A scene where 3 characters from The Owl House are screaming

After a Brief Cancelation, ‘The Owl House’ Has Risen From the Ashes

While the show was missed, particularly for its excellent LGBTQ+ representation, fans will get the chance to catch up with their favorite characters shortly.

Fantasy is an easy escape during these tumultuous times. The ability to slip away into a novel or a show with dragons, magic, adventure and a bit of romance is a cure for our reality. Without getting too deep into the political climate of the world, there is a show that could give some solace for those depressed by current events: “The Owl House.” The show features a young bisexual woman Luz, played by Sarah-Nicole Robles, who is teleported to the Boiling Isles, where magic and chaos abound.

Luz teams up with wanted-witch Eda — “The Owl Lady,” played by Wendie Malick — and her tiny-but-mightily cute demon partner named King, played by Alex Hirsch, to learn how to become a witch. Along the way, Luz finds herself attracted to Amity, played by Mae Whitman, at the school of witches. But darkness looms in the form of an unjust ruler and his minions. However, just as a romance started to form between Luz and Amity and the show neared an epic showdown between the emperor and our heroes … “The Owl House” was canceled.

The news prompted social media and the fandom to speculate why. A popular theory blamed the cancelation on the LGBTQ+ representation found in Luz and Amity’s budding relationship. According to Insider, the “outdated fear” of conservative parents and executives at the very top of studios like Disney means that LGBTQ+ representation on TV will necessarily be extremely limited.

Yet, for once, that does not seem to be the case with “The Owl House.” Instead, Dana Terrace, the show’s creator, explained via a Reddit post that “it didn’t fit” into Disney’s overall brand. “At the end of the day, there are a few business people who oversee what fits into the Disney brand, and one day one of those guys decided [“The Owl House”] didn’t fit that ‘brand,’” adding, “Ain’t that wild?”

So, what saved the show from a permanent demise? Well, one can look back at the Season 2 news from last year — now considered Season 2a, as the hiatus was not 100% planned. Ratings were good, even before the show moved from the Disney Channel to Disney+. However, according to Terrace, the decision to cancel the show was made before the first season even finished airing. The consolation, though, is there will be a Season 2b, to finish off what began last year, and a third season. “Even getting the consolation s3 episodes was difficult,” said Terrace.

While it seems like a short-lived triumph in the fight to rescue “The Owl House” from cancelation, it is indeed a win. The representation the show brings, which is done in a simple and understandable way that is not pushy, is refreshing. Los Angeles Times writer Tracy Brown described it as “a significant milestone for LGBTQ representation in a Disney show.”

On Common Sense Media’s site, ratings average out to four stars. The only debate comes from parents concerned about the show’s age range, as some question if the show should be for children 8-years-old and up. Many parents say the show provides a useful example of teamwork and bravery, while others express apprehensions over the show’s portrayal of witchcraft. But the tweens and teens have spoken. Many on the site proclaim their love for the “comfort show” and its LGBTQ+ representation. Similar reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 100% satisfaction score, and on IMDb, where it is rated an 8 out of 10.

Overall, “The Owl House” provided an escape at just the right time in 2020, when the pandemic made it difficult to find comfort. There is wonder, witty characters and wisdom in every episode, which all embrace the idea of found family. It might not be the show to end all shows for everyone — in fact, it can be easy to see why people would be against it. A kids’ show that involves witches and demons can be too much for some. Or maybe it’s merely unappealing because it’s a kids’ show. Others cite the fact that its themes are very similar to that of “Star vs The Forces of Evil” and “Gravity Falls.”

But don’t we deserve to indulge our inner children? “The Owl House,” even with its short return, is something everyone of all age groups can enjoy. And if its themes or tropes are similar to those of other shows, so what?  After all, parents in their 50s still watch “Looney Tunes” and “The Jetsons” like they used to when they were our age. Themes from previous eras of television have been used forever. The best way to sum up the discourse on show similarities is simply, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

Season 2b of “The Owl House” will continue where Episode 10 left off, as Luz returns to the Boiling Isles from her abrupt trip home by way of a make-shift portal. In that episode, it is revealed who had been living in Luz’s place after the summer. The emotional turmoil is evident in the brief interaction between Luz and her mother, raising questions that the hiatus only strengthened. So far, the only available information on the plot of Episode 11 is that a rescue will happen during the Coven Day Parade. The show returns on March 19 on Disney Channel.

Rebecca Trevathan, University of Texas at Austin

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Rebecca Trevathan

University of Texas at Austin

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