That’s All for 'Gravity Falls.' Or Is It?
Gravity Falls airs its final episode on Disney XD Feb. 15, wrapping up just two seasons. It’s an offbeat series, full of mysterious mythology, sort of like a Twin Peaks for kids.
Speaking of twins, the show features a set—Dipper and Mabel Pines are sent to live with their goofy relatives in the town of Gravity Falls, where it becomes apparent that some weird stuff is going on. There are lots of in-jokes, blink-and-you-miss-it references and codes for viewers to decipher.
Gravity Falls is the only series, along with occasional SpongeBob episodes, that my 10-year-old son watches on TV, the rest of his screen time occupied by games on the iPad. He and his friends quote the show frequently; increasingly, my 7-year-old daughter does too, a byproduct of sharing a family room with her brother.
They’re not the only ones watching. Gravity Falls averaged 1.6 million total viewers across its two seasons. It’s the top series in network history across all target demographics, according to Disney XD.
Creator Alex Hirsch said he set out to make something that would appeal to people his own age, which is 30. “I honestly thought it would go over kids’ heads,” he said. “It’s not that I wasn’t anticipating their intelligence, but I don’t think I anticipated the scope of their passion. I was so pleasantly surprised—I had no idea our audience would so rise to the challenge we set for them.”
Hirsch said two seasons was the plan all along. “When I very first pitched the show, I pitched it as this thing that has only a few seasons—there is a beginning, middle and end, like a book with a certain number of chapters,” he said.
The entire series is set across a lone summer. “There’s a few big questions that have answers,” he adds. “Once they’re answered, that’s it.”
Hirsch spoke of the diehard fans he’s met over the past couple years. It was after seeing an “elaborate, aggressive rap” video with “shocking attention to detail,” he said, incorporating all the various plot lines of the show, that Hirsch realized the impact Gravity Falls had made on pop culture. “At that moment it was, oh my god, anything can happen now,” he said. “People care enough to do something so insane and delightful.”
So, like, that’s really it for Gravity Falls? Hirsch said there could be a special, or a comic book, or some other iteration of the franchise, down the road.
“We do live in this strange age of repeats and retreads and requels and prequels,” he said. “Anything people like enough to bring back, they will bring back eventually.”
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
By Jens Koerner