Facets of Faith: the animation purge


Faith Brocke

Staff reporter Faith Brocke expresses her emotions and experiences in her column, Facets of Faith.

Faith Brocke, Staff Reporter

Recently, it seems like no cartoon can survive more than two or three seasons, and it’s a little frightening to witness. 

Critically acclaimed and well-received shows have been getting the boot, whether they take on more imaginative, episodic storylines like Craig of The Creek. or psychological character breakdown anthology plots such as Infinity Train, it seems that no area of animation is safe.

Networks and streaming platforms such as Netflix and HBO Max have been churning out show after show and delivering the ax (the cancellation phone call) in rapid-fire fashion because, unfortunately, not every show can produce millions of dollars overnight, no matter how popular.

This comes with the general knowledge that animated series need higher budgets than live-action shows, from the resources to animate with high-quality tools, programs and art, as well as paying cast and crews. This already puts these shows at a disadvantage.

Shows with attentive, award-winning casts and employees are brushed off by streaming services and networks, seeing as more popular, money-making projects receive more promotion, whereas smaller ones receive a singular Tweet and an ad on the day of release.

That is not promoting, really. It’s the bare minimum.

Many cartoons that have trended worldwide or frequented popularity rankings, such as Netflix’s top ten (based on viewing hours and completion rates), have been canceled with no notice, not allowing the crew a chance to say a proper goodbye or throw together an ending that ties up any loose ends left hanging throughout the seasons because of this mass extermination.

In many cases, it’s become harder for a showrunner to receive an official renewal announcement than a greenlight.

This extends to shows that exist in what I like to call limbo—-there is no official cancellation—but there isn’t a renewal, either. Entire scripts, storyboards, or even finished episodes sit idly in an imaginary vault, never to be seen by an audience.

Networks are more focused on exploiting their most popular series and running them into the ground than assessing the success of possible hits with lots of heart and thought put into them, all while mistreating both showrunners and their crews by reducing funding, dividing seasons into parts to pay artists and writers less, or laying off entire staffs that make up noticeable percentages of their companies.

It’s discouraging to see as a young creator surrounded by a community of people that share that passion. Will there be an industry to find our way into by the time we’ve fleshed out our work and attained the credentials we’re expected to have?

The modern animation industry is evolving rapidly, and not for the better.