Despite being a series for kids, Young Justice has proven multiple times it’s different from most superhero–themed shows. The show has depicted events as if they were to happen in reality. However, with the move to the DC Universe streaming service,themes YJ can now discuss and show without censorship.
When the announcement came, there would be a special service for DC media, fans were happy to see all their favourite films and television shows all in one place. One of those shows is the hit animated series, Young Justice. The series has had an uncertain future for years because of toy sales. Now, the show’s back and a little different from the last time the series aired.
In Season 3, a few things that stand out from what the previous two Seasons contained. Let’s go over them before we dive into why having the show on the DC Universe is better than having it on free-to-air.
As an animated show, having sexual references is unusual. This comes when the audience is aimed at families. While YJ aired on Cartoon Network originally it wasn’t intended to be just for children. The show’s target demographic is teens between 15 and 18. Since the change of how the programme screens, there’s room to include elements that can’t appear in a CN series.
What’s surprising are the read-between-the-lines-moments that come off as adult but remain subtle enough so kids wouldn’t pick up on them.
An example would be Black Lightning sleeping with Doctor Helga Jace. We see them enter the room and close the door. Later, the scene returns to them in bed, a sheet covering the doc. The royal physician calls their bedroom antics ‘Pillow Talk’.
Themes and Language
Superhero mediums have pulled out all the stops over the years, despite the restrictions publishers had. Now, they’re free to add whatever they want without too many issues. For Young Justice, the idea was to have the show be for a mature audience, but kids could join in the fun too.
Each Season (thus far) has focused on the forming of The Team, extraterrestial invasion, and metahuman trafficking. There’s also underlying themes of racism, terrorism, assassination and xenophobia, among others. What makes these topics suitable for a show like this is because people relate to them. Also, their favourite characters face the same situation as people of reality do.
Fans often turn to the pages of their favorite comic characters to see how they would handle certain situations. It helps them heal when they’re feeling down about their circumstances. When it comes to social issues, comics often help readers feel better about themselves and make them realise it’s okay to be who they are.
As for explict wordings, you’re outta luck because there isn’t any. Though, it’s implied by conversations that people want to say something, but it comes out as something else.
As a cartoon intended for families and older audiences, the first two seasons weren’t allowed to show nudity. However, the third seasons there’s ashift in what’s shown. Some female characters wear short clothing and minimal cleavage is seen at times.
One example comes in season three when M’gann pokes her head put of the bathroom and we see the back of her neck and part of her bare shoulder. We then see Conner run into the bathroom and shut the door.
We even see some skin from Wonder Woman who goes through two outfit changes over the course of the three seasons. In Seasons 1 and 2, she wears a leotard like outfit, similar to Lynda Carter’s costume. In Season 3, her costume is similar to the one the Amazonian wears in the DC Animated films when the character is largely voiced by Rosario Dawson.
Blood and Violence
When you have an animated series, you often cannot show blood. Okay, well you can slip in a few drops if you’re sneaky about it. Other times it’s a taboo if it’s shown on a family network.
Because Young Justice was moved to DC Universe, the restrictions concerning on the blood were lifted slightly. Some bloody moments in Season 3 mostly involve Halo and the multiple ways she dies. This wasn’t shown in the first two seasons because of censorship on a children’s network.
Another act of violence we need to consider is the beheading of Ocean Master. If Season 3 were on a children’s network, this scene would never have made it to air.
A similar situation occured on another show, the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series when the Turtles finally kill The Shredder. In the episode Owari, Shredder’s demise was meant to mirror his death in the comics where the eldest Turtle, Leonardo decapitates him. Because the series aired on Nickelodeon, the scene had to be heavily censored. The 2012 TMNT series creator Ciro Nieli posted art from the scene on his Instagram feed. However, a more discreet version was shown where there is no blood shown except for a shot where a drop of blood flies off Leo’s sword.
Because Young Justice is shown on DC Universe which is becoming known for its adult-themed content, Ocean Master’s beheading a much more discreet then expected. The angle of the shot is done in a way to show the mistake the former Aquaman’s brother makes in dealing with the enemy. It may have been done as a reference to the moment in the DC Animated Movie, Justice League: Flashpoint Paradox where Wonder Woman slaughters Queen Mera after the
DC Universe is like Netfix for DC Comics content. Because Young Justice is such a popular series, placing it on the streaming service was a bold move. Because of the storylines in Season 3, its was the right move to make because of how the regular networks felt about mature themes of their family programming. Fans should thank DC for bringing the series back and the media outlet should thank fans for being patient.