TV Recs like Young Justice, Avatar, Voltron: Legendary Defender?
January 30, 2017 2:43 AM   Subscribe

The two shows that have been really comforting since the election are Young Justice and Voltron: Legendary Defender. Looking for similar shows.

So since the election, I find myself in need of comforting distraction, and a lot of my normal fare isn't really cutting it. The two shows I've watched since the election that have hit the spot the most are Young Justice and the new Voltron series.

There's just something about the group of misfits coming together to fight evil and the blend of humor and seriousness that hits the right chord at the moment. From experience I'd say Avatar: TLA hits this as well. (Probably also Korra.) I'm an old school fan of Gargoyles. But I haven't watched much Western animated shows.

It being animated isn't required, but there's something about, I guess, all ages entertainment that keeps it from getting too horribly dark.

Anime would also be ok, though I'd prefer things with a decent dub rather than anything that only has subtitles (because I craft while watching TV and that gets challenging.) I've seen SOME anime, a lot of the big name ones like FMA:B, Madoka Magica, Princess Tutu, Attack on Titan, Deathnote, and some random ones. My taste in anime (and honestly most entertainment previously) tends dark, though. Also really not feeling down with casual sexism or other offensiveness, so anime can be a minefield.
posted by threeturtles to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Have you watched Gravity Falls? They're most certainly a set of misfits coming together to fight evil, and perhaps one of my favorite shows in recent years. It's only two seasons, but I so so respect the creator choosing to control the end instead of milking it.

Now I need to go see if I can track down Gargoyles... :)
posted by librarianamy at 5:43 AM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've been watching Steven Universe, and though it can get dark at times, the general themes of caring about each other and listening and relationships have really helped.

It's sort of misfits fighting evil, and it definitely blends humor and seriousness.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:45 AM on January 30, 2017

Response by poster: I have not watched either Gravity Falls or Steven Universe. I've wondered about them, but I dunno, maybe I have a hipster resistance to liking them cause they're popular.

Gargoyles is available on DVD, at least most of it is.
posted by threeturtles at 8:06 AM on January 30, 2017

I think you would probably like the older Justice League (and sequel/continuation Justice League Unlimited). Starts off a little slow, but ends up super-charming. There's a surprisingly strong belief in redemption and the importance of human connection in the Dini/Timm animated verse given that it's about superpowered people punching each other.
posted by praemunire at 8:54 AM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

Good suggestions so far. I'd add Teen Titans. The Go! reboot's a little too madcap, but the original is by turns fun and heavy. I think it'd fit right in with the shows mentioned.
posted by xenization at 9:23 AM on January 30, 2017

Also, not animated, but still very light: The Middleman. The byline is 'Fighting Evil, so you don't have to'. The fighting evil mostly happens with two people - the ridiculously clean cut Middleman, and Wendy Watson, a temp who takes the job because it helps give her inspiration for her art. There's a great cast of secondary characters, and it's all very light without being a sitcom.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:01 AM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Middleman is based on a comic book, so it has similar creative DNA.

If you're averse to checking out Gravity Falls and Steven Universe because of the hype, well, here's another voice verifying that they're great. Not sure if that helps.

Other good shows with heart and humor and plenty of action: Batman the Animated Series and Batman the Brave and the Bold (quite a bit sillier than BTAS). Also some shows from Cartoon Network that skew towards action include Samurai Jack (it comes back next month!) and Sym-Bionic Titan (it's a bit more difficult to track down, but it's the creator of Samurai Jack doing a super-sentai/giant robot team type show). It's also worth checking out American anime The Big O, which was a Cartoon Network show created by the team of animators who worked on the original BTAS.

And, once you get into the slippery slope of actual Japanese-import anime, there are an insane amount of options for you.
posted by sleeping bear at 10:37 AM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

Seconding Steven Universe and Gravity Falls. They're popular for a reason! Also Adventure Time. It's one of those shows that's for kids on the surface but it has a darker undercurrent, which personally makes it more interesting for adults to watch. It's much older but you might like Home Movies. They aren't fighting a cause, it's just sweet and goofy. For more adult shows there's also Clone High and the Venture Bros. Those both have some casual sexism but it's not so egregious that it's unacceptable to me personally, YMMV. The Venture Bros definitely does casual offensiveness, but they're pretty self aware and I've enjoyed it.
posted by Bistyfrass at 10:53 AM on January 30, 2017

I started watching Netflix's Troll Hunters with my son. We're through the first three or four episodes and the characters are pretty well thought out, the story works... Yeah, it's good in the same vein as Voltron.
I'd also say the How To Train Your Dragon series' have also been aweseom (Riders of Berk, Defenders of Berk, Race to the Edge...)
Both my kids actually are digging Tarzan and Jane... which is a whole lot more Edgar Rice Burroughs
But lately, we've just been reliving 1993 and watching this... which is also on Netflix...
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:54 PM on January 30, 2017

Nthing Gravity Falls and Steven Universe. They deserve the hype.
posted by bizarrenacle at 3:00 PM on January 30, 2017

I like a lot of the suggestions above.

Spectacular Spider-Man was written/produced by Greg Weisman (Young Justice and Gargoyles).

Dennou Coil is a charming near future sci-fi about a group of children with augmented reality pets trying to figure out a virus. I'm not doing it much justice, as it's really far removed from a lot of anime tropes.
posted by SometimesChartreuse at 4:08 PM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think I'm in the same emotional place! I've been rewatching Young Justice, too, and want to finish Voltron.

Two people that cross over with some of the shows that you like (Avatar), and some of the shows that have been recommended (Batman: The Brave and the Bold), are Ethan Spaulding and Michael Jelenic, who have served as executive producers on many of these shows. My favorite of their shows is one that has not been mentioned yet : the 2011 Thundercats reboot. It's got a similar visual aesthetic to YJ and Avatar, with a decently sophisticated approach to the characters, their relationships and the plots. I watched the original Thundercats growing up, and while I am nostalgic for that show, I thought the reboot was much, much better!

I have all three volumes of the show on DVD, so I would say it's main drawback is that it's not available on a streaming service, to my knowledge.
posted by Slothrop at 4:08 PM on January 30, 2017

If you can still find it anywhere, I think Teen Titans had a similar vibe to Voltron and Avatar where it's lighthearted and funny but not too goofy to have dramatic highs and lows.

Nthing Steven Universe as well.
posted by space snail at 4:59 PM on January 30, 2017

I have very similar tastes to you and I'm strongly nthing Spectacular Spider-Man, as well as Justice League/Justice League Unlimited and Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

I'm guessing you've already seen Doctor Who, but if you haven't seen the all-ages (well... all-ages-ier) spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures, it's right up your alley! The plots are a bit simpler, but the characters are charming and well-developed over the course of the (sadly abbreviated) five season run. The younger cast members are talented and I'm honestly surprised none of them have gone on to hit it big (yet).
posted by bettafish at 5:42 PM on January 30, 2017

Response by poster: Suddenly there were a bunch of comments.

I HAVE seen The Middleman. (And Doctor Who.)

I've been wondering about Batman TAS because of what everyone says about it. And I've thought about Spectacular Spider Man because Greg Weisman. But to be honest I'm really not a superhero person generally so that's why I haven't been sure if I'd like both of those. (And I really usually dislike Spiderman, otherwise I'd have already watched it.)

So I dunno. Thanks. I'm tentatively gonna check out Gravity Falls and maybe Teen Titans.

Anyway, once I realized that it seemed like animated shows were maybe what I was in the mood for it seemed like a good time to try all these things people talk about.
posted by threeturtles at 1:57 AM on January 31, 2017

Just finished Troll Hunters and will second that recommendation. Great animation and voice acting, great themes of sacrifice and honor, exciting story and intriguing worldbuilding. Ostensibly aimed at tweens(?), but fun for all ages.
posted by the sobsister at 11:43 AM on February 1, 2017

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