Thursday 9 January 2014

Young Justice

There are a couple of things that I don't like to see in kids' television. I don't like it when the heroes are kids or teenagers, because they are usually incredibly poorly written and it's difficult to engage with these unbelievable characters. The other one is ensemble pieces. There always seems to be this need to get everyone involved in every story, which often leaves you time poor for actual story. These were red flags for me when I was a child, and they are still red flags for me now.

Young Justice is an ensemble show about teenage superheroes, and it is fantastic. It might be the best superhero cartoon that has ever been made. I prefer it over other top shelf tonics such as the 90s' Batman: The Animated Series and X-men. The show draws on the various incarnations of both the Young Justice and Teen Titan comic series. It's the wards, proteges, and sidekicks of the heroes that get to sit at the adults' table, but they have their own table with a secret base and everything. The characters are engaging, the plots are rich and intertwiney, and the adventures are exciting.

It explores responsibility, friendship, teaminess, family units, supportiveness, chosen families, obligation, loss, why Batman is in charge, why Aquaman is actually a total badarse, addiction, anger management, and ethics in wartime. When you've watched it it will appall you that it was cancelled after only two seasons, totalling forty-six episodes, a twenty-six issue comic series, and a completely canon computer game.

It's a tonally diverse show. They also make an effort to be an ethnically diverse show, but they all do that these days. There were tears, but there were also expressions of mirth and delight. I wriggled a lot. I'm a wriggler though, which is totally reckless behaviour for someone with my spinal backstory. You don' get much say in it though. They pull the wriggle strings.

It also reaches deep into the DC stables for supporting characters and cameos, referencing classic stories, other DC TV shows, and dozens of big names that make regular appearances in order to explain the roles and relationships within the context of the wider DC universe. They really have populated the shit out of the show, which turns it into a sort of gateway drug. Once you're familiar with the multiple Flashes, and Adam Strange, and Doctor Fate, and Red Tornado, and Beast Boy, and Miss Martian, you find that you're a little more entrenched in the way it all functions. You want to know more of their stories. They are your friends now, and you will get excited when you see them in the media streets. You will have made new friends. Friends in tights. Super Friends.

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