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5 Adult Swim Shows That Deserved a Longer Run

Updated on November 19, 2015

Adult Swim has aired adult alternative programming since 2001. Some of their shows (Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Metalocaplyse, and Robot Chicken) have had long on-air lives and maintained large fan-bases, while others (The Drinky Crow Show, Mary Shelley's Frankenhole, and Perfect Hair Forever) didn't manage to capture enough viewers to make it past the 2nd season. This is a list of 5 Adult Swim original series that ended too soon.

5. Sealab 2021

Sealab 2021 first aired in December of 2000, the final episode aired April 25, 2005 after 4 seasons. The story goes, that the creators of Sealab 2021 were interning for Cartoon Network when they came across the obscure cartoon, Sealab 2020. They ultimately stole the original reels (which Cartoon Network didn't even notice) and created their own parody, over dubbing the cartoon and adding additional animation. When they presented the show to Cartoon Network, they overlooked the theft and bought the show to use in their upcoming Adult Swim block. The show's bizarre plots and complete lack of continuity was a winning formula for late night content. Sealab 2021 also held a large roster of characters that we would love to see return in a reboot or a made for TV movie.

4. Mary Shelly's Frankenhole

Mary Shelley's Frankenhole premiered on June 27, 2010, the show was shot in stop motion and centered on Dr. Victor Frankenstein who has discovered the secret to immortality, but now has to suffer through eternity with a nagging wife and two elderly sons whom he has to take care of. Dr. Frankenstein has also created various wormholes (Frankenholes) in which celebrities and historical figures can reach out to him for assistance with their lives. In one episode "Heal Hitler" Adolf Hitler asks the Doctor to cure him of his hatred of Jews, but the treatment leaves Hitler loving Jews. In another episode, "Robert Louis Stevenson's Belushi!", John Belushi takes the role of Dr. Jekyll as he drinks a potion that unfortunately turns him into Jim Belushi. The show had outrageous and bizarre humor with a dark horror atmosphere that complemented the stop motion animation. Original stories and plenty of guest stars didn't save this show from getting the axe.

3. Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!

Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! is a live-action sketch comedy show that premiered on Adult Swim February 11, 2007 and ran until May 2010 with a total of 5 seasons and also a movie, Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie. The show stars Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim and featured a slew of celebrity guest stars, such as, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Zach Galifianakis, Will Forte, David Cross and Bob Odenkirk. Tim and Eric have described their show as "The nightmare verison of television", but that doesn't really do the show justice. The show throws everything at the wall, including satire, surrealistic humor, parody, public access style musical acts and weird editing. The show had a low budget quality to it that has since been adapted by other Adult Swim programs such as Loiter Squad and the Tim and Eric Awesome Show spin-off, Check it Out with Dr. Steve Brule.

Fans of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! can still catch some of Tim and Eric's lunacy in their newer show, Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories, but a lot of the randomness, abundance of bizarre humor and low budget quality has been scrapped for a more comedy-horror atmosphere.

2. China, IL

This Adult Swim cartoon began as a web series on the now nonexistent website, Super Deluxe. The series takes place at the worst college in America "The University of China IL", it stars the uncaring faculty of the college, including the polar opposite professor brothers, Steve and Frank Smith, as well its students, such as Steve's teaching assistant and often "voice of reason", Penny Merks. Most episodes are about strange and sometimes paranormal happenings that occur inside or around China, IL University. The television series debuted May 25, 2008, and began airing as 11-minute episodes. The second season doubled the running time to 22 minutes and saw a double digit percentage increase in viewership compared to the first season. A third season aired April 25, 2015 and ended with a 1-hour musical finale on June 14, 2015. Creator, Brad Neely, has confirmed that the series has been cancelled via his Twitter.

So why did this series deserve a longer life? It was hilarious. From the character driven humor in the form of the too-cool-for-school, balding, but always great with the ladies Steve Smith or his whining, unattractive and often just plain creepy brother Frank. Also, the enormous and socially awkward "Baby Cakes" and his clumsy mad inventor father, Professor Leonard Cakes. While the staff and students of UCI all have their unique quirks, it's also the situations that they're thrown into that makes for some of the biggest laughs. In "The Dream Reamer", Baby Cakes' evil imaginary friend who used to torment him, finds a way to haunt Baby Cakes in reality using Facebook. In "Surfer God", China, IL is visited by God himself, who just so happens to be a stereotypical surfer dude. Everyone is fond of God, except for Steve, who had a bad experience with the Beach Boys when he was young (A MUST WATCH). China, IL was cut too soon, I hope Adult Swim will at least honor China, IL with another hour long special sometime in the future.

1. Home Movies

Home Movies is an animated sitcom created by and starring Brendon Small, who is also known as the creator of the Adult Swim hit, Metalocalypse. The show is about an eight-year-old boy named Brendon who makes movies with his friends, Jason and Melissa. Brendon lives with his divorced mother, Paula and his baby sister, Josie. Brendon attends elementary school and has befriended his alcoholic and short tempered soccer coach, John McGuirk.

Home Movies premiered April 26, 1999 on UPN and ran for only 5 episodes before it was cancelled. Cartoon Network then bought the rights to the series. Home Movies was the first program to air on Cartoon Network's new nighttime block, Adult Swim on September 2, 2001. The show would stay on Adult Swim for a total of 4 seasons before it was cancelled in 2004.

Home Movies had an almost Seinfeld quality to the show. The dialogue was dry and realistic because the creators used a technique called retroscripting, where they would intentionally write a vague script and most of the dialogue would be created through improv. The performances/improv of the voice actors is where the show really shined. Home Movies starred Brendon Small (Metalocalypse), H. Jon Benjamin (Archer and Bob's Burgers), Jonathon Kats (Dr. Katz), Ron Lynch (Tom Goes to the Mayor), Emo Phillips, and Melissa Bardin Galsky.

The series finale ended on a downer, as Brendon drops his camera while attempting to film outside the window of his mother's car, another car runs over the camcorder. Brendon had spent the episode reflecting on the purpose of his movies before coming to the conclusion that his movies are only for him and his two friends to enjoy. I would love to see more of Brendon's movies and I feel that a high school setting would make for an awesome reboot for the show.


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