Many Western cartoon series have had original runs lasting 65 episodes, because 65 episodes equals 13 weeks (or three months) of material to syndicate at one episode per weekday.
Typical with cartoons produced for first-run syndication
, and adopted as policy by the Disney Channel
(which has a similar 65-episode cutoff for its live-action Kid Coms
) and Kids' WB!
, although some syndicated shows did air weekly originally. Disney would end up dropping the format after fans complained about the cancellation of several popular shows, such as Kim Possible
, which would lead to it getting another season.
Some people consider this a form of Screwed by the Network
, especially if the show they like are at the receiving end of this trope. It should also be noted that this trope really only applied to cartoons aimed towards children, rather than Adult cartoons – The Simpsons
and its imitators are treated like standard American sitcoms.
This practice became drastically less common near the end of the Turn of the Millennium
, as American cartoon production has essentially abandoned broadcast syndication (at least domestically) in favor of programming exclusive to specific cable networks (or even streaming services). Still, some networks continue to cut their shows off at 65 episodes, either for foreign syndication, own network re-runs, or force of habit.
See also 12-Episode Anime
and British Brevity
— both of which should remind fans of any of the shows listed here of how lucky they actually are — and Five Year Plan
. For some shows that went well past 65, see Milestone Celebration
As a side note, if one wants to binge watch a whole 65-episode series in one sitting, and each episode is assumed to be exactly 22 minutes long, then you would be watching almost an entire day's worth of that show. (22 minutes per episode times 65 episodes equals 1,430 minutes, which is 23⅚ hours or 23 hours and 50 minutes.)
Retired at 65:
- 101 Dalmatians: The Series: 65 episodes with one short first season (the One Saturday Morning episodes), and one long second season (The Disney Afternoon episodes)
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: 65 episodes over one season, not counting a Christmas Episode produced years later.
- The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: 65 episodes over one season.
- Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: 65 episodes over one season.
- Adventures of the Gummi Bears: 65 episodes over five seasons.
- The Batman: 65 episodes over five seasons.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold: 65 episodes over three seasons. The plot of its final episode blatantly jabbed at the fact the show was Denser and Wackier than most Batman incarnations and Cut Short in favor of introducing the Darker and Edgier Beware the Batman to take its place, which, ironically, only made it to 26 episodes.
- Beverly Hills Teens: 65 episodes over one season.
- Biker Mice from Mars: The original 1993 series lasted 65 episodes over three seasons.
- Bionic Six: 65 episodes over two seasons.
- The Busy World of Richard Scarry
- Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years: After their success with Robotech (see below) Harmony Gold tried the same trick by licensing the 1978 Space Pirate Captain Harlock series and another series based on an unrelated work from the same artist who created Harlock, called Queen Millennia. Both series were 42 episodes in length. This time, rather then presenting one after the other (and ending up with an 84 episode series), the two shows were heavily edited and intercut with one another, ending up with a final total of 65 episodes.
- Carl Squared: 65 episodes over four seasons, though the fourth season came after the show was Un-Cancelled.
- CatDog: Initially had 60 episodes, but was briefly revived for a TV Movie and 5 new episodes in 2004 airing over three seasons total.
- Centurions: 65 episodes over two seasons.
- Challenge of the GoBots: 65 episodes over two seasons.
- Chilly Beach: 65 episodes over three seasons.
- Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: 65 episodes over three seasons.
- Clifford the Big Red Dog (2000s series): 65 episodes over two seasons.
- The Comic Strip: 65 episodes over one season.
- Conan the Adventurer: 65 episodes over two seasons.
- Count Duckula: 65 episodes over four seasons.
- Daria: 65 episodes over five seasons, not counting two Made For TV Movies (a rare "adult" cartoon example).
- Defenders of the Earth: 65 episodes over one season.
- Dinosaucers: 65 episodes over one season.
- Disney's Doug: 65 episodes over three seasons (excluding the 52 episodes of its Nickelodeon predecessor).
- Eagle Riders – though only Australia saw all 65 episodes
- Filmation's Ghostbusters: 65 episodes over one season.
- Hercules: The Series: 52 episodes in syndication, plus 13 on One Saturday Morning.
- James Bond Jr.: 65 episodes over one season.
- Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors: 65 episodes over one season.
- Jem: 65 episodes over three seasons.
- The Legend of Prince Valiant: 65 episodes over two seasons.
- Lilo & Stitch: The Series: 65 episodes over two seasons, not including its Pilot Movie Stitch! The Movie or its Grand Finale Leroy & Stitch. The first season's 39 episodes aired within a timespan of six months, while the second season's 26 took almost two years to get through.
- Little Bear: 65 episodes over five seasons.
- The Marvel Super Heroes: The series had a segment for one of five Marvel Comics superheroes (the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, the Sub-Mariner, and The Mighty Thor). The five heroes had 13 episodes apiece, making 65 altogether.
- Maya & Miguel: 65 episodes over one season.
- Mona the Vampire: 65 episodes over four seasons.
- My Little Pony 'n Friends: 65 episodes over one season.
- The New Adventures of He-Man: 65 episodes over one season.
- The Noddy Shop (partly live-action): 65 episode over two seasons, not including a Christmas special.
- PB&J Otter: 65 episodes over three seasons.
- Pepper Ann: 65 episodes over five seasons.
- Peter Pan & the Pirates: 65 episodes over two seasons.
- Police Academy: The Animated Series: 65 episodes over two seasons.
- Pound Puppies (2010): 65 episodes over three seasons.
- Rambo: The Force of Freedom: 65 episodes over two seasons.
- Rupert: 65 episodes over five seasons.
- SilverHawks: 65 episodes over one season.
- The Snorks: 65 episodes over four seasons.
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series: 65 episodes over five seasons.
- Spiral Zone: 65 episodes over one season.
- The Super Mario Bros. Super Show (partly live-action): 65 episodes (52 Mario, 13 Zelda) over one season.
- TaleSpin: 65 episodes (including the 4-episode pilot) over one season.
- Taz-Mania: 65 episodes over four seasons.
- Teen Titans: 65 episodes over five seasons (by accident - the show was going to end on episode 52, but then got one more season).
- Tom and Jerry Kids: 65 episodes over four seasons.
- Transformers Prime: 65 episodes over three seasons (not counting the hour-long Made-for-TV Movie, which would technically bring the count up to 68 episodes if divided up).
- The Wacky World of Tex Avery: 65 episodes over two seasons.
- Widget the World Watcher: 65 episodes over two seasons.
- Yin Yang Yo!: 65 episodes over two seasons.
- Zoobilee Zoo: Not a cartoon, but ran for 65 episodes over one season.
Renewed after the original 65 episodes:
- Aladdin: The Series originally ran for 65 episodes on the Disney Afternoon Block. When picked up for the CBS Saturday morning block, it was given an additional 21 episodes.
- Alvin and the Chipmunks is an interesting case, as it was both a first-run syndication, and a network series at the same time: the first 65 episodes (five standard length seasons, and half of a long sixth season) were produced specifically for syndication, but were also network-broadasted, while the other 39 episodes of the series(the second half of Season Six, and the last two seasons) were not initially included in the original syndication package, and only aired once during the show's original run on NBC (however, international markets do include these 39 episodes).
- The first 65 episodes of Animaniacs ran on Fox Kids, as did four more episodes cobbled together out of unused segments. Then came the Channel Hop to The WB. The show ended with 99 episodes.
- Arthur: The first three seasons produced between 1996-1998 totalled 65 episodes. The show then went on a one-year hiatus in 1999 before its popularity resulted in the show being renewed (and subsequently, becoming a Long Runner).
- The Babar cartoon is counted as being Un-Cancelled despite the sixth season being produced nine years after the fifth season brought it to 65 episodes.
- Batman: The Animated Series was 65 episodes long for its first season on Fox Kids. It was continued by a 20-episode second season (under the title The Adventures of Batman & Robin) on the same network. The follow-up series, The New Batman Adventures, which aired on WB Kids, is often shown in reruns as additional episodes to the original series, resulting in 24 more episodes for a total of 99.
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command
- Dennis the Menace had a 65 episode season airing in syndication in 1986. It later got a 13-episode season for CBS Saturday Morning in 1988, bringing the total to 78 episodes.
- DuckTales had 65 episodes for its first season (including the Five-Episode Pilot), then was renewed for two more seasons of 22 and 13 episodes respectively, bringing the total to 100.
- Darkwing Duck also had episodes that ran independent of its The Disney Afternoon syndication.
- Dragon Tales had 40 episodes for its first season and 25 for its second season, though "Just the Two of Us / Cowboy Max" was considered a "lost" episode. There was an unproduced pilot and a musical special. After a gap of well over two years, it was announced that third season of episodes would air.
- Franklin had 65 episodes in it's first 5 seasons, with 13 episodes each. The sixth one had an extra 13 episodes, totaling 78.
- The first two seasons of Gargoyles had 65 episodes in all. The third season, retitled Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles, suffered from Seasonal Rot and wound up in Canon Discontinuity, save for the first episode "The Journey" which was reformatted for the later comic books anyway.
- G.I. Joe had two mini-series and a single 55 episode season that initially amounted to 65 episodes, but the second season extended that to 95 episodes. The series eventually concluded with 100 episodes with an edited version of G.I. Joe: The Movie that was split in five parts.
- Goof Troop had 65 episodes which aired in syndication alongside a 13-episode season made for Saturday mornings on ABC.
- Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats did 65 episodes in its first season and 21 in its second.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) originally had 65 episodes, but was successful enough to merit another 65 for a total of 130.
- Inspector Gadget did 65 episodes and was then renewed for an additional 21. The second season replaced the voice cast (Except for Gadget, Brain, and Dr. Claw) due to voice recording moving to Hollywood after being outsourced to Toronto for Season 1. (The characters mentioned were already having their voices recorded in Hollywood.)
- Johnny Test, renewed for a fifth (and later sixth) season after the first 4 seasons brought the episode total to 65.
- Kim Possible, though it had to be Un-Canceled to get a fourth season after reaching 65 episodes. Its final total (counting the movie as three single episodes) is 87 episodes.
- M.A.S.K. had 65 episodes in its first series, which was followed by the short and very different racing series.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - The show had 26 episodes for each of its first two seasons, and 13 for its third season in order to meet syndication. The show became so popular and profitable that it was renewed each year for an additional 26 episode season. As of October 2017, Season 7 has finished, with Season 8 being slated to air in 2018, bringing the total to at least 195 episodes.
- Phineas and Ferb – Ended at 138 episodes,note making it Disney's second longest-running animated series after Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The opening theme's references to "104 days of summer vacation" is actually a references to how they only expected the show to have 52 episodes (and thus 104 shorts). Interestingly, the first two seasons together make 65 episodes.
- Pinky and the Brain had 65 episodes, not counting a few compilations of their Animaniacs segments. However, it was continued as Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain for 5 episodes, though just about everyone would like to forget that. Including the writers.
- Recess is a strange case. The series ended with 65 episodes (as per Disney's Rule), but ABC wanted to order more episodes for the 2002-2003 series. At the last minute, Disney declined, and three of the episodes were released as the Direct-to-Video movie, Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade (with one more being released as part of Recess: All Growed Down), which brings the episode total to 69.
- The original 1991-1993 run of Rugrats lasted 65 episodes. They then aired specials between 1995 and 1996. However, the specials did so successfully that they actually renewed the show instead of cancelling it. The show was only cancelled in 2004, but not before being spun off into All Grown Up! which lasted another 4 years.
- Sabrina: The Animated Series lasted one season of 65 episodes from 1999 to 2000 (like a number of Saturday morning cartoons) but got a spin-off, Sabrina's Secret Life, in 2003, with twenty-something episodes. Fans like to forget that series, though.
- The original North American dub of Sailor Moon by DiC originally aired in a 65 episode package for syndication. Stopping in the middle of the second season, with no real conclusion. Eventually DiC received funding to dub the final 17 episodes of R which were broadcast in Canada. One year later these episodes aired in the United States as The Lost Episodes. Two years after that TOEI's North American Branch Cloverway oversaw the dubbing of 77 additional episodes bringing the total of dub episodes to 159.
- The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon Channel Hopped to CBS after producing 65 total episodes for syndication.note 13 additional episodes were produced for Syndication in 1990, in addition to the first 26 episodes on CBS. The final episode count is 193.
- Tenchi Muyo! originally had 65 episodes (not counting the movies and special) comprising the original Tenchi OVAs (13 eps), Tenchi Universe (26 episodes), and Tenchi in Tokyo (26 episodes). It was shown on American TV because of this. However a sequel to the original OVAs was made years later bringing the count to 72 (73 with the Mihoshi special). If you count the spinoffs, the episode count is now at 112.
- Thunder Cats
- Tiny Toon Adventures followed its first syndicated season of 65 episodes with 13 more episodes in syndication and 20 episodes on Fox Kids.
- The Transformers: 65 episodes over two seasons, but after The Movie the show was renewed for a third season (albeit one that replaced most of the cast who were killed in the movie) that brought the count up to 95, followed by the 3-part "The Rebirth" series finale.
- Robotech: Perhaps one of the most infamous examples, and how many people first heard of the practice. Harmony Gold originally secured the US license to Super Dimension Fortress Macross for broadcast and syndication and intended to air it alone (even producing a few VHS releases of the standalone show), but the series was only 36 episodes long. The producers felt they had to have the minimum 65 episodes for syndication (or else the whole project risked financial oblivion), so they also licensed Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (23 episodes) and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA (25 episodes). 36 + 23 + 25 + 1 extra clip episode (cobbled together to help bridge the narrative gap between the first two sagas) brought the episode total to 85, well exceeding the minimum goal of 65. It also created one of the worst legal snarls in animation history, but, well, that's a tale for another day...
- During the early-to-mid 2000s, Warner Bros. actually had a trend of pulling the plug on shows that reach 52 episodes. Shows like Batman Beyond, Justice League, Static Shock, Xiaolin Showdown, X-Men: Evolution all ended at 52 despite high ratings. note The Batman and Teen Titans both proved popular enough to warrant one extra season and reached 65 episodes. Interestingly enough, Jackie Chan Adventures was the one show during this period that managed to surpass both benchmark thanks to 26 standalone episodes in its second season (a few of which factored into the plot for Season 3).
- Disney also has a trend of retiring short series after two seasons. Tasty Time With ZeFronk, Lou and Lou Safety Patrol, A Poem Is..., Nina Needs To Go!, As The Bell Rings, Shorty Mc Short's Shorts and Take Two With Phineas and Ferb have all suffered this fate. The only exceptions to this are the Mickey Mouse shorts and Choo Choo Soul.
- In the late 1990s, the minimum amount of episodes a syndicated show could have was now 40. Usually after those 40 episodes, the show would be cancelled. Examples of this include The All-New Captain Kangaroo, Buzz Lightyear of Star Commandnote , Liberty's Kids, The Three Friends And Jerry and the original syndicated version of Pokémon. Britt Allcroft had intended to sell Shining Time Station and Magic Adventures of Mumfie into syndication with 40 episodes each,note but after a meeting with Haim Saban, the shows wound up airing on the then-new Fox Family Channel.
- The Real Ghostbusters had a 65-episode season that aired on weekdays in syndication alongside the second season of Saturday morning episodes on ABC.
- Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures was originally announced as a 65-episode series, but production was cut back to 52 episodes.
- Thunder Cats 2011 was going to last 65 episodes, but it was axed after 26 episodes.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (a live-action show) was initially intended to run for only 40 episodes, with these episodes using most of the fight footage from its source material Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, a 50-episode series. However, the unexpected popularity of the show led to the first season being extended to 20 additional episodes, just 5 episodes short of the 65-episode quota. These additional episodes featured all new Monster of the Week footage (known among fans as Zyu2 footage) filmed by Toei specifically for Power Rangers after Saban exhausted most of the usable Zyuranger footage.note Ultimately the show exceeded the 65-episode quota and lasted two more seasons (spanning a total of 155 episodes) by adapting the giant robot/monster footage from the two succeeding Super Sentai shows before following Sentai's tradition of producing a new series every year. The Power Rangers franchise now spans over 800 episodes.
- Ironically, today Power Rangers is subject to a 22-episode per year limit by Nickelodeon, beginning when the franchise moved there with Power Rangers Samurai in 2011. However, the show is not under a 65-episode rule, as besides the fact that three seasons of the show would be 66 episodes, it has been on eight years as of the 2018 series, the second season of Power Rangers Ninja Steel, "Super Ninja Steel". Series are aired as two-season blocks that adapt a single season of the Super Sentai footage, with two-year contracts signed by Saban Brands and Nickelodeon, with no pre-set ending date for the arrangement.
- The Angry Beavers was set to run for 65 episodes, but the final episode (Bye Bye Beavers) never finished production precisely because of a scene in which Norb breaks the fourth wall and reveals to Dag that they're characters in a cartoon show on its final episode, which broke a Nickelodeon rule at the time in which a show must never have a definite ending. A voice-over recording of the controversial segment was later leaked online (which can be heard here).
- Beavis And Butthead was initially picked up for 65 episodes by MTV according to the documentary on the DVD sets, although it is unclear if this meant 65 or 130 shorts, as two shorts compose a half-hour program. At any rate, the initial run lasted 160 episodes in its original 15-minute format (80 half-hour programs), before switching to a 10-minute format for its final season consisting of 39 episodes (13 half-hour programs) and the finale, which is a full half-hour episode, for a total of 200 episodes and 94 half-hour programs. The 2011 revival series consists of 24 15-minute episodes or 12 half-hour programs.