Russell A. Mebane - African American Science Fiction Writer

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"Young Justice" Cancelled? Ethnic Issues?

I know this post is late.  The TV show "Young Justice" was cancelled back in March.  I bought the last DVD for the 2nd season about a month ago, and I've been feeling like this ever since I finished watching the season finale.  Now for those of you who don't know what "Young Justice" is about, it's a show about a team of superheroes formed from the sidekicks or younger versions of the heroes from the "Justice League".  Now for those of you who don't know about the "Justice League", they're a team of adult superheroes, which include Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and a host of other famous superheroes.  Now if you don't know about Batman or Superman, stop reading.  This post isn't for you. 

Now the premise sounds corny and childish, but the writers on the show made it work.  The kids take on HUGE responsibilities and have to go on covert missions for the Justice League.  Batman assigns the team their missions, and an android watches over them.  Batman doesn't make jokes.  The android doesn't make jokes.  The team doesn't make jokes.  They don't even call themselves "Young Justice".  That's just the name of the show.  They refer to themselves simply as "The Team".  Each member has their share of personal demons and secrets, which creates a feeling of suspense throughout each season.  This is the formula they used in the first season.  This was the formula they used in the 2nd season.  

This is the reason I was so puzzled when the show was taken off the air.  Different reasons were given, i.e., the show used too many unknown characters or the toys didn't sell as well.  I believe both these reasons are bunk.  The writing for the 2nd season was just as good as the first season.  Since the show revolves around secrets, it's better for them to use more unknown characters.  The writing has never centered around the kids' superhero status.  The show revolves around children overcoming great obstacles, much like the hit series "Avatar: The Last Airbender", which got 3 seasons and a spinoff which is entering its 2nd season.  

The toys didn't sell sounds like bunk too.  DC comics and Warner Bros. do the show.  Making unknown characters attractive means more comic books sales.  Good stories make for increased viewership.  Increased viewership means increased ad revenue, the bread and butter behind any TV series.  However, I did notice one glaring difference between the 1st season and the 2nd season: the color line was freaking gone.

Most of the leading characters were Black, Hispanic, female, swarthy, or an alien.  The only blond, blue-eyed hero was Artemis and she was undercover as a brunette for most of the season.  They brought in an unknown superhero, Blue Beetle, aka, Jaime Reyes, a Latino from Texas, who is not an illegal immigrant or a gang member.  His best friend in the show is a Native American, who does not come from a broken home.  The Native American's family lives in a regular house, but he doesn't like his stepfather because the stepfather engages in illegal activity.  The activity?  Selling bootleg DVDs.  Later they bring in a young Japanese superhero who is female, not a math whiz, and doesn't know karate. 

Of course, they had a sassy Black female superhero, but she was downplayed while they played up another female Black superhero who wasn't sassy and was a research assistant majoring in physics.  Then she was given a Black boyfriend who happened to be her high school sweetheart.  Of course, the relationship had stress, but simply because she spends too much time in the lab, not because her man is a no-good Negro. 

The other Black superhero is Aqua Lad, who is actually more powerful than the superhero, Aquaman, that he works for.  Aqua Lad's father turns to be Aquaman's nemesis, Black Manta, (who I, personally, never thought to be Black until the series aired).  Black Manta is a criminal who carries himself like a king and keeps African artifacts in his study.  He loves his son deeply and goes to great lengths to protect Aqualad in the show.  He's not an absentee father.  Aquaman took his son away from him.

The Whites aren't evil.  They treat everyone as equals.  They don't make assumptions about their partners based on stereotypes.  They're easily the most ideal Caucasians I've ever seen.  Unfortunately, for the status quo, they don't look like Aryans.  They appear to be the nicest bunch of Irish and Italian people you ever did meet. 

The gender line is gone too.  The ladies on the show are not weak and they don't spend all their time chasing boys.  They're not catty.  They love each other (without sexual undertones).  They are always willing to work together effectively as a team.  The 2nd season of this show was nothing short of an American cultural triumph.  

And then it was canceled.  

There is a petition to bring it back.  You could sign it.  That would be wonderful.  In the meantime, I have an African American daughter, who has a show she can watch on DVD that will teach her that she's just as strong as anyone else.  It's a show we can all watch and feel powerful. 

Don't forget about my book "Squirrels & Puppies: Dark Morality Tales"

4 Comments to "Young Justice" Cancelled? Ethnic Issues?:

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essay on Wednesday, January 08, 2014 6:59 AM
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rushmyessay on Saturday, July 15, 2017 5:27 AM
Young Justice is the popular TV show and everybody wait for this show. I understand your feelings that how much you like this show and cannot wait to telecast. This happens almost every five people. This is a nice and entertaining article.
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best on Sunday, October 08, 2017 10:52 AM
Good one
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ocean games on Sunday, February 25, 2018 11:18 AM
Good one
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