Earlier this week, several news sites reported that DC’s newest animated show Beware the Batman would stop airing new episodes and go on hiatus until 2014. Today, Comic Book Resources confirmed this with Cartoon Network, who issued the following statement:
Beware the Batman is no longer on our air. DC Nation will continue on Saturday mornings at 10/9c with new exclusive shorts and a full hour of encore episodes of ‘Teen Titans Go!
While this is not official confirmation that the show has been cancelled, it’s definitely not a good sign. For those of us that remember, Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series were pulled from Cartoon Network’s schedule on October 2012 and didn’t return until January of this year. Although each show was able to finish out their seasons, by March both shows were cancelled due to poor toy sales.
For those keeping track, Cartoon Network has introduced four half-hour shows to the DC Nation block since its inception: the three mentioned above, and Teen Titans Go!, a loose spinoff of the 2003 Teen Titans show that emphasizes comedy over superhero exploits. They also have the DC Nation Shorts, which tell condensed stories of DC heroes. So if we do the math, DC Nation has had five shows during its almost two year history. Two of those shows have been cancelled and one seems to be getting ready to head out: that’s over 50% of their programming. Frankly, I don’t like the math on this one.
Obviously I don’t know the exact reason that Beware the Batman has been pulled, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s because it’s either not selling enough toys (like Young Justice and Green Lantern), or because they don’t think the tone of the show appeals to their primary demographic. With regard to the first reason, I get that Cartoon Network would want to get kids to want toys and other products related to the show, but if your primary goal is toy sales over content, then why air the show at all? Just run commercials for DC Comics toys during your other programming, and you’d probably accomplish the same goal.
As for the second reason, I can’t tell if this is because Cartoon Network is trying to shift their content towards more humorous stories, or this reflects what today’s kids want on their TV shows. I grew up with Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, etc., and I still watch the occasional episode to this day. Not only did they show my favorite heroes in action, but they were smart, dramatic, and still fun to watch. Now, instead of primarily focusing on plot and character development, these shows place emphasis on hijinks and humorous escapades.
Look, if the kids these days would rather see humorous shows, then fine. Kids change over the years and so do their interests. The way I see it, however, it that we shouldn’t give up making these superhero shows that are not only suitable for all ages, but are intelligent and have great story-lines. Whether it’s Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, or Young Justice, DC has given us shows that were both mature and fun to watch. I don’t mind if DC makes shows that have humor in them, but I don’t think they should be only making shows that are slapstick and nonsensical. Let’s keep some diversity with their programming. Let Teen Titans Go! be the show that drives toy sales, and let these dramatic shows be seen for the content.
If Cartoon Network wants their shows to be primarily comedic, maybe DC shows like Beware the Batman should be marketed on a different network. A couple of years ago, Star Wars: The Clone Wars was shown on TNT briefly; DC could try running their action-based shows on a more mature network. We know adults like some of these shows, let them watch it with their kids on a network that knows how to market the content better.
DC, you’ve got a great collection of characters in your library. Don’t limit yourself to just showing what the Teen Titans are doing on their off-time. Let’s throw in the same type of shows that made you so popular last decade and give the kids a chance to enjoy them. Hell, just make them for your older fans. We’re sick of you taking away shows we actually like!
SOURCE: Comic Book Resources