Fans have eagerly awaited a "Young Justice" revival since it was cancelled back in 2013, but prospects look grim. (Illustrations by Ben Miller, Towson University)
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Fans have eagerly awaited a "Young Justice" revival since it was cancelled back in 2013, but prospects look grim. (Illustrations by Ben Miller, Towson University)

DC’s recent track record has fans nervous.

In just two seasons, the Cartoon Network series “Young Justice” managed to capture the hearts of many, only to be canceled after the finale of the second season (which ended on huge cliffhanger, making the ending even harder to bear). The reason why the critically acclaimed show got the ax wasn’t low viewership, but low toy sales.

That’s right — the toys were so poorly marketed even die-hard fans might not know of their existence. But that’s all in the past, and the future looks a bit brighter now that showrunners confirmed a third season will premiere in 2019 on the DC streaming service launching in the fall. Even though more “Young Justice” is most certainly a good thing, could a successful comeback be officially off the table for the series?

Too Little, Too Late?

I’m a huge fan of “Young Justice” and the show has rarely left me feeling any less than overwhelmed — but it has been off the air for five years. The second season did come to Netflix for a spell and “Samurai Jack” managed to pull off a revival after 13 years, but every show is different.

DC isn’t exactly top dog in the hero genre right now, either, and that may affect the hype for the show. Everyone is thinking about the next time they’ll see Thanos, Black Panther’s next movie or if Tom Holland will spill more MCU secrets.

DC’s efforts at live-action only get discussed for their poor craftsmanship, and while “Teen Titans GO!” and “Lego: Batman” seem to be real winners, those shows have completely different tones than that of “Young Justice.” Marvel shapes the landscape of superheroes now and DC’s young heroes may suffer as a result. The issue of the shows that will air alongside “Young Justice” shouldn’t be overlooked, either.

I’m Paying For What?

By now, you probably know there is a live-action “Teen Titans” show in the works. You probably didn’t hear about it because of raid fan-hype or an awesome trailer, but from the images of Starfire’s horrid outfit in the upcoming show. That show will supposedly be one of the main reasons people should subscribe to DC Universe, the streaming service that’ll air “Titans” and the third season of “Young Justice.”

Teen Titans
Photos from the new “Teen Titans” set has fans seriously worried. (Image via Funnyjunk)

If that doesn’t pique your interest, there will be a cartoon about Harley Quinn and a live-action Swamp Thing show. Of course, the service will have some of DC’s older properties, such as the beloved “Batman: The Animated Series” and “Static Shock,” but let’s be real here. No one is excited for the service’s original shows — and fans of DC’s older work probably already own it all.

“Young Justice” will likely be the only reason anyone who isn’t the most loyal DC fan would consider subscribing to a service for a single show and maybe a movie they’ve been meaning to check out. The best-case scenario sees fans of the show subscribe to the service when the new season airs and unsubscribe as soon as they’re done watching it. In this binge-watching age, that’ll be within a week.

The more likely scenario: A few people subscribe and put the show on free piracy sites for the rest of us to see for free. DC then eithers bring down the hammer, removes everything and fans say “Screw it. I’m over it,” or they do nothing and fans get their “Young Justice” fix for free, totally feeling the aster. These realities all highlight why the show will inevitably face an unfair ending.

Wobbly Foundation

As stated earlier, I am a huge fan of the show and I do not want to see it fail. I want to see it flourish, and I love the idea of Static making his way back into the mainstream. I’m also a fan of the “Injustice” video games and still hold out hope that the next game will star more “Young Justice” characters.

So, it pains me to say that airing the show on this service will probably seal its unfortunate fate for good. Any future for the show will be based on the success of the streaming service, and even if the show reels in a bunch of customers, it won’t matter if they don’t stay for longer than a month. That’d prove to DC the show is successful, but not their platform.

Given the fact that they don’t seem to be willing to let Netflix or even Cartoon Network have the show, it’s safe to assume “Young Justice” lives or dies with the service, meaning fans will get burnt regardless of how well the show does. Either the service fails and takes the show down with it, or “Young Justice” becomes the main appeal of the app and the writers will be forced to pump out a season every year, most likely negatively impacting the show’s quality.

That assumes this new season will even be good in the first place, of course. I know that’s near blasphemous coming from a fan, but it’s true — this new season could be a dud, negative reviews could get out early and fans could avoid it altogether. Then I’ll be begging for it to die.

I don’t want it to come to that, so hopefully DC will be able to offer a streaming service at a fair price with killer new shows, a vast offering of their old hits and a “Young Justice” that continues to be a quality show. Maybe then it could even receive a proper ending. Here’s to hoping.

Writer Profile

Christian Nelson

Eastern Michigan University

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