You's Long Journey to Becoming a Hit and Getting a Second Season

EP Greg Berlanti says he begged Lifetime for a season two before Netflix signed on

By Lauren Piester Mar 13, 2019 7:43 PMTags
You, Penn Badgley, NetflixLifetime

You took a rough path to being one of the most popular shows on Netflix. 

Executive producer Greg Berlanti, who is also responsible for at least 16 other shows or pilots currently in production, is one of the most successful producers in TV, but he didn't have an easy time finding or keeping a home for You

The series, which stars Penn Badgley as a charming stalker and murderer, was originally bought by Showtime. 

"But...once they read the script, they were really cool about saying, ‘You can take it somewhere else,'" Berlanti said on a panel at the INTV conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday, according to Variety. The show then went to Lifetime. "We shot it, and because of their launch cycle it sat in the can for a while for two-and-a-half years. Then they finally started to release it, and it didn't do very well."

Renewed or Canceled: TV Show Fates Revealed

Lifetime wasn't into a season two, and Berlanti says he begged. 

"You go into offices and sound like a crazy person: ‘I still think it's going to work, I still think it's going to work—maybe one more episode, maybe if people have a chance to see five more episodes." 

As Lifetime was saying no, Netflix stepped in and bought the show, agreeing to make a second season, though nobody could have predicted quite how popular the show would become. Berlanti said he "started getting a flood of emails and texts from people—who knew me and knew the show had been on since the summer—and then I felt like people were really discovering the show."

Netflix even claimed that the show was on track to at least be sampled by 40 million people, and meanwhile, Penn Badgley was finding himself fending off fans who were a little too attracted to his stalkery, murdery character. 

Even Berlanti himself says that was the draw of the books, written by Caroline Kepnes, that made him want to make the show in the first place, alongside EP Sera Gamble

"I couldn't believe that I was so in this person's head that I was actually kind of rooting for this relationship," he said. "I loved making the show…and it was nice that it made the cut and survived long enough to get another chance at life."

Season two will follow Kepnes' second book, which takes Joe to Los Angeles to stalk somebody new, since the former target of his affections, Beck (Elizabeth Lail) is no longer with us. Everything we know about that second season, from the cast to what Joe Goldberg is going to think of the West Coast, is below. 

Welcome to LA

Season two is heading to the other side of the country for some light stalking in Los Angeles instead of New York. Will people in New York be better at having curtains? Only time will tell. 

What we do know is that Joe is not a Los Angeles fan in any way. He's gonna hate it, and that's going to be fun. In fact, where the vibe of season one was very much dependent on New York, the vibe of season two is sort of based on how much New Yorkers hate LA. 

Joe Really, Really Hates LA

"There's a very particular romantic feeling that comes with being in New York as a young person, especially without a lot of money. You're young, free, you're struggling and you're trying to find a kindred spirit. Los Angeles is a completely different vibe," EP Sera Gamble told TVLine. "I've lived here since I was 16, and one of the classic truisms about living in LA is that you're surrounded by former New Yorkers who f–ing hate it here. So we started the writers' room for Season 2 by being like, "Joe moves to LA and he completely hates it. Let's talk about how much fun that is."

VIctoria Pedretti Takes the Lead

Since Beck is...indisposed, Joe will now be setting his sights on a girl named Love Quinn, played by Haunting of Hill House star Victoria Pedretti

Love is an "artistic" aspiring chef in LA working as a produce manager in a high-end grocery store, and she's not interested in social media or branding and much more into leading an interesting life. She's in grief when she meets Joe, and "can sense he too has known life-changing loss." EP Sera Gamble told EW that Love "embodies the best of Los Angeles," while Joe hates the city and not much is going to change his mind on that. 

Love's Got Friends

Love has quite the variety of friends. Melanie Field plays Sunrise, a stay-at-home lifestyle blogger, while Marielle Scott plays Lucy, a literary agent. Charlie Barnett plays Gabe, Love's oldest and closest friend and confidant who's an acupuncturist and psychedelics aficionado. 

New Neighbor, Who Dis?

Carmela Zumbado plays Delilah Alves, an investigative reporter who lives in the same building as Joe. "Delilah becomes dangerously invested in her new neighbor, Joe Goldberg, who seems to be hiding something." Oh, he's definitely hiding something. 

Joe's Got a New Job

Adwin Brown plays Calvin, Joe's pleasant new boss at the trendy LA grocery store/cafe/bookstore Anavrin (it's Nirvana backwards). "Working at a bookstore with Joe...what can go wrong?" asks the show's Twitter account. Love also works at the store, as does her brother Forty, played by James Scully. He's confident, opinionated, and privileged, a charming and razor-sharp bully. He's working through a 12-step program, relying on his sister for support and attention, but "it never takes much of a shove for him to fall back off the wagon."

Long Live Candace

Joe's ex-girlfriend made a surprising appearance at the end of the first season, after we were left to assume Joe had killed her, and clearly Joe also thought he had killed her. He didn't, and Ambyr Childers was promoted to series regular for season two. It's not clear if she has followed Joe to LA or not, but Gamble told THR that she'll have "bigger stuff" this season, and if she's there to torment Joe in any way we are here for it. 

Jenna Ortega Is Ellie

Ortega, who starred in Disney Channel's Stuck in the Middle and as young Jane on Jane the Virgin, will play a young con artist named Ellie who likes to act and appear older than her years. She grew up in the big city with minimal supervision and must take care of herself and do whatever she needs to to make some cash, including scamming Joe Goldberg, apparently. 

Chris D'Elia Shakes Things Up

The casting of comedian Chris D'Elia felt like a surprise, until we read Deadline's description of the character: "Henderson, a designer-hoodie, black Ray-Bans, expensive sneakers-wearing famous comedian with a 'hard-life-lessons man-of-the-people' thing working for him." Sera Gamble also describes him as an "uberfamous comedian and known good guy." 

Perfect, honestly. 

Welcome the Penguin

Gotham's Robin Lord Taylor will recur as Will, a personable guy who deals with "unsavory sorts" as part of his job and finds himself in a bad situation. Aside from Forty, he's the only main character there are still no photos of, which might mean something or it might mean nothing. 

Joe's Past Could Return

Just because Joe has framed Dr. Nicky and moved across the country doesn't mean Beck and Peach's murders (and Benji's and....) couldn't come back to haunt him. EP Sera Gamble reminded THR that Peach's family has hired an investigator and there's still probably evidence in her house. 

"If you look at every act of violence that he does in season one, that is potentially something that could come back and bite him," Gamble said. "And Dr. Nicky is in prison and he is ardently protesting his innocence." 

Gamble couldn't promise John Stamos will return, but said the writers have been "talking a lot about the character."  

Straying From the Book

Season one deviated from Caroline Kepnes' book in a few small ways, most notably by keeping Candace alive. Season two will be a mix of staying with the book and following that Candace story somewhere new. 

"There's a lot of great story in the second book that we're going to be able to do, but in our way," Gamble told TVLine. "Even though some of the changes we made in Season 1 seemed small at the time, they were fundamental. Every little change we make to a character is a butterfly flapping its wings and causing a hurricane in Season 2." 

Joe Will Keep Being Garbage

In that same interview with THR, Gamble described Joe as a "very interesting, particular kind of guy who thinks that he is—what's the word for it? Maybe 'woke.'"

"He thinks he really understands women. He thinks that he is such an incredible ally," she continued. "I think that can be one of the most dangerous positions of all when you're entitled and when you're not entirely self-aware about why you do the things that you do... So I don't know, we're having a lot of fun being subversive with the story, and that will continue." 

And we will continue to remind you that Joe is a serial killer, just for those of you who keep getting too distracted by Penn Badgley's face to remember that. 

You streams on Netflix. 

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