tedious." The review continues on to assert that "there's something drearily familiar about C.B. Strike's titular protagonist: an anti-social, alcoholic private eye with a traumatic past and a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed sidekick."
The New York Times review of the show notes that the strong performances don't quite make up for "the deficiencies of the mysteries, which are convoluted in conception and prosaic in presentation. Clues fall from the sky, obtained offscreen between scenes, and amazing leaps of deduction are made." Reviews of the show as a whole have been mixed, at best.
But that doesn't mean that fans are turning away. J.K. Rowling is a masterful storyteller, whether she's constructing a wizarding world or delving into detective fiction. Any show that is adapting her work has some of that genius touch rubbing off on it, whether the reviews are good or not. There may not be magic in C.B. Strike, but sometimes watching someone uncover a really good mystery can feel magical in its own special way.
So though it might be a long wait for the next installment of C.B. Strike, fans should comfort in the fact that more episodes are certainly planned. Write faster, J.K. Rowling! I mean, Robert Galbraith.