Hi I'm Jay! I'm a concept and storyboard artist who loves animation. sweets, and has lots of FEELS for everything <3
Hi followers! I am a creator just like a lot of you with hopes of someday broadcasting their own animated series but those that are going the action route, such as myself, have been miffed lately with the trend of cancellations going on with the genre. The Legend of Korra, Young Justice, and Green Lantern: The Animated Series are beloved examples and we’ve all wanted to know one thing: why?
So last night I was reading through a new book I bought called ‘The Hollywood Pitching Bible’ (which is a great resource for pitching your material btw and contemporary nonetheless since it was published last year), and I came across some information that really affirmed my belief of why our favorite animated action shows keep getting cancelled nowadays and why comedies reign supreme now. This may be obvious to most but for those who are not familiar I’d like to share some knowledge.
According to the book, there are two types of basic television series, ‘open-ended’ and ‘close-ended’. Close-ended shows have stand alone stories with minimal ongoing storylines (ex. Law and Order, just about all half-hour sitcoms). Open-ended stories have ongoing storylines like most of the action shows we love. The book continues by saying, “The easiest way to distinguish between the two forms is to see whether or not the show will make sense to the viewer if the episodes are played out of their original broadcast order. If the series still makes sense, the show is closed-ended. If not, the series is open-ended. Try dropping in on the series “Lost” (a very open-ended series) mid-season if you haven’t been following the series from the beginning and you will know exactly what we mean.”
In turn, this affects ratings and the longevity of a show. Close-ended shows are considered more valuable in the industry because they’re always generating new stories that anyone can follow. TV animation companies are worried about taking the risk on open-ended shows because it’s very easy to tune out if you haven’t been catching up and most kids (their true demographic) nowadays don’t have that attention span.
So what’s the solution to all of this? Going digital. Nickelodeon had it right when they decided to make that move with Korra for example. Having the digital option makes it easier to follow what’s going on because you can always go back to subsequent episodes without worrying about missing a beat. Of course, there’s definitely other factors that go into cancellations like time slots, merchandising, whether you’re hitting the right demographic or not, etc. but format does play a key part in how long a company can invest in a show.
So is this our new future? The digital age is pretty inviting, don’t you think? I’d like to hear others take on this so feel free to reply or reblog with your thoughts : )
Also guys don’t forget that Korra is still airing episode 8: The Terror Within this Friday 8 p.m. (ET/PT)!