The first season of Cruel Summer, a drama thriller series focused on a kidnapping in a small town in Texas. The show consisted of 10 episodes, which ran from April 20th to June 15th, 2021. On the day of the season finale, Freeform announced that they were renewing the show for a second season.
"You're never guaranteed a Season 2," said showrunner Tia Napolitano in Entertainment Weekly. "So we held hands and decided we have to make Season 1 be able to stand alone if that was all it was going to be. We had to answer all the questions and we did -- well, I hope."
Created by Bert V. Royal, Season 1 of Cruel Summer took place in three different years (1993, 1994, and 1995) and centered around Kate Wallis, a popular girl who disappeared and was played by Olivia Holt. It was also centered around Jeanette Turner, a not-so-popular girl who got accused of the disappearance and was played by Chiara Aurelia.
Royal is no longer involved with the show, apparently leaving after the pilot, due to disagreements with a network executive. Still, he is listed as an executive producer, along with Jessica Biel, Michelle Purple, Max Winkler, and Napolitano. The cast also included Froy Gutierrez as Jamie Henson, Harley Quinn Smith as Mallory Higgins, Allius Barnes as Vince Fuller, and Blake Lee as Martin Harris.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the first season of Cruel Summer an approval rating of 91%, saying it was full of "delicious twists and delightful turns." The A.V. Club stated that it found "interesting, grounded ways to explore the impact of society's expectations of these young girls, and how their town and own families contribute to the pressure they face."
Additionally, Cruel Summer's debut was the most-watched one ever on Freeform. "Renewing Cruel Summer for a Season 2 was an easy decision," Freeform President Tara Duncan said. "It's the biggest series debut in Freeform's history, and the audience response has been overwhelmingly positive. Jessica [Biel], Michelle [Purple], and Tia [Napolitano] did a phenomenal job telling an addictive story that's tapped into the cultural zeitgeist. I'm excited to see where they take the series next."
The show wrapped up in a big and exciting way (No spoilers, in case someone has somehow yet to watch it!). Due to this fans are wondering if the next season will continue Kate and Jeanette's story or if they will make this series an anthological one.
"We're in early days," Napolitano told Entertainment Weekly last month. "So other than we know we're going to deliver a super-twisty mystery, we know we're going to live with some interesting characters and their psychology and talk about some important stuff like we did with grooming in Season 1. Other than that, it's completely open-ended at this point."
So, there are no solid details for Season 2 at this time. One thing is for sure, though: The cast, the behind-the-camera talent, the thrilling tale, the music, the time period, the success ... all of this and more have helped make Cruel Summer a super popular TV show, and viewers can expect even more of this, thanks to the renewal of this television series!