Fox is the undisputed home of adult animated shows with the likes of The Simpsons, Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, Futurama and Archer under its belt, and these are just a few of its successes in the genre. However, its stable of animated comedies is about to shrink as the network has just confirmed Duncanville is canceled after three seasons.
Duncanville premiered in February 2020 as part of the network's Animation Domination block, and just wrapped up its third season less than a week ago. However, Fox has now confirmed it won’t be moving ahead with a fourth season.
The animated show was created by Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler alongside former Simpsons showrunner Mike Scully and Julie Thacker Scully, who also worked on The Simpsons as a writer.
Fox released a statement confirming the cancelation (via The Hollywood Reporter): “Mike Scully, Julie Thacker Scully and Amy Poehler delivered a unique animated family comedy with a distinct voice and point of view that we are proud of. But we can confirm that this season will be its last on Fox. We look forward to the opportunity to work with Amy, Mike and Julie in the future.”
Fear not fans of Duncanville, you don’t have to say goodbye to the Harris family just yet. Six more episodes have already been produced, and while Fox won’t be airing these, they will hit Hulu later this year. This should take some of the sting out of this cancelation.
What was Duncanville about?
Duncanville follows the daily life of 15-year-old Duncan Harris, a thoroughly average teenager who is prone to fantasizing about being rich and successful. Although his real life is far less glamorous. Both Duncan and his mother, a parking officer with dreams of becoming a detective, were voiced by Poehler.
Rounding out the Harris family were Jack (Ty Burrell), Duncan's well-meaning father, Kimberly (Riki Lindhome), Duncan's 12-year-old sister who is trying desperately to fit in at middle school, and Jing (Joy Osmanski), Duncan's adopted five-year-old sister who is wise beyond her years. The show also included a love interest for Duncan in the form of Mia, voiced by fellow Parks and Rec alumni Rashida Jones.
Across 33 episodes, Duncanville followed the family’s various misadventures which included chaotic family vacations, trying to make a viral internet video and competing in an annual chili contest, by stealing the recipe of their recently deceased next-door neighbor.
What did critics say about Duncanville?
The first season of Duncanville enjoyed a strong critical reception. It scored 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, although in a rare case of the critics being kinder than viewers, it only managed a disappointing 51% audience score.
Caroline Framke of Variety called Duncanville “a show with solid voice acting that has a decent handle on its setting and characters, especially its teen ones just trying to get through the day without literally stumbling face-first into blistering embarrassment.”
Victoria Segal of The Times favorably compared the show to the more recent season of The Simpsons: “Probably better than Marge and Homer's recent outings, and you could get a Duff-like buzz from it, but it wasn't quite the real thing.”
On the flip side, The Hollywood Reporter’s Robyn Bahr wasn’t sold on the series from the outset criticizing the show for attempting to appear “connected to today’s youth” but missing the mark. Bahr wrote, “there's something particularly '90s about this sitcom that might be intended to feel nostalgic, but really comes off as retrograde.”
Reviews for the show’s second and third seasons are almost non-existent, which is arguably rather telling and perhaps gives us a good indication of why Fox isn’t moving ahead with a fourth season of Duncanville.
Analysis: Goodbye, Duncanville
Fox canning Duncanville is definitely one of the more expected cancelations we’ve seen so far in 2022. As noted by The Hollywood Reporter, the show scored the worst ratings of any Fox animated show during the 2021-22 television season, and for that reason, its future was always in danger.
The network has such an abundance of adult animated comedies that it’s no great surprise it's looking to trim the fat and nix some of its worst-performing efforts. While critics may have found plenty to like in Duncanville’s first season, viewers were less keen, and its subsequent installments seemingly failed to make much of a splash.
At least the show’s fans will get one last hit of Duncanville when its remaining six episodes hit Hulu at a currently undetermined date in the future. This is probably the best-case outcome any fan could have reasonably hoped for. After all, shows with much stronger ratings have endured much harsher cancelations in the past.
Next: Check out the one Netflix show you need to binge watch this month, which is coming back for season 4. Plus, this new Disney Plus show has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it a must-watch. And see the 9 new movies and shows to watch this weekend on Netflix, Hulu and more. Also check out how HBO canceled The Time Traveler’s Wife after a single season.