Warner Bros. is a studio renowned for its animated entertainment, with the legacy of shows like Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond to back it up. Well, a show many haven’t heard of, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, has joined their ranks. It was recently revealed that Netflix will now be offering a streaming version of the show, and the views are sure to pour in.
Green Lantern: The Animated Series didn’t share in the same initial success as those other shows, though. Before the show was able to go into a third season, it was abruptly cancelled. The reasons that were provided for this are twofold: 1) the CGI used to create the show was far too expensive and 2) there was no way to market toys for these characters.
Anyone familiar with the comic book industry knows that the characters existing on the page are merely advertisements. Many people, on the outside looking in, aren’t aware of this but toy sales are what drive the market for those industries. So much, in fact, that shows like Green Lantern: The Animated Series were created with the knowledge that they would lose money in the end. Warner Bros., and DC Comics by extension, are fully aware that these shows aren’t going to make them money. In fact, they often lose them millions in the short term.
The thinking is that, in the long run, these shows will pay off. The audience that watches these shows might not be large in number, but the hope is that it’ll pay off big time in plastic sales.
It should be easily apparent now that the first reason given for why Green Lantern was cancelled was actually just normality in the industry. Animated shows are almost always costly. So what was the real reason? There were no toy sales. So, then you’ll ask, why were there no toy sales?
It’s really quite simple. Not long before the show was released, Warner Bros. released a big budget Green Lantern movie that, by all accounts, flopped at the box office. The problem was, Warner Bros. bet it all on the Green Lantern movie to succeed. Since it didn’t resonate with audiences, however, stores got stocked full of Green Lantern toys from the movie that nobody wanted. So when Green Lantern: The Animated Series came knocking, toy companies weren’t too willing to open their doors to them. They got stonewalled.
What all this amounts to is a highly realized, beautifully rendered science fiction show that never got its due. Green Lantern: The Animated Series is a diamond in the rough. A great show that, because of a failed movie franchise, got kicked aside for the next big thing.
Since that time, Green Lantern: The Animated Series has built up quite the following. It’s become something of a cult hit even. One could see why, then, that Green Lantern ending up on Netflix is a sort of poetic justice. A show once unfairly ignored gets a chance at redemption. Many people still don’t know Green Lantern but by the power of Netflix they soon will.
Opinion by: Jonathan Semoneit