Anyone who says they’re not affected by nostalgia should put their adult colouring book away and face the facts. Childhood memories can be the happiest we hold, and cartoons played an important role in the childhood of millenials. Why not have the sweet throwback of Saturday cartoons with the level of maturity you have now? Some cartoons give you the best of both worlds and here is a list of cartoons you may enjoy watching in your late teens and adulthood.
1. Rick and Morty
Rick and Morty is one of the most popular shows for adults right now, with the highly anticipated third season coming out… we don’t know when. The series follows a genius grandfather inventor and his below average grandson as they travel through infinite universes, encountering space foes and sobering life realisations. The humour varies from dark to slapstick, so it has the potential to please most grown up audiences.
2. Samurai Jack
While this show was created for Cartoon Network, the art style and captivating storyline can be a pleasant change for adults who are used to more dramatic entertainment. Samurai Jack is a warrior from the past, sent to the future by the evil Aku, a mysterious entity with magical powers. Jack must find a way to travel to his own time.
3. The Simpsons
Fox’s favourite family made their debut 28 years ago and have since become one of the most iconic TV shows in history. The Simpsons combines realistic family dynamics with satire and political commentary. Once a year, the show releases an infamous Halloween episode known as Treehouse of Horror which has become an institution in of itself.
Made by the same creators of The Simpsons, this series is set in the future and follows the lives of an intergalactic delivery company. Similarly to The Simpsons, Futurama makes social and political commentary by mirroring our contemporary situations. The characters are zany and original, facing new challenges each episode that are the prefect mix of Sci-Fi and relatable reality.
Archer is a spy series set in the 1970s (yet they somehow have cellphones) that follows the adventures of a group of secret agents. The humour is sharp and cutting, with characters that provide amusement in unique ways. This show is more adult than the ones previously mentioned, featuring sexual content and harsh language, so be advised that this is for grown ups only. You’ve probably seen worse on Game of Thrones though, so don’t be alarmed.
6. Bojack Horseman
This series is the most cynical and sobering of the cartoons on this list and bases its humour on serious themes such as alcoholism, depression and drug abuse. Despite this, it is one of the most popular shows on Netflix and is especially popular with young adults. The main character, Bojack, is, as the title suggests, a horseman. Most of the characters are animals and the show uses traditional techniques of animals to represent personality types but in a refreshing, contemporary way.
7. Happy Tree Friends
WARNING: This show is extremely graphic and has been called disturbing by many viewers. Do not let the cute, fluffy characters fool you. Each episode is stand-alone, and features new ways in which the characters die in grotesque ways. Many parents have taken to the internet, shaming the show for being sick and inappropriate for children. These are probably parents who took their children to watch Deadpool, thinking it was just a superhero movie. The show is for adults/older teens, but is no more violent than the Final Destination movies in which the characters are killed in a much more disturbing way given that they are real people. If you are amused by gore and violence, this is probably the show for you.
8. Courage the Cowardly Dog
Why this show was released by Cartoon Network, I will never know. While Courage is charming and Muriel sweet, the monsters in this show are a bit too disturbing for children. But behold, we are not children! Courage the Cowardly Dog is a glimpse into childhood Saturday mornings and upon rewatching it as an adult, I found it oddly captivating. The storyline of each episode is interesting and unique, and despite it originally being created for kids, it is much better to watch as a teen or older.
9. South Park
As with many other cartoons for adults, South Park uses current events as a source for its humour but have found new ways to include these events in original and hilarious storylines each episode. The characters are iconic and there are more than enough seasons to binge-watch before new seasons arrive. For those who don’t know, South Park is about a group of four kids aged ten living in the Colorado Rockies. They are rude, crude and surprisingly informed on current affairs. The show can be juvenile at times but for the most part it is intelligent and creative in delivering fresh content with each passing season.
This is technically an anime and before you run away in fear, at least give this anime a try. It’s a Sci-Fi series that grapples with science, gender, relationships and the inconceivable. A young scientist attempts to achieve time travel using a cellphone and a microwave, but discovers much more in his experiments. The focus on science is met equally with a focus on an eclectic friendship group. The series comes to a thrilling climax as it reaches the final episodes in a true Science Fiction plot twist fashion.
Noteable mentions: The Big Lez Show (insane and hilarious, you'll find it on youtube), the original Pokemon series (flashback to grade 4, just got home from school, eTV - amiright?), Adventure Time and Spongebob Squarepants.