Showtime Removes Generation Q From Platform, Thus Deeply Wounding Our Community

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.

Other queer-inclusive programs missing from Showtime as of last week include Work in Progress, Masters of Sex, The First Lady and Black Monday.

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.

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Riese

Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3225 articles for us.

30 Comments

  1. In the grand scheme of world events, removing queer shows from streaming platforms and thereby making them significantly more (or sometimes completely) inaccessible is comparatively minor, but this feels like a real low-key late capitalist dystopian move. I also think about all the teens and others who will now not have the same kind of ability to see themselves represented in queer media. Work in Progress was great. Gen Q was (my) beloved mess of a show. WTF.

      • I have no affinity for Marja, but I was speaking about a trend across the board, not bemoaning Gen Q in particular. There’s also a difference between ending a show after 3 seasons and immediately removing it from streaming services rendering it much more inaccessible.

      • These lesbians in question I feel should be as skeptical of Ilene!

        And nobody’s forcing them to watch it – there’s literally 0 harm done in simply keeping them on the streaming service

      • I think this is horrible for us lesbian and gay I have been a lesbian for all my life and I think we are going backwards in time. An it’s discussed with this what is going on at this time. We are supposed to be moving forward and not backwards in time . Damn why. It doesn’t matter.

  2. This is especially annoying because I just started a rewatch with friends who haven’t seen it. Stuff like this makes me hesitant to get invested in any show. Who are the worst offenders of just pulling show? Should I cancel showtime, and just watch endless Law and Order reruns on basic cable?

  3. Wow. I haven’t watched the new season yet. I read about it and was planning a watch in the next few months. At least warn people it’ll be removed, give them time to watch if they want. It’s beyond jerk-ish they just up and remove it like that. And they release so little on Blu-Ray anymore. I’m a collector. So I have four of those tall IKEA bookshelves full of Blu-Ray. I kept buying what I could because I just knew one day they would make these digital copies inaccessible. Same with books. Started buying the kindle books I read most often in paperback just in case they decide they want to start removing that. God help me if they do that with music. Haven’t bought music in the last 15 years. There’s much I’d have to buy if that we’re the case.

  4. This isn’t really a new practice, at least not for Showtime. Gen Q will probably show up with awkwardly inserted ad breaks on a service like Roku or Tubi after they’ve wrung every last penny out of rentals/purchases. Or they might drop it on Hulu/Netflix/Paramount+ around June as “pride month” content.

  5. Ridiculous. It can’t cost that much to pay residuals. Also seems so counterproductive for Paramount which said that they wanted to reduce churn for LGBTQ audiences in an interview with the LA Times earlier this year, noting that the L Word audience had the highest churn because there isn’t queer content on Showtime to keep them after the season.

  6. *spoilers ahead* That was a terrible show. I certainly won’t miss it. They attempted to represent more minority characters, and I was soooo excited to see some of the OG’s mistakes being corrected. But unfortunately, they took quantity over quality. I would rather have seen just one well-developed trans or disabled character than see the several that we got. Yay, they didn’t misgender or deadname Micah, but they also didn’t give him a personality. They managed to give Mirabel a personality, but it was one-dimensional and mean. Their relationship was completely unbelievable. Two years from now, I won’t remember these characters’ names. Tess’ character was more developed, but there was no nuance. She didn’t just fall off the wagon; she set the wagon on fire and pushed it off a cliff. I was glad to see trans and disabled actors featured, but overall MLR did a great disservice to these communities. Shane had no growth whatsoever and is just sad. But hey, she has money now! Sophie: like watching paint dry. Kit: damn, they just couldn’t give us a good recovery story, could they?And as always, there was more character assassination of Tina. This show even managed to make Bette Freakin’ Porter less herself. Technically, the show was poorly done. Lighting, camera work, and editing were particularly egregious.

    Lest you think I’m all negative, there were definitely some bright spots. Alice is a damn national treasure, and despite all the cranky folks online, I was glad to see her dating a man. She has always been bisexual, and we finally saw her attempt an actual relationship with a man. Likewise, it was nice to see a poly relationship onscreen. Dani, Finley, and Angie had a LOT of potential for carrying the original OG archetypes to a new generation. JB and LH still have chemistry that is off the charts and still make my lady bits tingle. I’m still salty about how they broke them up and half-assedly got them back together. I’m looking forward to the OG spinoff that is supposedly in the works.

      • Camerawork was literally shaky throughout the series. It was often jerky. Lighting was awful; you couldn’t see JB or LH’s faces in that pivotal car scene. There were also scenes with Angie and the prof that were poorly lit. There were more that I can’t think of right now. Editing did not flow throughout the series. It was often choppy. The worst example was Tibette’s reunion sex scene, but even Shane’s sex scenes were choppy.

  7. I’m seeing a lot of people say “good. It was bad. It should be removed” or something like that about GenQ being removed. The problem with that perspective is that this is just one example and the decision was not based on the “quality” of the show (fwiw many people loved this mess of the show) and your fav shows may fall to this fate because ultimately this move was to save showtime money. This benefits no one but the big corporation, and hurts the fans who can’t watch, the actors and writers and crew who won’t get residuals/will have a harder time getting shows when no one has the ability to watch their previous work.

    I’m personally really upset. I loved loved loved WIP and though I have mixed feelings about GenQ, it was my lovable mess and like so many of us, OG characters helped me come out so it holds a special place in my heart and I know GenQ characters did that for many younger gays too. Not having that accessible is a loss.

    And what’s frustrating is that WIP isn’t on DVD (neither are many other queer shows like the First Lady and Mrs. Fletcher). I’ve been trying to collect DVDs of all my favorite shows but I doubt S3 GenQ will even be on DVD

  8. Showtime is worthless to me now. The only reason I even downloaded the app was for GenQ. This show is not only iconic but is a series that helps the Lqbtq community feel a sense of acceptance. It allows viewers to feel like what was once looked down upon for so long…is normal and a part of today’s society. Then these idiots cancel the show and take it off their platform. Big mistake showtime. There goes your ratings.

  9. Update: I just checked On Demand on my cable box & it took a second to find it. Somehow Showtime After Dark shows were show upfront compared showtime drama shows. Both the OG & Gen Q were there & to my surprise seasons 1-6 of the OG show was all; however, they only had 1-2 but no season 3 of Gen Q oddly. I also season 1-3 of The Real L Word was there too. For Work in Progress, they only had episodes 1, 4 & 8 of season 1.

    • that is so weird that they just had specific episodes and seasons of WIP and TLWGQ!

      They def are keeping the l word up on showtime, i think that’s probably still a popular archival watch for people.

  10. I haven’t really kept up with Showtime shows at all, but the only reason I have been toying with subscribing for a few months was to watch Gen Q and maybe the original L Word for nostalgia as background TV. Thanks for saving me money Showtime.

  11. Well this blows. I finally started watching the last season and got one episode in. Went to look for it again and it was gone and Google told me the bad news. It’s an awful show and often painful to watch but still super fucked up that they’d just goodbye it from existence to save a few bucks.

  12. Uniquely cruel and craven to build these enormous streaming platforms, burning money along the way, and then to decide that it’s better to bury content than to semi-fairly pay the people who made it. Gen Q wasn’t perfect, but not having it all available online within a streaming package is bananas. This can’t be a sustainable model for streaming services right?

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