Hulu has canceled political comedy Woke after two seasons.
Launched in the fall of 2020, Woke was loosely based on the life of its co-creator, Keith Knight, an American cartoonist and musician known for his accessible yet subversive comic strips The K Chronicles.
It starred Lamorne Morris – best known for his long-running role as Winston Bishop on beloved comedy New Girl – as Keef, a black cartoonist on the verge of mainstream success via his Toast & Butter comic series. Keef takes pride in his comics being light touch and avoiding controversy or political content like the plague.
On the verge of signing a huge new publishing deal, Keef is then the victim of racial profiling by overly aggressive policemen and, unsurprisingly, left traumatized. In the wake of the incident, Keef finds that he's able to see and hear inanimate objects talking to him, plus he's now more sensitive to racism, with everyday microaggressions that he has spent his life trying to avoid acknowledging in every situation, suddenly pronounced. Now, quite literally 'Woke', Keef must live with his new reality.
The show, which was a mixture of live-action and animation, ran for two eight-episode runs on Hulu, one in 2020 and a second which debuted in April of this year.
Starring alongside Morris were Blake Anderson, T. Murph, Rose McIver and Sasheer Zamata, with Eddie Griffin, Tony Hale, Sam Richardson, Jack McBrayer and Cedric the Entertainer appearing in voice-only roles.
Woke, which was a co-production for Hulu between Sony Pictures Television and ABC, was axed on Friday.
No statement for its cancelation has been given yet, with Morris only issuing a tongue-in-cheek tweet over the weekend, but the show's second season was a troubled production with filming forced to shut down three times due to positive Covid-19 cases. That will have undoubtedly seen production costs shoot up, and, it seems like they got too much for a third season to be greenlit. Which is a shame, because critics rather liked it.
What did the critics say?
The show's first season enjoyed lukewarm ratings, with a Rotten Tomatoes' score of 74%, but the show's second was a tour de force, with a 97% rating on the same website.
Audiences enjoyed the first run, too, giving it 87%, which is seems like Woke ran into the trap that falls a great many shows. Those who liked it really enjoyed what was on offer, but no-one else stuck around.
Hulu spends big on comedy as it is, with The Orville, Only Murders In The Building and How I Met Your Father, while they've recently forked out on acquiring Schitt's Creek back catalog. They're also not shy about canceling things, with hit comedies Shrill and Dollface axed recently. Again, both had passionate fanbases and critics liked them, but they clearly didn't win the audiences Hulu demands.