Whenever many of us hear news that one of our favorite shows has been cancelled, there is always that brief glimmer of hope that some other network will get it, but examples of this happening are pretty rare.
Sometimes it happens. When Fox canceled Brooklyn Nine-Nine in 2018, the next day it found a new home and three more seasons on NBC and Hulu. (opens in new tab), while Netflix picked up Lucifer and Manifest after they were dropped by their original networks. These things are rare, but they do happen, typically for shows with small, passionate fanbases that aren’t attracting enough viewers to satisfy advertisers. All of this makes the American Rust case even stranger.
Released in 2021, American Rust starred The Affair’s Jeff Daniels and Maura Tierney in an adaptation of Philipp Meyer’s book of the same name. It was adapted for the small screen by Dan Futterman, writer of Foxcatcher and Capote, while David Alvarez, Bill Camp, Julia Mayorga and Rob Yang starred alongside Daniels and Tierney in this nine-part series.
The show saw Daniels play Del Harris, the chief of police in an economically devastated Pennsylvania steel town who suddenly finds his ethics and professional boundaries questioned when the son of the woman he loves, Tierney’s Grace, is arrested and charged with murder.
Reviews for the show were not kind, with American Rust posting a humble rating of 27% on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab)where many critics drew a cruel comparison between him and the beloved Mare Of Easttown (opens in new tab). Showtime, the company owned by Paramount (opens in new tab)network where American Rust aired, ended the show in January of this year after a single season, but has now been saved.
saved? By whom?
Amazon. The tech giant has given the show a home for its second season on Amazon FreeVee (opens in new tab)its free to use, ad-supported platform, which was once called IMDb TV.
Speaking about the surprise, star Daniels said: “I am grateful to Amazon Freevee for giving us the chance to do American Rust Season 2. The movies they no longer make are being made as series at places like Amazon Freevee. It’s where I want to be.”
Lauren Anderson and Ryan Pirozzi, Co-Directors of Content and Programming at Amazon Freevee, added: “American Rust is exactly the kind of gritty, engaging storytelling that Amazon Freevee audiences love, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring this prestigious series to life. for our customers, free of charge.
“We can’t wait to dive in with Boat Rocker and Dan Futterman to continue the story that intrigued audiences during the first season and see the evolution of the characters so deftly portrayed by Jeff and Maura in this next chapter.”
Analysis: Why does Amazon want this show?
Take a quick look at FreeVee’s current list and you’ll see that American Rust really fits very well in terms of subject matter with what the platform offers.
The main show of the relaunched platform is Bosch: Legacy (opens in new tab), another gritty crime drama, albeit with much better reviews. They also put critical hit Troppo in there, another dust-in-the-throat mystery (opens in new tab) that takes place in the Australian outback. You’ll also find plenty of action dramas wrapped up with procedural edges, shows like Burn Notice and the MacGyver remake.
In addition, Prime Video offers subscribers programs such as Reacher (opens in new tab), which still has two seasons to go, and Chris Pratt, starring The Terminal List. Both are heart-pounding action dramas with real heroes and outright baddies; a clear showcase of the kind of market that Amazon likes. With a cast and creative team already in place for American Rust, why spend a year developing your own if you don’t have to?
Want to read about the end of Jack Ryan and the franchise’s planned spin-off? I pass by here (opens in new tab).