It's been three years since the cancellation of Young Justice, one of the most well-written and mature superhero shows to air in years; and fans are still hoping every day for any signs of continuation. However, this isn't an article about the chances of YJ receiving the green light for another season; this is an article about why it was cancelled in the first place.
If you're an avid fan like me, then you would have dug deep enough and have found the reason that YJ was cancelled months ago, but if you don't know, or you're simply curious to find out why such a well received and well-written show was cancelled, here's why:
Warner Bros. wanted it to be more kid-friendly, and they didn't want girls to watch it.
Paul Dini, an iconic name in the comics industry who's worked on Batman The Animated Series, Superman The Animated Series, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, to name a few, in a Kevin Smith Podcast about Dini's work on Warner Bros. stated that:
"But then, there’s been this weird—there’s been a sudden trend in animation, with super-heroes. Like, ‘It’s too old. It’s too old for our audience, and it has to be younger. It has to be funnier.’ And that’s when I watch the first couple of episodes of Teen Titans Go!, it’s like those are the wacky moments in the Teen Titans cartoon, without any of the more serious moments. ‘And let’s just do them all fighting over pizza, or running around crazy and everything, ’cause our audience—the audience we wanna go after, is not the Young Justice audience any more. We wanna go after little kids, who are into—boys who are into goofy humor, goofy random humor, like on Adventure Time or Regular Show. We wanna do that goofy, that’s where we’re going for."
And on that note, he goes on to state that Warner Bros. didn't want girls to watch these shows. These superhero shows were supposed to market to young boys, so that Cartoon Network could sell products to these boys; girls didn't buy these toys. Dini commented that:
Dini: That’s the thing, you know I hate being Mr. Sour Grapes here, but I’ll just lay it on the line: that’s the thing that got us cancelled on Tower Prep, honest-to-God was, it’s like, ‘we need boys, but we need girls right there, right one step behind the boys’—this is the network talking—’one step behind the boys, not as smart as the boys, not as interesting as boys, but right there.’ And then we began writing stories that got into the two girls’ back stories, and they were really interesting. And suddenly we had families and girls watching, and girls really became a big part of our audience...like they picked up that Harry Potter type of serialized way, which is what The Batman in boarding school [?] is really gonna kill. But, the Cartoon Network was saying, ‘Fuck no, we want the boys’ action, it’s boys’ action, this goofy boy humor we’ve gotta get that in there. And we can’t—’ and I’d say, but look at the numbers, we’ve got parents watching, with the families, and then when you break it down—’Yeah, but the—so many—we’ve got too many girls. We need more boys.’
That's it. They wanted it to have the same goofy, wacky, irreverent guy humor like other shows on their channel, which is why in the absence of YJ, we're left with:
This mess of a show, which they can easily make merchandise of and sell to young boys. It's a sad turn for fans who want quality animated superhero shows, because we only get a few animated films for any given year.
Now this isn't an article that's bashing Teen Titans GO! It's a fine show on it's own. It's cheeky, humorous, and I've heard from many of my family members (nieces, nephews) that they like it. Instead, this is an article highlighting one of the flaws of the industry: that in the end, the shows are simply a way to market toys to a specific audience to make money.
Here are fingers crossed for the renewal of YJ in one form or another, and I hope for a return to the good old days of superhero cartoons.