For two years, HBO Max has been my saving grace. With every HBO hit, an impressive array of original titles, and a classics collection beyond compare, the WarnerMedia streamer feels like home. Not even that—it feels better than home. It feels like grandma’s house, where there’s always cookies that are fresh out of the oven and contentment reigns.
So, what does it feel like to watch grandma’s house burn to the ground, slowly, while you’re glued to a nearby street corner, and you can’t run in and save her?
Last night wasn’t as trauma-inducing as that would be—I’m being dramatic, like the vibrant characters in the show I’m about to mention. But I did release a helpless wail when the news dropped: Genera+ion, along with a handful of other HBO Max originals, will vanish from the streamer this week.
A statement sent by WarnerMedia/Discovery representative to The Daily Beast reads, “As we work toward bringing our content catalogs together under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and discovery+. That will include the removal of some content from both platforms.”
Thankfully, the coming-of-age series is still on HBO Max—for now. Watch it before it falls off the face of the earth completely.
Genera+ion quickly became one of my favorite teen shows when it premiered a year ago. It is, indeed, a cheesy portrait of a queer, Gen-Z friend group; still, it felt both realistic and entirely comforting to watch. The show’s resident PC police Delilah (Lukita Maxwell) spends the whole series giving birth to a completely unexpected baby in a mall bathroom, while her friends force-feed her Wetzel's Pretzels. That should intrigue you enough to tune in for at least one episode.
Written by 19-year-old Zelda Barnz and her father Daniel Barnz, Genera+ion introduced a handful of teenagers that I’ve never seen represented on screen before. “Get over it and go watch Skins or Euphoria,” you might tell me. To you, I say: I have. You won’t find a girl fake-crying for her Instagram story over a dud school shooting in those shows. But you’ll find her, Arianna (Nathanya Alexander), in Genera+ion.
Though the single season’s 16 episodes are filled with mourning crushes, lost love, and parental trauma, Genera+ion is still a very cheerful series. While a group of older viewers might grow uncomfortable watching teenage boobs popping out in every scene of Euphoria, they’ll actually have fun chuckling over nonsensical Gen Z behavior in Genera+ion. They’ll be treated to a good portrait of the current American teenager in the meantime.
This is all beyond the fact that Genera+ion was an incredibly important leap forward in representation. The series featured teens from all walks of life, each in different stages of figuring out their sexuality. Chances are, a good number of young watchers were able to see themselves for the very first time.
I wish that, in high school, I had the ability to watch young bisexual characters flail over crushes in TV series. Nathan (Uly Schlesinger) and Riley (Chase Sui Wonders) do just that, and their unrequited crushes make them feel more insecure than their sexuality does. Genera+ion encouraged teenagers to embrace their evolving sexuality—or, you know, actually take their time figuring it out.
And yet, HBO Max plans on stripping teenagers (and me) of the right to feel represented on TV, more besotted by their financials than their progressive programming.. The show was canceled already following its first and only season, but now it won’t even be available to watch? How disappointing.
Genera+ion is a big loss, but it comes alongside a bevy of series that will fall as a result of the increasingly suspicious WarnerMedia/Discovery merger. We’re losing Close Enough, The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo, and Infinity Train. The list of disappearing content grows each week—we’ve already had to say farewells to Run, Camping, and Mrs. Fletcher. And that’s not even getting into the whole Batgirl shelving drama.
This all reminds me of a bit in the most recent season of Barry, in which Sally’s (Sarah Goldberg) cruel TV producers cancel her new drama series, proceeding to hide it in a backlog of old content after it doesn’t perform well in its first hour on the fictional streamer. When the algorithm takes precedence, underrepresented groups will always fall victim to its numbers game. The cruel twist of irony is that Barry is an HBO show and can be streamed on HBO Max.
Where do you go to watch a show like Genera+ion (or, really, any of the aforementioned shows) after it vanishes from the streaming cloud? Thankfully, YouTube has clips of the series, and Genera+ion fans will always be recirculating fan-cams online. But there aren’t any physical copies or other services where you can watch it in full. This is a huge loss. The business team taking wrecking balls to HBO Max has no humanity. Those people don’t care about the fans they hurt when creativity is sacrificed for money.
Unfortunately, it’s time for us to brace for impact. Another sledgehammer will come down soon. And if they touch FBoy Island—I’ll be canceling my subscription immediately.