‘Inside Job’ and Other Cartoons Gone Too Soon

The world of animation is an ever-fluctuating realm of entertainment. Just when it feels like we live in a golden age of animated greats, the plugs are pulled, and the shows end before their time. The recent news revealed that Netflix’s animated workplace comedy “Inside Job” has been canceled despite the company just renewing the series in June. The show was picked up for a 20-episode season, which recently debuted its second part in October, consisting of 10 episodes. The series followed Reagan Ridley (Lizzy Caplan) as the genius but an overworked employee of Cognito Inc., which dedicates itself to running all the world’s conspiracies.

When the show debuted, it quickly grew a loyal fanbase that enjoyed its unique world and entertaining characters. The show’s creator, Shion Takeuchi, took to Twitter to express her grief at the show’s premature ending. In the tweet, she states, “Over the years, these characters have become real people to me, and I am devastated not to be able to watch them grow up. Reagan and Brett deserved to get their ending and finally find happiness.” It’s unfortunate whenever a show ends, but the animation industry seems to be hit the hardest, and “Inside Job” isn’t the only victim.

“The Amazing World of Gumball” (2011-2019)

Courtesy of Cartoon Network.

“The Amazing World of Gumball” is an interesting one as despite running for six seasons, it technically didn’t get the ending it deserved. Originally slated to have a movie to conclude the loose ends, the Warner Media and Discovery merger resulted in numerous animated properties getting the boot, and this movie was one of them. Initially starting as the misadventures of a blue cat, Gumball, and his adopted goldfish brother, Darwin, the series began to introduce an overarching plotline regarding a mysterious static void. In the final episode, “The Inquisition,” Rob (Charles Philipp) tries to warn the characters of something terrible to come, only to fall into the seemingly endless void himself. While creator Mic Graves still tries to keep fans optimistic that the ending will come, we likely won’t see a proper conclusion to Gumball’s story anytime soon.

“The Amazing World of Gumball” is streaming on HBO Max.

“Batman: The Brave and the Bold” (2008-2011)

Courtesy of Cartoon Network.

There’s been plenty of Batman cartoons over the years, and while none of them have reached the heights of “Batman: The Animated Series,” many have still found an audience amongst fans of the Caped Crusader. One of the most beloved iterations is the short-lived “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.” Starring Diedrich Bader as The Dark Knight, the series wasn’t so much a Batman show as it was a celebration of DC Comics’ golden age that starred Batman. More tongue-in-cheek than previous Batman cartoons, the show still garnered critical praise, including an Emmy nomination for the episode “Mayhem of the Music Meister.” After three seasons, the show was ultimately canceled, and the last time we saw this universe of characters was in the crossover movie “Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold” in 2018.

“Batman: The Brave and the Bold” is streaming on HBO Max.

“Sym-Bionic Titan” (2010-2011)

Courtesy of Cartoon Network.

I promise this is the last Cartoon Network show to make it on the list, and out of all the shows discussed so far, this cancellation is the most insulting. From Genndy Tartakovsky, the creator of “Dexter’s Laboratory” and “Samurai Jack,” this show centered around a trio of aliens who crash land on Earth and attempt to hide out amongst high school life. However, when other extra-terrestrial beings threaten Earth, the three must form a giant Sym-Bionic Titan to save the day. Despite rave reviews from critics for its unique animation and slick action scenes, the series was canceled after just one season. The reason? Cartoon Network could not acquire a toy license for the series, and since they felt the show couldn’t be successful without merchandising, they pulled the plug before the show even aired its final two episodes.

“Sym-Bionic Titan” is currently streaming on AppleTV+.

“The Spectacular Spider-Man” (2008-2009)

Courtesy of Sony Pictures.

Similar to Batman, Spider-Man is a character who has had plenty of animated outings, but none is more celebrated than this short-lived fan favorite. The series told the typical Spider-Man story with Peter Parker (Josh Keaton) struggling to balance his everyday life with the superhero life. What separates this iteration from all the others is how fleshed out every character feels. Whether it was Peter’s classmates or the gallery of rogues he would go up against, each felt fully realized and unique from one another. The show also got to explore some iconic comic storylines, most notably the black symbiote suit with the introduction of Venom. Despite this being hailed as the best incarnation of the wall-crawler, the show ultimately fell victim to Disney’s acquisition of Marvel in 2009. The good news is that Josh Keaton and this version of Spider-Man will return in the upcoming “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”

“The Spectacular Spider-Man” is streaming on Disney+.

“Clone High” (2002-2003)

Here’s a cartoon that ended too soon but also has a happy ending. “Clone High” was an animated teen comedy centered around clones of famous historical figures all going to high school together and dealing with teen life’s typical ups and downs. While only lasting one season, the show still stands as one of the funniest TV series ever made. This was largely due the great cast of characters, most notably JFK (Christopher Miller), and some insanely clever writing by “Spider-Verse” creators Phil Lord and the aforementioned Christopher Miller. The show ended on a massive cliffhanger, and for the longest time, it felt like it would never get to resolve its open ending. However, thanks to the show’s growing cult following, the series will return in 2023 courtesy of HBO Max, with the whole production crew and cast also returning.  

“Clone High” is streaming on The Roku Channel.

By Adam Beam

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