Even though we complained about it all the time, we were devastated as a community to learn that iconic television conglomerate Paramount+ With Showtime had cancelled Generation Q after three seasons. This week, a second blow has been dealt to our community: they’ve also removed it from Showtime altogether. Those wishing to view it through their Showtime / Prime Video subscription will be invited to buy the series for $1.99 – $2.99 per episode. Or you could purchase the season on DVD, thus paying $3-$5 an episode.
Thank you for contacting SHOWTIME! We apologize for any inconvenience. The L Word: Generation Q seasons 1-3 are available for purchase on Amazon, Google Play, InDemand, iTunes, Kaleidescape, Microsoft, Verizon, Vudu and Fandango. -CM
— SHOWTIME SUPPORT (@sho_help) April 4, 2023
In January, it was announced that the world would be permanently deprived of access to the one-season Showtime production On Becoming a God in Central Florida, which Showtime had initially renewed but then retroactively cancelled due to pandemic filming struggles. Also ditched at that time were American Gigolo, American Rust, Let the Right One In and the Jim Carrey vehicle Kidding.
Before HBO Max began removing shows from its platform last year, I didn’t know it was a thing that could be done — a network removing a show it created from its streaming catalog. But, apparently, even without the need to renew a license or pay directly for the privilege to stream a specific program created by a third party, there’s still money to be saved by cutting a cancelled show. These cuts save the network from having to pay out residuals to the show’s principal performers, directors, unit production managers, first and second assistant directors and credited writers.
This is a new practice, put into play last year in response to profit-pressure on streaming networks, often inspired by mergers and acquisitions. It took the entire industry by surprise, as relayed to Marketplace by Hollywood journalist Matt Belloni in February: “the creative community is in a state of dumbfoundedness. I think they’re saying, ‘Wait a second, my show can just disappear?’”
It’s also alarming considering the overall rise in queer-focused series getting axed after 1-3 brief seasons. Shows with only a handful of episodes that end without an intentional finale are less appealing to binge watchers, who often wait until a show has finished its entire run to start watching, and aren’t interested in shows that end without an intentional finale. (Generation Q’s cliffhanger for Tess was particularly brutal in this regard.) I wouldn’t be surprised if we see even more short-lived series vanishing from our fave streamers due to lack of popularity. HBO Max, following the merger of Warner Media and Discovery last year, de-platformed the extremely great and very queer high school drama genera+ion, as well as 12 Dates of Christmas, a reality dating show that had a lesbian contestant in its second season. Genera+ion has since been sold to Tubi, thank G-d, but you literally cannot watch 12 Dates of Christmas anywhere, ever. A tragedy!
This is also bad news for the queer actors, writers, and directors who worked on Generation Q, who now can only earn residuals when people buy the show. Reports are mixed regarding how much writers are actually making from residuals, but in the face of strike-worthy pay conditions and shorter seasons, probably every dollar counts for the kinds of young, queer writers who were often brought in to work on Generation Q.
The original L Word remains on Showtime for your personal entertainment.