Disney channel The owl house was originally planned for a three-season story arc, but it is cut short. Rather than a full Season 3, it will end with three special hours. With fan campaigns asking Disney to do more The owl house to become big Twitter trends, series creator Dana Terrace took to Reddit to explain why the show was canceled.
In the post, Terrace shot down most of the speculated reasons for The owl housethe cancellation of: it was not due to ratings (which she said were good by Disney Channel standards); it was probably not due to a backlash against the show’s LGBTQ + portrayal; this could not be explained by the budget cuts alone in the era of the pandemic. It seems that the question was the opinion of a single executive. “At the end of the day,” Terrace wrote, “there are a few businessmen overseeing what fits the Disney brand and one day one of those guys decided HO did not correspond to this “mark”. The story is serialized (ON LITTLE compared to any average lmao anime), our audience is older, and it just didn’t fit this guy’s tastes. That’s it!”
Serialized programming that is geared towards a slightly more mature audience, however, is much of the Disney brand and the backbone of the original programming on Disney +. The owl housethe serialization of would not be moved next to at all Star Wars: The Wrong Lot Where Monsters at work, and it is nowhere near as mature as the TV-14 What if…? The big difference between The owl house and the Disney + animated series so far is that The owl house is completely original as opposed to a spin-off of a pre-existing IP, but with the African sci-fi series Iwaju and Pixar sports comedy Win or lose in the works, Disney + is clearly not opposed to new stories.
So it makes no sense to consider The owl house a bad fit for the generalized “Disney brand” – this could well be a bad fit for the specific Disney Channel brand. At the Lightbox Expo for Animation Industry Professionals, Disney Development Executives said the Disney Channel brand is an episodic comedy for 6-11 year olds, while Disney + is for the ‘co – family viewing ”. In this light The owl house looks like a Disney + show that didn’t have a chance to premiere a year or two too early and found itself stranded on the more restrictive cable network.
For what it’s worth, The owl house seems to be doing well on Disney +, often appearing in the streaming service’s “Trend” selection. Streaming numbers, however, never had a chance to save the show from being canceled – the decision was made even before the first season had finished airing on the Disney Channel and long before the series. be added to Disney +.
Cartoons straddling kid-friendliness and adult sophistication have been around as long as animation itself. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, shows like Cartoon Network Adventure time and Steven Universe, Nickelodeon Avatar: The Last Airbender and The legend of Korra, and Disney Channel Gravity falls popularized serialized storytelling in American children’s animation, drawing inspiration from Japanese animation techniques. Today, however, the older kids, teens and young adults who have made shows such successes have by and large ditched cable for streaming, and as a result, the major cable networks focused on children. increasingly focused on preschool shows and episodic comedy. which can easily fit into reruns.
The owl house is far from the only cartoon to fall victim to shifting cable priorities in the age of streaming. OK KO! Let’s be heroes, created by Steven Universe producer Ian Jones-Quartey, was originally intended to headline the Cartoon Network section of the then-ongoing HBO Max streaming service, a plan that fell apart due to the Trump administration’s attempts to block the merger AT & T-Warner Bros .. Similar to the situation The owl house is now in, OK KO Season 3 has been reduced from 40 scheduled quarter-hour episodes to just 20 in 2018, two years before HBO Max’s final launch.
While Ian Jones-Quartey spoke about how the changing demands of television and streaming specifically affected his show, he also said, “I was not the only victim of this.” Many believe that the series Infinity train struggled in the same way; Owen Dennis planned eight story arcs for his anthology series – two aired on Cartoon Network, followed by two more on HBO Max, but the script for a “Book 5” movie was rejected due to focus on adult characters. Infinity train was one of HBO Max’s most popular series in 2020, but it looks like the show was already doomed by Cartoon Network’s shifting away from older programming.
Despite all of these high-profile cancellations, animation is booming in the streaming world. Netflix has become a particularly large hotbed for serialized cartoons aimed at teens like Voltron: Legendary Defender and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, as well as animated spinoffs for live shows like The witcher. The anime is more popular than ever, thanks to both anime-focused streaming services like Crunchyroll and a huge library on Hulu and elsewhere, not to mention the growing original lineups on Disney + and HBO Max that offer plenty of options for animation fans of all ages. Still, it’s a shame that big series like The owl house, OK KO, and Infinity train got lost in the transitional revamp – if they can’t be revived, we can at least hope their creators find a new home on more welcoming platforms that understand that animation can be for everyone.
Reuben Baron is the author of the webcomic Con Job: Revenge of the SamurAlchemist and a regular contributor to RBC and JewBoston. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndalousianDoge.
For all the latest TV news, reviews, listings and features follow @Coller_TV.