Walking the Line between Kids and Adult
by Marcus Luera
In the last few weeks, we have lost some great animated shows, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Young Justice, and Tron: Uprising. The reasons for cancellation varied: It seems Star Wars fell victim to the sale to Disney, Green Lantern was too expensive, and in the case of Tron, an executive said the show was to adult for the network. These shows have a few things in common, but the biggest is that they were targeted more toward adults than kids and are now front-and-center in a struggle over what direction animated series should take.
A handful of new shows coming soon may find it harder to walk that line as fan resentment grows, but a kid-friendly reboot of Teen Titans called Teen Titans Go could hit the mark. Another good sign is that, despite getting slapped with the “too kiddie” label from adult Spider-Man fans, Ultimate Spider-Man is showing signs of maturing. Look at the great shows that came before. X-Men, Spider-Man, Batman, and Justice League are great examples of shows that kids can enjoy with their parents. Remember when adult-targeted shows aired at times adults typically watch TV? Justice League used to air at night!
Some shows have found the proper balance; for example, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The current incarnation blends elements of the comics and the original series to make a show that appeals to everyone. Not an easy task. Even better is that it has been renewed for a third season. This proves that an animated show with a broad appeal can be successful.
The goal is to create a new generation of viewers without alienating your long-time fans, and with many talented people working on some great upcoming shows, this may become a moot point.