Long gone are the days when cartoons were made just for kids.
Thanks to early adapters like The Simpsons, Beavis and Butt-Head, and South Park, the market for adult-oriented animated programs has been wide open for quite some time, with current favorites like Family Guy,Rick and Morty, Bob’s Burgers, and more broadening the scope of just how hilarious all of those drawn characters can be.
Among its many original and licensed offerings, Netflix has also become a solid provider of grown-up-friendly cartoons, so, if you’re looking to stream another show drawn to satisfy a more mature audience, here are some options to add to that Netflix queue right now.
There’s nothing scarier than going through the disorienting, awkward, and downright disgusting process of puberty, but Big Mouth manages to make the whole thing pretty hilarious. By personifying things like hormones and hair follicles from down there, the show gives new life to all the body changes and sudden urges that making growing up so, um, hard. And the good news for fans is that the streaming service is tripling down on its dedication to this series.
What happens when animals take over the world? Why, they act just like us of course! BoJack Horseman centers on an aging former sitcom star who is jaded by the whole Hollywood institution and his floundering fame and takes it out on everyone he comes across. Thanks to its bonkers visual gags, sharp dialogue, and some surprisingly touching moments of emotional introspection, the show is worth sticking with.
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Fans of the hit video game Castlevania were in for a treat when Netflix decided to give it the anime treatment, with all the requisite violence and adult language the dark subject matter deserved. The series centers on a vampire-hunter who aims to stop Dracula from taking out his vengeance over his martyred wife on everyone in his path, and the action scenes alone make this one well worth the watch.
Matt Groening brings his signature style to the very distant past with Disenchantment, a medieval fantasy series about the misadventures of a wayward princess and her sidekicks, an elf and a demon. For those who have enjoyed the gentler situational comedy gags of The Simpsons and Futurama, the show is a must-watch.
F is for Family
As its title hints, F is for Family plays fast and loose with the four-letter words, as it chronicles the gnawing frustrations and resulting rage episodes of its hilariously unhinged patriarch Frank Murphy (voiced by show co-creator Bill Burr). He’s not always the most lovable guy on Earth — and you’re bound to cringe at how uncomfortable he makes his long-suffering family at times — but beneath all the cynicism is a story with heart and lots of laughs.
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Those with a taste for oddball police comedies should get a kick out of Paradise PD, which is in the same vein as Roger Black and Waco O’Guin’s other animated series Brickleberry, but with much more lewd and crude humor.
This stop-motion animation series aims straight for the feels. It centers on a woman named Kaoru (Lana Condor) who struggles with some very typical twenty-something problems, like an unsatisfying job and self-esteem issues, but who has a trio of living (but still quite cuddly) teddy bears — including the eponymous Rilakkuma — at home to help her through. As a bonus, Netflix is also currently streaming Aggretsuko, another story about a stationary character, this time a red panda from the world of Sanrio who finds her own unique ways of coping with the pratfalls of office life in her 20s.
Reality competition enthusiasts will no doubt get a kick out of Total Drama, a tongue-in-cheek parody series built in the image of Survivor. Even though it boasts a kid-friendly rating, there’s enough suggestive dialogue and situations to make it a hoot for adults to enjoy as well. The Canadian cartoon series was even popular enough in its initial run to spawn two sequel series, The Ridonculous Race and Total DramaRama, both of which debuted in America on Cartoon Network.
Thanks to the vocal talents of Ali Wong and Tiffany Haddish and the vibrant landscape of this animated original, the title birds in this new series create a hilarious lens for all manner of real-life experiences for women in their 30s. The BFFs deal with everything from tragedy to humiliation to addiction, while, yes, talking to anthropomorphic plants and riding in a caterpillar subway. The only bad thing about this show is that was canceled way too soon, which may or may not have been a result of the wonky algorithm that managed to overlook recommending the series to people of interest — including its own creator, Lisa Hanawalt.
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Voltron: Legendary Defender
For those who grew up watching the space explorers of Voltron catapulting through the universe on their giant robot, Netflix and Dreamworks’ ongoing reboot of the series allows them to enjoy a new slice of childhood right alongside the little ones. Seven seasons later, the show appeals to both grown-ups and their kids alike.
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