He’s Dead…Chowder’s Dead

And so goes the lifespan of an animated series.

It seems just like yesterday I ranted about Chowder, which was getting glowing reviews from the cartoon viewing populace when it premiered in 2007. A fresh, upbeat show for Cartoon Network. It was a hit among viewers in the US, despite getting a good shaft on Canadian television airwaves. When it did finally land on Teletoon a year later in the fall of 2008, it was only airing Saturday mornings at 11am and Sunday mornings at 5:30 in the morning. It never had a chance to gain a fanbase here at all with a weekly timeslot, and currently only airs here Saturdays at 6:30am. That’s pathetic, to say the least – Teletoon has garbage cartoons scattered in their line-up, and they take a show as creative as this and shove it where no one is looking.

From what I can tell, Chowder is a victim of two things – starting strong and bad timing. When the show premiered, it premiered with a lot of buzz and started off strong, and did very well for Cartoon Network initially. The problem with starting off with such a perfect formula, is where do you go if you start at the top of your game? I haven’t had the chance to watch much Chowder due to when it airs here, and my lack of time to find new episode downloads online, but from what I can gather the show seemed to suffer from repetitiveness and characters personalities straying farther away from their original traits as episodes progressed. If I ever get a chance to sit through the series I could be wrong, but sometimes writers can run dry on good ideas quickly if they use their entire arsenal early on to fire shot after shot of good episodes in a short time.

While this is aging news, and a topic I still plan to cover, Cartoon Network changed their branding to include live-action programming earlier this year, a move that has baffled most viewers and long time fans of the network. Chowder is just coming up on being two years old, however it was already stated on creator C. H. Greenblatt’s blog in May 2009 that they were working on the final Chowder episode. It was stated here that the voice cast recorded their lines for the final episode. While people were hoping the series would get picked up again, things of this nature rarely happen in the animation industry, save for Family Guy. It was pretty much confirmed a month later on Greenblatt’s blog that Chowder had no place in the network’s future. I don’t get Cartoon Network here in Canada, but I hope at least the series is getting promoted well enough there, that the second season gets some positive ratings. I always thought a crossover episode with Chowder and the characters from The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack would have been great, but that will never come to be.

Yes, fans can be angry at Cartoon Network for canning such a good show, only to promote live-action crap no one wants. But in a way, perhaps Chowder ending now is all for the best (?). Most cartoons air for many years to achieve the laughs Chowder got in its short run – isn’t it better for it to end now instead of being dragged out for years and years? Hopefully Cartoon Network doesn’t take forever in airing new episodes. It should also be noted that it’s a rarity when an animated series has a proper ending episode. From what I can tell from Greenblatt’s notes on what the last episode is about, I’m sure the last serving of Chowder will provide you a warming impression that will leave you with a satisfied feeling of a belly that is full.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

The ending was good, but clumsy and rushed.

Also, the advertising was awful. I saw only ONE ad for it (and I watch CN all the time), which didn't even specify it as the finale, only as a half-hour special.

CN needs to start getting more respect for its cartoons. After all, there name is CARTOON Network, not live-action Teen-Nick crap noone wants.