|Kids...they ruin everything, don't they?|
That being said, WHY it failed is almost entirely their fault and the way to fix it is within their means of operation. A stubborn inability to admit one's own failures is going to prevent this show from continuing to please its fans.
The reason why Young Justice didn't sell a lot of toys is because of the ratings which are a result of the Cartoon Network's own marketing problems. Everything that is popular enough expands its popularity to capitalize on it. That's why Super Bowl ads cost so much and why a popular (for some reason) show like Jersey Shore was able to make celebrities out of jackasses like Snooki who in turn promoted products that received bumps in their sale by having their likeness attached. If the ratings were higher on Young Justice, kids would want to buy the toys.
If ratings = money, then let's examine what results in ratings. First off, there's the subject matter, which is perfectly fine as superheroes never go out of fashion AND they want to replace Young Justice with other superhero programming, so we know that's not the problem. The second is the quality of the show. This one sometimes doesn't play the biggest role, as there are popular shows that everyone agrees are awful and there are good quality shows that never become TV giants. However, it seems like most people would agree that Young Justice was good. The rest of the ratings depend on the marketing side of things. It's the responsibility of the network to make sure a program has the right time slot, the right commercials to advertise for their show, and so on and so forth.
What time slot, you say? Well the biggest fault of Cartoon Network and the biggest reason why the ratings aren't higher for this show is that they could not for the life of them commit to a schedule. Here's an inclination of how they decided to run things for the lineup:
- November 26, 2010 - the first 2 episodes air
- January 7, 2011 - the first two episodes re-run and we continue running the rest of season 1
- March 11, 2011 - episode 9 airs
- September 16, 2011 - episode 10 airs [this right here killed the show as it was too much time off after not airing enough episodes]
- November 18, 2011 - episode 18 airs...season 1 is still not done after an entire year from the first airing
- March 3, 2012 - episode 19 airs [again, too long of a gap...they should have had all 26 episodes of season 1 done by the winter hiatus]
- June 9, 2012 - episode 7 of season 2 airs. [That's right, they broke up the first season that much but went immediately into season 2, ignoring the obvious normal time to take a hiatus after a season ends / also, take note that this season starts with a 5 year time jump which alienates the audience and makes them feel confused and lost / also take note that this gap in time was supposed to be explained by a video game that as of this post's writing has still not been released]
- *hiatus #4
- September 29, 2012 - episode 8 of season 2 airs
- October 6, 2012 - episode 9 of season 2 airs
- *hiatus #5
- January 5, 2013 - episode 10 of season 2 airs
Then we had to hear them continually not tell everyone that they were going to cancel the show, but dance around the issue until finally just admitting it.
No show can survive that schedule seeing as how nobody can plan to watch the show when things are this sporadic. If fans that actively look online aren't able to find out when to watch the show, how can you expect other people that are outsiders to check it out?
It wasn't the serious tone, as that worked for Bruce Timm's multiple series. It wasn't the younger cast, as that worked for Teen Titans. It wasn't the quality of the writing, as you don't hear people complaining about Young Justice the same way they are about Ultimate Spider-Man. It's a problem of Cartoon Network pretty much sabotaging it with their horrible planning and hacking the show up so much.
What's annoying is that they'll probably learn from this and do the polar opposite with Beware the Batman and the new Teen Titan's Go show and then tout them as successful as if they're better shows, rather than just being treated fairly. This isn't about being given special treatment but instead, NOT being given standard treatment. A handicap on anything results in more struggle.
Young Justice isn't without flaws from the writers and producers themselves, and I could point out problems that I had with the two seasons such as how often we were "told" something rather than "shown" it (mostly due to the time skip just telling us to be ok with losing 5 years worth of character growth in favor of a generic invasion story about the Reach), but as evidenced above, that's not the primary reason this show isn't going to have a season 3.
If you'd like to sign the petition to try to keep Young Justice on the air, do so here: https://www.change.org/petitions/cartoon-network-warner-bros-bring-back-young-justice-and-green-lantern-the-animated-series but don't get your hopes up.