Gephyrophillia | Watch This Space #118

Originally Posted on 06/07/2004 by Jeff Harris

Bernie Taupin. Today's kids don't know who this lyrical poet is. Pity. We wrote a lot of great lyrics with Elton John. Kids kinda know who Elton John is. At least my little cousin knows. Everytime he sees him in real life, he says "That's the guy from the Christmas episode of Bob The Builder."

Anyway, the chorus of one of Elton John and Bernie Taupin's collaborations (recently remade by Canadian rockers Nickelback) kind of rings true about the philosophy and attitude of what Saturday nights are supposed to be like:

Don't give us none of your aggravation
We had it with your discipline
Saturday night's alright for fighting
Get a little action in.

For one shiny moment earlier in the year, it seemed like Cartoon Network got the message of that song, even down to the 7PM start time stated in the song. Saturday night began with lighter-toned action with the first half of Toonami with DuelMasters, Jackie Chan Adventures, Astro Boy, and Rave Master. The second half of Toonami got a little harder with Megas XLR, Yu Yu Hakusho, Dragon Ball GT, and Gundam SEED. The Adult Swim action shows have attracted a lot of attention with new shows like Wolf's Rain and favorites like Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, and The Big O. Saturday night's alright for fighting. So, why did it come as a surprise that CN has decided to shuffle up the action portions of their Adult Swim franchise?

Starting in July, Saturday nights won't be action-only anymore. Interrupting the flow at 11 PM will be reruns of Futurama and Sealab 2021 while new episodes of Wolf's Rain and InuYasha will be seen afterwards.

*ow* My head.

To make matters worse, one of the best new shows Adult Swim has aired in a long time, Case Closed, will move even later in the night to 1 AM. New episodes will continue, but buried in the late night.

Memo to Cartoon Network:


Seriously, I think you guys rely on ratings a little too much on Saturday nights, which is historically the least watched night on television in the first place. If a show gets between 200,000 and 300,000 viewers at 12:30 PM on a Saturday night, that's a hell of an accomplishment. Most people are either asleep, watching . . . something else on premium networks, or gone out partying, so to get any viewers at all is a blessing. In case you haven't read in recent news reports (but I've been talking about as long as I can remember), the Nielsen ratings are seriously flawed. You can't really compare ratings on Saturdays with ratings on Sundays because it's like comparing apples and oranges. Action and comedy audiences have always been different. Not every comedy fan is a fan of anime and vice-versa (if you ever looked at forums instead of mocking those that post there, you'd notice that). So the comedy fans aren't flocking to Saturday nights. BFD. Do you guys really feel that by putting reruns of shows that are already seen every night except Fridays will make fans of those shows stick around for action? If so, you guys are more out there than I thought.

And then to move a jewel like Case Closed even further into the night instead of airing it a little earlier? There's a reason why Detective Conan (the translation of its Japanese title) is so popular in Japan, and there's a reason the fans are realizing why. It's one of the most clever animated mysteries ever made and proves that mystery doesn't begin and end with Scooby-Doo. Instead of moving it up on the lineup, you guys are moving it deeper at night?!? Insane. It's perhaps the perfect mix of action, mystery, and comedy. None of this fairy tale drama seen on InuYasha nor violence-heavy action on the other shows. It's a great show. If I was running things, I'd move it to primetime, probably 10:30 PM rather than burying it at 1 AM. There's a reason why FUNimation acquired the series (aside from the 300+ episodes that are still in production) . . . this show can be a hit. Case Closed is one of those shows that could just air on the network without the destraction of a brand. Heck, if CN wants to grow up, placing Case Closed in a watchable period in primetime without any editing (i.e. as seen on Adult Swim) would be a major high point.

Also, confidentially speaking, it would be nice to advertise for Adult Swim shows in the daytime. Remember Gundam Wing Uncut on the old TMR? You guys had no qualms and no worries about doing that, and yet when Adult Swim premiered, you forced yourselves to not promote it in the daytime and most of primetime before 10 PM. Perhaps promoting a block of shows an hour BEFORE it airs isn't the smartest thing in the world.

I like you guys over at Cartoon Network. You guys do a good job and tend to have a pulse on what the people want to see about 2/3 of the time. I'd love to see Cartoon Network understand that there's not anything wrong with Saturday nights the way it is. Toonami's doing fine, and Adult Swim's doing alright. Don't muck it up by adding more reruns of comedy in the middle of the action. And don't ruin the mature action attitude you guys have created with Adult Swim Action. You have so many good shows in your hands, and it'll be a shame not to treat them right.

*end transmission*

Jeff Harris,
The X Bridge Webmaster/EiC/Lead Writer
June 7, 2004


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