Megas XLR: Don’t Call It A Comeback? by Jerry Whitworth
Everyone loves a comeback. Such is certainly true in Hollywood. One may only look at the last few years to realize this. In 2013, Arrested Development came back for a fourth season on Netflix with filming for a fifth set to begin any day now. Heroes came back as Heroes Reborn in 2015. X-Files returned for a tenth season last year. Fuller House, follow-up series to Full House, premiered on Netflix last year where two seasons have been released thus far and a third has been ordered. Twin Peaks returns for a third season this May on Showtime. Samurai Jack returns for a fifth season this year. Two months ago, a third season of Young Justice was announced as its creator Greg Weisman is currently lobbying for a new comic series based on the show at DC Comics as well as the resurrection of the Gargoyles comic at Joe Books (which brought Darkwing Duck back to comics last year). However, one comeback appears to have fallen in between the cracks.
Four years ago, news broke that Cartoon Network was abandoning domestic airing rights to its property Megas XLR. In the wake of this, the show’s creators and directors in George Krstic, Jody Schaeffer, and Chris Prynoski inquired about either broadcasting the show on another network or purchasing its rights. Steve Blum, who voiced Jamie on Megas and voices TOM for Toonami, became a vocal cheerleader for bringing back the show. Despite a large campaign across multiple social media platforms, websites, and podcasts, the effort appears to have gone nowhere. With little doubt, Megas XLR remains one of the most cult-favorite productions to emerge on Cartoon Network, canceled not because of poor ratings, but because newer shows like Teen Titans (which would later return as Teen Titans Go!) and Ben 10 (which was rebooted and will air in North America next month) appealed to the same audience and were newer productions (while Megas’ appeal also skewed to an older audience). Considered one of the best cartoons of its decade and one of the top shows canceled by Cartoon Network before its time, Megas has simply been lost in the shuffle. The question now becomes, ‘what can be done?’
According to George Krstic, the fate of Megas XLR is simply in Cartoon Network’s hands. If the resurrection of Young Justice is a guideline, then the return of Megas will be difficult. In large part, YJ returned because fans made the show a highly viewed program on Netflix and launched a massive online campaign. As noted, Megas already saw such a campaign with seemingly nothing to show for itself. Being able to view Megas is also a challenge. You can only currently watch it on iTunes and Microsoft. It may then fall onto fans to appeal to an entity like Netflix or Hulu to put its hat into the ring to try and sort these issues out. Recall, even though people watched YJ heavily on Netflix, the streaming service was also highly receptive to those inquiring about involvement in continuing the show. Further, the legal quagmire that prevented the Batman television series from being distributed for home video release persisted for decades until a fan wade in and directed Warner Bros and Fox to come to an agreement. This, of course, led to the show being released onto DVD and the creation of the Batman ’66 comic. While the exact details of the legal limbo Megas XLR currently resides (something apparently of a tax write-off for Cartoon Network) is unclear, perhaps what can save this gem of the 2000s is someone willing to dig for it.