Cartoons and animation are more popular than ever among viewers of all ages. Between Netflix Originals, traditional cable networks like Adult Swim, direct-to-video, and web series, there’s an amazing amount of new stuff to see.
If you’re a grownup cartoon nerd, you should be a very happy camper right now. That’s not even counting the flood of big-budget animated features going to theaters, like Coco and Despicable Me 3.
Here’s the thing though. There’s almost too much. What should you watch?
It’s gotten to the point where there’s so many new cartoons that it’s hard to figure out where to spend your time. After all, there’s still a whole lot of junk out there. Not to mention shows and movies that just aren’t aimed at audiences older than 10. So, here’s a list of what’s coming out for the rest of the year that’s worth a look.
Weirdest New Cartoon of 2017 – Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
In perhaps the strangest mashup of the 2010s, Tom and Jerry will reenact the classic Roald Dahl novel. Yes, the cat and the mouse.
Yes, they’re still making new ones.
Along with Tom and Jerry, we get appearances by Droopy Dog, Spike the Dog, Butch the Dog, and some characters who aren’t dogs. Not to mention all the kids and other characters from the Chocolate Factory.
Presumably this won’t be as outright disturbing as the old live-action movie starring Gene Wilder. Hopefully, it will also be better than the Johnny Depp version.
This animated film is notable for its voice cast. The studio’s managed to put together a really stellar cast for a project that isn’t getting much push.
Among the biggest names in the credits are Jeff Bergman, the voice of Droopy for over 20 years. Clancy Brown (Lex Luthor in the DCAU) plays Butch, and Jess Harnell (Animaniacs) plays Mr. Beauregarde.
The role of the sweetly sinister Willy Wonka himself goes to Jonny Rees, a regular on Tom and Jerry projects and countless video games.
Batman and Harley Quinn – A New DC Animated Film in 2017!
DC and WB produce a steady stream of Batman and Justice League animation, but most of it frankly isn’t very good. The tone shifts wildly, the voice acting isn’t consistent, and the writing is often subpar.
Sometimes, though, you can tell they’re really trying to put out something good. Batman and Harley Quinn looks like one of those projects.
As always, one of the best indicators is the vocal cast.
- Kevin Conroy returns as Batman. He is, of course, the voice of Batman for many fans.
- Loren Lester plays Nightwing (Dick Grayson). Loren played alongside Kevin Conroy in the DCAU for years as Robin. Having him reprise the role here is akin to the late, lamented Adam West reuniting with Burt Ward.
- Paget Brewster of Thrilling Adventure Hour Fame is sure to turn in a great performance as Poison Ivy. She’s no stranger to DC, having played Lois Lane and Lana Lang in previous DC films.
- Kevin Michael Richardson is in as obscure DC villain Floronic Man. Floronic Man’s powers include the ability to control plans. Kevin Michael Richardson’s powers include the ability to be an amazing voice actor.
- And John DiMaggio plays Swamp Thing, an obvious foil to Floronic Man. DiMaggio is one of the greatest names in voice acting. He was Bender in Futurama, he’s Jake in Adventure Time, and he’s even played the Joker a time or two.
The plot of the film involves Batman and Nightwing reluctantly teaming up with Harley Quinn (played by Melissa Rauch) against Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man. The art style is a straight callback to Batman: The Animated Series. It should be a fantastic DCAU reunion with loads of great action.
Pokemon 20 and Tons of Other Anime
To be honest, I’m not the go-to guy for anime news. In fact, if you’d like to help out with that, you’d be very welcome.
So, I was surprised but not-surprised to learn that A: there have been 19 Pokemon animated films, and B: the 20th one is coming out this year.
Pokemon the Movie 20: I Choose You is a remake of the Indigo League saga, the events of the original animated series. It follows the adventures of Satoshi (or Ash) as he makes friends with Pikachu and strives to be the world’s greatest Pokemon trainer.
In other anime news, we’re getting a new Sword Art Online film, a new Resident Evil film (Vendetta), and a new Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress film.
I’m familiar with that last one, at least, and it’s a great steampunk story. The movie is a retelling of the series about a zombie apocalypse during the industrial revolution. Giant trains, hydraulic stake guns, what’s not to love?
One of the biggest animated TV events of the year is sure to be the reboot of DuckTales. The Vocal Range has written extensively about the show already, and the news just keeps getting better and better.
The voice cast for this show is absolutely bonkers. It’s an amazing mish-mash of every great comedy show you’ve ever loved.
- David Tennant (Doctor Who) as Scrooge McDuck.
- Tony Anselmo as Donald Duck. Tony is the current official voice of Donald, a legacy role dating back to 1934.
- Danny Pudi (Abed from Community) as Huey.
- Ben Schwartz (Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Recreation) as Dewey.
- Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live) as Louie.
- Beck Bennett (Saturday Night Live) as Launchpad McQuack.
- Kate Micucci (Hall and Oates) as Webby Vanderquack.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton and, well, everything Disney!) as Gizmoduck.
- Paul F. Tompkins (Thrilling Adventure Hours) as Gladstone Gander.
- Jim Rash (Dean Pelton on Community) as Gyro Gearloose.
- Allison Janney (The West Wing) as Goldie O’Gilst.
- Margo Martindale (Esteemed Character Actress Margo Martindale on BoJack Horseman) as Ma Beagle.
It’s pretty nuts. On top of all that, the art style looks phenomenal. It’s a clear homage to the original adventure comics where DuckTales was born, and there’s plenty of room for the show to get just plain weird.
Keep a close eye on this one.
As previously reported, Fred Seibert finally got his wish and is making a Castlevania animated series. The Adventure Time producer is a great fit for the story of Simon Belmont and his whip-cracking, Dracula-smashing family.
The show was picked up by Netflix last year and should air in July 2017 as a Netflix Original. No word yet on the voice actors or other details, but it’s sure to be snappily written and full of blood.
Comics legend Warren Ellis (The Authority, Transmetropolitan) is set to write every episode of the series. It’s already been confirmed for two seasons, at least the first of which will be quite short at 4 episodes.
The trailer shows a great anime style, just like the cutscenes in Symphony of the Night and the later titles in the video game series.
Big Hero 6 Moves to Traditional Animation
Along with DuckTales, Disney XD is getting a series based on Big Hero 6. In an interesting change, the series will not be CG-animated like the film. Instead, it uses a traditional 2D style.
It looks great, and the new style fits the tone of the story well. After all, this was originally a Marvel comic.
Given the loose ends left by the first film’s plot, it’s a good thing the show has plenty of wiggle room. There are many, many stories to be told in this world, and the movie only scratched the surface.
The voice cast features most members of the film cast reprising their roles, including Ryan Potter as Hiro and Scott Adsit as Baymax.
In fact, just about the only Big Hero 6 TV voice actors who weren’t in the film are Khary Payton, who takes over the role of Wasabi, and Brooks Wheelan, who takes over as Fred.
Those are both excellent choices. Khary Payton is hilarious as Cyborg in Justice League Action and Teen Titans, and Brooks was a master of impressions on Saturday Night Live. He was responsible for the characters of Jared Leto, Kid Rock, and always-entertaining Matthew McConaughey.
Disney apparently has faith in the project, as they’ve already renewed it for a second season. Look for season 1 this year.
Meanwhile, Adult Swim Not Doing Much
Adult Swim ran into some trouble this year after a brush with the alt-right. Although the network is still the home of Rick and Morty, they’ve been a little light on other new programming worth watching.
It looks like they’re continuing that trend in 2017, unfortunately. There are three brand-new Adult Swim cartoons on the schedule, and only one of them sounds like it might set the world on fire.
- Apollo Gauntlet looks a bit like “Adult Swim Does Samurai Jack”. It’s a superhero show about a modern-day police officer who travels into the future. He fights crime with his talking gauntlets and magical armor.
- Series creator Myles Langlois stars at Apollo himself.
- Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants) plays several villains.
- James Urbaniak (Venture Bros.) voices Dr. Benign, the evil overlord.
- Hot Streets is an Adult Swim take on The X-Files. This is the most promising show of the three, based on the people involved in its creation. The show stars J. D. Ryznar as Mark Branski, an FBI agent investigating the paranormal.
- Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty) is involved in production, and will also appear as Chubbie Webbers, Branski’s dog.
- Seth Green and Matthew Senrich, the creators of Robot Chicken, are also producing and may appear in voice roles.
- And finally, The Jellies. Tyler, The Creator created this show, possibly after playing Octodad. It’s about a 16 year-old boy who was raised by jellyfish, and goes a little bit nuts when he finds out he was adopted. By jellyfish.
- PhiL LaMarr and Kevin Michael Richardson are on the voice acting cast in unannounced roles.
All three of these are likely to appeal to the usual Adult Swim crowd… college kids looking for something to watch while they’re satisfying the munchies late at night. Hot Streets is worth a look based on its pedigree. The other two, maybe catch on YouTube.