Cartoon Network pulls DC Nation for 2012 … and I’m not happy
I wasn’t expecting to devote a whole CartoonClack post to DC Nation this week. Of course, I was also expecting there to BE a DC Nation this week, so shows what do I know, right? To paraphrase the late great Marvin Gaye … what’s going on, Cartoon Network?
Dear Cartoon Network,
Considering this is a cartoon column, it shouldn’t surprise you that I’m a fan of your work. I was a huge fan of Dexter’s Lab, Powerpuff Girls, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and your other mid-to-late 90s work. I think Regular Show and Adventure Time are both fantastic. And more importantly, I’ve been completely smitten with pretty much all your content on Saturday morning’s DC Nation — Green Lantern, Young Justice, the various shorts … all of it really, with my absolute favorite of the line-up being the fantastic story and characters you have in Young Justice.
So imagine my surprise when I wake up this morning to catch the hour-long superhero block full of all new episodes and … nothing. You gave us Johnny Test and Riders of Berk reruns instead. And as I was writing this carefully polite letter, you cheerfully announce that DC Nation will be back! … in January.
Today would have marked only the third episode back for both shows in your line-up after a grueling three month summer hiatus. Might I remind you of what happened on these shows last week? On Green Lantern: The Animated Series, our hero Hal Jordon has apparently been disintegrated by a giant Manhunter. On Young Justice, the Dick/Wally friendship is splintering and the Light has captured Jaime, Bart and Garfield. Oh yeah, and Mount Justice was blown up. This is not the time for you to surprise us with another three month hiatus!
Why replace two brand-new shows in your superhero showcase with reruns of the two shows that usually come on right after it anyway? Why pull the programs just hours before airtime? And an even better question: why another hiatus after only two episodes?
Worse still, apparently even the show creators had no idea. GL:TAS creator Giancarlo Volpe was passionately doing press this week for today’s episode, YJ creator Greg Weisman wrote a little about the next episode on his website (even mentioning that he’d be out of town today but was excited to watch it and Green Lantern on his DVR when he got back) and a shocked YJ co-creator Brandon Vietti simply tweeted this morning “I hate waking up to bad news.” Sure, the fact that you didn’t release any preview videos this week should have been a clue to your fans, but we just figured it was a matter of spoilers. We (and apparently the show runners) didn’t expect you to pull the whole line-up without explanation.
And I guess that’s what I’m looking for … an explanation. Because I understand that television programming is a business and that your decisions are focused on making a profit even if it goes against the fandom. I’m a Community fan … this is not my first disappointment rodeo. But despite how much I hate that Community fans are getting the short end of the stick, at least NBC’s decisions in the last few months make some semblance of sense from a bureaucratic and financial point of view. But pulling your two new episodes (both of which ended last week with major cliffhangers) just hours before airing and replacing the whole block — including new shorts, which have been very popular with fans — with reruns of the shows that normally follow it? And then happily announcing that fans can watch their favorite shows next year instead of this morning like they expected? As a fan and a reviewer, I just don’t get it.
When DC Nation first premiered, I praised it for being a return to Saturday morning cartoon viewing and a clever way to get viewers to tune in to live television — while other programs move their schedules around at the drop of a hat, kids can tune in every Saturday morning on the nose to watch their favorite DC heroes save the day. The shorts during the commercial breaks even motivate viewers to stay on the channel in between the shows, for crying out loud! If the days are numbered for GL:TLA and YJ (as a fan of both I realize that is a possibility), you still have new DC Nation shows in the works and removing the block altogether from Saturday mornings is a stupid move if you want people to tune in week after week when you do have new content.
Now, despite what some fans have concluded, you haven’t cancelled DC Nation … and that’s a good sign. But you have a pretty dedicated fanbase, as you have probably already noticed from the numerous Facebook and Twitter messages I’ve seen coming your way in the last few hours. I know some of my friends who love these shows have sent you emails and messages, so I guess this is mine — DC Nation is one of the best things the entire DC brand has going for it right now. It’s solid programming with a fanbase that spans kids and adults alike. Just this week a friend of mine checked out the pilot of Young Justice on my suggestion and sped through both seasons in just a few days — he’s absolutely hooked. You have an devoted, growing audience … we just want to keep watching.