A little backstory.
Way back in 1999, the guys and gals at Williams Street fell in love with this unique anime series called Cowboy Bebop, just like most of us. And why not? It had action, comedy, suspense, drama, mystery, silliness, noir, sci-fi, and Western storytelling in a neat package with a great cast of characters and voice actors and probably the greatest soundtrack ever recorded for a television series (not just animated series, ANY series).
The guys at Williams Street were so enamored with the series that they wanted it badly on the block they created, Toonami. Cartoon Network refused saying it was too violent for kids.
People tend to forget that Toonami was a kids block.
That didn’t deter them a bit. They were fans of the crew of the Bebop. They wanted the guy who was the voice of Spike Spiegel to be the upgraded voice of the robot host TOM, so, they hired Spike’s English voice actor
David LucasSteve Blum to be the new TOM, a role he had played for over a decade.
(Let’s put things in perspective. At the time of this writing, The Intruder premiered nearly 12 years ago. Yup, you’re old.)
Williams Street wanted Cowboy Bebop on Toonami, and they fought hard to put it up there. Again, Cartoon Network refused. However, in spring 2001, Cartoon Network announced plans to create a weekly adult comedy block to premiere that fall. It was going to be an hour-long weekly showcase of comedy cartoons for the adult viewers. They called the block Adult Swim, and Williams Street was in charge of it after creating Toonami, which was one of Cartoon Network’s highest-rated programming blocks at the time.
They didn’t plan on putting anime on Adult Swim at the time. It was supposed to be just all comedy. Cartoon Network and Williams Street found allies and kindred spirits with Bandai, who brought Gundam Wing and later Outlaw Star and The Big O to the Toonami lineup. Ratings were good for those shows, but Williams Street still wanted Cowboy Bebop on Toonami.
Cartoon Network kept saying no, but they finally relented in August 2001. But instead of Toonami, Cowboy Bebop would be the sole anime property on the weekly Adult Swim lineup. Thirteen weeks of back-to-back airings would close out the block every Sunday night at midnight.
And the viewers watched and still watch to this day. Cowboy Bebop has been the anime cornerstone of the Adult Swim lineup since day one, and it’s only fitting the series rounds out the Toonami lineup every week. After 11 years, Williams Street finally gets one of the most iconic animated series of all time on the Toonami block.
Patience is its own reward.