Star Trek has seen several shows end this year, but why?
Star Trek has done a great job across 2022 and 2023 to raise the profile of the brand through Star Trek’s Strange New Worlds, Prodigy, and Picard. Interaction, and engagement for the three shows helped boast the franchise as a whole. Yet, by the end of June, two of the there (Prodigy and Picard), are over.
The news was pretty wild, as many thought Picard may get another season with all the talk from Patrick Stewart about doing more with the character, and Picard’s Akiva Goldsman saying that the show had the ability to do a fourth season if Stewart wanted to. Stewart clearly wanted to, yet the show was stopped dead in season three.
Prodigy was also canceled, this despite the second season being in the midst of production. Paramount canceled Prodigy for a tax loop hole that will likely net the struggling streaming provider with some much-needed money. They’re also now trying to sell the rights to Prodigy to another distributor, and are going to reap the rewards of Prodigy even after they canceled it.
That’s not all, as Discovery was canceled as well after five seasons. While Picard always had the built-in excuse of it “just” being a three-season long series, despite Goldsman and Stewart wanting otherwise, there was no such defense for Discovery. Discovery was largely seen as the most disliked of all the new Trek shows and the fact it got to five seasons was largely seen as a miracle.
So why did Star Trek and Paramount cancel these three shows
For lack of a better term, the money train crashed. Since the start of the so-called Streaming Wars, the networks and companies that have championed them built them, and published them have done so off the backs of investors’ money.
The investors allowed these streaming services to create expensive shows that would only further put the service into debt. That’s why you can have the big budgets of the current Star Trek shows because the need for them to make money wasn’t the priority.
Getting subscribers were. According to IndieWire, only Hulu and Netflix made a profit in 2022, and Netflix is still in the hole of $1 billion. That’s not all, according to Slate Disney+ has an operating loss of $1.1 billion, while HBO-Discovery is at $3.0 billion in operating losses.
There is less money to spend, which is why Star Trek is clearing house. They don’t have the money to facilitate shows that cost hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s likely why the Michelle Yeoh project went from a series about Section 41 to a made-for-streaming film.
There will likely be more cuts to the Star Trek line and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s Lower Decks. MAX (HBO Max) cut a lot of their animated content for a major reason; it doesn’t do well. Paramount+ knew this and that’s why they axed Prodigy. Since Lower Decks is also an animated show, it’s very likely that it’s the next casuality of this great streaming purge.
You aren’t likely to save the shows you love, but if streaming providers have proven anything, it’s to buy the shows you love most on DVD or Blu-ray, as you never know when your favorite film or movie is going to be stricken from the service you love most.