Ink & Paint: A DC Nation in Crisis

So Cartoon Network released their newest schedule announcements, taking great pains to remind you that they're still "number one boys' network" so you don't need to worry about catching girl cooties from that PPG revival they have planned.  And allow me to join the disappointed chorus of voices regarding the unspoken but more or less verified changes to the DC Nation block.

For the unaware, when CN's PR pieces mentioned DC Nation, they made a point to mention the Teen Titans revival and the new Batman show.  Not once anywhere were the two current shows on the block - or the shorts for that matter - mentioned.  Thus, many of us are working under the assumption that Green Lantern and Young Justice are coming to an early end.  This is very disappointing.

My feelings on Young Justice are well known, but I commisserate with anyone who's a fan & is upset by the loss.  And while I don't generally care for TV CGI shows, the episodes of Green Lantern I caught were very entertaining.  (Being a Guy fan, I LOVED the episode where everyone basically fanboyed him while blowing off Hal.  Hilarious.)  I'm worried more about the fact that the shorts weren't mentioned.  I was enjoying the Amethyst shorts... but they appear to have been dropped for that awful "Farm League" thing thanks to CN's constant unspoken misogyny.  I and many others have been wishing that the shorts would be expanded into their own segment or even their own spin-off series (which I would gladly give to "Sword of the Atom", "Super Best Friends Forever", "Amethyst", and "The Batman of Shanghai" myself), but the fact that they didn't even warrant a mention makes me wonder if CN is going to abandon them prematurely as well.  And that, more than anything, would put me off the block for good.

The shows replacing it, Beware the Batman and Teen Titans Go!, seem like a bit of a mixed bag.  I'm not sure about the Batman series, but since it includes Katana (an obscure character I've always liked) & the villains from Morrisson's run that I know nothing about, I'll give it a shot out of curiosity.  But TTG kind of worries me - while the shorts were funny, they worked because they were hyper-compressed & kept the jokes coming to perfectly fill their two minute-or-so runtimes.  Stretching the jokes out to eleven minutes or even a full half-hour block would feel like too big a risk.  But that brings me to my next note about this block - CN is trying to make it another comedy block.

CN is currently in a cycle where they are putting any & all emphasis on comedic shows.  I believe this, more than ratings, is why the two current DC Nation shows are being dropped and while other programs were prematurely sent out to pasture as well.  I also believe why any of the current action offerings (such as the Lego shows & the latest, leastest Ben 10 series) are skewing more towards humor.  There's nothing wrong with a funny action show - I would argue that Adventure Time and Regular Show pull it off nicely quite frequently.  But when they set out to do so deliberately, it doesn't work.  And when a series DOES do it well, they ignore it because it's apparently not funny enough or some such CN illogic.  My old buddy Matt summed it up nicely: CN did a show that managed to mix comedy and action well, but they stupidly cancelled it because they failed to realize there is more than an either/or choice.  But lately, CN is defined as much by its myopia as its successes.

I am positive that CN would switch the entire DC Nation block over to comedy if they hadn't been hyping the new Batman series since the block began.  In fact, I'm going out on a limb to say it'll be a one-season wonder & will probably be replaced by a bunch of leftover Mad shorts.  DC Nation will probably continue its downward slide so long as the network hosting it fails to realize what its competitors have - that variety & quality will reach a larger audience and not require you to justify your bad decisions by shilling a narrow audience in each & every press release.  Once they realize that, maybe CN will have more than a handful of watchable shows again.

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