HBO’s sleaze-dripped drama, The Idol, has officially been cancelled after its one-season run. Indeed, the streaming conglomerate is officially saying “Goodbye, Angel” to Lily-Rose Depp’s ‘Jocelyn’ and The Weeknd’s ‘Tedros’.
The polarising series, which garnered controversy due to its adulterous content matter and alleged behind-the-scenes drama, has been described by the network as “one of HBO’s most provocative original programs” in a statement provided to Vanity Fair confirming the conclusion of the show.
“After much thought and consideration, HBO, as well as the creators and producers have decided not to move forward with a second season,” the statement read. “We’re grateful to the creators, cast, and crew for their incredible work,” the network added.
The series, which was co-created by Euphoria’s Sam Levinson and Grammy Award winner The Weekend (who went by his real name, Abel Tesfaye, in the show’s credits), was dubbed to be a creation from their “sick and twisted minds”.
Yet, with news of this cancellation, it’s clear this sordid and seedy love story is crawling back to the “gutters of Hollywood” from which it came.
The five-episode series followed Depp’s ‘Jocelyn’, a troubled, chain-smoking former child star hoping to reinvent her persona as a “truly f***ing nasty, nasty, bad pop girl”, as Troye Sivan’s ‘Xander’ puts it in the show.
However, any intelligent commentary on the music industry or female autonomy was overshadowed by The Weekend’s maniacal ‘Tedros’, a nightclub owner and modern-day sex cult leader. Unlike Jim Jones, Tedros didn’t feed his cult members Kool-Aid, but rather a cocktail of illicit substances to ensure their entrapment, in return promising them record deals for their devout devotion.
The five episodes were chunky at most and X-rated at best, with the final plot twist evidence of the lack of cohesive direction and last-minute artistic changes made under Levinson’s tenure.
As revealed in a damning Rolling Stone exposé published before the show’s debut at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, the publication alleges that the show reportedly became “twisted torture porn” when Levinson took the helm as director and co-writer.
A source speaking to the publication claimed the show became plagued by “delays, reshoots, and rewrites” after The Weekend reportedly “felt the show was heading too much into a ‘female perspective'”.
The show was originally set to be directed by Amy Seimetz of The Girlfriend Experience, however, she parted from the project with reportedly “roughly 80 per cent of the six-episode series finished”. Perhaps in another universe, we will see Seimetz’s version of The Idol come to fruition, female perspective and all.
This profile certainly marred The Idol’s reputation before a single frame of the show even went to air. However, the onslaught of reviews from the show’s premiere at Cannes, certainly proved that the show faced difficulties from the get-go. Without even looking at the horrific scenes of abuse, manipulation and violent nudity, critics panned the direction and tone of the show.
As GRAZIA’s editorial director, Jessica Bailey, explained in her review of the show: “If you haven’t caught on yet, Levinson’s lens is shot for the male gaze.”
“Depp is seen in compromising positions constantly—and when she masturbates, we never see her achieve pleasure—surely a far cry from the direction the show was originally meant to take when it first started shooting under a female director.
“Take away the controversies, you have a good show—and one that yes men will tell you received a five-minute standing ovation at its May 22 premiere here in Cannes. (Note: just like in the bedroom, five minutes isn’t that long in the land of Cannes!)”
According to a Forbes report, The Idol also became the “worst-reviewed show in HBO history, by far.”
And while The Idol will certainly soon be taught to bourgeoning film-makers and marketing magnates about the show’s failures and shortfalls, we still have to acknowledge the one good thing that came from the show: Lily-Rose Depp’s summer bop, “World Class Sinner”.