The Boondocks is an American adult animated sitcom on Cartoon Network’s late-night programming block, Adult Swim. Created by Aaron McGruder, based upon his comic strip of the same name, the series premiered on November 6, 2005. The show begins with a black family, the Freemans, settling into the fictional, peaceful, and mostly white suburb of Woodcrest. The perspective offered by this mixture of cultures, lifestyles, social classes, stereotypes, viewpoints and racial(ized) identities provides for much of the series’ satire, comedy, and conflict.
The Boondocks ended on June 23, 2014 with a total of 55 episodes over the course of the show’s four seasons. The fourth and final season was produced without any involvement from McGruder. The series also airs in syndication outside the United States and has been released on various DVD sets and other forms of home media, including on demand streaming on Netflix.
The Boondocks began as a comic strip on Hitlist.com, one of the first online music websites. The strip later found its way into The Source magazine. Following these runs, McGruder began simultaneously pitching The Boondocks both as a syndicated comic strip and an animated television series. The former goal was met first, and The Boondocks debuted in newspapers in April 1999.
In the meantime, development on a Boondocks TV series continued. McGruder and film producer/director Reginald Hudlin (President of Entertainment for BET from 2005–08) created a Boondocks pilot for the Fox Network, but found great difficulty in making the series acceptable for network television. Hudlin left the project after the Fox deal fell through, although McGruder and Sony Television are contractually bound to continue to credit him as an executive producer. Mike Lazzo, president of Adult Swim and executive producer for Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Space Ghost Coast to Coast, stumbled across the pilot and declared it “too networky”. He then ordered a 15-episode season and told McGruder to “just tell stories”.
The series has a loose connection with the continuity of the comic strip, though during the final year of the strip McGruder made a point to try to synchronize both. He introduced Uncle Ruckus into the strip, and the comic-strip version of Riley’s hair was braided into cornrows to match the character’s design in the series. During Season 1, McGruder put the strip on a 6-month hiatus beginning in March 2006. He did not return to the strip the following November, and the strip’s syndicate, Universal Press Syndicate, announced that it had been cancelled.