When you think about television series that have been deemed "ahead of their time," you probably imagine cult classics like "Freaks and Geeks," "Twin Peaks" and "Arrested Development." All daring television shows that were given at least a season's chance to make it and have since lived on past their cancelation because of the streaming age we live in. But how would we view* these series if they were only able to air two episodes and never put on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon? *pun intended
Yahoo TV writer Ethan Alter recently wrote about "Clerks: The Animated Series" -- which only had two episodes originally air and has yet to be streamed -- as a TV series that was not only ahead of its time, but one that is in prime position for a reboot!
"Clerks: TAS" aired on ABC in 2000 and was developed by Kevin Smith and "Seinfeld" writer David Mandel. "The Simpsons was our model," Smith told Yahoo TV. “From the jump, the Clerks cartoon was never going to be the movie. Dave was the one who was like, 'Since it’s animation, let’s go crazy.'"
Alter explains that, "the animated Clerks did some pretty crazy things for primetime network television at the time ... the kind of cavalcade of crazy that would be right at home on Adult Swim today, but when 'Clerks: TAS' debuted in 2000, that haven for adult-oriented animation was still a year away from launching."
ABC aired the episodes out of order, a devastating move since the second episode which aired first, played heavily on clips and flashbacks to the pilot. "We were supposed to launch in March, but they didn’t debut us until May," Smith told Yahoo TV. "I think 7 million people watched the first episode, and they were like 'That’s not good enough.'"
While the series has aired in its entirety twice (once on Comedy Central and once on Adult Swim), it is currently only available in its entirety on DVD. But unlike the fourth season of "Arrested Development," an animated series wouldn't have to plot around the characters having aged. "The nice thing about a Clerks animated show is that the characters are ageless," said Smith. "It’s not like 'These f–kers are old now.'"
"Netflix would seem to be a natural berth," wrote Alter, "given the fact that it’s home to the acclaimed animated Hollywood satire BoJack Horseman, as well as select titles from Smith’s own filmography, including the live-action 'Clerks.'"
So why not just pitch it to Netflix and get the ball rolling? Because nothing is that easy. "I’ve got to imagine there’s someone at some network out there who would pick it up," said Smith. "I can’t do it, because I don’t own it. The new Miramax consortium owns it."
So what's it going to take to get more animated adventures for the dynamic duos of Dante/Randal and Jay/ Silent bob? "You just need that one person in power to go, 'Oh my god, I got laid to that show once." said Smith. "And that would have to have been one of the two times that Clerks aired!"
Despite the show's broadcast history, and the uncertainty of its future, it's a work that Smith can be proud of and a TV series that is worth seeing -- even if it's on DVD.