Adult Swim Went Out of Its Way to Humiliate Fans Begging It to Renew ‘Metalocalypse’
In 2015, after the brutal and beloved series Metalocalypse failed to secure a fifth season from the animation monolith, the show’s co-creator Brendon Small started a Change.org petition and a mail-in campaign for fans to lobby Hulu to strike a deal with Adult Swim to co-finance a proper finale for the series. Adult Swim’s decidedly unprofessional but massively metal response to Small’s negotiating tactics was to start their own petition page promising to add their name to the appeal if at least 25 fans sent pleas to the network via fax and told them why the show was worthy for revival.
Then Adult Swim live-streamed their fax machine as it deposited those appeals directly into a garbage can. Brutal.
Metalocalypse was a part-parody, part-pastiche portrayal of the culture surrounding heavy metal music taken to its most hyperbolic extremes. The show focused on the fictional band Dethklok whose popularity and influence reached such insane heights that their empire was the seventh-largest economy on the planet, and their hordes of fanaticized followers would literally overthrow governments for insulting Dethklok’s name. Small described Dethklok as a sensation similar to Beatlemania, “just a thousand times more dangerous and a billion times more stupid."
Featuring performances from big-names such as Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell, the show itself became a sensation among metalheads and Adult Swim enthusiasts alike. The music from the series (also written by Small) became so popular that one of Dethklok’s albums hit number 10 on the Billboard 100, making it the highest charting death metal album of all time.
Despite Metalocalypse and Dethklok’s devoted following, budget discussions between Small and Adult Swim stalled following the show’s fourth season, which led to the network’s decision to end the show on a cliffhanger following the hour-long rock opera special, “Metalocalypse: The Doomstar Requiem.” Small, however, was unsatisfied with the unfulfilled finale, taking his grievances to the series’ fan base and starting the doomed petition.
Like most Change.org petitions, Small’s appeal didn’t change any decision maker’s mind on the subject. Instead of delivering a simple and polite “no,” Adult Swim decided to have a little fun with the jilted fans. In a note on the Adult Swim website, the network announced a legally unbinding and completely non-committal promise to add their names to the petition as long as they received the comically low number of fax requests required. Following the infamous livestream that saw fans’ pleas pile up in the garbage can, Adult Swim posted a video of a contractor of theirs adding her name to the Change.org petition in one of the most monotone “Fuck Yous” in cable television history.
Adult Swim’s callous response to a former creative partner and the tens of thousands of fans who had hoped for a proper goodbye might seem cruel, but, in a cosmic way, it’s a fitting end for a show about cold, uncaring sociopaths who were prophesized to bring about the apocalypse. However, Adult Swim did announce a Metalocalypse movie back in 2021 — maybe Metalocalypse fans will finally get their happy ending where Dethklok kills us all.