Have you been binge watching as much TV as I have lately?
I think I might have a problem.
There are simply way too many shows available to watch, and I love a ridiculous amount of them. Lately, I’ve been really into animated shows because they tend to be more family friendly. But just because they’re cartoons doesn’t mean they’re just for kids.
I think these animated shows deserve some love from everyone, not just me. They offer amazing characters, world-building, and clever writing.
1. Summer Camp Island
Summer Camp Island is an incredibly whimsical and adorable show about cute kids enjoying a magical island run by witches. Monsters run the mail system and aliens built their cabins. Oh, and lets not forget the werewolves, ghosts, and talking pajamas.
Although the show is geared toward younger kids, a lot of the humor appeals to adults, and I just can’t get enough of the way the show addresses adult problems such as understanding personal boundaries, navigating relationships, and dealing with depression, anxiety, and similar mental issues.
Summer Camp Island currently has 4 seasons out on HBO Max with about 85 episodes in total. Although that sounds like a lot initially, each episode only runs for about 10 to 15 minutes, so you can easily binge watch the entire season in a weekend if you feel so inclined. Season 5 is set to release later this year as well, and it seems like it’s fairly well received, so you don’t have to worry about cancellation anytime soon.
2. Adventure Time
Adventure Time is one of my all-time favorite shows. It ran from 2010 to 2018 with a whopping 10 seasons and 274 episodes. Like Summer Camp Island, each of the episodes are short, about 10 to 15 minutes each. However, there are also three hour-long specials as part of the Distant Lands collection that go more in-depth on some of the characters.
Many of the episodes of Adventure Time are fun for kids, as it has a cheery and colorful art style and playful story. But keep in mind that it is largely geared toward adults, as it also has some spookier settings, more jarring situations, and unusual characters that might be a bit unsettling for younger audiences.
When I first started watching Adventure Time, I was caught off guard by the endings to many of the episodes, as they often just stopped suddenly without any kind of wrap up. Once I realized it was part of the humor and style of the show, I was able to settle in and enjoy the unique world building and diverse cast of characters.
Oh, and let’s not forget the voice talent of Jeremy Shada. If you liked watching Voltron Legendary Defender on Netflix, you’ll be happy to hear the voice of Lance on screen as the show’s main character Finn the human. Jeremy sings and raps throughout the show, and the songs are so fun and short that I’ve added the Adventure Time music to my Spotify playlist.
3. Over the Garden Wall
I watch Over the Garden Wall every year around Halloween, but sometimes I watch the show throughout the year just because it’s that good.
Unlike Adventure Time with its lengthy run, Over the Garden Wall only has 10 episodes. No, it didn’t get cancelled. This mini-series completely wrapped up its delightful story in that short amount of time, and you can binge watch the entire show in a couple of hours.
Over the Garden Wall has cheery and adorable characters, but many of the episodes are too dark and spooky for younger kids. It’s a world you can’t help but get lost in, and whenever the villain shows, I get a bit goosebumpy (in a good way). The show captures that chilly autumn feeling so well that it makes me want to snuggle into a blanket and be cozy for a while.
One of the best things about Over the Garden wall is the music. It sets the tone for the entire show, and many of the songs will get stuck in your head. As with Adventure Time, I like to listen to the music from Over the Garden Wall on Spotify.
And in case you didn’t know, I’m a big Lord of the Rings fan. So whenever I hear Elijah Wood’s voice as the main character Wirt, and I get a big rush of nostalgia and get excited about the adventure I’m about to enjoy.
4. We Bare Bears
If you need a heartwarming show to binge watch throughout the week, don’t forget We Bare Bears. We Bare Bears only had 4 seasons and 140 episodes, but it also had a movie and a few shorts to keep the love alive a little bit longer.
We Bare Bears is kid friendly for the most part, but a few of the episodes are a bit darker and edgier than a younger kid might enjoy. Additionally, most of the humor is geared toward adults, as it pokes fun of our current Internet culture and society, so children might not enjoy or understand the jokes.
The characters are adorable, charming, and unique, and they have a fun dynamic when interacting with each other. I can’t help but squeal a little whenever the show flashes back to the bears as cubs, as they are just too cute and pure for the world. And when I’m not squealing over the cubs, I’m giggling over the chaos that follows in the bears’ wake, or I’m tearing up at the emotional moments whenever the bears band together as brothers.
5. Batman the Animated Series
Last, but certainly not least, Batman the Animated Series is also available to binge watch on HBO Max. Although it only had 2 seasons in its day, it had a whopping 65 episodes in the first season and another 20 in the second. Unlike the more modern shows like Adventure Time and We Bare Bears, each of the episodes ran a full 22 minutes.
I grew up watching Batman the Animated Series, and I can’t get enough of the show’s take on one of my all-time favorite superheroes. It balances the dark edginess of the Dark Knight with some of the more comedic moments of Adam West’s batman. The hero himself is shown as flawed, and though he’s tough on villains, he’s got a soft heart and will do anything to protect little kids.
Batman the Animated Series is a bit dark for younger audiences, and although killing is a big “no” from batman, it definitely has its spookier moments that might be a bit much for smaller children. The show also addresses more complicated adult issues and points out problems with society in such a way that would go over kids’ heads.
Although I bought the entire Batman Animated series on Blu-Ray, I like being able to stream the series from HBO Max whenever I’m in the mood. No need to pop in the discs if I have a good internet connection.
What Shows Do You Like to Watch?
Of course, HBO Max has a lot to offer in the animated series department, so this list is not comprehensive. Although these are my 5 favorite shows to binge watch, I know there are lots of shows not listed here that I could easily watch in my spare time.
Do you have a favorite animated show not listed here? Is it more for adults or for kids? Share your recommendations in the comments below!