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TNT kicked off the new year with a show unlike any other on the small screen with The Alienist. The period drama starred Daniel Brühl, Luke Evans, and Dakota Fanning as investigators looking into a murder mystery, set against the backdrop of late 19th-century New York City. The Alienist was produced as a limited series, so fans has no reason to be confident that the characters could return for another round of investigation. Now, those fans are in for some good news. An Alienist follow-up, called The Angel of Darkness, has been ordered at TNT, and original cast members will be back.
The lead cast of The Alienist will return for The Angel of Darkness, including Daniel Brühl, Luke Evans, and Dakota Fanning. Details about the new limited series are still relatively scarce, so we can't say which other members of the Alienist cast will (or will not) reprise their roles when the new mystery breaks. All things considered, the order for a follow-up to The Alienist isn't altogether shocking. Based on a novel from best-selling author Caleb Carr, The Alienist currently holds the spot as the top new cable series of 2018 in the valuable 18-49 age demographic. More than 50 million people across multiple platforms have watched. Throw in the fact that the Alienist novel had a sequel ready to be adapted, and TNT had a fair amount of reasons to bring the characters back for more.
The move to produce The Angel of Darkness as a limited series sequel could prevent some awkwardness at the 2018 Emmy Awards. The Alienist scored six Emmy nominations, including for Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series or Movie. A renewal for Season 2 technically would have meant The Alienist is no longer a limited series, perhaps either leading to the loss of nominations in those two categories or holding a questionable place in those categories.
It wouldn't be unprecedented for an outcry after a limited series was renewed after scoring nominations as a limited series. HBO's Big Little Lies cleaned up at the 2017 Emmys as a limited series, a few months before it was renewed for Season 2 with an expanded cast. HBO was not happy at the outcry and argued that since Big Little Lies was produced as a limited series, it earned its limited series awards. The Alienist could have made the same argument if TNT had not decided to just go ahead and produce a sequel series rather than renew for a second season. It should be interesting to see if the Alienist team takes home any trophies at the 2018 Emmys.
Executive vice president of original programming for TNT Sarah Aubrey has teased that The Angel of Darkness will showcase the Alienist characters and "further immerse viewers into their world as they are confronted with a new enemy." Will this enemy be even more despicable than the bad guy of The Alienist? Or will this enemy be some entirely different that none of them (or us) could have seen coming?