Smriti Nambudiri, Class of 2022 Write up your slogans, plan out your campaigns and lock those
Smriti Nambudiri UG’22
As we come up on almost 4 months of lockdown, there’s no doubt people’s watchlists on Netflix are growing sparse, and the banana bread phase of quarantine is long gone. However, while in quarantine, I’ve discovered many animated shows on Netflix that have captured my attention, and made these long days a bit more bearable and whimsical. These shows, produced by some of the best animation studios, the likes of which many of us are already familiar with, have some of the most beautiful animation, hand in hand with incredible and riveting stories with great representation. The characters along with their unique styles offer up real visual treats that had me, at least, clicking ‘next Episode’ for hours on end.
So, if you’re looking for shows with great storytelling and incredible representation, or are just looking to escape Earth for a bit, here are 7 animated shows on Netflix to make your lockdown just a bit more fun, and more interesting.
1. Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts
No. of seasons: 2 (future seasons not confirmed)
Created by: Rad Sechrist
‘Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts’ is a story set in a post-apocalyptic world where animals have mutated into ‘mutes’, creatures with wondrous qualities and even sentience, and humans have been forced to mostly live underground in ‘burrows’ for fear of being hunted. 12-year-old Kipo Oak has found herself on the surface after having lived her whole life in a burrow, and her only thought is to find her way back to her father. On her journey back home, she finds Wolf and Benson, humans who live on the surface and Dave and Mandu, mutes on the surface. In an adventure where some mutes are helpful, and some vengeful, Kipo learns a lot, even some secrets kept from her about who she is.
This show has strong themes of found family, finding life in survival, and believing in yourself and your ideals. It’s also one of few shows with incredible representation, all the main cast being POC. Plus, the animation is gorgeous, and the music is some of the best, with its hip-hop inspired soundtrack. It’s a fun, heart-warming show that’s sure to put a smile on your face.
2. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
No. of seasons: 5 (completed)
Created by: Noelle Stevenson
A retelling of the 80’s cartoon “She-Ra: Princess of Power’, ‘She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’ revolves around Catra and Adora, childhood best friends brought up in the Horde, who are pulled onto opposite sides when Adora discovers a magical sword that transforms her into the powerful Princess, She-Ra. On this discovery, Adora and the rest of the Rebellion fight to save their country of Etheria from the clutches of the Horde, an intergalactic army that was set on conquering the universe – Etheria being one of the last free worlds – who threaten to destroy them.
Apart from the clear diversity in all the characters, ‘She-Ra’ is about the varying shades of relationships between characters, motivations and what it really means to have to be the hero. You may also recognise the name of the show because of its incredible representation and storytelling. It’s amazing writing strong characters and twists and turns are sure to keep you watching.
3. Carmen Sandiego
No. of seasons: 2 (3rd season confirmed)
Created by: Jos Humphrey, Kenny Park, Mike West
Studio: DHX Media
Inspired by the numerous board games and previous game shows, ‘Carmen Sandiego’ is a Netflix original centred around the titular character who is a modern ‘Robin Hood’, stealing specifically from her former crime institution V.I.L.E, to give to charities. Supported on the ground by her crew Zack and Ivy, and helped remotely by former white-cap hacker Player, we follow the red-coat master thief as she avoids law enforcement through her escapades while trying to find out more about who she really is and where Carmen Sandiego is really from. Along with the main show, Netflix also has an interactive special episode of the show, titled ‘To Steal or Not to Steal’.
While this show is aimed more at a younger audience, the characters and relationships between them are compelling and fun to watch, not to mention the escapades pulled are nothing short of theatrical. Plus, who doesn’t want a show where you can just watch and not have to think too much, especially during quarantine?
4. Glitch Techs
No. of seasons: 1 (future seasons not confirmed)
Created by: Eric Robles, Dan Milano
Video games glitching is something many gamers experiences, but what if when games glitched, those monsters could escape into the real world? Well, ‘Glitch Techs’ is a show with that concept, where ‘tech support’ (Glitch Techs) are the employees of Hinobi Game Developers who fight these glitches daily. The show follows two teenagers, Miko and High-Five, who win a tournament that makes them the employees of Hinobi Company, where they become Glitch Techs, people who fight these rogue glitches and try to earn XP to level up.
This show is filled with great characters and fun adventures, with many animation moments paying homage to different video games. Not to mention, many references and jokes specific to the gaming community sprinkled through the episodes. It’s a fun, short watch with compelling characters and an enjoyable plot idea.
5. The Midnight Gospel
No. of seasons: 1
Created by: Pendleton Ward, Duncan Trussell
Aimed at a more adult audience, ‘The Midnight Gospel’ centres around Clancy Gilroy, who owns a multiverse simulator with which he can visit and dimension he wants. He uses this power to travel universes and interview different characters for his space cast, leading to interesting conversations, very much inspired by podcasts, all while unique and crazy adventures and situations occur around them.
Made by the creator of Adventure Time, the animation in this show is amazing as expected. Plus, the podcast feel of every episode, inspired by Duncan Trussell’s actual podcast, gives many interesting conversations and thoughts, all juxtaposed by the surrounding universe Clancy and his guests are in. While this show may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is an interesting watch.
6. The Dragon Prince
No. of seasons: 3
Created by: Aaron Ehasz, Justin Richmond
Studio: Wonderstorm, Bardel Entertainment
Set in the fantasy land of Xadia, where magic is derived from the six primal elements, the continent is torn apart by a war between humans and elves. The human king of the past had killed the king of dragons and supposedly destroyed his heir’s egg. However, his heir Ezran and his half-brother Callum, along with an elven assassin Raylla who was sent for them, discover the egg. This leads to an epic quest to return the egg to Xadia, to prevent the war between humans and elves.
The show explores dark themes such as war very well, but not in a way that makes it seem overbearing. Its strong characters and well-developed relationships are what keep the story gripping and interesting. Plus, the animation is unique and incredibly beautiful. The fantasy elements and overall story are sure to keep you binge-watching.
7. The Hollow
No. of seasons: 2
Created by: Josh Mepham, Kathy Antonsen Rocchio, Greg Sullivan, Vito Viscomi
Studio: Slap Happy Cartoons
Three teenagers – Adam, Mira and Kai – wake up in a room with no memories of their lives and how they know each other. The only clue they have is their names on slips of papers in their respective pockets. When they emerge from this underground bunker into a deep forest, they meet a strange character they call ‘Weirdy’ or ‘The Weird Guy’ who can teleport them to different regions if they only ask for help by saying the phrase, ‘help please’. However, every region comes with its own dangers and perils that the trio must navigate, along with trying to find out who they are and where they come from.
The show has great characters and an interesting plot that intrigues and continues to develop, with its fair share of twists and turns. The characters and their relationships are strong and fun to watch, and the mystery of how the story came to be will definitely keep you hooked.
Here’s to hoping at least one of these shows makes your quarantine a bit more fun and entertaining!