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Lights Out: The Fallout of the 2023 Actor and Writers’ Strike

Lights Out: The Fallout of the 2023 Actor and Writers Strike

Over seven months ago, thousands of Hollywood’s screenwriters put down their pens and picked up their placards. This happened after the Writers Guild of America fought through 6 long weeks of negotiations with all of the major production companies included in the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Typically, a new agreement is created between these two groups every three years, but this time, the writers were fighting hard to persuade production company CEOs to pay them more for their hard work. All of this discussion led to no payoff for the writers, who were left feeling as though their profession was being devalued, something that already happens to writers often enough as it is. So, when the previous contract between the writers and producers came to an end at midnight on May 2, 2023, the writers of Hollywood were officially on strike for the first time in 16 years.

Eventually, the actors guild, SAG-AFTRA, joined the writers in their protests. This strike lasted all through the summer until the writers and producers finally reached a tentative agreement at the end of September. Following this agreement, the actors still remained on strike for an additional month and a half before coming to their own agreement with the producers. It may seem as though this means the strike is all resolved now and Hollywood can continue on as scheduled, but this is far from the case. 

In the aftermath of the strike, the repercussions and changes in Hollywood are huge, even for some hit shows. While many were given large delays that will leave fans in suspense for ages before they get a new season, others were scrapped completely. 

When it comes to delays, at least one of your favorite titles probably makes the list. On Max, formerly known as HBO Max, the most notable delay is definitely their hit show The Last Of Us. This series took the world by storm in 2023, ending off the year as the most searched television show across all platforms. Despite this big debut, the next season of the show, along with some other Max hits such as Euphoria and The White Lotus that were expecting new seasons this year have been pushed back to 2025. Other highly anticipated shows have been delayed so much that they won’t even announce a release date yet, such as the Game of Thrones spin-off series House of the Dragon

Over on Netflix, the final season of Stranger Things has been postponed for the foreseeable future. This isn’t as surprising, given that the third and fourth seasons of the show had a 3 year long gap in between their releases, but the fact that the strike is delaying the show further might mean we´ll be waiting even longer for season five.

While these delays are obviously pretty annoying for those of us who are stuck on cliffhangers for our favorite shows, it could always be worse. For many shows, it actually is. These postponed shows may be waiting in limbo, but many others were given a more definitive date for the release of their next season: never. 

Canceled shows are plaguing writers and actors alike who work for all streaming platforms. The cancellation that I found the most shocking was definitely Netflix´s hit series Shadow and Bone, along with its spin-off series Six of Crows. These series are TV adaptations of a huge book franchise that is an internet sensation. The show was among the top 10 most searched series across all platforms in 2023 and the spin-off series was already written and cast upon cancellation. However, this wasn’t enough to save either series from their fate. Angry fans of this show have actually created a petition to bring the show back that has garnered nearly 200,000 signatures. This attempt may sound futile, but another canceled show, Warrior Nun, actually saw results from doing something very similar. 

Additionally, many other big series were canceled following the strike. To name just a few, there’s Big Mouth, The ICarly Revival, One of Us is Lying, Vampire Academy, and the Gossip Girl reboot. You could argue that these shows just weren’t successful enough to be renewed regardless of the strike, but Netflix and other platforms themselves are placing the blame for the untimely endings of these shows on the strike. This has garnered criticism from audiences since they feel that the whole reason the strike happened in the first place was due to these platforms’ refusal to pay their own workers. Due to this, all of the companies´ attempts to move the blame for cancellations onto the writers and actors have really just made them seem even more guilty than ever. None of them are getting out of this controversy anytime soon.

If you’re a big TV watcher, or really just a TV watcher at all, chances are you’re waiting on new seasons for at least one show right now. To check on the status of your favorite shows release dates, you should definitely look online to see if there is any news of delays or cancellations. Of course, there are still some shows that were already done filming before all this chaos in Hollywood, so there could still be hope for your show. Either way, it’s safe to say that you won’t be seeing many new seasons any time in 2024.

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About the Contributor
Shannon Mahoney, Student Writer
Meet Shannon. She is a sophomore at ERHS this year and excited for her first year writing for The Gull. She enjoys writing about many different topics. This includes both news and more opinionated articles on entertainment or the arts. She is also a dancer and participates in a few other clubs at East Rockaway. In her free time she enjoys watching TV and movies, as well as reading books.

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