The best cartoons to watch on Netflix, Hulu, HBO and more

The heyday of Saturday-morning cartoons is lengthy behind us. In the period of streaming tv, the place companies like Netflix and Hulu have the means to surprise-drop complete seasons of animated exhibits and feature-length movies on subscribers with out warning and and the place (almost) all of your favourite exhibits are accessible with the push of a button, widespread animated tv is not “appointment” tv and as an alternative is a matter of discovering time to match it in with the remainder of one’s busy media schedule.

Here at Polygon, we love animation — particularly the period of animation when one had to be in entrance of a tv set at a specific time of the day on a specific day of the week so as to catch our favourite exhibits. We’ve put collectively a listing of our favourite childhood cartoons and the place you may watch them. For the sake of this record, a “Saturday-morning cartoon” is much less a matter of whether or not it aired on the weekend or not, however reasonably a matter of a present that made any day it aired on really feel like a Saturday throughout its run time.

Here are Polygon’s favourite Saturday-morning cartoons!

American Dragon: Jake Long

Two cartoon children on a couch, one of them eating cookies off a plate.

Image: Walt Disney Television Animation

American Dragon: Jake Long made instant waves in my San Gabriel Valley-based extracurricular group. Sure, he had dyed spiky hair (to point out he was a cool Asian to white youngsters), and yeah, it was a mystical martial arts-styled present. But we cherished him as a result of Disney lastly discovered that we cherished Brenda Song, and determined it was time to department out a little bit more. Like any good superhero present, Jake’s personal arc is concentrated on his means to hone his powers — practising his means to shape-shift right into a dragon. —Nicole Clark

American Dragon: Jake Long is obtainable to stream on Disney Plus.


Arthur, an anthropomorphic anteater wearing glasses plays a piano in front of his family next to a Christmas tree.

Image: Cinar/PBS Kids

If you have been a PBS child rising up within the ’90s or early 2000s, then you definitely — like me — may need completely cherished Arthur. The aardvark household was so beautiful, even when they didn’t all the time get alongside within the second. I cherished his associates like Buster, Muffy, and Francine, and am nonetheless obsessive about the Library Card Song. The present additionally had tons of cameos, together with late Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek. A genuinely unimaginable and entertaining present for teenagers. (Why am I crying?) Truly, what a beautiful sort of day. —NC

Arthur is obtainable to stream on PBS Kids.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Key art of Aang, Katara, Sokka, Momo, and Appa from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Image: Nickelodeon Animation Studio

I’ve watched this present throughout so many platforms. I streamed it after its current transfer to Netflix, and in faculty I watched Legend of Korra episodes as they launched on Nickelodeon’s personal streaming website (the ultimate season by no means aired on TV, regardless that the present has since hit cult standing). But as a child I watched the hell out of Avatar episodes after college and on weekends, totally engrossed on the planet’s elemental magic system and its geopolitical strife. Its storytelling was subtle for a youngsters’ cartoon, and I watched it as I went from preteen to teen, crossing the chasm of 13. My mother, who typically had to take care of my cartoon bingeing, genuinely loved watching it too. It stays an animated present that I like to watch as an grownup (up there with Steven Universe). —NC

Avatar: The Last Airbender is obtainable to stream on Netflix.

Batman: The Animated Series

Still of Batman standing on a building with a streak of lightning in the background from the theme sequence of Batman: The Animated Series.

Image: Warner Bros. Animation

I might write a blurb on Batman: The Animated Series. I might attempt to sum up, in a brief two-to-four-sentence paragraph, how the sequence formed my aesthetic and narrative sensibilities from an early age and spurred me to pursue a lifelong journey by means of artwork that might in the end end in me writing about it as a profession.

But as an alternative, I feel I’ll simply quote a paragraph from an essay I wrote final month for the present’s thirtieth anniversary:

My love for Batman: The Animated Series transcends the character or the medium. The present didn’t simply introduce me to the character of Batman, and it didn’t merely cement my love of animation; it opened my world to complete dimensions of artwork and expression and historical past I would by no means have pursued or identified had I not encountered that sequence from an early age. In no unsure phrases, Timm and Radomski’s present is, nonetheless many levels eliminated, chargeable for setting me on the course to pursue a profession writing about artwork and sharing that data and ardour with others. I’m a curation editor right here at Polygon, which implies my job is sifting by means of the ever-growing and shifting catalog of flicks, tv, comics, and video games and spotlighting work I discover notably noteworthy, thought-provoking, and lovely. I by no means would have honed these sensibilities, not to mention thought to write about them, had it not been for Batman: The Animated Series.

Batman: The Animated Series is obtainable to stream on HBO Max.

Beast Wars: Transformers

An ensemble photo of several “Maximal” characters from Beast Wars: Transformers, including Optimus Primal.

Image: Alliance Communications

I used to be not but born when the unique Transformers cartoon sequence first aired on American tv however, to paraphrase an previous meme, “Born too late to watch Transformers, born too early to explore space, born just in time to absolutely lose my mind over Beast Wars.” Old-school Transformers followers will shake their heads and harrumph on the thought of the 1996 CG sequence being one’s introduction to the franchise, however to my 6-year-old self, I cherished all of it the identical and couldn’t inform the distinction.

The cartoon instructed the story of Optimus Primal and his crew of Maximal comrades who crash land on a mysterious planet — revealed to be prehistoric Earth — together with their mortal adversaries, the Predacons, led by Megatron. Beast Wars was considered one of my formative introductions to serialized storytelling and a sequence which, years later, even contemplating the dated visuals, nonetheless manages to maintain up as a drama that’s as riveting as it’s often hilarious. —TE

Beast Wars is obtainable to stream on Tubi and Pluto TV.

Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot

A red robot smiles with a thumbs up sitting on the shoulder of a stoic blue and white robot with no mouth.

Image: Dark Horse Entertainment, Columbia TriStar Television

Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot to me represents the platonic splendid of what a Saturday-morning cartoon is and ought to be. Based on Frank Miller and Geof Darrow’s 1995 comedian ebook of the identical identify, the sequence follows the eponymous Rusty, a boy robotic who resembles a cross between Astro Boy and Pinocchio, who is about to change the BGY-11, an enormous struggle robotic constructed as a last-ditch protection towards world-ending threats each terrestrial and extraterrestrial. Unbeknownst to many of the world, nonetheless, together with Rusty, the Big Guy is just not in reality a robotic— it’s a closely armed battle swimsuit piloted by Lieutenant Dwayne Hunter, who works undercover because the Big Guy’s ostensible “repairman.”

A mashup of broad-shoulder superheroics and sci-fi kaiju motion shot by means of with themes of aspirational futurism and coming-of-age drama, Big Guy and Rusty is the third most inspiring large robotic cartoon this facet of Yasuhiro Imagawa’s Giant Robo and Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant. Over the span of two seasons, Big Guy and Rusty ventured throughout the expanse of Earth to the far reaches of the moon to 200 years prior to now and again once more, thwarting evildoers and rising collectively as a surrogate household alongside the way in which.

Unfortunately, like so many different cartoons of its period, Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot was canceled on a stunning cliffhanger that also fascinates and perplexes me to this present day. That stated, with a present like Big Guy and Rusty, it’s the journey that issues more than the vacation spot. Plus, it’s received an absolute banger of a opening theme tune. —TE

Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot is obtainable to stream on YouTube.

Danger Mouse

An anthropomorphic white mouse with an eyepatch runs beside their bespectacled hamster sidekick.

Image: Cosgrove Hall Films, Thames Television

Parodying James Bond — or, if you’d like to be particular, short-lived Nineteen Sixties Bond knockoff TV sequence Danger Man — Nineteen Eighties British cartoon Danger Mouse is a few mouse undercover agent, who wears an eyepatch and a white roll-neck sweater, foiling the dastardly plots of evil toad Baron Greenback whereas preserving his hapless hamster companion Penfold out of hassle. Kids love nothing more than humor that makes them really feel subtle and grown-up, and Danger Mouse’s mixture of slapstick, farce, light satire, and radical, fourth-wall-breaking wit hit this candy spot with unerring goal. It even had the braveness to mock its good hero, and the very thought of heroism — Danger Mouse’s important cowardice is commonly what saves his pores and skin. —Oli Welsh

Danger Mouse is obtainable to stream on Netflix.

Danny Phantom

A young boy looking shocked at a poltergeist being captured by two people in hazmat suits.

Image: Billionfold Inc., Nickelodeon Animation Studio

I nonetheless rewatch the present’s finale on my tiny fifth-generation iPod Nano, which I’d spent iTunes cash on to entertain myself throughout lengthy bus rides to volleyball tournaments. Nothing is more interesting than a teen drama with an occult streak and a solid that I crushed on.

In case you’re not accustomed to the plot: Young Danny Fenton (he was simply 14) when his dad and mom constructed a really unusual machine, it was designed to view a world unseen. (He’s gonna catch ’em all trigger he’s Danny Phantom.) When it didn’t fairly work, his people — they only give up. But then Danny took a glance within it. There was an important huge flash, all the pieces simply modified (his molecules received all rearranged). When he first wakened, he realized he had snow-white hair and glowing inexperienced eyes. He might stroll by means of partitions, disappear, and fly; he was a lot more distinctive than the opposite guys. It was then that he knew what he had to do — he had to cease all of the ghosts who have been coming by means of. He’s right here to struggle for me and you. —NC

Danny Phantom is obtainable to stream on Paramount Plus.

The Fairly OddParents

Fairly Odd Parents

Image: Frederator Studios, Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Watching Nickelodeon within the early 2000s meant wishing you had fairy godparents like Cosmo and Wanda. That jazzy intro jingle! The energy to get something your coronary heart wishes (with actually weird unintended penalties)! Having to determine which matching set of animals or inanimate objects are literally your fairy godparents! Fun truth: Cosmo and Wanda are additionally marriage objectives, having been married for 10,000 years. Sure, they bicker — however present me a person I’ve to endure for 10,000 whole-ass years and I might not fare almost as nicely. —NC

The Fairly OddParents is obtainable to stream on Netflix and Paramount Plus.

Hey Arnold!

Two boys sharing a secret handshake in Hey Arnold!

Imag: Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Hearing “Hey Arnold” will all the time be synonymous with listening to “football head” — the insult of alternative from titular Arnold’s bully Helga (who additionally occurred to have an enormous crush on him). To be truthful, Arnold’s head is definitely within the form of a soccer. The present was all the time very goofy, with a spotlight on friendship. There is a complete episode the place Arnold and his BFF Gerald try to learn the way to roll their R’s to allow them to look scorching (relatable). And my dad and mom cherished it as a result of it all the time imparted some form of lesson, like being good to your elders or not mendacity about forgetting to do your homework or actually by no means going on a curler coaster. —NC

Hey Arnold! is obtainable to stream on Paramount Plus and Hulu.


Two cartoon characters smile while surrounded by the boundaries of a comic panel.

Image: Nickelodeon Animation Studio

KaBlam! by no means skyrocketed to the stratosphere like different Nicktoons in Nickelodeon’s premier Saturday-night block, Snick — in all probability as a result of the sequence defied an elevator pitch that might take it any increased than the bottom ground. I can relate. I’ve rewritten this rattling blurb thrice and I’m nonetheless failing to separate this weird contraption into its particular person components.

Essentially, Nickelodeon employed a collective of indie artists to create serialized animated shorts in a hodgepodge of kinds, from 2D and stop-motion to puppetry and “Chuckimation.” There was a claymated slapstick comedy about an alien and a Neanderthal; a knockoff A-Team led by storage sale motion figures; a hangout comedy from famed kids’s writer Mo Willems; and interstitials starring grunge youngsters Henry and June, presumably named after the primary American movie to obtain an NC-17 score, itself based mostly on the diaries of Anaïs Nin.

Needless to say there was and nonetheless is nothing like KaBlam! on tv; its closest modern is the world of YouTube. In the period of the web, KaBlam! would have exploded. —Chris Plante

KaBlam! is obtainable to stream on Paramount Plus.

Kim Possible

A red-haired woman in a black sleeveless turtleneck and camo pants readies a karate stance.

Image: Walt Disney Television Animation

In junior excessive, all the ladies have been making an attempt to get their flip telephones to play the Kim Possible ringtone. Popular, modern, and sporty, Kim Possible might actually do all of it, and her cheerleading background gave further credence to her gymnastic talents as a spy. The present additionally dared to identify her BFF Ron Stoppable and make loving burritos (and having a unadorned mole rat as a pet) the vast majority of his persona. It has grow to be a consolation watch. I binged it, in its entirety, in spring 2020 — together with my lockdown roomie — whereas we cried and ate Chicken McNuggets. I had a variety of Shego emotions (some issues by no means change). —NC

Kim Possible is obtainable to stream on Disney Plus.

Mummies Alive!

An ensemble shot of four mummies in golden armor flanking a young boy with a golden pendant, a lens flare reflecting off of one of their gauntlets.

Image: DIC Productions, Northern Lights Entertainment

This one-season surprise from 1997 typically seems like a hallucination — even my buddies who mainlined each WB and Fox cartoon aren’t accustomed to this syndicated try to funnel the Egypt-mania of the Nineteen Nineties right into a TMNT/Gargoyles-type motion mould. Doing The Mummy factor two years earlier than The Mummy, Mummies Alive! noticed an evil sorcerer named Scarab return to the trendy day to suck up the spirit of the reincarnated Prince Rapses XII, who’s now a little bit American twerp named Presley. Luckily, Rapses’ marital arts-trained guards additionally return from the lifeless to defend the boy, and “WITH THE STRENGTH OF RA!!!” kick Scarab’s ass every week.

I had no clue on the time, however Mummies Alive! was the most recent work of kid-friendly, high-stakes genius from the X-Men: The Animated Series writers Mark Edens, Eric Lewald, and Julia Lewald. Makes sense: While Mummies Alive! delivered on the motion (each toyetic mummy bodyguard had its personal candy automobiles and physique armor used for nimble fight), the tales nonetheless mattered. There was friendship, worry, and a way of geography because the undead squad navigated an animated San Francisco. Maybe it was too bizarre for a ripped-from-comics late-’90s lineup, however at this time it could make anybody gaga for Avatar: The Last Airbender struggle choreography drool. —Matt Patches

Mummies Alive! is streaming on Amazon Prime Video by way of CONtv.

Pinky and the Brain

Key art of Brain and Pinky from Pinky and the Brain, inside a building that looks like a giant mouse cage or expressionist architecture, depending on your perspective.

Image: Warner Bros. Animation

“Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.”

That’s a Homer Simpson quote, however I wasn’t allowed to watch The Simpsons as a toddler within the ’90s; as an alternative, I had the programming block often called Kids’ WB. Which was good, as a result of I positively didn’t have any associates on the time. While most different classmates have been hanging out at their buddies’ homes, washing down PB&J sandwiches with some Capri Sun, I headed straight house after I received out of faculty at 3 to hang around with my cartoon buddies as an alternative. Among them have been the Warner brothers and the Warner sister, however what I ended up loving even more than these titular animated maniacs have been the genetically enhanced laboratory mice who debuted as recurring characters on their present: the Brain and his airheaded Acme Labs cage-mate, Pinky.

Back then, I largely simply cherished their goofy catchphrases — “Are you pondering what I’m pondering, Pinky?” — and their mouse-brained schemes, just like the Brain’s repeated makes an attempt to management humanity by means of subliminal messages. But later in life, I gained an excellent higher appreciation for Pinky and the Brain and Animaniacs once I got here to perceive simply how packed they have been with references and parodies. First off, the exhibits grew to become even funnier and more attention-grabbing once I discovered, say, who Orson Welles and Vincent Price have been (Maurice LaMarche, the actor behind the Brain, has described his voice for the character as “65% Orson Welles, 35% Vincent Price”). But more to the purpose, it was extremely essential that I, as a sheltered baby of immigrants, might get a crash course in Twentieth-century American popular culture from some kids’s cartoons. Who is aware of if I might’ve made it on to Jeopardy! with out them? —Samit Sarkar

Pinky and the Brain is obtainable to stream on Hulu.


A boy in a jean jacket and red hat huddles close to a group of creatures who seek warm around the flaming tail of an orange lizard creature.

Image: OLM/The Pokémon Company International

When my brothers and I first received into the unique Pokémon sequence, our dad and mom didn’t need us watching it as a result of they thought it promoted animal violence. As a consequence, we had to undertake a covert operation to watch the present.

What we might do is ask to go to grandma and grandpa’s home on the weekends, and then lie to our grandparents about having the ability to watch it. I don’t really bear in mind the exact timing of when the episodes aired, however I do bear in mind watching it within the evenings as I drank strawberry milk earlier than bedtime. —Ana Diaz

Pokémon is obtainable to stream on Netflix.

Powerpuff Girls

Three girls in blue, pink, and green matching outfits flying in front of red heart background.

Image: Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Cartoon Network Studios

Sugar, spice, and all the pieces good. Powerpuff Girls actually solidified the blonde, brunette, and redhead character dynamic. Instead of being a cartoon’s solely lady, you possibly can be considered one of three forms of women: sassy and sporty, a nurturing chief, or cute and forgetful. No matter which, you possibly can nonetheless have the superpowers to defend a metropolis — should you managed to sneak out after darkish. Critically, Powerpuff Girls had the precise correct quantity of gross-out kind stuff. I imply, you possibly can see Mojo Jojo’s uncovered mind in his clear helmet. This was the period of Courage the Cowardly Dog, a present I attempted to watch however had to spot as a result of terrifying scenes typically made me throw up. —NC

Powerpuff Girls is obtainable to stream on HBO Max.

The Proud Family

the full proud family sits on a couch together, teenage penny smiling in the middle, mom trudy holding a baby, a dog biting oscar’s ear, sugar momma looking proud of the dog

Image: Walt Disney Television Animation/Disney Media Distribution

The Proud Family was on common rotation, as one of many solely family-comedy cartoons I cherished as a child. I associated to Penny — and clearly hated her frenemy LaCienega, along with her monumental flipper toes (in hindsight, that was imply of me) — and was obsessed along with her grandma Suga Mama. I nonetheless bear in mind watching reruns of “Romeo Must Wed” the place Penny performs Juliet within the college play, and “rehearses” a smooch with Kwok (voiced by Dante Basco). —NC

The Proud Family is obtainable to stream on Disney Plus.

Rocket Power

Four kids wearing skate helmets stand in front of store register.

Image: Klasky Csupo, Nickelodeon Animation Studio

I grew up within the suburbs of Los Angeles, so I believed these Venice Beach youngsters whose dad and mom allow them to do XTreme Sports have been the good youngsters alive. I imagined a world the place I’d do what they did, and they’d be my buddy. (How would I take care of being referred to as Squid? I might handle.) We would play area hockey within the streets, dust bike down mountains, surf huge waves. Reggie and I might be BFFs, clearly. I bear in mind an episode the place Otto turns 11 and pondering, That is so previous. —NC

Rocket Power is obtainable to stream on Paramount Plus.

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!

Four teenagers and a dog sitt inside of a blue and green van.

Image: Hanna-Barbera Productions

I’ve such fond reminiscences of waking up early with my youthful brother and watching Scoob and the gang resolve ridiculous mysteries. The crossover episodes are legendary (the Harlem Globetrotters entries notably stand out to me), and I actually imagine the Mystery Gang was a foundational touchstone for my love of flicks and tv. And shout out to Velma for lastly being snug along with her true self. You go, Velma. —Pete Volk

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! is obtainable to stream on HBO Max.


Spiderman leaping off the ledge of a building.

Image: Marvel Studios, Tokyo Movie Shinsha

Few issues received me off the bed (or again from college) quicker than the promise of recent episodes of Spider-Man to watch. The hit ’90s animated sequence, together with its predecessor, X-Men, was weapons-grade catnip for a budding comics fan. There was the bitchin’ theme tune (I did all of the strikes), iconic reinterpretations of basic Spidey villains, a number of visitor characters (they even did a Secret Wars crossover), and yeah, I requested for the toys each Christmas (and even received a pair). As an grownup, I marvel (sorry) on the present’s artistic successes given the way in which that showrunner John Semper Jr. was often hamstrung, both by censors — which is why everybody, cops included, had ridiculous laser weapons — failed film plans preserving sure characters and tales off-limits, or the straightforward incontrovertible fact that season-long story arcs would by no means be aired so as given how broadcast networks aired kids’s programming. It’s a miracle the present stands up to any scrutiny, and it’s an enormous a part of why I like comics at this time. —Joshua Rivera

Spider-Man is obtainable to stream on Disney Plus.

SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob SquarePants generating a rainbow from his hands

Image: Nickelodeon Animation Studio

One of essentially the most well-known and enduring cartoons to come out of Nickelodeon hardly requires introduction. Instead I’ll simply level out that I nonetheless know all of the lyrics to almost each well-known tune out of that sequence — and I used to be not even a devoted viewer. Episodes have been simply aired very often. Sometimes when I’m strolling house after ordering pizza from an area spot I’ll begin singing “The Krusty KrraAAAaaAAAAbb-AAaaaab is the peeeeeza (yeeahh) for you and meeeEEEEE” whereas waving the field round. —NC

SpongeBob SquarePants is obtainable to stream on Paramount Plus.

Teen Titans

Five teenage superheroes stand in front of a stylized white logo and red background that reads, “Teen Titans.”

Image: Warner Bros. Animation

The minute the Teen Titans theme got here on, I buckled in for an ideal journey, the place a discovered household of teenagers kicked the ass of a number of recurring villains that I tended to neglect. I all the time favored Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Raven best, to the purpose the place I finally simply noped out when episodes centered on Robin and Starfire. Why did Robin all the time have to spoil the enjoyable? Just let Beast Boy and Cyborg play video video games. Why weren’t any of them actual individuals so I might smooch them? Haha… simply kidding. Or? Season 1’s “Nevermore” was a favourite, because it featured so many variations of Raven. I used to be in my Warped Tour period — what can I say? —NC

Teen Titans is obtainable to stream on HBO Max.

The Tick

A muscular man in a blue tick costume stands with his arms on his hips in front of a city.

Image: Sunbow Entertainment, Graz Entertainment/Disney Platform Distribution

Before superhero parodies have been cool, The Tick burst onto the scene as an uproarious sendup of airheaded heroes. Created by Ben Edlund, who developed the character as a comic book ebook hero in highschool, it was the uncommon Saturday-morning cartoon that my dad loved simply as a lot (if not more) than I did, simply due to how humorous it was for viewers of all ages.

Filled with an absurd solid of terrifically named characters (Eyebrows Mulligan, Barry Hubris, and the Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight), The Tick led to wonderful live-action variations (together with the stellar 2016 revival on Prime Video). The jazzy intro tells you all you want to know. Spoon!!! —PV

The Tick is obtainable to stream on Hulu.

Totally Spies

Three girls in yellow, green, and red matching jumpsuits flying side-by-side with jetpacks.

Image: Image Entertainment, Marathon Media

I spent many summer time days with my cousin the place we’d plonked in entrance of the TV to watch Teen Titans adopted instantly by Totally Spies — our favourite exhibits, which all the time had back-to-back episodes. The sequence mixes enjoyable genres — teen lady films, James Bond-esque spy procedurals, together with a transparent anime affect — to create one of the crucial widespread girl-led motion cartoons of the early 2000s. The devices have been so rad and fashionable (rings, hair sprays, cute sneakers). I cherished Sailor Moon and Powerpuff Girls, and so after all, I cherished Totally Spies. —NC

Totally Spies is obtainable to stream on Prime Video.

Ulysses 31

A side profile of three cartoon characters wearing space helmets alongside a red robot in front of a space background.

Image: DIC Audiovisuel, TMS Entertainment

The French have been into anime earlier than the remainder of us, and the early Nineteen Eighties noticed a couple of legendary co-productions between French and Japanese studios, like this epic sci-fi remodeling of Greek mythology. Space captain Ulysses incurs the wrath of the immortal gods when he rescues his son Telemachus, and a gaggle of different kids, from the terrifying techno-giant Cyclops; Zeus places his crew to sleep and condemns him to wander the celebs in the hunt for the dominion of Hades.

To a British child on the time, the present’s foreignness mixed with its mythic dimension made it appear mysterious and essential, over and above its cool Star Wars stylings and banging theme tune. (Ulysses 31 was one of many inspirations for Daft Punk’s Discovery music movies and related movie Interstella 5555.) —OW

Ulysses 31 is obtainable to stream on YouTube.

X-Men: Evolution

A side-by-side selection of X-Men standing in the Danger Room of the Xavier Institute, including (L-R) Nightcrawler, Rogue, Scott Summers, Kitty Pryde, Spyke, and Jean Grey.

Image: Film Roman, Marvel Studios

X-Men Evolution’s premise feels like fanfiction, and that must be taken as a praise, as a result of it really works. In this present, all the X-Men are youngsters attending a public highschool the place they have to preserve their mutant powers underneath wraps; they’re solely allowed to be out of the mutant closet once they return house, to Xavier’s boarding home.

Because all people is 16 years previous, this present focuses quite a bit more on character improvement and melodramatic love triangles reasonably than the widespread political and systemic oppression that the X-Men confronted in X-Men: The Animated Series (and within the comedian books). As a consequence, X-Men Evolution is more of a slow-moving character drama, permitting every younger mutant their flip to shine. —Maddy Myers

X-Men: Evolution is obtainable to stream on Disney Plus.


Public opinion on cops within the United States has modified quite a bit in recent times, and tales about superheroes have confronted comparable scrutiny, since they’re typically framed as superpowered police (or they work with the cops immediately). It might shock you to be taught, then, that the X-Men animated present from the ’90s is among the most “fuck the police” tv exhibits ever produced, whereas additionally being a superhero TV present geared towards kids.

Instead of working with the police, the X-Men are oppressed by their authorities, making cops the commonest enemy on the present. The different commonest enemy? Bigoted hate teams making an attempt to take down mutants, who’re framed as an oppressed minority. There are few issues more satisfying than watching Rogue punch a neo-Nazi whereas Storm makes use of her lightning powers on a bunch of cops. Although it has a couple of goofy and skippable episodes, the X-Men cartoon did a surprisingly good job of navigating the potential awkwardness of utilizing mutants as a metaphor for varied oppressed minorities (most frequently, queer individuals). The result’s completely nonetheless value a watch – particularly provided that the present is about to return for one more two seasons on Disney Plus in fall 2023. —MM

X-Men is obtainable to stream on Disney Plus.

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