I don’t know what the viewership for Freevee’s Jury Duty is, but it’s safe to say that there has been a lot of social media buzz surrounding the series. Thanks largely to positive word-of-mouth, it has become the first big hit for the FAST (free ad-supported TV) network. Given the success of the first season, it’s natural that the conversation has turned to the possibility of a second season. The creators of the show not only believe that a second season is possible but many more, as creator Todd Schulman told Variety:
“One of the reasons maybe the show has resonated with people is it’s all too rare to see being a good person celebrated. I think that’s an infinitely repeatable core concept, that core element of the show we can do again potentially in other worlds. I do think there are opportunities, but we haven’t gotten too deep into that yet.”
However, Todd Schulman is wrong. Infinitely wrong. I saw someone on Twitter the other day say that casting Ronald Gladden as the one guy in the production who doesn’t know it’s a production was about as lucky as American Idol was to get Kelly Clarkson in its debut season. It’s not that a potential new cast member might already know about Jury Duty (the vast majority of Americans still have no idea what Jury Duty is). It’s not even that the concept couldn’t be adapted into another situation. The issue is that everyone will be unfavorably compared to Ronald Gladden. No one will believe that someone is a better person than Gladden, and everyone would be disappointed if the new person isn’t as good as Gladden.
Furthermore, to boost the ratings, by the third season, the producers will invariably cast someone who is more morally dubious than Gladden, and this could ruin what we loved about Jury Duty in the first place. Additionally, who is better suited to the celebrity role than James Marsden? He is the perfect blend of fame and talent—not too much of either—to make it work.
Although I welcome efforts to elicit two lightning bolts to the same spot, I remain highly skeptical about the show’s ability to work a second time, let alone as an “infinitely repeatable” concept.