Clerks: The Animated Series was produced by Miramax and View Askew Productions in association with Touchstone Television. In addition to being Disney’s second adult animated series after fellow Touchstone Television production The PJs, it was also the first (and so far) only adult animated series produced by Walt Disney Television Animation, which ultimately went uncredited.
According to the commentary for the series premiere episode, Smith and Mosier first had the idea of the animated series in 1995. In that same commentary, Mosier claimed that they pitched the series to “every” network, including HBO, Fox, The WB, and several others. They were given a thirteen-episode order from UPN, but turned down the offer in order to be on a bigger channel like ABC, having been told that UPN would be off the air within a year.
On a DVD bonus feature, Smith revealed that they initially cast Alan Rickman as the voice of Leonardo Leonardo, so they decided to design the character after Hans Gruber from the film Die Hard (1988). Rickman disapproved of the design because he did not want to play the character again. ABC eventually turned him down anyway for budgetary reasons and recast the role with Alec Baldwin.
Only two episodes were broadcast on ABC in the year 2000 before the series was canceled. Several factors contributed to the cancellation, including low ratings, the show’s not fitting in with ABC’s other programming, unsuccessful test-screening to older audiences, and ABC’s decision to air the shows out of order. ABC aired the fourth episode first, as opposed to the intended first episode, and then aired the second episode despite the fact that the second episode is the ‘flashback’ episode, and derives much of its humor from the fact that it flashes back to the first episode (as well as the beginning of that very episode) rather frequently. Additionally, the second episode aired without the scene from “Flintstone’s List”, the fictional RST Video rental that spoofed Schindler’s List.
All six episodes were released on DVD in 2001, marking one of the first occasions in which a short-lived TV series found success in this format. The DVD commentary features cast and crew who frequently cite their disagreements with the network over the show’s development. The entire series was eventually aired on Comedy Central, with the unaired episodes airing for the first time on television on December 14, 2002. In 2006, digital Freeview channel ITV 4 in the UK, began broadcasting episodes late on Monday nights. Starting November 14, 2008, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block aired the series on Friday nights. It also aired on the El Rey Network during their “Jay and Silent Bob Takeover Marathon.”
Several scenes filmed for, but cut from, the film Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (but included on the film’s DVD release) contain metafictional moments when Randal makes references to the animated series, as well as its cancellation. On his DVD commentary for the film, Smith said the intent was to make the quick cancellation of the series a running gag.
Brian O’Halloran as Dante Hicks
Jeff Anderson as Randal Graves
Jason Mewes as Jay
Kevin Smith as Silent Bob
Alec Baldwin as Leonardo Leonardo
Dan Ethridge as Mr. Plug
Tara Strong as Giggling Girl
Walt Flanagan as Fanboy
Bryan Johnson as Steve-Dave Pulasti
Charles Barkley as Himself