News

9 Reasons TV Animation Is Red Hot Right Now — From Rick and Morty Riots to a DuckTales Reboot and On

Animated shows are the some of the best of what's on TV now — and there's more to come!

by | October 11, 2017 | Comments

Are we living in the golden age of the animated comedy series? Sure, series like The Flintstones and The Jetsons got the TV trend started, but back then there were only three networks. Now that there’s Disney Channel, FX, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, and streaming services in the mix — there’s more TV animation than ever.

But why now?

Rotten Tomatoes took a look at the ratings, reviews, and cultural impact of today’s crop of animated shows to figure out why animation is so hot in 2017. Here are nine signs we are, in fact, living through a golden age of animated TV comedy.


1. RICK AND MORTY LITERALLY CAUSED A RIOT

Up 81 percent in viewership from season 2, season 3’s Rick and Morty finale had 1.5 million viewers between 18-49. Those are Modern Family numbers, and let’s face it, the only demographic advertisers care about. Big Bang Theory scores higher, but Big Bang didn’t have fast-food customers rioting.

Proof of the show’s reach: McDonald’s tried to hijack those Rick and Morty fans by bringing back the 1998 limited-edition Mulan Szechuan dipping sauce that Rick mentions in the season 3 premiere. But even the burger joint that serves billions and billions underestimated the demand of Rick and Morty fans. The Szechuan promo was a bust as locations ran out of sauce quickly or never got the sauce at all, turning unhappy customers away with the same old barbecue or honey mustard. McDonald’s has since promised to make more of the sauce to meet demand.


2. BOB’S BURGERS: THE MOVIE IS COMING IN 2020

The Simpsons have already made it to the big screen, and now another show from Fox’s Sunday night “Animation Domination” programming block is poised to dominate the box office. Now in its eighth season, Bob’s Burgers has a movie due in 2020, which all but guarantees the show will make it to season 10 or 11. The Simpsons made its movie around its 18th season, so Bob’s is on the fast track to catch up to the legendary series. Animation takes a long time — an average of nine months for a single episode — so three years for a movie sounds about right. Creator Loren Bouchard knows he’s got a lot to live up to.

“We’re thrilled to be invited to bring Bob’s Burgers to the big screen,” Bouchard said in a statement announcing the news. “We know the movie has to scratch every itch the fans of the show have ever had, but it also has to work for all the good people who’ve never seen the show. We also know it has to fill every inch of the screen with the colors and the sounds and the ever so slightly greasy texture of the world of Bob’s – but most of all it has to take our characters on an epic adventure. In other words, it has to be the best movie ever made. But no pressure, right?!”

The Bob’s Burgers movie will release July 17, 2020.


3. BOJACK HORSEMAN IS CERTIFIED FRESH

Netflix’s animated series Bojack Horseman may be the most acclaimed of the bunch with an average of 89 percent, and seasons 2 and 3 have perfect 100 percent scores. Whatever its ratings are, however, Netflix will never tell.

Bojack is about animal movie stars in a fictionalized, satirical “Hollwyoo,” but those animals have deep feelings. Take, for example, season 4 episode “Time’s Arrow,” which explores Bojack’s (Will Arnett) mother’s (Wendy Malick) dementia-plagued memories of her old caretaker Henrietta, an Inception-like patchwork of heartbreaking levels. Add in other out-of-the-box episodes like “Fish Out of Water,” which was essentially a silent comedy underwater, Bojack has earned the acclaim.


4. BIG STARS ARE DOING CARTOONS

The trend of big movie stars migrating to television is nothing new. Kiefer Sutherland, Kyra Sedgwick, Glenn Close, Jessica Lange, Kevin Bacon, Claire Danes and more have found juicier roles on shows than in movies (although most kept taking movie roles during hiatus). Previously, shows such as The Simpsons would lure A-listers like Mel Gibson or Meryl Streep to do guest voices, but now the big stars have begun playing lead roles on animated shows as well.

Look at Disney XD’s Ducktales reboot, with Doctor Who’s David Tennant as Scrooge McDuck. The cast of Netflix’s Big Mouth includes Jordan Peelee, Maya Rudolph, Jenny Slate, Andrew Rannells, and Fred Armisen along with creators Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. Bojack has Arnett, Aaron Paul, Alison Brie, and Amy Sedaris. Netflix again has Gemma Arterton, John Boyega, Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy, and Sir Ben Kingsley in the long-awaited Watership Down.

If those names look familiar, that’s because they’re some of the most famous voices around.


5. DUCKTALES IS AS WELL-REVIEWED AS IT IS POPULAR

Kids in the ’80s came home from school and watched DuckTales, which sent Donald Duck’s nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, on weekly adventures with their Uncle Scrooge, turning them into a trio of avian Indiana Joneses. It doesn’t take a Launchpad McQuack to figure out that bringing back DuckTales would have both 2017’s kids and the adults who grew up with DuckTales watching it again.

What Disney might not have counted on was the critical acclaim. DuckTales has a 100% Tomatometer score on reviews from critics at Indiewire, Screenrant, Nerdist, Cinemablend, and Den of Geek. All agree the new Disney XD version captures the spirit of the original with new animation and humor befitting 2017.


6. EVEN GROWN-UPS LOVE ‘EM

It’s easy to say grown-up shows like Bojack Horseman and Rick and Morty signal a new golden age of animation, but the fact that shows for children are just as beloved seals the deal. Disney’s Gravity Falls Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time have captivated grown-ups as well as their target audience. Even Rolling Stone weighed in on Adventure Time — and let’s not get started on the Bronies.


7. ARCHER IS 5/8 PERFECT

FX’s nighttime comedy Archer is also critically acclaimed. For any show, running eight seasons is a major accomplishment. Even better? If five of those eight seasons score 100% on the Tomatometer. Even the not-quite-perfect seasons only bring the average down to 96 percent.

Archer is a grown-up spoof of secret agent and spy movies, with ladies’ man Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) leading a dysfunctional team of agents on adventures. Creator Adam Reed has even taken Archer into other genres, like the fifth season Miami Vice homage Archer Vice and the most recent film noir detective season Archer Dreamland.


8. THE SIMPSONS IS ABOUT TO BE THE LONGEST RUNNING SHOW… EVER

In season 13, there was a joke at the end of a Simpsons clip show, “Gump Roast.” The song “They’ll Never Stop The Simpsons” promised “have no fear, we’ve got stories for years.” How true that promise was: season 29 just premiered, and Fox has renewed the show through season 30. Three decades already means The Simpsons has been on the air longer than any scripted show (only talk shows and news programs have lasted longer).

The Simpsons has another milestone in sight this year: beating Gunsmoke‘s record for the most produced episodes of scripted TV. Though Gunsmoke ran 20 years, TV seasons were longer then and produced 635 episodes total. Season 29 of The Simpsons will take the show past 636 episodes.


9. AND THERE’S MORE TO COME

Animation is so hot, in fact, that it’s invaded — and, in some cases, replaced — live-action series.

The CW Seed series Constantine turns NBC’s live-action version of the comic book character John Constantine (Matt Ryan) into an animated hero who smokes all he wants and faces demons of all different shapes and sizes. Read Ryan’s interview with Rotten Tomatoes here.

Syfy’s upcoming series based on a comic book, Happy!stars Christopher Meloni as a grizzled ex-cop and hitman ad features an animated imaginary friend named Happy (voiced by Patton Oswalt). From Crank co-creator Brian Taylor, Happy! looks bloody, scatological, and funnier than canceled Son of Zorn or Imaginary Mary, which also mixed live action and animation.

Tag Cloud

anime child's play Brie Larson Binge Guide Black History Month spanish language Superheroe space cars Netflix Christmas movies 2015 Black Mirror stoner green book Biopics singing competition Disney Shondaland Extras cancelled television Lionsgate spider-man Universal concert Cannes TruTV Marvel Comedy Central slashers critics A&E streaming Teen Marathons Food Network teaser diversity Freeform Amazon Studios binge technology Rocketman Tumblr unscripted adaptation documentary Red Carpet Family The CW comiccon 007 Pop USA Martial Arts game show Esquire Lifetime Christmas movies Academy Awards thriller Anna Paquin NBC SXSW hispanic Awards Tour robots Nat Geo Set visit Oscars Summer medical drama reviews Reality Competition festivals cats HBO Go Mindy Kaling Super Bowl Pop TV Sony Pictures children's TV USA Network witnail YA Schedule Starz Polls and Games best directors Nominations Turner First Reviews twilight Holiday First Look romantic comedy VICE Classic Film TBS E! Comics on TV Fox News Film Festival comic historical drama adventure CBS batman 2016 animated Ellie Kemper Hulu OneApp YouTube Emmy Nominations foreign kids BET Sundance TV sequel casting Epix docudrama Box Office GoT 2018 revenge Turner Classic Movies die hard facebook ratings Winners dramedy PBS Amazon Emmys Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Pet Sematary Mary Poppins Returns Nickelodeon mission: impossible Mudbound Musical Sundance Now Best and Worst politics 71st Emmy Awards Peacock independent sitcom romance Musicals comics werewolf Marvel Television cartoon San Diego Comic-Con Endgame joker TV Land cancelled asian-american Western CW Seed Hallmark Christmas movies what to watch Infographic Sundance Animation Photos cinemax CBS All Access Watching Series Funimation Reality hist Calendar indiana jones 21st Century Fox renewed TV shows Spectrum Originals composers documentaries Pirates Vudu Sneak Peek GIFs period drama TV APB CNN zombies LGBT science fiction series crime Crunchyroll HBO screen actors guild Bravo cancelled TV shows Country Premiere Dates Disney streaming service GLAAD dceu Certified Fresh 45 Awards Winter TV ESPN AMC psychological thriller game of thrones anthology dogs ITV Star Wars El Rey Film VH1 rotten movies we love aliens Character Guide book crime thriller elevated horror TCA Winter 2020 Comedy Grammys Apple TV+ PaleyFest Lucasfilm Sci-Fi The Walking Dead tv talk Pixar theme song miniseries Ovation strong female leads Acorn TV 2020 Quiz BBC One zombie TCM news Stephen King Television Academy transformers Logo 2019 Mary poppins VOD crossover Captain marvel south america Amazon Prime Video films Writers Guild of America Amazon Prime political drama award winner IFC Films Apple WGN Toys Rocky Trophy Talk canceled blaxploitation The Arrangement Podcast indie Heroines doctor who disaster Arrowverse Elton John TLC Chernobyl nature The Purge Fall TV Opinion spy thriller television dark FOX social media 2017 quibi NYCC Creative Arts Emmys Netflix Adult Swim YouTube Red Video Games toy story IFC serial killer Discovery Channel jamie lee curtis DC streaming service Masterpiece stand-up comedy Britbox Thanksgiving Travel Channel biography Crackle RT History Mary Tyler Moore screenings Syfy E3 Paramount Network Comic Book Tubi movie BBC America talk show Shudder National Geographic See It Skip It comedies video Spring TV supernatural Rock crime drama 24 frames BAFTA YouTube Premium psycho RT21 zero dark thirty finale Paramount The Witch christmas movies spinoff reboot true crime latino FX halloween Disney Plus Election cooking sag awards Cosplay American Society of Cinematographers parents ABC Family LGBTQ Music Cartoon Network Tarantino dc criterion breaking bad movies Trailer New York Comic Con Pride Month Hear Us Out ghosts Warner Bros. harry potter TIFF WarnerMedia Year in Review scary movies Fantasy justice league Interview cops Star Trek Rom-Com DGA franchise Columbia Pictures Women's History Month MSNBC DirecTV TNT mutant FX on Hulu SDCC MTV 20th Century Fox Action BET Awards BBC all-time Superheroes cults based on movie A24 satire Tomatazos name the review cancelled TV series Kids & Family discovery police drama 4/20 Drama Marvel Studios Mystery DC Universe OWN blockbuster Disney+ Disney Plus Hallmark Avengers Ghostbusters free movies a nightmare on elm street PlayStation universal monsters Walt Disney Pictures Holidays travel SundanceTV boxoffice versus X-Men CMT mockumentary TCA sports Disney Channel MCU dragons Valentine's Day FXX war President Countdown video on demand Trivia TCA 2017 Dark Horse Comics Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt natural history richard e. Grant vampires Lifetime Song of Ice and Fire HBO Max ABC chucky canceled TV shows golden globes DC Comics Baby Yoda Christmas History Apple TV Plus Spike Horror TV renewals Showtime spain