If there’s one area that Netflix has excelled, it’s in the category of adult animation.
The streamer has managed to take the field firmly held by shows like Family Guy, The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers, and spun it into completely new territory free from the constraints of network television. These animated originals are not only funny, they also tackle humanity in a way that some live-action shows can only aspire to.
Here are the five Netflix Originals that have changed the adult animation game.
In the newest Netflix animated original, Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong are Tuca and Bertie, 30-year-old best friends and former roommates turned neighbors. The 10-episode first season from creator Lisa Hanawalt (BoJack Horseman) arrived on Netflix in early May 2019. The series is playful and naughty, but also tackles serious issues like addiction, PTSD, and sexual harassment.
Must-watch episode: Season 1, Episode 9 “The Jelly Lakes”
It begins with Tuca and Bertie on a road trip — including a fun stop at a near-deserted shopping mall — and ends with Bertie confronting a painful memory from her childhood.
Will Arnett is BoJack Horseman, a former 90s sitcom star who has gone from Hollywood legend to self-loathing drunk and addict. With a sixth season currently in the works, we’ve seen BoJack, his friend Todd (Aaron Paul), frenemy Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) and former love interest Diane (Alison Brie) through some highs and lows.
Must watch episode: Season 3, Episode 4 “Fish Out of Water”
It’s difficult to pick just one standout episode, but this groundbreaking achievement sends BoJack to the Pacific Ocean Film Festival where his failure to communicate under water leads to an adventure. It’s most impressive because it manages to convey tons of emotion in 30 nearly dialogue-free minutes.
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Puberty is the setting for this brilliant, edgy animated comedy from real-life best friends Nick Kroll (Kroll Show, The League) and Andrew Goldberg (Family Guy). As this group of tweens navigates their changing bodies and meets their “Hormone Monsters,” their friendships are turned upside down. The voice cast includes comedy powerhouses including Kroll, John Mulaney, Maya Rudolph, Jenny Slate, Jordan Peele, Jason Mantzoukas, and Jessi Klein. It has already been renewed for a third season.
Must-watch episode: Season 2, Episode 5 “The Planned Parenthood Show”
An argument breaks out in sex ed class, leading to an unforgettable journey through the worlds of contraceptives, STDs, and Planned Parenthood.
Take a trip back in time to the 1970s and meet the Murphys in this series from comedian Bill Burr and Emmy winner Michael Price. It’s the story of a man who hates his job, a housewife who wants more out of life, and a time where kids stayed out until the streetlights came on and people smoked in their homes. Burr voices patriarch Frank, Laura Dern is his wife, Sue, and Sam Rockwell is their hard-partying neighbor, Vic. A fourth season is coming in 2020.
Must-watch episode: Season 2, Episode 10 “Landing the Plane”
Frank and the airport staff attempt to take down an incompetent co-worker while Sue’s dream of being an inventor is stolen by a powerful businesswoman.
If the animation in Disenchantment reminds you of a show about a certain family from Springfield, there’s a very good reason — it’s from the creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening. Set in the medieval kingdom of Dreamland, hard-drinking Princess Bean (Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson), her elf companion Elfo (Nat Faxon), and her demon Luci (Eric Andre) get into shenanigans as Bean tries to take charge of her destiny. It also features voice acting legends John DiMaggio, Billy West, Maurice LaMarche, and Tress MacNeille. Part 2 launches on September 20 of this year.
Must-watch episode: Season 1, Episode 9 “To Thine Own Elf Be True”
When Elfo learns a shocking secret about himself, he goes home to Elfwood in search of the truth.