By Brent Ramirez
Blog Content Contributor
Superheroes are cool and all, but most of them tend be much older adults and have the worries of running large corporations i.e. Wayne Enterprises or Stark Industries, or working CSI or as government agents, things that younger audiences don’t really relate to. Granted, being a superhero may not be something most people can relate to, but the animated kids’ show Young Justice managed to create something that younger and older audiences could both relate to and enjoy.
For those of you who don’t know, Young Justice is an animated series following a group of DC comics’ younger heroes like Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash and many more. The show first aired on Cartoon Network back in 2011 and ran for only two seasons until it was canceled in 2013.
Now I’m not even going to lie, I never watched this show up until I found it on Netflix, but when I did, I binged that entire series within two days. I was truly in love with it. So you can only imagine my frustration when I found out the series only had two seasons due to its early cancellation. The show was honestly too good for the network in my opinion. It was an animated series based on teen heroes yes, but the animations, themes, storylines and everything else catered to more than just the child audience. With that in mind, I believe that for any comic or cartoon enthusiast out there, this show is a definite must-see, and here are five reasons why!
- A Wide Array of Characters.
One of the best things Young Justice has going for it, is the amount of characters it manages to fit within its streamlined story. While quality is greater than quantity, this show succeeds in maintaining both. Every main character feels completely genuine and compelling, each with their own individual history, quirks and personal struggles. Robin is constantly battles with his own personal doubts of whether or not he can be a leader. Aqualad is torn between his home in Atlantis and fighting alongside his best friends on the surface. Each character is relatable in their own way and there’s definitely something to love about them all.
- Amazing Action and Animation.
Television action can often fall flat and become mindless brawling that does not advance the plot in any way. Unlike the shows that follow that trend, Young Justice does the complete opposite. The show’s fight choreography is meaningful and masterfully animated. Each battle has stakes and there is an evolution in the team’s fighting style throughout the series. No shortcuts are taken in making these fight sequences and it truly does show. What’s great about the action is that there’s constantly new pairings and team ups among the many different characters, throughout the series, making for some of the best moments throughout the show.
- Lore Galore!
DC always does an incredible job of turning their finest properties into great television shows and Young Justice is no exception. The show has such a rich history behind it, with a multitude of characters to pull from, and as a comic book fan, it was really cool to see such a wide variety of DC’s heroes and villains come and go throughout the show. Each episode features new allies or threats that tie the show into a world larger than its own, really adding a dimension to the show that fans of comics can really appreciate. While the show does revolve around the younger heroes, it never forgets about the larger universe they’re a part of. So expect to see some kick ass team ups with the young DC heroes and their mentors for ultimate geek bliss.
- Not Just For Kids.
On the surface, Young Justice is a canceled cartoon show that aired on a children’s network, but it is much more and is sure to pleasantly surprise you. The show itself is full of themes and motifs, and dialogue that are often very sensible for its kind, showcasing the range of its reach. What Young Justice does so well, is that it doesn’t make comic book properties fun for only children, but it pays respect to the source material and entertains fans regardless of age. Take the recent iteration of the Teen Titans on television for example. The current series doesn’t sit well with older fans because it waters the source material down into something exclusively for children. That’s why I believe Young Justice has the respect it does within the comic book community. It succeeds in delivering a show that kids can enjoy, while having the ability to pander to more mature audiences as well.
- One Big Story.
Many shows on Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney Channel have become shorter and less serialized, with stories that are for the most part contained within each episode. Young Justice on the other hand had serialized stories that maintained an overarching storyline through the course of the entire season, like most good television shows do. It was refreshing to have a cartoon with little to no filler. Sure not every episode hit, but each episode had substance and intentionality, which payed off in the series’ entirety. That’s why I think the show really set itself on a different level compared to most of its kind. It joins the ranks of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Avatar: The Legend of Korra and Teen Titans, which just goes to show the quality of television achieved.
While Young Justice has a lot going for it, Cartoon Network did not pull in enough revenue from the show’s toy line during its run (which was the primary source of funding for the production of the show) so the network canceled it. It was such a disappointment considering season two ended on such a high note, while leaving the door open for an even bigger third season.
Back in February of 2016, show creator Greg Weisman tweeted out to fans of the show with the possibility of a third season, saying fans might be able to make it happen by watching the show on Netflix to keep it trending or by buying the Blu-Rays. Later on that year, rumors of Netflix reviving the show for a third season surfaced but were quickly debunked. Weisman went on to clarify that Netflix was “seriously considering” a third season. Finally, on November 7th 2016, the president of Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Digital Series announced the show’s return, with Weisman and fellow creator Brandon Vietti returning to the helm.
With a large and relatively new fan base, Young Justice is looking to come back to a warm welcome. I highly recommend this show to anyone who enjoys comics and anyone who enjoys great television in general. So go check out seasons one and two on Netflix to catch yourself up before season three arrives. You won’t regret it!
Featured illustration via thenyrd.com.