EXCLUSIVE: Amazon has opted not to order a second season of Bryan Cranston’s family comedy-drama The Dangerous Book For Boys. The decision comes four months after the series’ first season was released.
The cancellation should not come as a surprise. When Deadline asked new Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke about The Dangerous Book For Boys‘ renewal chances in June, she said, “It’s looking very tough for the cost of the show. It’s really difficult, coming from the genre where it exists and the kind of audience it’s drawing. The math doesn’t quite work.”
Created by Cranston and Greg Mottola based on the book by Conn and Hal Iggulden, the series follows the McKenna family as they cope with the untimely passing of Patrick (Chris Diamantopoulos), their patriarch and a whimsical inventor. His death has left the family reeling, but hope appears in the form of a book called The Dangerous Book for Boys that Patrick created as a handbook to help his three sons. The book is a how-to guide for childhood that inspires fantasies for his youngest son, Wyatt (Gabriel Bateman). While in his fantasy world, Wyatt reconnects with his father and learns life skills that help him navigate the real world.
It is largely these fantasies that make the show difficult to produce as each of them requires building a whole new world, with new sets and costumes.
The series also starred Erinn Hayes as the boys’ mom, Drew Logan Powell and Kyan Zielinski as other sons, and Swoosie Kurtz as the grandmother. Diamantopoulos also played the role of Patrick’s twin brother.
The Dangerous Book for Boys had been a passion project for Cranston who first set up the TV series adaptation at NBC several years ago. (Coincidentally, the network’s programming was overseen by Salke at the time). It didn’t go forward at the broadcast network and Cranston later sold it to Amazon, where he also has series Sneaky Pete, recently renewed for a third season.
“I think there’s enough cynicism in this world, and I wanted to create a show that—without sounding syrupy—[would] be wholesome. I wanted to bring some hope to the world,” Cranston told Deadline about why he wanted to do The Dangerous Book for Boys. “Where you see a family struggling, and, yet, their nucleus is strong, and they try to work out their problems. And every show has a dose of uplifting revelations to it, and whimsy, and fantasy. It’s really lovely, and I hope we get a chance to continue, because there are so many stories that we would like to tell.”
Cranston’s Moonshot Entertainment produced The Dangerous Book for Boys with Sony Pictures Television, where the company has had a first-look deal, and Amazon Studios. Mottola, who directed the series, and Moonshot’s Cranston and James Degus executive producd with showrunner Michael Glouberman.