Since 2001, Adult Swim has been a pioneer of forward-thinking comedy and dry anti-humor. It’s revolutionized how television interacts with its audience and the programming block is always taking risks. From airing new shows at 4 a.m. to launching an entirely online-based streaming network, Adult Swim continues to push the envelope of what a cable network can and cannot do.
Obviously, since 2001, the network has canned a lot of shows. It’s also green-lit several forgotten series that deserve at least some sort of recognition, being that they helped craft the Adult Swim brand of today. We’ve rounded up 15 Adult Swim shows you might have forgotten existed on the network that either ceased to exist, or were completely canned.
Peter Girardi, Todd James and Adam de la Peña created a show called “Minoriteam” for Adult Swim that ran from 2005 to 2006. It was canned after only 19 episodes but honestly should’ve ceased sooner. It’s pretty bad. Like, unintentionally bad.
“Minoriteam’s” premise involves a team of minority superheroes and their stereotypical/racist powers. Racist humor is almost always terrible, but it’s been done before in a clever way. “Minoriteam” was not clever, though. It was full of awful jokes that had punchlines which missed their mark all too often. In general, they were flat and uninspired. If you don’t remember this Adult Swim show, that might actually be a good thing. But hey, there’s one plus side to “Minoriteam” — the art created for the show was 100% inspired by Jack Kirby, and the end credits for each episode thanked “King Kirby” himself. So that was pretty cool, but it didn’t stop this one from being an awfully dull cartoon.
14. 12 oz. Mouse
“12 oz. Mouse” was created by Matt Maiellaro and premiered on Adult Swim in 2005. The show revolves around an alcoholic mouse named “Fitz” who takes on weird jobs to get money for more booze. His best friend is an actual squirrel named Skillet who often aids Fitz with his jobs. Together, the two shoot a lot of guns, drink a lot of beer, sometimes sing and slowly uncover a secret past of Fitz’ that had been totally forgotten.
The show’s characters appear as if they were birthed in an elementary school art class, while the show itself plays out as a serialized mystery acid-trip of a spy movie, as odd as that sounds. Imagine a David Lynch comic strip smashed together with James Bond tripping on LSD. That’s “12 oz. Mouse.” If you can get past its abnormally absurd structure and dryly-delivered jokes, you may find some gold in watching the entire series. Well, either gold, or at the very least a Golden Joe.
13. Saul Of The Mole Men
Craig Lewis, writer of Cartoon Network’s “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy” and “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends,” created a live-action sci-fi show for Adult Swim called “Saul of the Mole Men.” Originally airing in 2007, the show is a ridiculous parody of ’70s-era television, poking fun at old programming like “Land of the Lost” and “Doctor Who.” Tom Stern directed the series while “South Park” co-creator Trey Parker sang its theme song.
The show revolved around a man named Saul Malone, a survivor of a crash involving the heavily-manned drill ship STRATA. With most of Saul’s drilling team dead, he’s left with a nameless robot controlled by a human brain and pop musician Johnny Tambourine, who appears stuck inside a hibernation capsule, but alive. Saul finds himself in the middle of the Earth surrounded by weird creatures like the “Mole Men,” “Bird Bats” and an absurd “Chinacula,” who is literally just a Chinese vampire. The series depicts Saul’s fight to get back to ground level again and escape the evil Mole Men. “Saul of the Mole Men” only ran one season with 20 11-minute episodes, but it did garner a small yet dedicated cult following.
12. The Oblongs
Adult Swim isn’t only known for its original oddities in programming. The network is also famous for re-airing and popularizing formerly-cancelled FOX cartoon sitcom, “Family Guy,” eventually giving the show a second-life and allowing FOX to pick up the series for a few new seasons. Of course, not all re-aired shows did as well on Adult Swim. One of the previously rejected cartoons the network managed to pick up was a canceled show from The WB (now The CW) called “The Oblongs.”
The series was created by Angus Oblong and Jace Richdale and focused on a poor community whose inhabitants were either disabled or deformed (or both) by nearby radiation exposure. The Oblongs are just one of the many families who lived in the filth town. The show focuses on the Oblongs family, showing their class-based wars with the richer, beautiful people who live in a community called “The Hills.” The show’s episodes generally go awry pretty quickly, but the humor didn’t really hit where it needed. The Oblongs ran for just 13 episodes before getting canned from The WB, while Adult Swim would replay its existing catalog, never picking up the series themselves. With a theme song by They Might Be Giants and The Oblongs father being voiced by Will Ferrell, it’s hard to imagine this show as a total failure on paper.
11. The Brak Show
“Space Ghost Coast to Coast” is perhaps the most influential programming Adult Swim has ever created. It was a warped spoof on talk shows, full of weirdly edited celebrity interviews and surrealist storylines that created its own wave of weird humor. It’s impossible to believe that anti-humor didn’t hit its mainstream peak with “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” — in many ways, it defined the formula. “The Brak Show,” however, was a spinoff of Space Ghost’s talk show, though it never seemed as smart as “Space Ghost Coast to Coast,” nor as important. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t great.
“The Brak Show” is one of Adult Swim’s oldest programs, first airing in December of 2000. It was a “Leave It To Beaver”-type sitcom parody depicting a made-up family for the “Coast to Coast” guest star, Brak. In “The Brak Show,” Brak would either find himself or a member of his family — consisting of Zorak, Mom and Dad — getting into various odd situations. Sometimes these situations involved the family’s neighbor and Gundam-style killbot Thundercleese, but mostly they centered on the weirdly expanded brotherly relationship between Brak and Zorak. As the show progressed, it became more absurd, and often relied on dragging out mundane, bizarre situations involving its characters.
10. Assy McGee
“Assy McGee” was a show that focused on an actual walking butt, who also happened to be a tough-guy police detective. This forgotten Adult Swim gem was a parody of the “bad cop” cliche we’ve all seen in television and film, but was also just an excuse for a character to be a literal ass. Carl W. Adams and now “Fishcenter” commentator, Matt Harrigan, created the show for Adult Swim. It aired from 2006 to 2008.
Half of the show’s humor came from its clever takes on “bad cop” character traits, but the other half is comprised of butt-related animations and visual gags. Assy would drink and eat food by shoving it inside of his crack, since, you know, it’s his face. He’d also fog up windows when being pressed up near them when he was talking and he’d blow his nose as farts. It’s crude humor, sure, but it’s almost difficult not to laugh at Assy McGee shooting a gun.
9. The Drinky Crow Show
Tony Millionaire is best known for his comic strip “Maakies,” which has appeared in multiple alternative weekly newspapers like “LA Weekly” and “The Stranger.” Its humor is usually dark, centering around a drunk monkey named Uncle Gabby and a crow named Drinky, covering themes of violence, drinking and the realism of modern life. In 2008, Tony Millionaire saw his comic creation come to cel-shaded life with co-creator Eric Kaplan, with “The Drinky Crow Show.”
Watching the series today, “The Drinky Crow Show” plays sort of like “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack,” but with its lead characters as violently sex-crazed drunkards. Uncle Gabby and Drinky Crow sail their ship around and get into situations that cause the two to either become violent or sexually charged. The show’s loaded with violence and characters that bleed a lot, but never actually die. “The Drinky Crow” show was weird at its time, but its surreal humor might actually fit with today’s “Adventure Time” or “Regular Show.”
8. Frisky Dingo
Before rapper Killer Mike had his solo record “R.A.P. Music” released on Adult Swim’s very own Williams Street Records, he provided voiceover work for an Adult Swim show called “Frisky Dingo.” In it, Adam Reed and Matt Thompson, who previously worked together on “Sealab 2021,” focused on the many themes between the superhero and supervillain. The supervillain in this case is a weirdly white, tall humanoid named Killface, while the show’s main hero is Awesome X, whose real identity is billionaire Xander Crews.
Most of “Frisky Dingo’s” humor runs on superhero/supervillain cliches and action movie-style parodies. Killface is undeniably evil and torments people whenever he pleases, but does so in such an unassuming manner, his violence ends up being hilarious. On the other hand, Awesome X’s stupidity and clumsiness are enough to get Archer a run for his money. The chemistry between these two characters is explored deeply over the show’s 25 episodes. This show is most definitely a forgotten treasure and remains one of Adult Swim’s finest entries.
7. Hot Package
In October of 2013, Adult Swim premiered a parody entertainment show called “Hot Package.” Abominable Pictures, TV Carnage, Adult Swim and Tim and Eric’s production company, Abso Lutely Productions, produced the show. Derrick Beckles created and starred in the show, alongside a few other hosts and, most notably, Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray and “Extra.”
“Hot Package” was edited and stylized after shows like “Entertainment Tonight” and “Access Hollywood.” Instead of using topical footage, “Hot Package” found its humor in using old clips and excerpts from weird b-movies and forgotten television shows. The show regularly invited actors from those awful b-movies and had them participate in different segments. “Hot Package” also provided movie reviews, bloopers and countdowns of pop culture references that no one was ever really talking about. The show ended on its second season in 2015, but remains a sort of counter-programming that fits between “The Eric Andre Show” and “Space Ghost Coast to Coast.”
6. Lucy, The Daughter Of The Devil
Melissa Bardin Galsky and H. Jon Benjamin found a new home at Adult Swim after their work together on “Home Movies” with “Lucy, The Daughter of the Devil.” Created by Loren Bouchard, Melissa played the role of Lucy and H. Jon Benjamin played the actual Devil. The premise follows 21-year-old Lucy as she constantly refuses to fulfill her destiny as the Antichrist and disappoints her father.
After Lucy falls in love with a DJ named Jesús and finds he’s the Second Coming of the messiah, she continues to deny her father’s request to become the Antichrist. The Devil eventually takes his time scheming up new ways to take over the world, while two priests and a nun, who are aware Lucy is the Antichrist, try to stop her themselves. The show ran for 11 episodes in 2005 and was added to Adult Swim’s schedule repeatedly until its cancellation from the air in 2007.
5. Xavier: Renegade Angel
Perhaps one of the most misunderstood television shows Adult Swim has ever offered, “Xavier: Renegade Angel” remains a clever take on the spiritual journey through philosophy and life. Chances are, if you’ve seen “Xavier: Renegade Angel,” you were immediately turned off by its animation. Its computer-generated models were ugly and so was Xavier. He had a snake for a hand and looked like a really messed up faun. The jokes were weird and its characters were obviously dumb. How could anyone watch such a show, right?
Well, the whole point of the show was to shun non-believers by making it as ugly and stupid looking as possible, while simultaneously delivering some of the smartest dialogue featured on Adult Swim. If you pay attention to a full 11-minute episode of “Xavier: Renegade Angel,” you most definitely will earn some spiritual guidance, and maybe even see yourself in a different light. Or you might not be able to make it past its terrible animations in the first place and just deem the show as stupid. Hey, whatever floats your boat. But just know that the production company PFFR and creators John Lee and Vernon Chatman were involved with such witty television gems as “Louie,” “Delocated,” and “Wonder Showzen.” They knew exactly what they were doing, keeping naysayers in mind.
4. Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole
“Moral Orel” creator Dino Stamatopoulos saw his second show for Adult Swim debut on June of 2010. The series was titled “Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole” and was a weird continuation of the Frankenstein story, involving a now immortal Dr. Victor Frankenstein, in addition to a few of his professor friends and a crew of assistants. Victor Frankenstein also created an infinite number of wormholes, or “Frankenholes,” that were able to pull monsters and famous historical figures from their depths.
Each episode involved a classic movie monster or historical figure who went to Victor Frankenstein for assistance with a problem, but the main focus of the series was set on Frankenstein’s family life. Adolf Hitler, Mother Teresa, Ron Howard, Thomas Jefferson and John Belushi were just a few people who made appearances on the show to ask Frankenstein for scientific help. Along with its whacky premise, its stop-motion animation style was super fun and set “Frankenhole” apart from many other things on TV, including many of the other off-kilter shows on Adult Swim.
3. Perfect Hair Forever
Anime has a traditional place at the heart of Adult Swim, with Toonami being an essential part of its programming history. If you’re a huge fan of the anime Adult Swim/Toonami has played in the past, you might actually be a big fan of a long-forgotten show called “Perfect Hair Forever.” “Space Ghost” fans might also be in for a treat, as the character makes a quick cameo in every episode of the series.
“PHF” starred a boy named Gerald Bald Z and followed his quest to find perfect hair. There’s a pervy grandpa, a talking hot dog that flies named (pretty appropriately) Action Hotdog, a girl named Brenda who just speaks Japanese and a giraffe played by underground rapper MF Doom. It’s a weird array of anime tropes and clichés that make “Perfect Hair Forever” a hilarious show. Mike Lazzo, Matt Harrigan and Matt Maiellaro created “Perfect Hair Forever’s” nine 11-minute episodes together. The show itself aired between November 2004 and April 2007.
2. Soul Quest Overdrive
There’s an episode of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” called “Bible Fruit,” which depicts a trio of fruit who try their best to convert people into good Christians while also recovering from an addiction to drugs and sex. Adult Swim is an odd place, because somehow the premise of “Bible Fruit” got turned into its own show starring an all-star cast of voice actors… except the fruit wbecame anthropomorphic sports equipment and the show was called “Soul Quest Overdrive.”
Kristen Schaal, H. Jon Benjamin, David Cross and Gavin McInnes each played a voice for the short-lived series. There was a soccer ball, a bowling pin, a basketball and a baseball glove in total, each of which could walk around and all of whom were drug addicts, acting impulsively and destroy things. unfortunately, creators Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis only saw four episodes of their show air on Adult Swim’s website before getting canned. Voice actor Gavin McInnes blames the show’s cancellation on the other members not being as funny as him. We, however, disagree.
1. Stroker And Hoop
“Stroker and Hoop” was one of the short-lived Adult Swim shows that was actually pretty great. It was a buddy cop parody modeled after the old “Starsky & Hutch” television show. There were elements from other films and shows as well, like “Knight Rider” and “Stroker Ace.” It was a genuinely funny premise centered around two private investigators who acted as if they were still the ’70s.
Stroker was played by “Delocated” star Jon Glaser, while Hoop was voiced by Timothy “Speed” Levitch. The show hit all its jokes in the right spot, hitting satire on its head and remaining clever while doing so. It was full of dark humor and wit, being one of the freshest shows on Adult Swim at its time. The series ran from 2004 to 2005 and ended on a cliffhanger the writers were unfortunately unable to address due to its cancellation.
Which weirdo Adult Swim shows do you miss (and everyone else forgot)? Let us know in the comments!
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