Animal Kingdom: 6 Reasons To Watch The TNT Show (Especially If You Love Thrilling Dramas)

Finn Cole and Ben Robson in Animal Kingdom
(Image credit: TNT)

Animal Kingdom is one of the best crime dramas currently airing. It follows the Cody family as they engage in criminal behavior — mainly robbery, violence, and drug use. It’s a TNT original TV show based on an Australian film of the same name. Animal Kingdom premiered on TNT in 2016, and is currently airing the sixth and final season as one of the major TV shows ending in 2022.

Though Animal Kingdom is coming to an end, there is still plenty of time to catch up before the series finale. Despite the fact that Animal Kingdom is a really thrilling drama, it’s a show that doesn’t get enough attention. If you’ve never seen it, here are some of the reasons why you should watch. 

Ellen Barkin and Finn Cole in Animal Kingdom

(Image credit: TNT)

Animal Kingdom Has Morally Questionable Characters Who Are Still Likable  

Many would say morally questionable characters who are still likable are antiheroes, but I wouldn’t exactly classify the Cody family as antiheroes, nor do I think they are the bad guys of this story. They fall more into the category of complicated protagonists. They commit crimes, but it’s because it’s the lifestyle that’s been ingrained in them since birth. 

They may enjoy it at times, but I get the feeling that if most of them knew any other way to really live, they might stop the crime. One of the things that makes these characters so fascinating is that they’re all extremely flawed and sometimes do really terrible things, but you can understand their motives.

It’s usually tied to some other issue, either from their childhood or their destructive familial relationships. Each character has, at least once, done something damaging to themselves or others, but almost all of them are able to pull the audience back to being on their side. It’s as much a toxic relationship for the viewers as it is for the family. That is kind of what makes it a compelling TV show. 

Ben Robson and Jake Weary in Animal Kingdom

(Image credit: TNT)

Entertaining Heist Scenes 

The Cody family often has some scheme or robbery they need to pull off to increase their wealth, keep their power, or just to survive. As the seasons have progressed, there seem to be more heist scenes and activity. These aren’t like big blockbuster heist movies, but the scenes are interesting enough for viewers to be drawn into the outcome. 

You watch on the edge of your seat as you wonder if J (Finn Cole), Pope (Shawn Hatosy), Deran (Jake Weary), and Craig (Ben Robson) will be able to execute their plan without being caught. It’s thrilling and the type of action that keeps the show exciting. 

Scott Speedman, Jake Weary, and Shawn Hatosy in Animal Kingdom

(Image credit: TNT)

A Nice Blend Of Comedy And Drama 

I am someone who will preach that the best TV dramas can effortlessly blend comedy and drama. I want to be on the brink of crying or laughing at any given moment. Animal Kingdom is one of those shows that delivers in the comedy and drama departments. It’s definitely more drama than comedy, but that’s what makes those comedic moments so special. They come out of nowhere but match the series' tone perfectly. If the show was all drama, it would be a little overwhelming, so that’s why it’s nice to have some lighter moments for a little bit of a break from the intensity. 

These comedic scenes also help establish the family dynamic. Even the most dramatic family has a fun moment once or twice. 

Shawn Hatosy in Animal Kingdom

(Image credit: TNT)

Twists And Turns That Are Actually Shocking 

This Animal Kingdom post is spoiler-free, so I won’t list the moments that shocked me. I consider myself someone who has watched enough TV shows and movies to see a twist coming a mile away. I can spot a TV death down on Earth from space. Basically, I’m saying that it is really hard to shock me. Animal Kingdom has surprised me more than a few times. 

This is one reason that I’m excited to see how it all ends, because I think I can guess what the future holds for all the main characters, but Animal Kingdom may surprise me again because it is not afraid to do the unexpected. Characters you expect to be invincible may die, characters who seem like they won’t make it further than the first episode managed to survive, and betrayals by the most unlikely sources happen all the time. Animal Kingdom never allows its viewers to become completely comfortable. They should always fear an unexpected twist or event. 

Shawn Hatosy in Animal Kingdom

(Image credit: TNT)

Award-Worthy Performances 

All of the Animal Kingdom characters have been ruthless at one point, but they’ve also been vulnerable, caring, and supporting when others are fighting some sort of demon. The actors behind these characters have had a lot of different emotions to play and they’ve played them well. There are many TV shows that have been snubbed by the Emmys and other major award shows. In the past, it was almost a crime to ignore great TV shows, but in 2022, it’s almost understandable. There are so many great TV shows out there and it's nearly impossible to give recognition to everyone who may deserve it. However, as a fan of Animal Kingdom, I do wish the actors were entered into the Emmy conversation more.

Ellen Barkin, Shawn Hatosy, and Finn Cole especially deserve some discussion, because they’ve given standout performances all throughout the TV show. Finn Cole deserves a nomination alone for having a believable American accent for all these seasons. Hatosy excels at giving us tortured Pope week after week. I wish someone would recognize his efforts. It seems that these actors won’t ever get the award nominations they deserve, at least not for Animal Kingdom. 

However, fans of the show know the greatness of the Animal Kingdom performances. 

Ellen Barkin in Animal Kingdom

(Image credit: TNT)

Animal Kingdom Is A Good Show To Binge Because Of The Pace And Plot  

When Animal Kingdom reaches its series finale, it will have 75 episodes in total. The first season only had 10 episodes, but the other five have each had 13 episodes. This may seem like a lot of episodes, but the show’s pace makes it easy to binge-watch. By the end of the pilot episode, you’re ready to play another.

Because you’ll be enthralled to find out more, you could end up binge-watching the show in anywhere from a few days to a couple of months. Luckily for those who don’t subscribe to TNT, Amazon Prime Video has it show available to watch. The current season is only available if you pay to preorder it, though.

However, Amazon Prime Video generally makes the past seasons available fairly quickly. They’re usually available a little less than a year after the season airs and definitely before the new season begins. Because Animal Kingdom Season 6 is the last, Amazon Prime Video and TNT may make it available even earlier than some of the past seasons. 

Until then, those new to the show can watch the first five seasons on Amazon Prime. Animal Kingdom is currently one of the best shows on the summer 2022 TV schedule, so it’s not too late to catch up.

Animal Kingdom airs every Sunday at 9:00 PM EST on TNT. 

Jerrica Tisdale
Freelance Writer

Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.