I really enjoyed the dystopian sci-fi TV series Snowpiercer. Like all great television sci-fi shows, it was an allegory to our modern world, treating social conflict and isolation and political manipulations in the setting of a transcontinental train carrying the last survivors of a global winter.
The first season was great, the second season was incredible – then the show was renewed for a third season, which was okay, then there was to be a fourth and final season to wrap up the entire story.
And the fourth season was filmed. And the fourth season was finished.
And TNT, the network that aired Snowpiercer for the past three seasons, decided it would not air the fourth completed season at all. No. It’s filmed and it’s finished, but we won’t be able to watch it.
What in the name of Mr. Wilford does that mean?
Here’s the short. Snowpiercer was part of TNT’s run of original drama shows – programs like The Librarians and The Last Ship and a few others. TNT is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, as part of the great merger between the Discovery networks and the Warner Bros. / HBO group.
And once that merger happened, the head of Warner Bros. Discovery started culling projects left and right. What would have been the fifth and final season of the HBO drama Westworld was cancelled. An animated sequel to the Scooby-Doo franchise, Scoob! 2, was shelved. A completed Batgirl film was stuffed in a refrigerator.
And then … the fourth and final season of Snowpiercer was simply packed away. Filmed but not shown.
Why is this?
Apparently Warner Bros. Discovery has this concept that if you cancel a project or a film or a TV series, you can write off the losses in taxes. The company makes more money shelving the projects and taking the tax losses then actually showing the completed works.
This is like someone taking the last 100 pages out of an Agatha Christie novel you’re reading, and burning those pages before handing you back the torn novel.
To be fair, the showrunners of Snowpiercer are trying to find a new home for the series, at least to finish up the remaining season and wrapping up the stories. But this is also a tricky process. Will Warner Bros. Discovery allow the program to air on another network, without worrying about losing its tax writeoffs for cancelling the program in the first place?
Look, I get it. Cancelled TV shows happen all the time. There’s still Browncoats out there who have a 20-year-long hatred against Fox for cancelling Firefly. (Get over it, the show was a live-action ripoff of Cowboy Bebop and you know it). But that’s an example of a show that was allowed to at least finish off its episodes and let everyone see the final products.
Where are we going to see the final season of Snowpiercer? Do we need to find the screening room near the Warner Bros. tower in Burbank?
But yeah, I get it. The higher-ups are just concerned about their silk-lined pockets. Why create content that consumers will enjoy if you’re just going to yank that content back the second someone wants more?
Make the new season of Snowpiercer happen, TNT. Either on another channel or through streaming or on a DVD boxed set or something. You owe the Tailies and the rest of the train an ending.
You don’t want a Tailie revolt like in Season 1, do you?