After watching the three episodes of Beware the Batman on Toonami, I need to get something off my chest.
Welcome to another installment in my call to arms to the animation industry. This time, I try to tackle one of the worst problems on television today: getting viewers to watch really fucking good television. It’s a problem that actually has a relatively simple answer.
Shows like Beware the Batman need a place to shine. Beware the Batman was a great replacement to the great Batman: The Animated Series from the 90’s. Everything from the dark atmosphere, to even the Batmobile scream homages to Batman: TAS. The voice-acting is superb, with Katana and Alfred taking the cake, and Ra’s al Ghul a very close number two. There was a lot of thought put into the show, and it shows. I mean, how often has Anarky or Pyg and Toad actually have been in anything Batman related? Correct, they haven’t.
And then Beware the Batman got the Young Justice treatment, and got taken off the air long enough for people to forget about it. Where they burnt off what was left of Young Justice during DC Nation, they just shelved Beware the Batman and cancelled DC Nation. How is it that DC hasn’t shopped their shows to ther networks? I am sure that Nickelodeon would LOVE the opportunity to fuck that show like they did Legend of Korra. Disney, would probably never get it, because they own Marvel. And let’s not forget their own clusterfuck concerning the Marvel cartoon block on Sundays. For a Warner owned property, DC sure gets fucked. This is why we need weekday cartoons back.
Since we will never get that, I have a better proposition. Why not utilize their Cartoon Network simulcast when it goes down for Adult Swim? Hell, Adult Swim has a second feed just for marathons of their classic shows. Why not develop a Toonami branded network that’s akin to the WWE Network? The pay structure would never work, because children don’t make money. However, Turner / Warner already proved that their sites can do two feeds at once. And if the WWE can make a network barely work, an entertainment entity that has the infrastructure in place already can make it really work. If you’re one of the increasing many that don’t have a television plan with your internet, you can even pay for the access a la HBOGo.
It gives a chance for shows that Cartoon Network couldn’t get to pull through,like Young Justice and Beware the Batman, to shine. The only problem here is that the people from Cartoon Network will actually need to advertise for it sometimes, and not the same five ads Adventure Time, Regular Show, Teen Titans GO!, Gumball, and Clarence. As much as Warner Bros. doesn’t want to admit it, there are people who want to watch these former Toonami shows. There are streams that run constant Toonami content, and there are constant viewers. Imagine what having real advertising can do? Hell, this could work for the new defunct ADHD for Fox.
I even have an example. Nickelodeon moved Korra to their site, because that’s where most fans wanted to see it, plus it had dwindling viewers. I’ve said it from the get go, but that’s because Nick didn’t advertise Book Three until the week before it premiered. That’s besides the point. Nick saw a problem, and is attempting to stem the tide with alternative means to deliver its show. Finally, Nick did something right. (Note: I am trying to load up Nick.com now to watch the finale right now, and the site is having trouble with traffic. If that isn’t a testament to the fan base, I don’t know what is.)
So, if the infrastructure exists already, then why not put the infrastructure in place and do a secondary network when Cartoon Network shuts down for the night? Adult Swim already does that, in a sense, with it’s all day marathons of its classic shows. They already have a classic block of action cartoons on Boomerang, what harm is it going to do if they do something similar on their live stream at night? They won’t, because it doesn’t fit in the scheme of whatever they’re doing. So the question still remains:
This is a simple solution, and it utilizes equipment that is already there. Hell, you don’t even need to use Toonami. But you have an entire backlog of programming you can use, as well as a ridiculous amount of cheap licenses you can get down the line. Hopefully, it’d be a final measure so that you don’t need to ask why your favorite show gets the can. At least the amount of times you’d be asking yourself the above question will go down a little. Korra’s success on Nick’s site speaks for itself. That should be the opening fire to have more networks use their websites accordingly.
This is one of the many options for expanding your viewer base with a multimedia push. However, network executives need to step outside the box. ESPN’s WatchESPN app is a great way to watch ESPN’s second rate sports coverage. Disney, and Warner Bros. to an extent, lead the way into the future. Unfortunately, until Fox gets out of the stone age, ESPN’s app the only game in town. Hell, you don’t have to stick to just the site either. X-Box and Playstation have both been coming through as a powerhouse for multimedia opportunities, and Roku has thousands of channels available for streaming. plus the amount of apps and networks on Roku are growing by the day. It’s yet another avenue that networks will jump on to too late.
Yeah, I’m cynical, but it isn’t like Cartoon Network, Disney, or Nickelodeon have given me much to be optimistic about. No network has any initiative anymore. They have their four shows that they put their hats on, and don’t try to make something new. Have you seen Cartoon Network’s weeknight lineup? Every night, from 6:00 through 8:00, it’s Teen Titans Go!, Gumball, Clarence, Adventure Time, and now Uncle Grandpa. Every night, it’s the same thing. I don’t know how bad things are at Cartoon Network, but at least Adult Swim changes it up on the weekends.
At least Disney is putting new programming on other nights besides Friday when Star Wars: Rebels premieres in October. As for Nick, they premiered a Dora special in prime-time. Yeah…there isn’t much to say there. We switched out Korra for Dora. If you put a little thought into the way the networks schedule their programming, they expect us to just take it in the ass because they say so. The fucked up part is that since most of their audience don’t speak up and say something, the network is just going to keep reaching for the lube.