Goodbye Napoleon Dynamite…and Animation Domination?

michael dworkis looks at the cancellation of the animated series and the future of fox’s animation domination…

I thought Napoleon Dynamite would have stood a chance and actually survived a season on the FOX Animation Domination Sunday night block.

Boy was I wrong. On May 14th, FOX announced that it was canceled, along with Alcatraz, Breaking In, Terra Nova, The Finder, and others. It seems the network is struggling to find any program to fit into its schedule and maintain a loyal fan-base. Surprisingly, Fringe got renewed for one final season.

Getting back to the issue at hand. I was dead wrong about Napoleon Dynamite as an animated show. I had thought the change from the now-common cynical and crude humor would have found a niche audience which would have ultimately brought the show mainstream popularity. After all, this how shows like Family Guy became hits. This time around, Napoleon Dynamite met the same fate as the show it replaced, Allen Gregory, being canceled after airing only six episodes and the network dropping the remainder of the season. This might be part of a bigger problem at FOX.

There is no question the popularity of animated shows can rival even the most-watched sitcoms or dramas on network television. Family Guy and The Simpsons are prime examples. What has changed, where new animated shows are meeting disaster after disaster?

I think it is an easy answer, the audience. The Simpsons have been on television forever. Seriously, I think they were created right after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. However, the ratings for the Simpsons and Family Guy have been waning away, due to repetitive or uninteresting storylines. The target audiences are growing up, maturing and as a result, the show writers often resort to shock value and forced comedy. Many episodes of Family Guy have pushed the envelope so far where viewers just do not want to bother tuning in. A recent episode of Family Guy I found hysterical. There was a problem, the previous three weeks bored me to the point of turning on my Netflix stream.

It is time for a new form of animated show. Maybe it is time to do something else besides a cynical, sarcastic, crude, and over-the-top program. A friend of mine shared an image (pictured right) on his Facebook wall, and gave me some inspiration to writing this column. It is all true. It has become the same formula over and over again.

Maybe FOX should look into acquiring some anime, since much of that is only airing on premium cable channels or on Netflix. Maybe FOX should develop a new animated series, but perhaps some action or superhero-based show, rather than the constantly repetitive dirt-humor we have become used to seeing?

Enough is enough, and it’s time for a change.


  1. I thought the show “Napoleon Dynamite” would have made it past the first season too, but after watching the first couple of episodes I knew it would not. The other shows on Animation Domination are awesome, and I loved the Hurricane episode of American Dad where Stan keeps making bad decisions and his family pays for it. Sunday nights are my favorite night of the week because of Animation Domination, and I got the Hopper to make sure I have every episode recorded. I work for Dish and I can tell you that our Hoppers PrimeTime Anytime feature will automatically record all of my prime time shows on CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC everyday in HD. I have full DVR functions in all four rooms, so I can watch these recordings from any room in house!