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65-Episode Cartoon

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Instead of the usual 13-17 episodes like certain Saturday Morning Cartoons, some western cartoons 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 in the afternoon.

Typical with cartoons produced for first-run syndication, and was formerly adopted as policy by the Disney Channel (which had 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, with the renewal of Kim Possible for an additional season abolishing the rule.

Some people consider this a form of Screwed by the Network, especially if the shows they like are at the receiving end of this trope. It should also be noted that this trope really only applied to cartoons aimed at 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 later 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.

This led to many cartoons in Turn of the Millennium to only reach 52 episodes, with 1/5 or 13 episodes cut off from the usual 65. Also with 1/2 or 26 episodes being produced per season now averagely for cable. Being distinct from Saturday Morning ones on broadcast networks and twice as many from their usual 13.

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:

Renewed after the original 65 episodes:

  • Aladdin 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 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) were produced specifically for syndication, but were also network-broadcasted, 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 (and having the strange side effect of having Season 1 have more episodes than the other four combined).
  • Arthur: The first three seasons produced between 1996-1998 totaled 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 show finally ended for real in 2022, after 25 seasons, at a whopping 253 total (493 segments).
  • The Babar cartoon counts as 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 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 Kids WB, is often shown in reruns as additional episodes to the original series, resulting in 24 more episodes for a total of 109.
  • The Jim Henson preschool series Bear in the Big Blue House was supposed to end at 65 episodes, with "And to All a Good Night" serving as the Grand Finale. However, the executives at Playhouse Disney were against this as the show was the block's highest-rated series, resulting in three more seasons to bring up the total to 118.
  • Code Lyoko, while never officially canceled between its third and fourth seasons, had a notably stunted episode count for Season 3, only being thirteen episodes as opposed to each previous season's twenty-six, in order to bring it up to a total of 65. This is made up for in the fourth season, with an expanded episode count of 30.
  • 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 (1987) 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 had a 65 episode season produced for The Disney Afternoon in 1991. Simultaneously, a 13 episode season also aired on ABC. A second 13 episode ABC season followed in 1992, for a total of 91 episodes.
  • Dragon Tales had 40 episodes for its first season and 25 for its second, though "Just the Two of Us" and "Cowboy Max" were considered to be lost episodes. There was also an unproduced pilot, a Direct to Video musical special and a special in which parents use the show to teach kids lessons. After a gap of well over two years, it was announced that a third season would air, including the aforementioned lost episodes.
  • Franklin had 65 episodes in its first five seasons, with 13 each. The sixth had an extra 13, totaling 78.
  • The first two seasons of Gargoyles had 65 episodes total. The third season, re-titled Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles, wound up in Canon Discontinuity, save for the first episode "The Journey", which was reformatted for the later comic books anyway. For what it's worth, the 13 Goliath Chronicles episodes brought the total to 78 episodes.
  • G.I. Joe had 65 episodes for its first season in 1985 (which includes the original five-episode mini-series from 1983 and the five-part "Revenge of Cobra" mini-series from 1984) and 30 additional episodes for its second season in 1986. The series eventually concluded with 100 episodes with an edited version of G.I. Joe: The Movie that was split in five parts in 1987.
  • Goof Troop had 65 episodes which aired in syndication alongside a 13-episode season made for Saturday mornings on ABC.
  • Heathcliff & 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 was produced in-house by DiC in Los Angeles in place of Nelvana in Toronto. Accordingly, the voice cast was replaced (Except for Gadget, Brain, and Dr. Claw) due to voice recording moving to Hollywood after being done in Toronto for Season 1. (The characters mentioned were already having their voices recorded in Hollywood.)
  • The original ABC run of The Jetsons was quite short, lasting only 24 episodes from 1962 to 1963. When the show was syndicated in 1985, an additional 41 episodes were produced to bring the total number to 65. This was followed by ten more episodes in 1987, bringing the total to 75.
  • Johnny Test, renewed for a fifth (and later sixth) season after the first four brought the 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.
  • M.A.S.K. had 65 episodes in its first series, 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 for an additional 26 episode season. And a few more after that. The show would eventually end its run with 228 episodes (including six clip show episodes) over nine seasons and a theatrical film, in additional to spin-off materials.
  • Phineas and Ferb – Ended at 222 episodes over 137 half-hours (plus a TV movie) making it Disney's second longest-running animated series after Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Makes the list because the first two seasons total up to 65 episodes. (A revival is forthcoming.)
  • 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 13 episodes, 6 of them airing under its own name and the rest of the material airing on The Cat&Birdy Warneroonie PinkyBrainy Big Cartoonie Show.
  • 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 season. At the last minute, Disney backed out, and three of the episodes that were finished before they did 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.
  • 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 26 episodes.
  • 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 four seasons of South Park add up to 65 episodes, plus The Movie. The show continues to this day with over 300 episodes.
  • The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series Channel Hopped to CBS after producing 65 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, which had a 65-episode first season, and then many more episodes across three more seasons.
  • 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 three-part "The Rebirth" series finale.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender was renewed for one more season after a total of 65 episodes across seven seasons, totalling 78 episodes.

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