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Friday, March 31, 2023 

Why a revival of a notable 90s Hanna-Barbera cartoon wouldn't work under current circumstances, nor would Crossgen

Two years ago, a writer for Collider commented on Pirates of Dark Water, one of the now defunct Hanna-Barbera animation studio's most significant TV cartoons from the early 1990s, which he believes could make a great product worth continuing from where it left off:
Kirschner's The Pirates of Dark Water borrowed that five-episode plan, despite not having a production order of that magnitude. The mini-series introduced the heroes of the show — Ren, Ioz, Tula, and Niddler — and their seafaring adventures to recover the lost Thirteen Treasures of Rule in order to dispel the titular Dark Water from the world and restore the once-proud but now ruined kingdom of Octopon. That ambitious narrative would also embrace serialized storytelling, which was both a blessing and a curse for Hanna-Barbera and the pirate crew. After two seasons and only 21 episodes, The Pirates of Dark Water was abruptly canceled, leaving nearly half the treasures uncollected, half the world overrun by Dark Water, and abandoning what few toys and video games there were on store shelves.
Yes, that's most unfortunate, isn't it? I suppose the mistake they made was not trying to follow a Japanese-style approach to marketing, and write the series with a clear end in view, and a set number of episodes in which to tell the whole story, which in anime series across the ocean could amount to something like 26 episodes or so. Pirates of Dark Water was well regarded in its time, and the first 5 parts alone cost at least $500,000 each to produce, making it one of the most expensive cartoons Hanna-Barbera ever developed, but the kind of marketing approach they took clearly wasn't a good one, and left it without an actual ending. But, whether a continuation or a reboot, would such a cartoon work in today's PC-plagued environment? Unfortunately, a news site like Collider isn't one to explore such questions. All they can say is:
We know that WarnerMedia isn't averse to revisiting existing IP for contemporary reboots. Yes, they do tend to stick to Scooby-Doo, DC Comics, and Tom & Jerry more often than just about anything else, Harry Potter included. But HBO Max is prepping the animated prequel Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, tapping into a franchise that's older than Pirates of Dark Water, with the stellar team of writer/showrunner/EP Tze Chun, co-executive producer Brendan Hay, and EPs Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Sam Register and Dan Krall on board. They're also launching Space Jam: A New Legacy this month, just about 25 years after the original launched long-running memes about a sequel that never seemed to be within reach.
Even if this was written before the Space Jam sequel premiered, that was a poor citation, given how woke it turned out to be, and on that note, if a new take on Pirates of Dark Water could be produced today, how do we know that wouldn't turn out to be just as stupefying an embarrassment? Much like Disney, even WB's proven throughly capable of dumbing down properties they own for the sake of PC dictates, and for all we know, this could result in a cartoon that's an ordeal to sit through the more woke it turns out to be. Let's also remember this same studio did take a woke path with Scooby Doo related characters like Velma of recent.

A similar argument could easily be made for whether the creations of the late CrossGen should be revived, recalling this news from several months ago that Marvel was going to republish 4 of them for starters in a special, and the Sigil title may be reprinted in an omnibus, but, if anybody's hoping they'd actually revive them with new adventures, that too would be better left undone, given they're under an ownership that's just as flooded with PC as the rest of Disney-owned products today. In fact, as I recall, in 2010, there was an attempt to revive Crossgen, but it ended in failure. I know the late Mark Alessi, founder of the original Crossgen, sold them to Disney at a time when it wasn't so PC, but it was still very unwise, and so long as they're still under that corporate ownership, there's no point in reviving or rebooting them.

So based on the corporations being in ownership of these older creations today, would a revival/reboot work? The simple answer is no. All that would result is a whole wokefest that spends more time shoving partisan political ideologies down everyone's throats, metaphorically or otherwise, and the entertainment value would be totally drained. The only way you can ensure a better take on an older property is if said products are under a better ownership. And that's unlikely to happen for a long time.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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