Westworld And The Nevers Are Being Pulled From HBO Max

Heads up, HBO Max subscribers: "Westworld" and "The Nevers" are the latest titles to leave your (increasingly less?) favorite streaming service, despite each of them being an HBO original series. Deadline reports that Warner Bros. Discovery, the company that owns HBO, is yanking both shows from HBO Max, with an eye toward putting them on another platform like a FAST (Free Ad-supported Streaming TV) channel in the future. For "The Nevers," this also serves as the show's official cancellation, before the second half of its first season eventually airs on whatever platform becomes its new streaming home.

The move comes after HBO Max began purging itself of certain streaming exclusives, along with other well-known HBO shows like "Vinyl," over the summer. At the time, the logic given was that these were all titles that hadn't been performing well in terms of viewer engagement. Despite being a high-profile prestige drama, co-created by Mick Jagger, Rich Cohen, and the "Boardwalk Empire" team of Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter, "Vinyl" was canceled in 2016 after a single season, so subscribers may not have been that invested in catching up on old episodes of it.

Just last month, "Westworld," too, was canceled ahead of its time, with a fifth and final season being planned that will now never materialize (leaving a complex narrative that spanned years unresolved). Seeing the show removed from HBO Max now may only add insult to injury for viewers who stuck with it, only to learn that the steam locomotive into the Westworld theme park would not be arriving at its last stop. By contrast, sources indicate that "The Nevers" will have a chance to give fans closure and conclude its narrative properly.

Never say Nevers (or Westworld) again

The quiet removal of so many original shows and movies from HBO Max is part of a larger series of moves that Warner Bros. Discovery has been making as it readies for the upcoming streaming merger between Discovery+ and HBO Max in 2023. In recent months, we've also begun to see other streamers pull some of their original content like this, with the very first Netflix original series, "Lilyhammer," leaving the service in November after its 10-year license expired.

Sometimes there's a difference between what's truly "original" as it relates to production versus distribution, with Netflix, for example, slapping its name on things produced elsewhere and marketing them as originals as they distribute them worldwide. Internationally, even "Better Call Saul" is billed as a Netflix series, though it aired on AMC in the U.S. The month before "Lilyhammer" hit the chopping block, another early Netflix original series, "Hemlock Grove," also left the platform, and we questioned whether this was the beginning of a new trend.

It looks like the answer to that is yes? "The Nevers," which centered on a group of super-powered individuals known as the Touched (a kind of Victorian-era X-Men), may have already been tainted in the eyes of some viewers, as it was created by Joss Whedon before he departed the show amid a cloud of personal controversy. It's somewhat more surprising to see "Westworld" joining "The Nevers" so soon after its untimely cancellation. But at this point, with Warner Bros. Discovery doing cost-cutting and tax write-offs left and right, maybe it just wants to wash its hands of both shows as it moves forward with its own zany plans for Discovery+ and HBO Max.