High Fidelity’s Second Season Was Going To Make Cherise The Lead Character

Earlier this month, in a truly shocking move, Hulu announced the cancellation of High Fidelity, its TV-series adaptation of both Nick Hornby’s 1995 novel and Stephen Frears’ 2000 film, after just one season. High Fidelity seemed like exactly the kind of show that a streaming service would want to keep around for the long haul: A supremely bingeable series with name recognition, great buzz and word of mouth, and a supremely likable cast. Its cancellation feels like the beginning of a sea change in the streaming-TV landscape. Today, we learn some news that makes its loss that much shittier.

High Fidelity radically alters both the novel and the movie, moving its action to New York and centering it around a woman of color, played by Zoë Kravitz, rather than a white guy. But the show was set to take off even further from the source material, since the first season ends right around the point where the stories of both the book and the film cut off. The whole cast was great, but its real breakout was Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who played the extremely funny record-store clerk Cherise — essentially the Jack Black character from the movie, but deeper and richer, with more of an inner life. At the end of the second season, she’s on the verge of finding artistic fulfillment as a musician.

In a new interview with The Los Angeles Times, Kingsley Ben-Adir, the actor who played Kravitz’s ex Mac on the show, mentions that Cherise would’ve been the central character of the second season: “Annoyingly, Season 2 was really going to be a Cherise-focused season. She was going to become the lead of the show, and the story was leaning toward being about where she’d come from, her heartbreaks, and her family background. And they stopped it just as that was about to happen.”

Ben-Adir also talks about his frustration with the cancellation:

It’s a little bit heartbreaking because we were playing this Black couple onscreen, but no one goes to jail, and no one’s brother or dad is in prison. We were just two Black people in love, and we never spoke about that fact. It’s important for all people to see Black people represented in a way where it’s just like, “We’re just normal. We just do regular things, too.”

Zoë Kravitz was also pissed. As Vulture reports, Kravitz called out Hulu in an Instagram comment shortly after the cancellation: “It’s cool. At least Hulu has a ton of other shows starring women of color we can watch. Oh wait.”