Three Pines: Disappointment in the wake of cancelation

Dear Three Pines,

I guess I should start by saying that I’m probably biased towards you. I love mysteries in all their forms, and I’m always ready to give a new mystery show/movie/book/radio show the benefit of the doubt. Now, this governing principle doesn’t always yield good results; I’ve consumed my fair share of average and actively bad mysteries, but I think by and large it has been a worthwhile strategy.

When I first saw your trailer, I experienced several conflicting emotions. Firstly, I was excited because I was in the middle of reading your source material– The Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Series by Louise Penny– secondarily, I was anxious; this is not your fault, I’m always apprehensive of book-to-screen adaptations. However, my previous investment and the absorbing nature of the trailer won me over, and I started watching the first episode shortly after its debut.

I like to think of myself as a critical observer, and even with this estimation, I enjoyed your first season. It was engaging, well-made, and compelling. 

Were you perfect? No, but stumbles are inevitable. First seasons present a unique challenge as they can either serve as a well-made first look at a new story world, or a warning to the audience not to return for subsequent seasons. I believe with more time and resources, you could have effectively found your footing, developed the characters further, and tied up the loose ends– both intentional and unintentional.

Did you show potential? Yes, there was a lot of promise both used and unexplored. The explored potential was a testament to script and acting. The dialogue was well-written, dynamic, and even when it had its shortcomings, the cast was able to deliver it in a convincing way. The occasional tone issues, struggles with overarching plots, and blips of awkwardness are the price of taking creative risks. So further, with time and resources, greater artistic consistency and tone would have been reached.

Was there room for expansion in a second season? Yes, not only was there a treasure trove of other novels and short stories to adapt from, but plot points were clearly designed to carry over to a follow-up season. It’s unfortunate that these cliffhangers will never be resolved because now when people come by the series, they will be left with an unsatisfying conclusion. This lack of certainty will negatively impact how people remember you, and over time, you will be relegated to the category of shows that were ‘adequate’ and ‘average’ or completely forgotten.

What’s worse, this will not be the first time Gamache was adapted and dropped shortly after its debut– I would know, I watched a movie adaptation of the first book. However, what saddens me the most is not only that you prematurely came to an end, but that you were a decent show that was simply not given the time or space to become a great show.

I keep returning to the question of ‘why?’

Why is this solid adaptation of a popular book series being canceled? 

The source material of Gamache is popular, Alfred Molina is recognizable, the acting is high-quality, the writing is effective, the production is beautiful, and the reviews are largely positive. What is missing? What has led to you being dropped ungraciously and abruptly? 

Maybe viewership wasn’t what the studio wanted, or it cost more money than they anticipated, or there were behind-the-scene negotiations that I will never understand the full extent of.

I guess it doesn’t ultimately matter what happened because the consequences are the same– you will never get a second season. And while I can go in circles getting progressively more frustrated about the decision, it distracts from the center of the debate– your undeniable quality.

I understand that this is not truly a consolation for your loss, but I hope it may ease the pain to know that there is an audience of people deeply invested in you and disappointed that they will never get to see where you could have gone. 

You will forever remain a beneficial addition to the world of mystery media, and you will forever be missed for the contribution you were not allowed to make.


7.5/10 won’t get the opportunity to explore Three Pines again

Further Breakdown:

Writing Quality: 8/10            Enjoyability: 8/10

Pace: 8/10                               Visual elements: 9/10

Plot development: 8/10         Insightfulness: 9/10 

Characters: 8/10