The change in the merger between Warner and Discovery generated a series of cancellations of shows that had captive audiences, with Westworld being the most recent victim. After 4 seasons, quality production, and cinematographic photography, the dystopian universe of Westworld park has closed its doors. Much to the showrunners’ anger and the cast’s regret. Honestly? I don’t blame HBO. The first two seasons were interesting and the third – outside the park – had already been more challenging to enjoy, with the fourth losing any narrative logic. It’s no surprise that it was canceled.
Produced at high costs (around 100 to 160 million dollars), Westworld has been plummeting in ratings (again, unsurprisingly) while House of the Dragon, which cost a “mere” 125 million, leads the audience and social networks. The actors will receive the salaries regardless of the cancellation, due to the pay or play contract that was signed as security after the pandemic was postponed.
The passionate fan reaction criticizes the platform for eliminating its sci-fi content, as another series was canceled mid-story, Raised by Wolves. Starring Travis Fimmell, Raised by Wolves was another production that defied logic with characters transformed into trees, robots with feelings, and a crucified hero flying upside down.
The difference between the two is that Westworld was more than settled in its proposal. The villainous girl Dolores beat the humans by hand and was bored (as we are) with the universe she built. After 54 Emmy nominations (with Thandwine Newton winning Best Actress), the showrunners wanted a final season. Totally useless. Raised by Wolves, on the other hand, was far from a conclusion and full of issues still needing an answer. The day Sue became a tree, I suspect the executives thought creative freedom was too much.
The fact is, with fans or critics praising, it takes engagement and feedback. Neither of them managed to maintain the interest of the algorithm. I’m on the team that wanted another season of Raised by Wolves, but Westworld? It was long overdue.