Back to IndieWire

Has Animation Domination Jumped The Shark?

Has Animation Domination Jumped The Shark?

Harken back the late 80s/early 90s. The world is a
simpler place and animation was, for all intents and purposes, a simple form of

Then suddenly, not one, but two explosive events coincided to
give the technique the sorely needed kick in the backside it needed. On the one
hand, The Simpsons managed to grasp the mantle of prime time animation
that had last been held by The Flintstones. On the other, the holy
trilogy of original Nicktoons took children’s animation by force while mopping
up the hipper elements of the adult audience.

All things being equal, it’s been an interesting two decades
for both types of show. The Simpsons managed to eclipse just about every other
show on the planet in terms of quality and popularity and gave rise to other
hits such as King of the Hill, Family Guy and Futurama.

Although never able to replicate the level of hysteria
initiated by the Simpsons, cable cartoons were more than content to prove their
metal through numbers, and diversity. Their quality has stood the test of time
quite well; just ask any 90s kid.

That leads us to today’s news that the broadcast network
most dominant in animation, FOX, has
announced that they are ordering a new series from stalwart creator, Seth
McFarlane (and Mark Hentemann.)

Bordertown takes place on, you guessed it, the
American border and given McFarlane’s track record, probably features a nuclear
family and at least on talking animal. The series was ordered partly as a
result of American Dad moving to TBS.

News of such a move ought to paint a depressing picture in
many minds.

If in doubt, just imagine that someone from five years ago
watching Animation Domination this year would have no trouble recognizing the
lineup. Now think how many new shows he or she would have to grapple with on
Cartoon Network alone. Surely that should be cause for thought.

FOX has by far the best record when it comes to animation on
a broadcast network and to give them the respect they deserve, they have
persisted time and again with animation even if shows didn’t quite prove to be

However, with yet another McFarlane-esque show scheduled for
the line-up, it’s clear that Animation Domination has had it’s ‘jump the shark’

This Article is related to: Television



I don't watch any of the McFarlane shows. The only shows in the line up I watch are The Simpsons and Bob's Burgers. While I concede that the Simpsons have passed their peak long ago, it's still a funny, high-quality show, a reliable old workhorse that still delivers the goods, even if it no longer has the edge it used to have. As for Bob's Burgers, it's a welcome reprieve from the manic style of the other shows. I like its low-key, character driven humor and the improvisational, stream-of-consciousness approach to dialogue.


Spellcheck please. It's very annoying to read.

Alex D.

As you once pointed out to me, Charles, it's that networks want to pick things that have worked in the past. That's why Seth McFarlane "creates" shows that all feature a similar formula. That's all networks really want: a safe bet.


Or as it deserves to be known 'Limited Animation Domination'.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *