There’s an entire list of great animated shows created for adults–Rick and Morty, Bob’s Burgers, BoJack Horseman, Archer, Futurama. The Simpsons. But, in the last couple of years, kids’ cartoons crossed over into exceptional television. Netflix seems to funnel money into great animation with interesting storylines that grown-ups can enjoy alongside–or utterly separate from kids. Here are five great cartoons on Netflix you should watch right now.
Slick animation and an engaging high-stakes storyline will grab you right from S1E1. And while there are heroes and villains, most of the characters fall somewhere in the middle. It’s a rich cast of people trying to do right. But the show does an unbelievable job showing how complicated the ideas of “good” and “right” really are, especially across cultures. Here, it’s humans and magical creatures. If there was ever a time when the lessons of an animated show feel relevant. Fair warning, there are only three seasons on Netflix, so once you binge those, it’s a long wait for a season that hasn’t started production yet.
Netflix subscribers of a certain age may have a childhood relationship to the Nickelodeon show Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s also streaming on Netflix and is fine. But TLOK is exceptional, and as someone who didn’t watch Avatar, you don’t need any context to enjoy it. Again, the animation is sick, including a stand-alone episode (S2E7) about the origin of the avatar that features some of the most beautiful animation I’ve ever seen.
Netflix’s description doesn’t do justice to this imaginative post-apocalyptic animated show. The art is more stylized than Dragon Prince or TLOK, which suits the bizarro world storyline just fine. Kipo, the protagonist, is a teenage girl separated from her dad in a world overtaken by genetically mutated life-forms. It’s earned critical acclaim for a host of reasons, including the diverse cast and LGBT characters. It’s a cool show, set in a fun world with awesome music and likable characters, that isn’t afraid to get deep and dark with the storyline and themes.
This reboot of the 1980s show hammers hard on friendship, acceptance, cooperation, friendship. But it’s binge-able and cute. I recommend saving it for a snow day, a sick day, quarantine, making the time just pass.
I’m a firm believer that there are no bad Jurassic Park movies. People running from dinosaurs is a well I’m willing to go back to over and over. Granted, computer animation doesn’t generate the same thrills as, well, computer-animated dinosaurs. But the premise of the eight-episode season follows the same plot points as all the movies. People are excited to see dinosaurs; catastrophe happens; people run from dinosaurs. Again, perfect for a Sunday brunch with your quarantine pod.