Ryan Murphy’s new series Hollywood drops Friday, May 1 on Netflix. It tells the story of a group of Hollywood producers and wannabe actors — some real, some fictional, some fictionalized versions of real people — who come together to make a controversial, groundbreaking film called Meg. If you’re looking for spoilers because you want to know how everything ends before you dive in, look no further.
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD FOR HOLLYWOOD’S FIRST SEASON. DO NOT KEEP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED.
Meg Is a Triumph
Over the course of the season, the film about Peg Entwistle, the real-life woman who committed suicide by jumping off the “H” in the Hollywoodland sign, morphs from a story about Peg to a story about “Meg” because the producers want to cast the most talented girl on contract at Ace Studios — but she happens to be African-American and Peg Entwistle was British.
They aren’t sure they can pull it off at first because back then, a lot of movie theaters would have refused to run a movie with an African-American lead. But studio head Avis Amberg (Patti Lupone), producers Dick Samuels (Joe Mantello) and Ellen Kincaid (Holland Taylor), and director Raymond Ainsley (Darren Criss) forge ahead with their film hoping to make a statement that the haters can hate but there comes a time to stand up and do what’s right.
So Camille Washington (Laura Harrier) plays Meg in the film and it goes on to earn several Academy Award nominations, winning almost all of them, including one for Washington, one for the African-American screenwriter Archie Coleman (Jeremy Pope), and one for renowned Chinese actress Anna May Wong (Michelle Krusiec), who had previously been passed over being cast in a movie about a Chinese family in favor of white actress Luise Rainer (who then won an Oscar for her portrayal; that is a snub that really happened).
It was a triumphant night for the film and for those involved, as Coleman chose to walk the red carpet with his boyfriend, actor Rock Hudson (Jake Picking), whom he later kissed in front of the whole auditorium when he won his Oscar.
A year later, the gang was back together making a film called “Dreamland,” a project that came courtesy of agent Henry Willson (Jim Parsons) when he had the idea to make a romantic film about two men.
Unfortunately, the one person who couldn’t be there with them was Dick Samuels, the producer who was one of the most vocal proponents of trying to make a difference with their art. He passed away from cancer in the year between the Oscars and Dreamland’s first day of filming.
Will There Be a Second Season?
Hollywood is described as a “limited series” in press releases, which may mean it’s a one-and-done situation. But What’s On Netflix reports that Hollywood’s official Netflix page originally listed it as an “anthology,” a format for which Murphy is well known on TV.
It would not surprise us if Netflix is waiting to see the streaming numbers and reception that Hollywood gets before deciding if it is truly a limited series or if it is now an anthology. Certainly, there are dozens of Hollywood stories Murphy could tell in another season of the show, particularly if they don’t have to stick to any of the same characters like he does on American Horror Story. So it is entirely possible the show could continue with a new cast and new story.
Hollywood season one is available now on Netflix.