I don’t wish to mince words. 2016 sucked. It sucked a lot. In addition to losing several beloved celebrities, including Alan Young, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, just to name a handful, my family lost two pets in as many months, and dealt with several other personal losses that, I’ll be honest, has really dashed my holiday spirits this year.
It’s been a rough time, but one of the reasons that I adore animation is that it is the window to the fantastic, a mirror of the soul whose only restrictions are the imagination of the writers and artists. They are my escape, and my passion. I believe that a good story and good animation can take you on a journey that can rival any book. I believe that with all of my heart.
And while 2016 definitely sucked in many, MANY respects…It did not in the Animation department. With several incredible films including Moana, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Zootopia, and a strong stable of Animated Television shows as well. And so for this list, I’m going to included my Nine Favorite shows from 2016. I will also include the best places to watch said shows online, if you feel like checking them out for yourself.
Without further adu:
9) Kulipari: An Army of Frogs
Where can I watch it?: Netflix Exclusive
Why is it worth my time?: A stellar voice cast including Josh Keaton, Keith David, Charlie Adler, and Mark Hamill–just to name a few. Character designs by Greg Guler, and snappy writing and direction from Tad Stones. This is an all around strong show that is tons of fun to watch. It’s biggest weakness is it is a touch formulaic (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) but the writing, characters, and animation make up for it.
8) Milo Murphy’s Law
Where Can I Watch It?: Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney XD App
Why is it worth my time?: From the creative team behind Phineas and Ferb comes the series about Milo Murphy. The descendant of Edward Murphy, Milo is a afflicted with his curse. For Milo, anything that CAN go wrong, always WILL go wrong. What makes it interesting is that Milo goes about his life crazy-prepared, and with an infectiously positive attitude. Not hurt by the fact that the titular character is voiced by non other than “Weird” Al Yankovic. With the writing team of Phineas and Ferb, and a star like Weird Al on your billing, naturally many episodes have a fun musical number. This show is sure to lift your spirits if you’re just having a Milo Murphy kind of day.
7) Star vs. The Forces of Evil
Where can I watch it?: Disney XD, Disney XD App, Hulu (Season 1 only, as of 12/25/16)
Why is it worth my Time? This fun little show has really started growing the beard since its debut last year. With an ongoing mystery about Star’s family history underlying the second season, one definitely gets the feeling that much more is going on beneath the surface.
6) Voltron: Legendary Defender
Where can I watch it?: Netflix Exclusive
Why is it worth my time?: I was never a fan of the original Voltron. It was before my time. But hearing Josh Keaton–One of my favorite voice actors–Sing the praises of this show over and over again on twitter got me hyped. Nor was I to be disappointed, for this show was a treat. There’s distinct nods to the Classic show–Which again, I never saw, but I NEVER once felt like I was missing anything important. Indeed, I enjoyed every second of this show’s first season, and the amazing cliffhanger it left us on. I never had any doubts that it would get a second season, and I can’t wait to actually catch that season next month.
5) Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir
Where can I watch it?: Nickelodeon, iTunes, Netflix (Starting February 14th)
Why is it worth my time?: I hadn’t heard of this show before a few weeks ago, but now I feel like I seriously missed out. After after asking some friends, they heartily recommended this French Cartoon. I dove right into it. The show is very formulaic, but makes up for it with a great mythology, fun characters, and a downright adorable two-person love square (in which the titular heroes are in love with each other, but due to being ignorant of each others secret identities are in love with the wrong personas, preventing them from actually hooking up) Season 2 drops in May, and promises a shakeup of the status quo dominating the formulaic nature of the episodes, and I can’t wait to see it.
4) Steven Universe
Where can I watch it?: Cartoon Network, Cartoon Network App, Hulu
Why is it worth my time?: This show continues to grow an already impressive beard, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping. It’s become rather famous within Nerd Circles for the clever writing, long term plot planning, and amazing cast of characters.
3) Star Wars: Rebels
Where can I watch it?: iTunes, Disney XD, Disney XD App
Why is it worth my time?: This show has been getting better and better each season. The scrappy crew of The Ghost actually makes me give a crap about Star Wars, in ways I never expected. As they face down the Empire, while exploring the deep, rich mythology available in the Star Wars Universe. Bonus points in having some of the scariest villains on TV. Darth Vader’s appearances on the show actually show why he was an effectively scary villain, delivering a curb stomp battle on our heroes every time he meets them. And General Thrawn of the current season actually makes me feel like the Rebels have lost ground every time he appears on screen. Bonus points for fans of the recent film installment Rogue One; that movie is littered with easter eggs and references to this series. Most obviously? Look for the Ghost fighting in the battle above Scarif.
Where can I watch it?: Netflix Exclusive
Why is it worth my time?: From the brilliant mind of Guillermo del Toro comes a coming-of-age story that, Quite frankly, is everything I look for in a fantasy series. This is the show that I want to watch when I think I want to watch a fantasy series. Starring the late Anton Yelchin as Jim Lake Jr, this show features an all star cast of multi-faceted heroes, villains, and lots of…Grey areas. I cannot praise this show enough. It only arrived on Netflix two days ago (as of the writing of this post) and it is one of the best animated shows of the year. The season finale had me in tears at the end. And the cliffhanger promises even more great fantasy in the next season (which I very much hope we get, even if del Toro will have to recast the lead due to Anton Yelchin’s sad and unfortunate passing. Every episode is dedicated to his memory)
1) Gravity Falls
Where can I watch it?: Hulu, iTunes
Why is it worth my time?: Gravity Falls remains my second favorite animated show of all time (Though Trollhunters came very close to knocking it down to third.) and it came to an incredibly satisfying conclusion in the early part of this year. Creator Alex Hirsch chose to end the show on a very high note, closing all of the major story arcs, while still leaving quite a few mysteries left for the fans to decipher. (Literally in many cases) This is a show about Family, with amazing writing, awesome voice work (much provided by creator Alex Hirsch himself) and a deep, rich inner mythology, this show will be one that I return to again and again.
And that’s it. Those are the Nine Shows I enjoyed the most from this hellhole of a year known as 2016. I hope that these little blurbs encourage you to check out at least one of these shows. Or even all of them. And I hope that they bring you the same joy that they’ve brought me this year.
I want Marinette to get asked out by Adrien, while Chat Noir is running around on the rooftops of Paris because he finally has a day off and there’s no school.
I want Chat Noir to see Marinette on the date with “Adrien” and realize that’s actually someone who has a crush on Marinette and became akumatized after she politely rejected their confession, then later found out she had a crush on Adrien.
I want there to be Marichat moments where Chat Noir has to find away to get her as far away from this imposter as possible so he can get the akuma, while also not revealing himself since he may have the day off, but he’s grounded for missing one to many photo shoots and has to stay home, so now is also being pursued by his bodyguard.
I want Chat Noir to have to be the one to tell Marinette that the Adrien she went out with today was actually a fake, and she didn’t actually get asked out by her crush.
I want him to see her visibly upset at the fact that not only did she fall for the akumas disguise, but that she is also upset at not being asked out by the real thing, just when she thought he was starting to notice her.
I want the akuma battle to go on with Ladybug much more serious during it, not even bothering with the first bump and just going straight home.
I want Chat Noir to watch Marinette from afar as she sulks on her rooftop balcony from not actually going on a date with her crush while trying to think of way to cheer her up, and still seeing her upset as Adrien when school comes back the next day and she’s slouched over her desk not looking at him.
I want Adrien to finally realize that Marinette genuinely likes him.
I want him to actually start noticing her.
And what better way to notice someone, than when they’re heartbroken over you?