65-Episode Cartoon

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.

It should also be noted that this trope really only applies to cartoons aimed towards children, rather than Adult cartoons – The Simpsons and its imitators are treated like standard American sitcoms.

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.

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.

Retired at 65:

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.
  • The original Batman: The Animated Series season was 65 episodes long. It was continued by a 20 episode second season (under the title The Adventures of Batman & Robin) and two seasons of The New Batman Adventures.
  • 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.
    • And now there's word that Disney will reboot the show in 2017. How long this one will last remains anyone's guess.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Power Rangers (live-action): The first season had 40 initial episodes that loosely adapted the Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger storyline, plus 20 additional episodes made up of leftover Zyuranger footage, as well as all-new battle footage commissioned to Toei that became known among fan communities as Zyu2 footage. Saban's initial plan was for the series to last the conventional 65-episode run for syndication purposes, but the surprise success of the show led to it being renewed for two more seasons in its original incarnation, and then the yearly new versions, each adapting the subsequent Super Sentai shows that followed Zyuranger. The franchise now spans over 800 episodes.
  • Phineas and Ferb – Ended at 138 episodes,note  making it Disney's longest-running animated series. 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 episodes for syndication. 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 season, 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.

Related Examples:

  • 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 originally 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 daily 65-episode syndicated series that aired in the Fall of 1987. However, this was averted due to the fact that it aired concurrently with the ABC saturday morning episodes.
  • Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures was originally announced as a 65-episode series, but production was cut back to 52 episodes.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is an odd example in that while it ultimately had over 100 episodes, it was still affected by this. While the first two seasons were 26 episodes each, Season 3 was only 13 episodes long, putting the show right at 65 episodes. The writers were apparently aware of the fact that it might have been the end of the show, as season 3 ended with a major Wham Episode that could've functioned as a Grand Finale had the show not been renewed. (M.A. Larson had stated that he wrote the episode as such.)