‘Westworld’ cancellation gets Mike Flanagan back to beating the drum for physical media

Image via HBO.

Mike Flanagan has come to the defense of HBO’s canceled Westworld series. It’s bad enough that the hit sci-fi series has been canceled after its fourth season, but it will also be removed from the streaming platform completely. Such a move sends the message that any show, no matter how big, can be on the chopping block.

On Twitter, Flanagan responded to a quote from Variety about how the removal of HBO Max’s shows means WB Discovery can save money in residuals paid to the cast and production crews as well as by discontinuing the shows altogether in a practice that’s not unlike the canceled Batgirl movie. While Flanagan knows this is a travesty, he was most concerned for the “little guy” in this situation.

Flannagan expressed concern for shows that don’t have the benefit of having physical media as Westworld does. In this era of streaming, many shows and movies are only available online, meaning there’s no other way to watch them. Once they’re no longer on a streaming service, they essentially go extinct and all the hard work people have put into these projects disappears too.

Westworld‘s erasure comes as such a shock because it’s an Emmy-award-winning series. It might have lost some of its luster after multiple seasons and because of its complex storytelling, but for a show this big to go unfinished and disappear from HBO Max altogether seems like a big red flag.

While some streaming content also has physical media, like Marriage Story and The Irishman, this isn’t necessarily the standard. Flanagan is the creator of Midnight Mass, The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly manor, and The Midnight Club, which are all Netflix exclusives, so naturally, he has a vested interest in this topic.

The Midnight Club was just recently canceled by Netflix after Flanagan signed a lucrative deal with Amazon Studios, which was followed by the occult supernatural series Warrior Nun biting the dust, and the frequency of these shows getting axed (and the newfound fear that they could be erased completely) doesn’t bode well for the future of streaming.