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

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