It’s a new year, folks; filled with new hopes, new dreams, new possibilities…and new cancellations. Among the many live-action series–including Netflix’s Uncoupled, AMC’s 61st Street (which never even saw the light of day), TNT’s Snowpiercer, and more–that saw the bloody side of the chopping block this month, several animated series were also canceled or cut short. But which survived? We’ve compiled a full list of animated shows that survived 2023 cuts, and ones that didn’t.
While the sudden death of animated shows is nothing new in the world of streaming services and TV networks, this year’s cancelations come at such a time that it would leave an especially sour taste in the mouths of viewers.
During the COVID pandemic, we saw an unprecedented rise in animated content as it was one of the few storytelling mediums that could be done from the comfort of one’s own home. Over the last three years, adult animated content, anime, and 2D animation–genres that rarely dominate the entertainment sphere–were suddenly made royalty and every streaming giant and network wanted bite.
But as quickly as AMC, Disney, Hulu, and Netflix jumped on the animation bandwagon, they started chucking promising content, with 2022 cuts including Bone, The Midnight Gospel, Q-Force, Duncanville, City of Ghosts, CentaurWorld, and more.
It seems that too much animated content is fated to be picked up, praised, and then dropped after just one season or even before the project finishes, like in the case of Bone. And, we won’t lie to you, this year there were some especially cruel cancelations for animated shows.
But, hey, let’s start with the good news first and see what animated shows lived through the animation hunger games.
Animated shows that survived
The Simpsons (FOX, Hulu)
FOX’s first series to land in the Top 30 ratings in a season is officially guaranteed a Season 35 and 36, extending the show’s standing as the longest-running scripted series in television history. Matt Groening’s series is a parody of the American family and popular culture, with dad Homer, mom Marge, son Bart, and daughters Lisa and Maggie starring in this comedy series set in the fictional town of Springfield.
Bob’s Burgers (FOX, Hulu)
Created by The Great North‘s Loren Bouchard, Bob’s Burgers has won five Annie Awards and two Primetime Emmy Awards. Its official renewal sets the stage for the animated adult comedy to continue into Seasons 14 and 15. Like The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers centers around a family–Bob and Linda, and their children Tina, Gene, and Louise–but rather than just day-to-day life, the show follows the family through their time as burger joint owners.
Family Guy (FOX, Hulu)
Originally created by Seth MacFarlane, Family Guy takes a dysfunctional family to a whole new level, with an anthropomorphic family dog, a highly precocious toddler, a typically insecure teenage girl, a less typical perverted teenage boy, and their somewhat clueless parents. Along with its fellow famous adult animation FOX series, the unapologetically blunt and no-holds-barred comedy show has been renewed for Seasons 22 and 23.
The Legend of Vox Machina (Prime Video)
This should come as a big sigh of relief for all Critical Role fans and those who contributed to the largest Kickstarter campaign on record. The Legend of Vox Machina, based on Critical Role‘s first live-streamed Dungeons & Dragons campaign, has not only been renewed for a third season, but its producers have also signed on to create a new animated series with Amazon Studios called Mighty Nein, based on the crew’s second D&D campaign.
Harley Quinn (HBO Max)
Based on the DC Universe’s most twistedly enchanting supervillains, Harley Quinn is a 2D animated series executive-produced by Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Dean Lorey and follows the adventures of Harley Quinn and her best-friend-turned-lover, Poison Ivy, after the humorous murderess leaves her boyfriend, the Joker. The animated show was picked up for a fourth season and will air a Valentine’s special in February.
Castlevania: Nocturne (Netflix)
We’re keeping our fingers crossed that this one doesn’t get cut mid-project, but so far it looks like the continuation of Kevin Kolde’s animated series is safe from cancelation. Castlevania: Nocturne, following the award-winning vampire series based on Warren Ellis’ novels, is in the works at Netflix and will follow the bloody adventures of Trevor and Sypha’s descendant Richter Belmont during the French Revolution.
Though the series hasn’t released yet, FOX already ordered a second season ahead of the show’s release. Taking place in the fictional town of Grimsburg, Catlan McClelland’s and Matthew Schlissel’s animated show stars Jon Hamm as detective Marvin Flute, a renowned detective who can’t seem to unravel the mysteries of his own family.
The Dragon Prince (Netflix)
After four already successful seasons, Aaron Ehasz’s and Justin Richmond’s The Dragon Prince has been renewed for not one, not two, but three additional seasons, each with nine episodes. The series follows half-brother princes Callum and Ezran and a moonshadow elf named Rayla as they take care of infant dragon Prince Azymondias and work to end the thousand-year-old conflict between the human kingdoms and the mystical creatures of the magical realm of Xadia.
Okay, now it’s time to rip off the band-aid and see which animated shows were axed.
Animated shows canceled (or cut short)
Oh, Pantheon. You deserved better. This sci-fi cancellation is a real gut-wrencher because the hammer fell not only suddenly, but after AMC+ had promised fans and creators a second season. In fact, the new season was already completed when the news was delivered. However, it would be truly a shock if a whole season’s worth of work was put to waste, so it’s possible the show will find a new home somewhere else. But we’ll have to wait and see.
Inside Job (Netflix)
You would think a partnership between Gravity Falls writer Shion Takeuchi, Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch, and BoJack Horseman director Mike Hollingsworth to create a workplace comedy, set in a world where many conspiracy theories are real, would be a recipe for success. While fans may have felt the show was a triumph, Netflix didn’t seem to agree. This was another case where an animated show was renewed for a second season and then cut off before that season could air.
Dead End: Paranormal Park (Netflix)
Unlike Pantheon and Inside Job, Dead End: Paranormal Park got a two-season run before creator Hamish Steele shared that the show had been canceled. Steele noted the possibility of the animated show–focused on a gay, transgender teen who takes on a security job at a theme park riddled with paranormal activity–being canceled was always in the cards, but it’s surprising a story as progressive and self-affirming as Dead End would be killed off after just two seasons.
The Owl House (Disney+)
Out of all the animated shows canceled this year, The Owl House came the furthest. The series actually came to its third season, but the final season was cut short, down to just three episodes. Creator Dana Terrace shared that Disney told her The Owl House didn’t fit the “brand” and thus would be canceled. But, if that’s the case, why would Disney give thumbs up to a series about a teenage girl who stumbles upon a portal to the Demon Realm for two whole seasons?
These canceled animated shows leave us with plenty of unanswered questions–not just to the stories themselves, but also in regards to why they were canceled in the first place. It’s especially unsettling that not just one, but all of these canceled animated shows were cut short after an initial order to continue the show.
It goes to show that a renewal announcement doesn’t exactly guarantee, well, a renewal. It’s a good reminder to fans to give lots of love to those series they want to see continue–such as those listed above that survived the cuts. Fingers crossed this year’s new season promises are kept.
Which animated shows were you most excited to see made it through the 2023 cuts? Which did you hate to see go? Let us know in the comments below!