The Two Reasons Why I Kinda Didn’t Care For Young Justice
Part of me was never going to write this article. I didn’t watch Young Justice when it was on the air, because that’s just not how I watch TV anymore. Instead, I caught up with all of season two at a later date, and when it was over and cancelled, I was pretty sure I understood why. I intended to write an article explaining my thoughts, but I just kept putting it off until it was beyond relevant.
Now that Young Justice has been confirmed as rising from the dead for a third season, this is probably my best chance to explain why I just didn’t care for the show, especially after season 2.
Don’t get me wrong, Young Justice is a fine show, and any comic book fan should be thrilled at the breadth of material that was brought to glorious cartoon life. As a Robin fan in particular, how cool was it that the show is going full Robin? With Nightwing, Tim Drake and Jason Todd’s death all part of the proceeding?
That’s good stuff.
But I was largely disappointed with Young Justice season 2 for two very important reasons. Reasons that, I feel, were such a detriment to the show that I understood why it was cancelled — aside from that whole toy issue, which sounds like a perfectly legitimate (albeit stupid) reason for a network to cancel a cartoon like Young Justice.
It got too big.
And it got too mean.
The big thing about season 2 was that the show took a five year jump in time between seasons. This allowed the writers to jump right into new storylines, while also introducing a ton of new characters. And while I’m sure a lot of fans loved this, I felt it hurt the show in the long run.
Join me after the jump for my thoughts.
It Got Too Big
First of all, the time jump effectively destroyed the original cast from season 1. Characters were changed or missing outright. If standout character Artemis was your favorite character in season 1 then you were out of luck in season 2. Either she was retired, she was dead or she was undercover with the bad guys. This was a pretty cool storyline for Artemis, but if she was your favorite character, you didn’t get to see her very much.
Whether or not your favorite character is in an episode can make or break that episode for some people.
Similar problems plagued Superboy and Miss Martian. Their budding romance was a big part of season 1, but is completely upended for season 2.
Second of all, season 2 introduced way too many new characters. As a comic book fan, I loved seeing so many awesome characters show up, but the show went too far, especially because the focus on these new characters continued to take focus off of the old characters.
The main character of season 2 was Blue Beetle. Maybe this would have worked if they’d kept the regular team together and added Blue Beetle as the one new addition, but Beetle was one of a dozen new characters on the team, and he just happened to get elevated because they wanted to do an alien invasion storyline.
The cast got so huge in season 2 that they even decided to adapt the Superfriends Diversity Hour. Characters like Apache Chief, El Dorado and Samurai were turned into cool, new young heroes and given their own subplot. The only reason to do this is to prove how hip and cool you are as a writing staff. They thought they were clever by half by re-imagining these characters. It’s also why they put Wendy and Marvin into minor roles.
They thought they could have their cake and eat it too.
And again, I’m sure some fans loved all the new characters and callbacks and awesomeness. But as I was watching season 2, I just kept growing more and more incredulous. More characters is great, but they completely overshadowed everything that had made season 1 so special.
Though I do kind of want them to introduce the Wonder Twins in season 3…
It Got Too Mean
My other major complaint against season 2 is that the good guys kept losing. It was depressing. Young Justice was a heavily serialized show. There were huge ongoing storylines and every episode drove that story forward in one way or another. Season 2 was all about an alien invasion.
But in order to save the victory for the climax, the heroes couldn’t win until the very end. So all the young superheroes we’d come to love kept getting their butts kicked throughout season 2.
My memory of season 2 is a bit fuzzy after all of these years, but the worst episode along these lines involved Superboy and a few others fighting the Black Beetle in an underwater station. No matter what they threw at this guy, he could shrug it off and just keep coming. Superboy, presumably with similar powers to Superman, was no match for the Black Beetle. And this wasn’t the only time in season 2 that Superboy got whooped. It happened all the time, from what I can remember.
So if you were a fan of the rough and edgy Superboy in season 1, be prepared to see him lose every fight in season 2!
If you can’t watch that video, it’s a scene of Mongul just tearing apart Superboy and Young Justice. Riveting television.
Personally, I’m pretty sure these are just big nitpicks on my part. I know a lot of people loved the show, probably for the very reasons I was disappointed. This is just my opinion on why I was pretty OK with Young Justice coming to an end. I could understand it when it happened.
That there’s going to be a season 3 is nothing short of miraculous. I hope the show is just as awesome as people remember, and that the writers get to tell the stories they’d always hoped to tell. Heck, I probably won’t even be mad if they continue to pursue the two major problems I mentioned here.
I guess I just felt like nitpicking everybody’s favorite cartoon.