Will Gentleman Jack Return For A Third Season?

"Gentleman Jack" is a rare gem. Even in the streaming age, the TV landscape isn't exactly overflowing with lesbian romances, certainly not those based on real-life lesbian trailblazers like Anne Lister. But for two seasons, "Gentleman Jack" achieved greatness, telling the story of the woman that historians often refer to as "The First Modern Lesbian," as she traveled the world, built businesses and fell in love with a young heiress named Ann Walker (a magnetic Sophie Rundle). Their love story is all kinds of messy and the show deftly balances situational hilarity, the sincerity of their love, and the very real dangers of being themselves in 19th-century England.

With a beautiful love story and Suranne Jones giving a powerhouse performance as Anne Lister, the Sally Wainwright series garnered a dedicated fanbase. Unfortunately, HBO still declined to renew the series for a third season. In the wake of its cancelation, fans have been speaking up to voice how much the series meant, the validating power of putting a butch lesbian's love story on TV, and pointing out the many ways that "Gentleman Jack" was singular. And for her part, Wainwright hasn't kept quiet about her desire to continue brining Anne Lister's story to life.

During an interview with RadioTimes, the BAFTA-winning writer said that HBO's decision to cancel "Gentleman Jack" was "a surprise." As a co-production between HBO and BBC, the series needed both companies in agreement on the renewal, and while HBO was ready to pull the plug, BBC felt differently. After sharing that she was "gutted" by the news, Wainwright added: "It's been a bit of a surprise really because it's been doing really well, certainly in this country. We were ready to go again, the BBC certainly [is] up for going again."

Does Gentleman Jack have a future at HBO?

In the same RadioTimes interview, Wainwright said,

"I think if HBO had been up for it, there'd have been no question. It's been a very successful show in all areas for them — it's had fantastic reviews, it's had a very respectable audience and on top of that it's had an impact on the community of gay women. We have the most extraordinary fanbase."

Alas, none of that was enough to save the show from the HBO ax. Although "Gentleman Jack" has been awarded strong reviews during its two-season run, its extremely devoted audience is on the smaller-end, making it one of HBO's niche shows — a dangerous distinction to have so soon after the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO and president David Zaslav has made his business-first stance abundantly clear: cutting costs has been a big focus for the company, which has led to the cancelation of niche show and even upcoming projects that aired on the expensive side. While "Gentleman Jack" is far from HBO's more expensive series — and even had the help of co-producers BBC One — it certainly wasn't cheaply made.

But as Wainwright points out, "Gentleman Jack" has a lot in its favor: namely, critical acclaim and a passionate fanbase. If the recent trend of shows facing cancelation only to be saved by loud fans has taught us anything, it's that there's always a reason to hold out hope. Just because HBO is closing the door on "Gentleman Jack" doesn't mean it won't find a home elsewhere.

Holding out hope for season 3

This leaves two options: either the BBC could continue with "Gentleman Jack" as a solo production, or find another streamer to help produce and air the series globally. According to Wainwright, going solo isn't very viable, but she promised that "other options are being explored." Wainwright told RadioTimes:

"I think [BBC] wouldn't want to continue with it without it having the same production values. So we would need to find another partner who would stream it globally. You know, I think all those other options are being explored at the minute given that there is a desire to go on with it amongst quite a lot of people — the BBC, Lookout Point, myself, you know."

Hope is such a tricky thing. It's a relief to hear that there's any possibility of "Gentleman Jack" continuing, but exploring options is never a guarantee. Not every show has the luck of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" or "One Day At A Time." Sometimes cancelation really is the final chapter — but it would be a shame to see "Gentleman Jack" go when there's still so much story to tell and its creators are ready to do it.