Update: NBC has revived the classic '90s TV series Quantum Leap after almost 30 years
Cancelled TV shows, as well as those that end as creators intended, sometimes get a second life in a revival or a reboot. Just look at Sex and The City: And Just Like That. And other times? Well, they stall out on their way to a return, with announced comebacks getting pulled out from under us with a second cancellation of sorts.
Thus is the case with The Boondocks, the Adult Swim series adapting Aaron McGruder's comic strips for Adult Swim. HBO Max published its original press release (opens in new tab) calling for "two reimagined seasons" and a 50-minute special of The Boondocks in in September 2019, and we didn't hear much since. Such a large order, though, suggested that HBO Max was excited and on board. McGruder was even set to come back as showrunner, after leaving the series in 2014.
A Deadline (opens in new tab) report broke the news of The Boondocks revival failing to launch at HBO Max, and notes that "Sony [Pictures Animation] is currently evaluating other options for the project, sources said." Though that doesn't exactly match what one voice cast member has said.
When Boondocks voice actor Cedric Yarbrough (the voice of Tom DuBois in the original version of the show) told the Geekset Podcast (opens in new tab) about the show's demise, he almost hinted that it was Sony's call to cancel the series: "I hate to say this…right now the show is not coming back. We’ve been wanting to do the show and Sony and its…they decided they’re going to pull the plug."
Check it out for yourself:
Looking at Yarbrough's words, and reading the Deadline story closely, it's hard to figure out who is responsible for The Boondocks' latest iteration failing to reach HBO Max. Nobody, in fact, is blaming HBO Max here, and Yarbrough seemed to possibly suggest it's on Sony. All of the words he left out could paint that picture.
That said, it does sound like the new Boondocks series isn't completely dead, as Yarbrough told the podcast host Rudy Strong "Hopefully one day we’ll be able to revisit it…I wish the show was coming back."
In other TV news, check out our article on the app that can change the way you watch TV (also, it's free). We've also posted our guide on how to watch Super Bowl 2022 on Sling TV.
Analysis: The Boondocks' rocky history on TV
Odd, unexplainable-at-first news about The Boondocks' TV shows is nothing new. The series, which satirized and critiqued race relations in America, focused on a Black family called the Freemans, comprised of the rebellious Huey, chaotic Riley and constantly-confused Granddad.
Often attracting controversy, the series was also more than beloved, earning McGruder a prestigious Peabody Award (opens in new tab) for the episode "The Return of The King," where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. miraculously wakes up from a 32-year coma, and finds the current state of society to be profoundly disappointing.
But it's what happened after the first three seasons of The Boondocks that was truly confusing.
Sony Pictures Television publicly announced (opens in new tab) in March of 2014 that The Boondocks' fourth season "was produced without the involvement of Aaron McGruder," it credited this change on the fact that "a mutually agreeable production schedule could not be determined." Of course, this raised red flags. The Boondocks is Aaron McGruder's show, how could it be made without him?
After that, McGruder shared some thoughts about leaving The Boondocks in a since-removed post on The Boondocks' Facebook page (via OkayPlayer (opens in new tab)). He didn't explain why he left, only that "The Boondocks pretty much represents my life’s work to this point. Huey, Riley, and Granddad are not just property to me. They are my fictional blood relatives. Nothing is more painful than to leave them behind."
Later, actor Michael B. Jordan revealed to The Huffington Post (opens in new tab) that McGruder was fired from The Boondocks. While he claims that he did not know "the specifics behind" McGruder's firing, Jordan noted that it was a shock to find out after he signed onto do the show.