Cartoon Network has just canceled Beware The Batman in about the most soul-crushing, embarrassing way possible. The show is being slotted into the Toonami block and will start airing in order… at 3am. New episodes don’t debut until late July.
So, essentially, it’s canceled and Cartoon Network is just dragging it out. Which means we now get to speculate on what the inevitable next Batman cartoon will need, starting with the obvious.
1. Stop Going Through Cartoon Network
The bizarre, angry feud between Cartoon Network and DC Animation has wrecked a lot of good shows. Young Justice was summarily turfed and Green Lantern got axed, just for two recent, painful examples. When the best treatment of DC Comics comes from Robot Chicken, and the executives are worryingly tone deaf about their own audience demographics, it’s time to step away.
2. Make A Show For Adults.
Realistically, it’s time for a Batman cartoon that’s not aimed at kids. DC already arguably has done this with a line of direct-to-DVD animated movies, and certainly the latest Batman movies aren’t really what you call kid’s flicks, but why not an animated Batman series on HBO? There’s room for more than one version of Batman, after all.
3. Take Some Creative Risks
One can argue that the entire DC Animation franchise is built on, and lives in the shadow of, Batman: The Animated Series. It’s really only when the show stepped away from that, with Batman: The Brave And The Bold, that they had a genuine hit. How about hiring an anime studio to take it on? What about an independent animator? Heck, the Robot Chicken team would probably drop their action figures and humor and make a straight, stop-animated Batman if you asked.
4. Enough With The Merchandise Focus
When a Batman series has struggled, it’s almost inevitably been because it’s not selling enough Bat-crap. It’s strange to see the animation industry, already part of an industry stuck well behind the times, clinging to this particular model. Yeah, it can be lucrative, but there’s always going to be a market for stuff with Batman’s logo emblazoned on it, and that market is tied more to the movies than the show. How about making a show good enough to stand on its own two feet?
5. Don’t Be Shy With The Many Different Styles Of Batman
As we’ve noted before, there’s room for more than one Batman. And it wouldn’t kill the cartoons to reflect this more. The great thing about Batman is that everyone loves him, and there should be a Batman for everyone.