RE: "Death of the Adult Cartoon" article involving Tron: Uprising
on Wednesday, March, 27, 2013 6:21 PM
I figured Clone Wars was getting a bit long in the tooth, and soon it would be hard to mesh it with Episode 3. There's a pre-programmed end date on prequel stuff.
Young Justice and Green Lantern I didn't know well enough, but DCU animation has been VERY good, and it's a shame to see those go. I still miss things like Batman Beyond.
But I figured Uprising may have run into the same problem my all-time favorite animated series did. Anyone hear of an obscure 80's series called Galaxy Rangers? Sure, it had its share of humorous episodes, but then you had some nuclear bombs like "Psychocrypt" (with generous helpings of mind rape, a suicide mission, and a massive downer ending), "Scarecrow" (MORE mind rape, a character waking up in their own grave being choked to death by the enemy, said enemy being lit on fire and running away, and an X-Files ending that showed that the bad guy won after all), and the Supertrooper Duology (with things like slavery and genocide on the part of the good guys, blackmail, questionable parentage of a main character, and a love triangle played for all the bittersweet hell it was worth). Even episodes that weren't nuclear-strength had things like one of the heroes implied to have shagged a crime boss, a concentration camp set up by the Big Bad, an alien artwork that drove people mad when they touched it (and a crime boss forcing his mook into doing so), and a body count akin to Star Trek.
The problem they ran into? Well, their lack of a toy deal made for a lot more creative freedom, allowing them to do darker plots, complex storylines, and a rudimentary mytharc. However, that darker tone attracted an audience of college students and teenagers who wouldn't exactly be begging Mommy and Daddy for action figures. There's a stretch of episodes in the mid-to-late season where you can tell that they were trying to backpedal and get a toy company to help keep them afloat, but it didn't work.
Now, Uprising? Great writing. At least a few of the groundwork eps were done by those guys from Lost/Legacy/Once Upon a Time. However, we were already dealing with dark stuff out of the gate. We know from Legacy that Beck isn't going to get too far and will likely die (probably at the hands of his mentor/hero, because Clu's a dick like that). But it proceeds to dive straight down. The body count is on par with Tarantino, digital blood and guts everywhere that they only get away with because it's sparkling cubes. In context, we know damn well what those are. "Isolated" had a full-blown mass murder. "Scars?" Dude, when a Disney hero is about to kill his apprentice when the apprentice tries to talk him down from revenge, you're getting really dark. Add things like Cyrus's sadist choice, Gorn's shoving bugs into Programs' eyes (and eventual lobotomy), and what happened to Able (or worse, Cutler)...
Well, now we're starting to hit something that is definitely not for kids, and has reached Battlestar Galactica remake or Warhammer 40k levels of sludge. Well-written sludge, but not something you can effectively market to the kidlets and sell action figures with. And since animation, especially Disney animation, has "kiddie" stamped on it in the American mind, it's going to be a tough sell to adults outside of fanfoys/fangirls on this forum. Worse is that they'd probably aim this for 8-12 year old boys, and then end up with a non-insignifigant chunk of audience being 20-and-30-something (or even older) females who are there for the voice cast. Now, they're really going to have trouble marketing it.
It's an entire universe in there, one we created, but it's beyond us now. Really. It's outgrown us. You know, every time you shut off your computer...do you know what you're doing? Have you ever reformatted a hard drive? Deleted old software? Destroyed an entire universe?"
-- Jet Bradley, Tron: Ghost in the Machine on why being a User isn't necessarily a good thing.