HBO Max has canceled its LGBTQ-focused series "Genera+ion" after only one season. Despite a committed fanbase and critical acclaim, the show will not be renewed for a second season.
The TV series that followed “a diverse group of high school students whose exploration of modern sexuality (devices and all) tests deeply entrenched beliefs about life, love and the nature of family in their conservative community,” according to its official description, has been canceled after one season as announced by HBO Max.
“We will not be moving forward with a second season of Generation,” HBO Max said. “We are very proud to have partnered with Zelda and Daniel Barnz to faithfully and authentically represent LGBTQ youth with such a diverse group of characters and layered stories. We thank them and our wonderfully gifted cast for all their hard work and collaboration.”
Daniel Barnz and Zelda Barnz (photo by Warrick Page)
Created by the father-daughter duo of Daniel Barnz and Zelda Barnz, Generation, which was inspired by the life of Zelda Barnz, debuted on March 11th, 2021, and had found success with a loyal audience eager to continue following stories from the twins Naomi and Nathan, Chester, or Riley in conservative city Orange County, California.
The actors of Genera+ion authentically represent LGBTQ youth on HBO Max.
The creators of the show are disappointed that it ended so quickly, but they’re proud to have contributed towards visibility for LGBTQ youth.
“We’re blessed in this show to be exploring how so many people identify across the gender and sexuality spectrums,” Daniel Barnz told The Hollywood Reporter. “We have also been blessed with people who are characters of color. We wanted to make sure that we were living with the same kind of diversity that’s in the world.”
EW’s interview with series co-creator Zalda Barnz revealed interesting tidbits about the second season of Genera+ion.
No, the writers did not plan for Mark (Sam Trammell) to be in a polyamorous relationship.
“No, we never intended for this to be the implication, but we always indulged the possibility that Mark was bi-curious and had simply never had the chance to explore,” said Barnz.
She added that the show’s writers liked the idea to make Mark “a more present and open-minded dad, even if he didn’t get the chance to explore his sexuality more within the context of our show.”
The three friends can’t go long without coming back to each other. In season 2, we could have seen the girls reconnecting.
“We see the slightest glimpse of this when Arianna (Nathanya Alexander) and Delilah (Lukita Maxwell) reconnect at the end of the finale, and of course the rift between these two and Naomi (Chloe East) is much more extreme, but I think these are three girls who couldn’t help but come back to each other.”
So, what about Riley (Chase Sui Wonders)? Would she go to Reno with her dad? Well, the answer is no. She was supposed to stay on the show. The idea of Ana adopting Riley could have been considered.
Genera+ion was the opportunity to explore asexual relationships. In season 2, Riley and Greta’s relationship would have continued.
“We really wanted to explore the implications of a relationship between one sexual and one asexual person, when they each experience such strong romantic feelings for one another,” Barnz said. “I don’t think there is enough asexual representation in television, to begin with, but it’s also a question of the kind of asexual representation. I happen to know several ace people who have had romantic relationships, so why is that so hard to find in the media? So yes, there was definitely a future for Greta and Riley (but they both need to learn some communication skills).”
Then the co-creator of the series said she was very disappointed not to have been able to continue telling Greta’s story and sad that Riley didn’t get a happy ending.
“I’ll admit I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to continue this representation of Greta’s experience with her identity — I think it had the potential to be a valuable character arc for a lot of ace or questioning kids. I’ll also admit I’m sad we couldn’t give Riley her happy ending,” she said.
(Photo by Warrick Page)
One of the worst moments in the season 1 finale is when Chester spots someone on a rooftop and smiles. But who could it be? Well, without a second season, how are we supposed to find out? We’ll never know for sure. Zalda Barnz doesn’t even give us any hints in case the show gets picked up by another network, choosing instead just to share her personal preference with viewers.
Here’s what she said:
“The cast and crew and writers and producers of Generation all had many conversations about this scene, about who should be the “you” in question," she said. “There was also a lot of speculation from fans. Some thought it should be Riley, some thought Nathan (Uly Schlesinger) after their tumultuous finale arc. Or Bo (Marwan Salama), who genuinely loves Chester (Justice Smith), and wants so much to figure it out.
“Some people thought it should be Sam (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), because of the phone call and because Sam has received a photo of this location before [in the pilot]. Justice once said it could be Chester’s missing father. One producer thought the entirety of the GSA should show up in a scene emphasizing the concept of chosen family. A fan once asked me if it was the ghost of Chester’s mother.
She continued: “Personally, I always thought it should be J (Sydney Mae Diaz). Partially for logistical reasons, because no other character had actually been to that spot before. But also because, in my opinion, no other character was quite as intuitive. J witnessed Chester’s breakdown over the course of the night, and he knows how Chester’s mind works when he’s upset. I don’t think any other character could both pinpoint exactly where Chester would go and then follow him there. I think J showing up would’ve been really cool.
“I’m not going to argue academic-essay style why J makes the most sense to me. Instead, I want to say something about this scene.
“I’m very proud to end this show with a moment of joy. Unexplained joy, maybe, but does joy ever require justification? I don’t think it does. I don’t think it should. What matters about this scene is not who shows up (the unresolved mystery is a bit of theater, the “click next” moment that all streaming services ask their writers to provide), but that someone shows up. Someone shows up for this unapologetically queer boy in a moment of vulnerability. Someone shows up for him when he needs them, and he’s able to smile, and he’s able to say “it’s you.” And we know he’s not alone on that rooftop.
“So really, there is no mystery. Maybe it’s Sam or Riley or J or maybe it’s a hallucination or maybe it’s a character we haven’t met yet, but it doesn’t really matter in the end. It’s whoever Chester needed most in that moment. There is closure in knowing that person found their way to him, whoever they may be.
“To any queer person reading this, whether you watched Generation or not, if your someone hasn’t found you yet, give them time. They’re finding their way,” she concluded.
Fans were disappointed when the show was canceled and asked for more episodes. They think this ending is not an end but rather a cliffhanger opening to a season 2.
And they are absolutely right! There would have been space for a second season. It is not uncommon for a series with low quality to be renewed for another season to finish the story. It’s a shame that a quality series like Generation didn’t get another season.
In light of recent developments, fans have not given up hope for a reboot or revival of the series by another network. They’ve banded together through the hashtag #savegeneration and are demanding their voices be heard!