From ‘Avatar’ To Jaden Smith’s ‘Neo Yokio’: The 15 Best Animated Series On Netflix

Over the last five years, Netflix has built a name for itself as a genuine distributor for some fantastic animated series, and home to some of the internet’s favourite cartoons. While it’s still worth subscribing to other streaming services like Crunchyroll and Animelab for anime—more on that later— if you’re only subscribed to the ‘flix, there’s still an awful lot of great animated content. 

Below, the 15 best animated series on Netflix for you to binge all in one night or weekend. Go on, I implore you.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Let’s start with a classique, Avatar: The Last Airbender. Honestly, if you haven’t watched A:TLA yet, it has to be right at the top of your Netflix binge-list. Set in a world where people can bend one of the four elements—earth, fire, water or air—at will, it follows the adventure of Aang, a ten year old boy who happens to be the Avatar—Aka the master of all four elements whose spirit has been passed down from each Avatar for generations—after he emerges from a thousand year long slumber. Partnered with his new pals from the water tribe, Katara and Sokka, and fuzzy friends, Appa and Momo, Aang must master the four elements and stop the fire nation hellbent on world domination. 

Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts

If you love Avatar: The Last Airbender, then it’s well worth checking out Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts. Set in a future where animals were given human speech and intelligence, it follows Kipo, a young girl who was raised underground and, after an unfortunate turn of events, finds herself lost in the scary mutant world. Full of A:TLA-like charm, a fire soundtrack, memorably charming character design and great queer characters (!!!), Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts is well worth a watch.

The Dragon Prince

Similarly, if you love Avatar: The Last Airbender, I’d recommend checking out The Dragon Prince, a new fantasy animated series by Aaron Ehasz, who co-created the OG series. The Dragon Prince is set in a fantasy world divided by humans and otherworldly creatures that they’ve tried to enslave. It follows the adventures of two young princes and an elf assassin as they try to restore balance to the world and return a dragon egg to its mother. 

Neo Yokio

Neo Yokio is a batshit, absurd animated series by Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig—you read that right. It follows Jaden Smith (yup) as Kaz Kaan, the overdramatic youngest member of a family of demon slayers that go by “magistocrats.” Instead of slaying demons, however, Kaz wants to spend his time like any other spoiled faux-New York playboy: shopping, mending his broken heart, sitting in his own grave, partying it up with his pals and surpassing his archrival Arcangelo Corelli, who happens to also be the city’s most eligible bachelor. 

Now, imagine that plot but with a cast spanning the likes of Jude Law as Kaz’s robotic butler to Richard Ayoade, Peter Serafinowicz and Jason Schwartzman, and lines like, “You know what Helena? You don’t deserve this big Toblerone.”

Voltron: Legendary Defender

Voltron: Legendary Defender is a reboot of the classic ‘80s cartoon, revamped with an anime-inspired cartoon aesthetic by Legend of Korra studio, Mir, and into an epic space opera saga. It follows a group of young space cadets who each pilot a lion-shaped mech, and when combined, form a humanoid-looking robot called Voltron—and all the goofy space romps they get up to.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

Another classic ‘80s reboot but made gayer, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power follows an orphan girl who, through a magic sword, discovers she can turn into an ancient powerful warrior and leads a rebellion against a force of evil with her group of princess friends. It’s lovably camp and gay, and written by Lumberjanes creator Noelle Stevenson.

Hilda

Based on Luke Pearson’s graphic novel of the same name, Hilda is a cute, gorgeously illustrated and whimsical British-Canadian series about a young girl named Hilda, who, with her mum and deerfox pet named Twig, moves to a smalltown where she meets and befriends supernatural creatures. 

Bojack Horseman

The series is a dark comedy about a former actor and horse named Bojack Horseman. In the ‘80s, Bojack played the dad in a goofy fictional sitcom called Horsin’ Around. Now, he’s a washed up man drowning in self-loathing, trauma and addiction. Make no mistake, amidst the parties, the funny looking characters, the glitz and the glam, Bojack Horseman is heavy television, a challengingly therapeutic watch about Hollywood’s toxic culture, childhood stardom, intergenerational trauma and the impact fame and your upbringing has on a person. 

Tuca and Bertie

In the same coin of adult cartoons about anthropomorphic animals, Tuca & Bertie is a sitcom about two birds in New York, and, honestly, best described as an animated Broadcity. It was tragically cancelled after only one season but genuinely a fun time, starring Ali Wong, Tiffany Haddish and Steven Yuen, and guests like Reggie Watts and even Tessa Thompson. RIP to a legend.

Big Mouth

Big Mouth is a raunchy cartoon from Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg about the downright crazy and feral experience of puberty. It follows a group of preteens as they begin to discover themselves—and their extremely horny and hairy Where The Wild Things Are-like hormones.

Midnight Gospel

Midnight Gospel is a philosophical acid-taking psychedelic trip. Created by Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward and Duncan Trussell and using interviews from Trussell’s The Duncan Trussell Family Hour podcast, the series follows a multi-dimension-hopping podcast host as he travels to various universes to interview people on issues like morality, meditation and more. 

In true Adventure Time style, the show cuts these deep conversations to absurd and psychedelic visuals—from Clancy, the podcaster, and his guest slowly being grinded down into meat on a planet populated by clown-faced parasites, to a Groundhog Day-inspired prison breakout. 

Final Space

Final Space is another animated space opera on Netflix, this time about an astronaut named Gary who befriends a mysterious green blob creature called Mooncake. Unbeknownst to Gary at first, Mooncake isn’t just an adorable little blob, he’s a planet-destroying alien that a villainous intergalactic commander desperately wants for his own conquest. FYI, Steven Yuen stans, he’s in this too, as well as David Tennant and Fred Armisen. 

Total Drama Island

When it comes to animated faux reality TV, Total Drama Island is IT. The series, a parody of Survivor, follows 22 teens—from all walks of life and cliques—on an island as they compete in challenges and vote to send someone home each week. 

Disenchantment

Created by Simpsons and Futurama creator Matt Groening, Disenchantment is a crude fantasy series about the spontaneous and outrageous adventures of a rebellious teen princess—played by Abbi Jacobson—a runaway magical elf and an adorably tiny but sadistic demon—played by Eric Andre, of course. 

Castlevania

Based on Konami’s iconic adventure series about vampires and vampire hunters, Castlevania is a gritty, sexy and foul-mouthed action thriller about a vampire hunter, a travelling mage and the son of Dracula, on their quest to slay the man himself. With jaw-dropping animation, bloody action scenes and charming characters and dialogue, it’s sure to quench any vampire lovers’ thirst. FYI, if you wanna know how to dress like its leads, we wrote up a lil style guide here.

Julian Rizzo-Smith is a writer and producer. He also claims to be a vine historian, avid connoisseur of low-fi beats, indie hip hop and Kermit memes. In a perfect world, he’d be married to Tyler the Creator, own an Arcanine and a Lapras, and don his own Sailor Scouts uniform. He tweets @GayWeebDisaster, which is also, coincidentally, how one might describe him.