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Top 10 Best Cartoons That Got Cancelled

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Niki Neptune. You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 best cartoons that got cancelled. For this list, we’re looking at those animated series’ that were good by all accounts, but were cancelled before their time and/or just ended unceremoniously. While we may have enjoyed them, the networks didn’t seem as keen on keeping them around. Special thanks to our user charles_randazzo, Eoghan Christie, Spideyfan-0913, Josh Sinclair, cole krout, RexDarkheart, Philip Folta, derfboy00 and Ideaman25 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Niki Neptune.

Top 10 Best Cartoons That Got Cancelled


You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 best cartoons that got cancelled.

For this list, we’re looking at those animated series’ that were good by all accounts, but were cancelled before their time and/or just ended unceremoniously. While we may have enjoyed them, the networks didn’t seem as keen on keeping them around.

#10: “Clone High” (2002-03)

It was a high school secretly run by the government, and its students were the clones of JFK, Gandhi, Cleopatra, Joan of Arc and Abe Lincoln. Not to mention, the principal was also a mad scientist named “Cinnamon.” Suffice it to say, “Clone High” did lotsa things right in its one season on the air, which included casting the acting talents of Will Forte and Nicole Sullivan. Unfortunately, it didn’t catch on with audiences like it did with critics, and it was quietly given the boot.

#9: “Invader Zim” (2001-02, 2006)

Like “Clone High,” “Invader Zim” was also a hit with critics, but kids and tweens at the time weren’t feeling it. That doesn’t mean the show, which featured a diminutive alien aggressor trying – and failing miserably – to take over Earth, wasn’t good; in fact, it was great – it even won an Emmy. Creatively drawn and with imaginative writing, “Zim” had a host of fun characters and interesting plots that just didn’t translate into ratings. It did, however, translate into post-cancellation cult popularity.

#8: “Batman Beyond” (1999-2001)

It’s an admittedly darker take on the animated Batman franchise, with an aging and embittered Bruce Wayne taking a backseat to his younger counterpart. But with its sharp animation and clever storylines, it had teeth. It was an innovative spin on an already established series, and it could have worked. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and despite its award wins, “Batman Beyond” ran for only three seasons before being dropped by the network.

#7: “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (2008-13)

Created by George Lucas himself, this spin-off of the “Star Wars” saga was a hit with audiences and was critically well-received – unlike its movie equivalent. Then just like that, it was gone. The show expanded on the prequel universe, following Anakin Skywalker’s exploits before his big turn. The show, while popular, was cancelled in the aftermath of a corporate merger, which was a big blow that left many devoted viewers shaking their heads – that is, until the unaired episodes popped up on Netflix.

#6: “Teen Titans” (2003-06)

If you were thinking that a show devoted to teenage superheroes would be filled with some mega-drama, then you’d be right. “Teen Titans” featured excellently nuanced writing and themes, a fluid animation style, and some fun stories. But none of this was enough to keep the show on the air, and fans were devastated to learn of its cancellation, leading to a following that remains devoted to this day. Sometimes, it’s not you; it’s them.

#5: “Gargoyles” (1994-97)

It was a gothic gem that didn’t get to shine for all that long. “Gargoyles” was delightfully dark and occasionally comical, and for the show’s fans, it was just an all-around cool cartoon. It skewed a little bit older in terms of themes, but it also generated a die-hard fan base that still exists today. Too bad that wasn’t enough to keep the show afloat after three drama-filled seasons.

#4: “Young Justice” (2010-13)

Much like “Teen Titans,” this show follows the lives of a bunch of teenaged versions of the superheroes we know and love, who are struggling to navigate the world of crime fighting and the issues that come with being a teen. But despite an Emmy win, the axe fell on this series after two seasons, leaving a major plot point unresolved and fans feeling cheated and abandoned – even with all the related “Justice League” series that followed.

#3: “Samurai Jack” (2001-04)

It was easily one of the coolest animated shows to come from the Cartoon Network. The series featured stylized animation inspired by the likes of Akira Kurosawa, which worked in conjunction with slick writing and an ever-developing storyline. It was a critical success, winning multiple Primetime Emmys and Annie awards, as well as a dedicated fan base. But in spite of the accolades, the series was cancelled abruptly, with an unresolved storyline and the promise of a movie in the works.

#2: “Futurama” (1999-2003, 2008-13)

Set in the distant future, the show centers on a cryogenically frozen delivery boy, his elderly distant nephew, and his delivery crew pals. Although it was created by the man behind “The Simpsons,” Matt Groening, the show still couldn’t catch a break, and it was bounced from time slot to time slot before being quietly dropped. Comedy Central then picked up the syndicated series with some new episodes, before it was cancelled for a second time. Time will tell if the Planet Express crew will manage a third life.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “The Spectacular Spider-Man” (2008-09)
- “Wolverine and the X-Men” (2009)
- “The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show” (1983-86)
- “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” (2010-12)
- “Spider-Man: The Animated Series” (1994-98)

#1: “Family Guy” (1999-2003, 2005-)

The show, centered on an American family in Rhode Island, was initially introduced after the Super Bowl to decent ratings. Then it was bounced around to different days and different times, leading “Family Guy” to struggle to find its footing. It was promptly cancelled. But re-run success and impressive DVD sales made Fox execs soon recognize the error of their ways, and that’s when they brought Peter, Lois, Chris, Meg, Stewie, Brian and the rest of Quahog back from the dead.

Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite cartoon that was cancelled? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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