For a while now, there’s been some talk of a sequel to BBC One’s The Night Manager, an acclaimed adaptation of John le Carré’s spy novel. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman, The Night Manager was one of the most popular pieces of prestige drama aired by the BBC in 2016 – you can understand why there’s an interest in bringing it back.
It also seems like there’s an interest from the stars too – the Express has revealed, from an “insider source”, that Hiddleston, Laurie and Colman are all committed to appearing in a second series. While you’d probably be wise to take that with a grain of salt, it is still worth noting that director Suzanne Bier has started working on developing a script.
Of course, there’s one little quirk worth noting here. Where The Night Manager was based on a book, any potential follow up won’t be – John le Carré never wrote a sequel to that particular novel. If the BBC elects to reunite Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman for another espionage themed runaround, it’ll be with an entirely original story.
All of which begs the question, then – is this actually a good idea?
In and of itself, there’s not exactly a huge problem with a continuation like this – building on material that’s gone before while bringing something new to it is a firm staple of television drama, if not storytelling as a whole. Sequels of this nature aren’t exactly a new idea, after all – what’s to suggest it shouldn’t be done with The Night Manager?
For one thing, one has to consider the integrity of the piece – given the ending of the first series, what reason is there to reunite our three leads again? It’s obvious that this is happening because of the success of the first series, and it’d be churlish to denigrate the follow-up on that basis – but the question as to whether it’s the only reason for a sequel is worth asking nonetheless.
Perhaps I’m just biased – after all, I was one of the few people who didn’t love The Night Manager, or even particularly like it. From the nasty fridging as the show began, to the thin writing and poor characterisation of Tom Hiddleston’s Jonathon Pine, there were quite a few flaws to the show that stood in the way of my enjoyment of it. And, indeed, they continue to stand in the way of my interest in a sequel.
There are ways it could work, certainly. A sequel that’s focused on Olivia Colman’s character, with only peripheral appearances from Hiddleston and Laurie, could be quite effective – if only because Colman was the best part of The Night Manager the first go around, and any reason to see her on TV again is a good one.
In the end, when it comes down to it, a repeat of The Night Manager just doesn’t feel necessary. Adapt a new le Carré novel, perhaps, or give Hiddleston the Bond role already. But there’s no need to return to drink from this well once again – is there?
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