This weekend, Cartoon Network aired the series finales for Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series. I’m a grown man who likes cartoons. There, I said it, and now I can move on with this article. There aren't a lot of cartoons that would appeal to a grown man and some say there shouldn't be any. But be reminded that one of the longest-running shows in broadcast TV history is a cartoon, I mean animated series.
The Simpsons is the longest-running sitcom and longest-running scripted primetime series. Fox's Sunday night bloc of primetime animated series, anchored by The Simpsons, has included The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, American Dad, King of the Hill, and Bob’s Burgers. It is the most successful in history. South Park and Ren & Stimpy have enjoyed great success as have two of my favorites, Archer, and The Boondocks. So I’m not the only one that watches cartoons.
What used to be called “Saturday Morning Cartoons” are also favorites of mine. Animaniacs, Ben 10, and Generator Rex come to mind. “Saturday Morning Cartoons” are all over the dial these days. They first migrated to afternoon time slots and then Sunday morning but they always have one thing in common, there is always a great series based on comic book characters. My favorite cartoons are the ones based on comic book characters. So I find the news that Cartoon Network has canceled Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series quite distressing.
Animated series based on comic book characters have been solid performers so it is not clear why Cartoon Network pulled the plug. At a time when superhero feature films are exploding all over the screen generating billions of dollars it is a puzzling decision. The cancellation of Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series leaves a whole in the animated universe that DC has been able to dominate for a long time.
Marvel has had great success with its animated series. The X-Men, and the various Spider-Man series have been some of the most successful, but that is nothing compared to the DC Universe. The DC Animated Universe includes the highly successful and award winning Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Static Shock, Teen Titans, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. Given the recent buzz around a new Justice League live action feature film it doesn't seem to make sense to cancel Young Justice and Green Lantern.
What made Young Justice and Green Lantern so good was they dived deep into the story-lines with characters that are rarely seen outside of the comic books. Green Lantern lasted only one season but it was able to have a storyline that included Guy Gardner and Hal Jordan. It had Red, Blue, Violet, and Orange Lanterns, the Guardian Scar, Anti-Monitor, the Manhunters, and the Star Sapphires. That is a lot of Green Lantern lore for an animated series.
Young Justice introduced so many characters that I found myself watching just to see what new character would show up. The series only lasted two years but they were able to include Wally West as Kid Flash, Tim Drake as Robin, Bart Allen, Speedy, Nightwing, and Deathstroke. As always in a DC series there were a wealth of characters representing minorities including Bumble Bee, Blue Beetle, Black Lightning, Black Mantra, Aqualad, Static and Icon (much thanks to Dwayne McDuffie and rest in peace.) Young Justice had the talent you would expect from a DC-based series. The series featured voice acting superstars Phil LaMarr, Kevin Michael Richardson, Cree Summers and Nolan North. Also lending their voice and acting chops were Tony Todd as Icon, Miguel Ferrer as Vandal Savage, Oded Fehr as Ra’s al Ghul, and Maggie Q as Wonder Woman. Queen Bee was voiced by Marina Sirtis, Lacey Chabert voiced Zatana, and Kelly Hu was Chesire.
Cartoon Network did not give a reason for canceling the two series, they simply left them off the press release announcing next season’s shows. Cartoon Network did announce that there will be a new CG-animated Batman series, Beware the Batman, scheduled for this summer and that the teen titans will return this spring in Teen Titans Go!
So what’s a fanboy to do until the new shows come out? Well, there is still Star Wars: The Clones Wars, The Ultimate Spider-Man, repeats of Avatar, and the much-anticipated return of The Legend of Korra.