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

Travel Channel gangster adenture game of thrones kong blaxploitation Alien political drama The CW anime Acorn TV aliens YA Music 71st Emmy Awards cults RT21 binge Creative Arts Emmys strong female leads south america The Purge TV One monster movies comic book movie Elton John sopranos boxing Hear Us Out FXX Apple TV+ hist all-time superman Tarantino french criterion singing competition sequels VICE politics screenings Spike Lionsgate Set visit harry potter Fall TV Adult Swim ESPN Comedy toy story live event comic book movies rt labs saw FX Binge Guide japan Baby Yoda MCU Britbox jamie lee curtis Kids & Family Crackle dark Tumblr Comic-Con@Home 2021 Martial Arts 4/20 SDCC Marathons fast and furious docuseries TruTV 45 MTV worst movies Biopics heist movie Reality Competition basketball Syfy romantic comedy boxoffice Animation HBO Disney child's play Broadway breaking bad Stephen King docudrama CBS All Access dceu mob name the review deadpool new star wars movies National Geographic MSNBC toronto Classic Film Star Wars james bond SXSW tv talk space BET Spectrum Originals 2019 screen actors guild Rock television First Reviews Sci-Fi serial killer Ellie Kemper documentary pirates of the caribbean animated Bravo Opinion spy thriller slashers Rom-Com crime Avengers Pixar HBO Max 93rd Oscars Chilling Adventures of Sabrina kaiju nfl YouTube Premium Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt LGBT stand-up comedy Song of Ice and Fire marvel comics Oscars 73rd Emmy Awards hispanic heritage month mutant worst Paramount Comic Book Fox Searchlight what to watch 20th Century Fox satire Disney+ Disney Plus unscripted action-comedy laika cats Logo The Arrangement children's TV TV movies ViacomCBS Brie Larson comedies Comics on TV social media TCA E3 Food Network NBC Mindy Kaling Tubi Podcast Amazon Studios Discovery Channel Family TCM Trailer Legendary prank cooking spinoff 24 frames VOD GoT legend spider-man critic resources aapi 007 Writers Guild of America Mystery Trophy Talk Valentine's Day ABC Family Drama Cosplay Western Hallmark wonder woman twilight popular medical drama Neflix best Television Academy Emmys San Diego Comic-Con nbcuniversal versus australia japanese casting TCA Winter 2020 comiccon Super Bowl USA crossover quibi CNN thriller Captain marvel foreign ABC BBC America 90s WarnerMedia mockumentary elevated horror true crime Apple TV Plus Dark Horse Comics Black History Month Shondaland IFC olympics BBC YouTube golden globes international science fiction E! debate die hard IMDb TV Election king arthur Toys superhero based on movie ABC Signature comic First Look stoner Pet Sematary theme song Pirates WGN The Walt Disney Company Paramount Network Masterpiece 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Christmas Pop spider-verse spanish language feel good cancelled Columbia Pictures DC streaming service black zombies spain Lifetime robots Paramount Plus psychological thriller GIFs See It Skip It Film biopic Netflix Star Trek Character Guide SundanceTV joker book adaptation Disney Plus Wes Anderson canceled Endgame witnail festivals sports 21st Century Fox Red Carpet Universal adventure Holidays venice Sony Pictures ghosts Disney Channel Turner Classic Movies Reality USA Network X-Men Sneak Peek Exclusive Video travel book biography Anna Paquin period drama New York Comic Con reboot Teen 2020 zero dark thirty richard e. Grant PlayStation sequel disaster rotten Vudu Mary poppins football Image Comics A&E American Society of Cinematographers Interview dreamworks 99% ID transformers vampires renewed TV shows green book Polls and Games Arrowverse Ghostbusters Amazon Prime revenge CMT APB italian Pacific Islander zombie YouTube Red Nominations Cartoon Network cinemax police drama jurassic park comic books Horror scene in color FX on Hulu Emmy Nominations a nightmare on elm street Watching Series dramedy halloween tv golden globe awards free movies classics Black Mirror video on demand ratings fresh canceled TV shows The Walking Dead halloween 2016 mcc reviews cops remakes scary series 2021 hollywood obituary spanish LGBTQ President TIFF Funimation CBS slasher Mary Poppins Returns Photos Nickelodeon GLAAD teaser El Rey king kong DC Comics cancelled television History Lifetime Christmas movies cartoon sag awards stop motion Musical Crunchyroll AMC Plus Ovation supernatural DGA Nat Geo comics young adult cancelled TV series Rocketman Spring TV high school werewolf Warner Bros. 72 Emmy Awards natural history parents rotten movies we love vs. miniseries IFC Films OWN chucky Chernobyl NBA godzilla FOX Calendar universal monsters news posters Pop TV Awards BBC One films Lucasfilm documentaries franchise HBO Go psycho NYCC TCA Awards facebook award winner Television Critics Association Thanksgiving Marvel Studios Mary Tyler Moore critics women Awards Tour Year in Review Infographic technology crime drama Superheroes indiana jones latino Netflix Christmas movies Walt Disney Pictures PBS dexter Cannes rom-coms Countdown Summer rt labs critics edition rt archives Action Sundance Now 1990s marvel cinematic universe streaming talk show genre Peacock 2017 historical drama Holiday Academy Awards Turner TBS TNT Trivia TV mission: impossible Women's History Month razzies ITV PaleyFest nature cancelled TV shows Grammys OneApp Winter TV concert Video Games streaming movies Rocky CW Seed BET Awards Winners Tomatazos doctor who video DC Universe dogs new zealand Disney streaming service The Witch Heroines independent Schedule Country scary movies indie target live action Amazon Prime Video movies Starz Marvel Television dragons composers Showtime Apple suspense sitcom Hulu Sundance TV Fantasy TV renewals 2018 Quiz discovery asian-american royal family Amazon diversity black comedy blockbuster dc BAFTA hidden camera Shudder Pride Month Comedy Central hispanic trailers Tokyo Olympics 2015 Sundance kids AMC Esquire telelvision know your critic Premiere Dates VH1 crime thriller Epix emmy awards A24 Certified Fresh finale blockbusters TCA 2017 TLC Universal Pictures justice league Superheroe Extras anthology art house scorecard Best and Worst movie adaptation Box Office directors war DirecTV christmas movies Hallmark Christmas movies TV Land Fox News cars batman Musicals Mudbound game show Freeform RT History Film Festival archives new york festival Instagram Live Marvel The Academy romance lord of the rings