Once thought to be only for kids, the appeal of animated programming has expanded exponentially over the past decade. Prime time sitcoms like The Simpsons and Family Guy, as well as a wide variety of programs on channels like Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, have demonstrated that cartoons have high entertainment value for children as well as adults.
With the sharp rise in popularity of streaming video, a new avenue of delivery exists for cartoons both new and old, and services like Netflix and Dish’s Sling TV are now putting some of the best feature films, the Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, and more right at your fingertips. Here’s some of the best animated programming available for streaming right now:
The Powerpuff Girls
Originally aired by Cartoon Network in 1998, this bright and colorful Emmy winner follows the adventures of three crime fighting little girls. Created in a lab and endowed with superpowers, the The Powerpuff Girls often engage in witty repartee full of pop culture references and veiled adult humor, making the show enjoyable for viewers of all ages. It is rumored that the series will relaunch in 2016.
Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers
This 2006 full-length feature starring the classic Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. cat and mouse makes use of some modern animation techniques but keeps the spirit of the old cartoons alive. While the film features contemporary voice actors like Mark Hamill and Charles Nelson Reilly, it incorporates much of the music and sound effects from the original 1940s cartoon for a lively, fun mix of old and new. Older fans are able to reminisce in its familiar story and younger ones will be created with this timeless rivalry.
This highly imaginative and critically revered series from Cartoon Network has great fun turning fantasy tropes on their head while also delivering great messages to their viewers. The writing, which balances deftly between fiendishly clever and downright silly, appeals to a varied and eclectic fan base, making Adventure Time one of the most successful modern animated shows.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Tim Burton has had a productive and storied career, but he may well be remembered for this stop-motion animated treat above all his other works. Combining Halloween and Christmas into a deliciously dark story, showcasing Burton’s trademark visual ingenuity, and featuring a slew of memorable songs, this new holiday classic should be required viewing for everyone.
The Adventures of Tintin
This 2011 film features a well-known team with Steven Spielberg directing, Peter Jackson producing, and Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish writing an adaptation of the beloved book and radio series. Jamie Bell headlines a slew of talented voice actors in telling the tale of a young journalist searching for a sunken ship full of treasure.
The Brothers Quay Anthology
The highly surreal and fiercely original stop-motion animations of The Brothers Quay have influenced such esteemed visual artists as Monty Python‘s Terry Gilliam and Tool’s Adam Jones. Bereft of plot or dialogue, these dark and esoteric short films often use only avant-garde music and some sound effects, and are recommended viewing for the adventurous.
Batman: Year One
This film adaptation of the popular Frank Miller comic book series and often considered one of the best comics of all time, tells the story of a younger Bruce Wayne, recently returned to Gotham after intense martial arts training. Featuring voice acting from Bryan Cranston and Eliza Dushku, this is an origin story no Batman fan will want to miss.
Whether you’re a cartoon fanatic or just looking for some fun entertainment, there is a wealth of animated brilliance available for your enjoyment. From action to fantasy to just plain weird, there’s something for everyone and, thanks to the internet, is immediately available with the click of a mouse.