HBO Max Just Quietly Removed 16 Seasons Of Looney Tunes Shorts

For something that should be one of the cornerstones of their company, Warner Bros. Discovery continues to show that it has absolutely no idea what to do with "Looney Tunes" or animation in general. To this day, the cartoon shorts that began back in 1930 remain hilarious and always surprise me with how the animators found unusual ways to push the techniques of the medium in new directions to get a laugh. Like "The Muppets" and "The Simpsons" after it, what astounds me the most is the sheer volume of characters they created where each one is fully realized and has their own unique comedic game. And yet ... the most WB is willing to do with them is "What if they played basketball inside a computer server?" Just depressing.

To add to the depression, The Cartoon News reports (and /Film has confirmed) that Warner Bros. Discovery has taken 256 of the classic "Looney Tunes" shorts off HBO Max, cutting the initial number 511 in half. There were 31 seasons of shorts available for your viewing pleasure. Now, there are just 15. This is yet another instance in the era of David Zaslav as CEO where HBO Max has removed something without warning. As for what they are going to do with these shorts, they will probably be shuffled off to a FAST service like some other shows, but nothing has been formally announced on that front.

We didn't have all the shorts to begin with

They may have had 511 shorts available to watch on HBO Max, but that is only about half of the total 1,002 "Looney Tunes" and "Merry Melodies" theatrical shorts created by Warner Bros. from the original run of the two series. As for which ones ended up on HBO Max, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason for which ones did. The service does not separate shorts from the two series, as they both feature all the classic characters, so it's not a case of them just having "Looney Tunes" and not "Merry Melodies" or vice versa.

That means today, after this latest HBO Max purge, we only have about a quarter of the shorts to watch. I wonder if we would be at this point had WB not absolutely fumbled how they have utilized these characters in the last 20 years, by which I mean they haven't even really tried. For instance, did you know that they have been producing a show called "Looney Tunes Cartoons," which are essentially new entries into the "Looney Tunes" and "Merry Melodies" series? And that the fifth and final season of this show is ongoing? Of course you didn't. WB wants to make this stuff to keep the brand alive, but doesn't seem all that interested in actually showing it to people. 

Guess what? The new shorts are pretty good! If Warner Bros. Discovery was interested in actually making these characters popular again, it would back "Looney Tunes" and make sure it stays on the platform. But as the last year of business decisions from the company has shown us, the execs aren't entirely sure what they're doing over there.