After several years of uninspired animated comedies trying to recreate the success of The Simpsons and Family Guy by entirely copying them, I’ve noticed we’re finally starting to see some emerge that are actually taking advantage of the mediums possibilities. The standard has improved so much that out of nowhere I have found myself turning several of these new animated shows into appointment TV. So with that in mind, I thought it might be fun to count down six of the best animated shows on TV right now.
Based on the cult classic film of the same name from 2009, the Black Dynamite TV show follows in the original films footsteps telling the story of the former CIA Officer and war veteran determined to clean up the streets of drugs and crime. It’s a hilarious and highly stylised parody of the Blaxploitation genre with a good dose of surrealism, a stellar voice cast and stories that can genuinely take you places you were not expecting to go. So far only 10 episodes have been produced, but a new series is due this year, so now is the time to catch up.
Bob’s Burgers may look like another Simpsons Guy clone on the surface. But don’t be fooled, this show actually tends to be a lot more down to earth than its contemporaries, while also being about a million times funnier. It follows hapless farther and Burger Bar owner Bob and his family’s misadventures. The heart of this show is in its characters, the family are just dysfunctional enough to generate interesting stories and comedy while not falling too hard into the ‘zany’ area that similar shows have ultimately gone down. Plus, this show has one of the finest voice cast’s on TV.
Rick and Morty
A new show for this year, from Community creator Dan Harmon and voice acting genius Justin Roiland, that analyses the rather disturbing relationship between a mad scientist and his teenage assistant, who also happens to be his grandson. Not only is this show hilarious but it manages to seamlessly weave insane science fiction concepts with the mundane domestic lives of its characters. The writing is amongst the smartest out there and I truly believe this show is destined to be a huge hit. I highly recommend you jump on now.
Some of you may think of this as cheating because South Park has been on the air for 18 years and arguably shouldn’t count as a show that’s recently made it onto my must watch list. But after several years of not regularly watching the show, it seems South Park has genuinely found a second wind and in the last couple I’ve fallen in love with the quiet little mountain town and its inhabitants all over again.
It’s actually remarkable that a show this old is still managing to feel this fresh, but this is a result of the stellar scripts and the insane production schedule (Each episode is written, recorded and animated in just 6 days) which allows the team to parody things still making headlines. So if like me you let this show get away from you over the years, you need to fall back down that rabbit hole. It’s never been better.
This is the only show on this list that is actually intended for children, but that should not put anyone off from giving Adventure Time a chance. At first I honest felt it was simply too surreal for my tastes. The world is so imaginative and is absolutely bursting with charm, but the logic of the world simply didn’t seem consistent and I found this irritating. But it turns out this is entirely intentional, and that the true genius of this show lies in its ability to slowly make the viewer understand aspects of the world over time through small amounts of information.
The show actually taught me to just relax, have fun and trust that the creators wouldn’t leave all this stuff hanging, and now I’m utterly hooked. I won’t describe it’s plot here, as I feel discovering this show is half the fun. But Adventure Time is funny, confident and most importantly… it actually tells stories through its visuals. Which are as brilliant, innovative and crazy as the stories themselves. All in all Adventure Time is one of the most charming kids shows on TV, and despite being a kids show it never talks down to its audience and is never anything less than hilarious.
I intentionally saved this one for last because in my opinion, Archer isn’t just the best animated comedy on TV, but one of the best comedies on TV full stop. For a start it’s more original than most, opting to focus on the world of espionage rather than the more stereotypical family model. But on top of that the show has not been content to stay even in that world, without spoiling anything it has drifted into all sorts of other scenarios over its five seasons. With a sixth season already ordered due to its increasing popularity.
From a writing standpoint this show is an absolute work of genius, casually building complex yet subtle long term story arcs that pay off in unexpected ways. Combine this with some of the most intelligent dialogue and jokes on TV, some of the most innovative characters/scenarios, an absolutely stellar voice cast and some surprisingly epic action sequences and you have Archer. I’m not recommending people watch this show, I’m demanding it. You will not regret it.
So that’s all of them, honourable mentions go to Axe Cop, The Venture Bros, Legend of Korra, and the 2012 reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But I for one am glad to see this genre growing and hope more and more people start checking these show out, as they are honestly among the most interesting stuff on TV at the moment.
Disagree with my list? Thing I missed something? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.