Beware The Batman was controversial for being a CGI cartoon and trying to develop some of DC’s backbencher villains into something more threatening. But apparently, it’s not doing well enough for Cartoon Network: The series is off the air, and won’t be back until January.
We gave it a look-see a while back and found it solid, but in need of work. Since then, it’s been… well, solid, but in need of work. The show sometimes requires Batman to be dumb and impulsive, when really he’s neither, and Batman is still the least interesting guy in his own show. But it’s got some good moments, and it has been improving; choosing Katana as a “sidekick” was a far better choice than it looks on paper.
Nonetheless, fans of Young Justice and Green Lantern know this story just a little too well. The show is completely yanked off the schedule; not even reruns are airing. And it’s going to miss out on November, one of the key sweeps months for TV shows. Taken together, that’s some pretty ugly math.
Warner Brothers Animation actually does a superb job with DC characters, and especially Batman. Batman: The Brave And The Bold wasn’t to every taste, but it did a wonderful job using the Silver Age style and tone without being too self-serious. And they’ve been putting out animated adaptations on home video that get great marks from fans and critics alike.
But it’s just not translating out into ratings success on Cartoon Network. In fact, the premiere of Beware the Batman underperformed compared to the show it replaced. It’s especially odd because Cartoon Network isn’t exactly stodgy and clueless themselves; you’d think the two would be able to work together.
Beware The Batman was always going to have problems with fans, best summed up by the Batman: Brave and The Bold episode starring Bat-Mite where they literally brought Paul Dini in to write an episode explaining that Batman: The Animated Series wasn’t the be-all end-all. But it seems odd that a show with such a popular character should be struggling this badly. Maybe if he’s not busy, Paul Dini can check in.