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Animation often gets a bad rap — it's often dismissed as just kiddie fare and made to be the butt of jokes like the one at last month's Academy Awards. But, in reality, that's a bunch of bull. Aficionados of the medium know there is so much innovation and cinematic storytelling happening right now in both animated television and theatricals. New movies like The Bad Guys are carrying on that tradition that goes back to the Looney Tunes and Tex Avery of finding that sweet spot of storytelling that appeals to both kids and adults.
The harsh truth is that the medium just doesn't get as much PR as the live-action titles so great releases get lost in the tsunami of content being released every month. But SYFY WIRE is here to remedy that with our recommendations of some great 2022 animation titles that may have passed you by. We think all of these are a worthy watch. From adult-rated shows to fun, nostalgia romps, there's something for everyone and your particular animation taste.
Ice Age: Scrat Tales
Blue Sky Studios was the long-running studio that brought Ice Age, Rio, and The Peanuts Movie to the world. But, alas, they became a casualty of the Disney buyout of Fox Studios last year and were closed down in April 2020. However, their very last finished creative endeavor is the newly release Ice Age: Scrat Tales series for Disney+. Infused with the spirit of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons of old, Scrat Tales consists of six brand-new, three-minute comedy shorts featuring Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel, and his new frenemy, Baby Scrat.
Available now on Disney+
The Boys Presents: Diabolical
If you're not aware, Prime Video's hit live-action, superhero dramedy, The Boys, is actually adapted from the lauded comic book series of the same name created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. In its first spin-off, The Boys Presents: Diabolical, the creatives behind the show and comics present eight brand-new shorts telling stories in the world and mythology of the television series. Season 1 boasts an all-star lineup of creatives behind the scripts including Ennis, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Awkwafina and Aisha Tyler. The show also dabbles in a multitude of animation styles and retains the very R-rated tone of the live-action show. It's a worthy standalone watch or as a companion to those who love the main series.
Available now on Prime Video
The Fairly OddParents: Fairly Odder
One of Nickelodeon's longest-running animated series, The Fairly OddParents, originally ran for five seasons and 172 episodes from 2001 to 2017. With its dedicated fandom just a little more grown-up now, some with their own kids, Paramount+ launched The Fairly OddParents: Fairly Odder as a live-action/animated series that now follows the adventures of Timmy Turner's cousin, Vivian "Viv" Turner, who Tommy gifts his old fairy godparents, Cosmo and Wanda. Viv and her new stepbrother, Roy Raskin, are played by live-action actors while the godparents are still animated and voiced by the same vocal cast, Daran Norris as Cosmo and Susanne Blakeslee as Wanda. It's an original way to keep the lore going but contemporize the series for a new generation.
Available now on Paramount+
The stop-motion style of animation is still alive and well, as evidenced by this Netflix original movie, The House. Essentially, three separate stories by three different animation directors, each of the stories are standalone but each feature the same house as a backdrop to their original narratives. From creepy to surreal and post-apocalyptic, the three stories push the boundaries of their unique medium and prove there's a lot of vitality to be explored in the frame-by-frame technique.
Available now on Netflix
One of the most original animated shows to come out recently, Cat Burglar is an interactive series about an actual cat burglar named Rowdy (James Adomian). Created to be watched on a tablet or phone, there are interactive elements embedded into the narrative where the viewer must answer high stakes trivia questions correctly, or Rowdy loses one of his nine lives. After three failures, Rowdy and the story are kaput, so you have to start from the top again. The animation style is a homage to the broad comedy of the legendary Tex Avery which makes this both an engaging and bonkers experience. Well worth bypassing the comfort watch to get involved in the fun.
Available now on Netflix via mobile devices.
The Legend of Vox Machina
The incredibly popular Critical Role franchise gets animated in Prime Video's The Legend of Vox Machina. If you don't know Critical Role, it's basically a live-action web series about professional voice actors as they make their way through a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. The show, which is based on Critical Role's first campaign (they're currently on their third), uses animation to make the characters look like you might imagine them with a huge budget. This first season introduces the seven-member Vox Machina team on their "first 'grown-up' mission, which occurs prior to Critical Role's first RPG show." If you love the backseat driver vibe of Critical Role, The Legend of Vox Machina retains the fun but certainly makes the adventure look more epic.
Available now on Amazon Prime Video
The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder
The Proud Family was big on the Disney Channel in the early 2000s, charting the suburban adventures of Penny Proud and her embarrassing family. Picking up where the original series left off, Penny and her pack of family and friends are back for more contemporary stories featuring most of the same voice cast and plenty of new guest stars including Keke Palmer, Zachary Quinto and Billy Porter. The animation style has been tweaked but the dialogue and situations are just as funny as the original run of the show. It has been renewed for a second season.
Available now on Disney+