In part two to extol my love for cartoons, I offer my top ten picks of animated series worth checking out in 2023. With some of them headed to streaming services rather than network, finding them might get difficult this year. As long as you’re subscribed to the key providers, you ought to be okay.
Disclaimer: Not every series is dated, but they’re expected to debut sometime this year. Listed in alphabetical order are:
Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai
This series is exciting because it takes place before the movies. Here, the focus will be on a young boy, Sam Wing, becoming fast friends with Gizmo. I get the sense it’ll take on some tones from Stitch and Ai, and I’m okay with it! As these two venture through the Chinese countryside, dealing with the various creatures from local folklore, I’m already giddy with delight in what can be offered. As for how the mischievous version came into folklore, perhaps this series will tell all.
This series is a work where Walt Disney Studios’ imagineers are offering something new. That is, it’s not based on any movie. Instead, the name suggests something about Afro tech. I suspect the success of Black Panther was a slight influence, but more information won’t be revealed until the Annecy Film Festival. This renowned animation festival is the place to make major announcements, and I can’t wait!
Junji Ito Maniac:
Japanese Tales of the Macabre
This artist is indeed the modern master of the macabre, and some fans say his tales are difficult to translate to cinematic form. Thankfully, Netflix is up to the challenge, and if the trailer is any indication, what’s offered will no doubt be sure to crawl beneath anyone’s skin! This anthology collection adapts his best works like “Layers of Fear,” “The Thing That Drifted Ashore,” and “Back Alley,” and fans are invited to binge.
Marvel’s Moon Girl
and Devil Dinosaur
Marvel Entertainment is better at creating animated series than live action cinematic at times, and as for why I’m liking these children’s cartoons featuring a young girl who brings a dinosaur to modern day New York is because I love the comic books! Devil is a hoot, and although I’m talking about the printed version, I’m sure this will translate over very well. Although that take featured Moon Boy, the gender swap is okay!
As long as the series respects Jack Kirby‘s vision, I can’t wait for how this update will treat the material.
My Adventures with Superman
It’s about time Warner Bros is offering Superman on the animated front. While every fan is uncertain if the recent merger will affect the direction of this series, the concept is very good. The only big question is whose perspective will the stories be seen through? There’s only two choices: Lois Lane or Jimmy Olsen. My bet is with the latter, and it’s a perspective that can work. It’s been done in the comic book world, so why not animated?
After Batman: Caped Crusader is given the boot due to lack of interest from one streaming service, this series is expected to still debut this year on another network.
Pokémon Ultimate Journeys
This final season deserves special mention because it’ll mark Ash’s last journey in becoming a Master Trainer. Just what that means should reveal how much he’s aged since starting the journey, and there are a lot of timeline issues that need to be explained. In our world, 25 years is a long time to watch every moment of this boy’s journey! Unless each day was taken into account per episode since the series started, he should be an adult. With that kind of mathematics in mind, perhaps only about four years have passed, which should explain everything.
Set in the Survivor Timeline, what’s being offered may well reboot all that we love from this franchise (i.e. the fantastic mythology will be missing), and it’ll be coming to Netflix sometime this year. It will be different from the previous attempt, Tomb Raider Revisioned, which only got ten episodes and varying art styles for each story arc. That was presented anthology style. With the latest, it’ll focus on one vision and the future of where this IP will go.
When three other studios–Crystal Dynamics, Square Enix, and Legendary Television–are involved, it ought to be good, but until trailers are offered, expectations will be high. There’s no official images yet, so instead, we have this promo reel.
25 years is a long time to wait for a reboot to Trigun, but I’m excited to see what’s being planned for this anime. This sci-fi manga classic by Yasuhiro Nightow was much loved back then, and who doesn’t love Japanese Westerns? Vash the Stampede has weapons that can penetrate a planet, and when he shows up, people fear him! To see what this series will explode next is exciting enough.
Velma (HBO Max)
Fans of the Scooby franchise are loving this sleuth even more than ever since she came out. To know what makes her tick is important, and after Daphne Blake and Shaggy got her solo adventures with the canine, it’s not fair to limit who else should, too. This series looks at the series from a different perspective, and I’m intrigued over what kind of adventures are to be had before the gang becomes an official group. I suspect this series might be a precursor to the fantastic series, Mystery Incorporated (2010-13), but only time will tell as to where it fits in the canon.
X-Men: The Animated Series
Although technically a continuation of the 97 series, this comeback can also be labelled as new because more than two decades have passed. Also, anyone coming in new will have five seasons to catch up on before jumping into this one!
I’m interested in catching up with this fond series because it did end on a usual note, where Magneto’s plan on world domination is halted. When Charles Xavier, his rival, is off to outer space to get medical treatment, I’m sure the first story arc will look at where his motivation to continue now lies.
All he wants is a haven for all mutants from bigotry and hate. Who knows, maybe he’ll become a force for good in this continuation, and we’ll get even more classic 90s tales adapted for this series.
Animated Series Worth Checking Out in 2023 in Honourable Mention
No word on when the adult animated cartoon series Exploding Kittens will air. It’s slated to debut sometime this year, according to VultureBeat. While I’m thinking these will be short form episodes, there’s a kind of humour I loved from the card game which I hope will get translated over, otherwise it’s a property best left to fizzle out.
Another series worth noting is Ark: The Animated Series, which is based on the similarly titled video-game. The reason this program shows promise is because it has dinosaurs and other fantastic beasts mingling in a shared world. The trailer makes the world feel like it’s always been hiding in plain historical sight, but in truth, the world is not Earth’s.