I think by now we’ve all learned that when I have “some thoughts” to share on a subject, it generally devolves into either me ranting. or deconstructing something down to its base components so that I might analyze them to a degree that is both satisfying and probably VERY unhealthy. I’m not saying I’m gonna stop, I just want you all to know that I acknowledge I have problems, but I choose to ignore them for your entertainment. You’re welcome!
So it’s been reported and confirmed that Cartoon Network has cancelled their DC Nation block of Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice. They’ll be allowed to, if not finish their current seasons, at least air all of their finished episodes. But that doesn’t mean DC Nation is gone! No, there are two new shows already set to replace them: Beware The Batman and Teen Titans Go! This new block of shows joins the current retooling of Cartoon Network’s programming that’s set to begin in the spring. While the rational/analytical/logical side of my brain has the ability to comprehend this in a mature and graceful manner, I’m going to let the irrational/emotional/passionate side speak first.
Seriously, fuck you! And you know what? It’s not even because of the cancellation, (honestly, all signs were pointing to it) it’s how you went about it. If you had any balls you’d let your shows stand on their own in their time slots and let the ratings reflect whether or not you keep them in your lineup. From the beginning, you seem to have gone out of your way to make watching quality cartoons nearly impossible. Let’s start with Young Justice, shall we? You started airing it in January of 2011. Nine episodes in and you had a hiatus that lasted from March till September of 2011. Another nine episodes pass and we jump from November of 2011 to March of 2012, finishing THE FIRST SEASON with the final eight episodes in April of 2012.
Now, I’m willing to forgive the amount of time it took you to air the first season purely for the fact that you gave the go-ahead on the second season and started airing those episodes the week following the first season finale. This also begs the question: why did you greenlight a second season? Could it be that the show was popular not only with kids but with teenagers and adults as well? There was most certainly money to be made in merchandising, especially with a show that has six young heroes and The Justice League pantheon to market as toys. And not only did you give Young Justice a second season, you paired it with Green Lantern: The Animated Series and built a block of programming around them complete with animated interludes! Granted, Green Lantern took some time to come into its own, but the first arc finished strong, giving us a great beginning to a second arc that’s only gotten better with each episode.
But before we could even get into the second arc of Green Lantern or dive further into the complex storytelling of Young Justice: Invasion, you aired two episodes after a four-month hiatus and then pulled both shows without cause or reason, leaving those of us who enjoy our Saturday morning DC Nation to ponder the myriad conspiracies that sprang up over the sudden disappearance of two highly anticipated shows that ended on cliffhangers. Four months later, January 2013, we finally get them back and now you’re cancelling them? What the fuck?
If you’ll recall, there was another network that dicked around with a couple of animated series back in the early 2000’s. That would be Fox and they pulled this exact same stunt on Family Guy and Futurama, changing the night they aired, putting them on after an unpredictable baseball schedule, under-promoting, etc. By doing this, they could justify cancelling both shows by citing low ratings. But ya know what happened? Adult Swim started airing old episodes, which sparked such a resurgence in the fandom that Family Guy and Futurama were brought back by Fox and Comedy Central respectively. I don’t know if you know this, Cartoon Network, but YOU OWN ADULT SWIM!!! You own the late-night programming block that resurrected two animated shows that were fucked over by their original network. There are several types of irony, Cartoon Network, but I’m pretty sure this counts as one!
I guess the only question I really have left is why? Both shows appealed to your audience for different reasons. Green Lantern definitely had a lighter tone, but they did an excellent job of focusing on the four core characters while bringing in a lot of the relatively new Green Lantern mythos. And Young Justice was your answer to Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s a “kid’s show” that doesn’t talk down to kids and appeals just as much to adults, especially those of us who’re fans of the DC Animated Universe. Was the storytelling getting too mature for you? Too complex? Was it getting in the way of your constant barrage of Adventure Time and Regular Show advertising? I understand their popularity, I’ve watched a few episodes here and there, but Green Lantern and Young Justice had consistently strong ratings as well. The only conclusion I can come to, the only thing that makes sense about cancelling these shows in favor of Beware The Batman and Teen Titans Go! is the marketable appeal of Batman as a recognizable character and the return of the Teen Titans (still not seeing the irony?), even if you’re focusing more on comedy when the show was just as good when it explored darker storylines.
But maybe that’s the thing, right? You want to appeal to a much younger crowd by focusing on brighter, flashy, and generally less offensive or, dare I say it, thought-provoking shows? You’ve already got Adult Swim for that…sort of. They cover all the stuff during the night and into the wee hours of the morning that children and tweens aren’t around for or don’t watch. But here’s the thing, Green Lantern and Young Justice might be the block of programming that eclipses your schedule. They’re not light-hearted enough for some of the younger kids but would be a perfect transition into the more mature shows that air in the evening. You could even move it to a weekday and I guarantee the audience would follow.
In the end, yes it’s a business you’re running and you’ve cancelled other shows in the past that were of a higher quality (Samurai Jack, Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends, Sym-Bionic Titan, etc.), but did you have to treat them so horribly considering the love these shows receive from their fanbases? I mean, we’re still hoping that Powerpuff Girls finds its way back into rotation but –
Wait, what? They’re bringing back an updated, CGI Powerpuff Girls?