Could HBO Max be the worst trendsetter? Well, a call to Netflix suggests that’s more than possible. That’s because one of the first Netflix originals is about to disappear from the streaming service.
As our sister site GamesRadar (opens in new tab) Hemlock Grove: Seasons 1-3 was spotted in the New on Netflix October 2022 press email and is scheduled to leave Netflix on October 22, 2022. Hemlock Grove, in case you don’t remember, is a horror series from producer Eli Roth starring Famke Janssen and Bill Skarsgård, set in the eponymous fictional Pennsylvania town where murders trouble the townsfolk. It’s not one of our picks for the best shows on Netflix, but it did last for three seasons (something not all Netflix shows can do).
And while we’ll be the first to notice that titles come and go from Netflix all the time, those titles are mostly (and almost always) licensed shows and films that basically rent the services out for select periods of time.
However, Hemlock Grove is different. It’s a Netflix Original – which makes it one of those shows you always expect to stay on Netflix. It debuted on April 19, 2013 and is known as one of Netflix’s earliest exclusive originals (although not the first, being 2012’s Lilyhammer).
This is a somewhat familiar tale for anyone who’s been following HBO Max lately, since the service (which we still rank as the best streaming service) started scrapping HBO Max original movies last summer. Then an even greater mass of HBO Max shows and shows were cut.
While some of these have been seen as moves for tax cuts, a new prevailing theory has emerged. Reports surfaced that HBO Max was trimming old shows and films to reduce the cost of maintaining those shows.
As CNN’s Frank Pallotta (opens in new tab) reports, the decision may be related to the fact that “streaming services still have residuals to pay to cast and crew on a production, and those costs are piling up.” HBO Max, he noted, should save “north of $100 million annually” by scrapping its shows.
Analysis: Is Hemlock Grove the canary in the coal mine?
Netflix, as you may know, had a tumultuous 2022. Netflix’s subscriber numbers showed an overall loss for the first time ever in its Q1 2022 report, and the news of its Q2 2022 report was good news for some, since the streamer only lost 970,000 subscribers when it expected to lose two million.
This decision to remove Hemlock Grove could therefore be seen as a cost-cutting move. Netflix will likely do whatever it takes to balance the books, including finally offering an ad-supported tier in the near future and trying to curb account sharing.
If Netflix makes the decision to tear away Hemlock Grove, it could be a sign that the streamer is slowing down HBO Max’s approach. HBO Max gets a lot of negative press (opens in new tab) by hollowing out the animation content so that the Netflix version of it can intentionally be more strategically subtle.
Also, the decision to take one of Netflix’s oldest shows — and one that’s not much talked about anymore — also feels deliberate. Such moves likely mean you won’t be able to find those movies without piracy, but by moving slowly Netflix could avoid risking the wrath of the public.