I love animation. Like, seriously. I’m pretty sure that the genre as a whole is what really inspired me to get into movies as a young child, because what’s the best way to quiet a child? Put them in front of an animated movie. And now, I have a whole new appreciation for the world of animation.
Whether it’s watching some of the best Pixar movies or checking out some of the funniest adult animated series, I’ve really come to love animation as a whole - which is why today, I’m going to recommend to you seven of the best under-the-radar animated TV shows out there that you should watch.
While they all have their own dedicated fanbases, I personally think they should receive far more praise than they’ve already gotten, including The Owl House, so be sure to check out each of these awesome picks.
The Owl House (2020 - Present)
First up, we have The Owl House, a Disney Channel original show. This history-making series follows a young teenage girl who ends up falling into a fantasy world that takes her on a crazy adventure alongside two new friends, a witch and a warrior, who teach her lessons about life and how magic is everywhere we look.
The Owl House is definitely a great under-the-radar show. Often, when people think of animated shows on Disney, they might think of shows like Phineas and Ferb or Fish Hooks, and while those shows are good in their own regard, there’s something about The Owl House that reminds me of the show Gravity Falls, where there’s a clear draw for kids, but adults such as myself can really enjoy it and love the lessons it teaches.
Arcane (2021 - Present)
Taking place in the world of the video game, League of Legends, this Netflix original series, Arcane, follows two sisters who are torn apart due to family tragedy in a world that is separated by class. Now, they must find a way back to each other, despite both having changed drastically and gone through serious trauma.
While Arcane, in my eyes, doesn’t seem like an “under-the-radar” show because it was decently popular when it first came out, I believe because it has the “League of Legends stigma,” many people won’t watch it. However, Arcane is so much more than the toxic fanbase of the game that the show was based around. The characters are amazingly well-done and have wonderful character development - including Jinx, one of the best characters I’ve seen in an animated show in a while - and the animation is truly astounding.
Voltron: Legendary Defender (2016 - 2018)
A reboot of the classic, animated sci-fi series of the same name, Voltron: Legendary Defender is a Netflix original series set in a far-off galaxy where we follow the Paladins of Voltron, fighters who have to learn to work together in order to defeat a life-erasing threat that not only endangers their lives, but the lives of the innocent as well.
For those who don’t know about Voltron - which is said to be getting a new movie reboot soon - this sci-fi franchise has been around since the mid-1980s, so it surprised me that when this came out back in 2016, it didn’t spark that much hype. But, it really is such a good animated show, with well-done characters and some amazingly animated fight sequences, as well as some awesome voice-over work from stars such as Steven Yeun and Josh Keaton.
Over The Garden Wall (2014)
While Over the Garden Wall is a miniseries, I just need to talk about it because it feels like no one has ever heard of this show. Here, two half-brothers have to traverse a forest filled with magical creatures, creating an intense journey that has them not only learning things about the world, but about themselves.
Over the Garden Wall is a prime example of the phrase “less is more.” While this animated miniseries could have easily been turned into a full-fledged TV series if given the chance, I love how they did this show. Its story is tight-knit, with so much lore and magic that you’ll feel like you’re reading a Harry Potter book, and yet not a single ounce of it feels like it’s unneeded. No filler necessary here. The animation is also brilliantly done and something you’ll come to love just as much as me.
Love, Death + Robots (2019 - Present)
In this anthology series from Netflix, Love, Death + Robots showcases a new story each episode, often with a different cast, and even a different style of animation. But all of these episodes always feature one key phrase from the title - love, death, or robots.
This series is freaking awesome. It has gotten some praise, but nowhere near the amount of hype that it needs to be receiving. This is the first animated anthology series that I think I’ve ever seen and finds a way to amaze me with each of its seasons. From its diverse range of genres that it explores to the wonderful voice casting on each episode and so much more, Love, Death + Robots is seriously one of the best adult animated shows on Netflix.
She-Ra And The Princesses Of Power (2018 - 2020)
Next up, we have the Netflix original series, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. This story mainly follows Adora, a young woman who can turn into She-Ra, a powerful heroine who leads a group of magical allies to defeat Lord Hordak and his evil ways.
Related to the classic character, He-Man, this show is just fantastic. For a long time, my favorite animated series was Avatar: The Last Airbender - with one of my favorite animated characters being Zuko from that show - but She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is tied with it for me because of its world building, powerful characters, and phenomenal character development, as well as the relationships - you’ll be rooting for Adora and Catra just like I was.
Seriously, check out this show. You won’t regret it. And the LBGTQ+ representation? Freaking amazing.
Central Park (2020 - Present)
Last, but not least, we have the amazing Apple TV+ original series, Central Park. Created by the same people who do Bob’s Burgers, this musical-animated series follows a family that is determined to save Central Park in New York City when a land developer wishes to raze the whole park and build new commercial spaces instead.
As someone who grew up going to Central Park all the time, and who loves musicals/animation, Central Park is the best of both worlds. The cast is phenomenal, with the likes of the talented Daveed Diggs, Tituss Burgess, Josh Gad, and more offering their singing talents to the show, but it’s also so funny and animated perfectly.
Maybe now you just might realize how awesome these under-the-radar animated shows truly are. And hopefully, you’ll find a brand new show to obsess about just as much as me. Now, if Arcane Season 2 could be released, I would be able to die happily.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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