Features and Columns · TV

The 20 Best Animated Series of 2020

With their fantastical escapes and beautiful worlds, these shows served as much-needed reprieves from a dark year.
Best Animated Series 2020
By  · Published on December 16th, 2020

10. The Midnight Gospel

Midnight Gospel

Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward and comedian Duncan Trussell paired up this year to create The Midnight Gospel, a trippy tale of Clancy, a spacecast host traveling to different worlds to interview citizens about life, death, and everything between. He uses a device called a simulator to transport him to different simulations of Earth, all on the brink of disaster. All of the interviews are based on actual conversations Trussell has done on his podcast, The Duncan Trussell Family Hour, and even some of the audio is used. 

Podcasts are, to put it plainly, hot right now. The Midnight Gospel takes the societal love of audio storytelling and makes it visual. While that may contradict the appeal of a podcast, Ward’s animation makes the case that this show is an exception. It is a kaleidoscope of colors and images that creates an ode to storytelling and just what animation can do to realize the medium of audio. It feels like a show that would play at 3 AM on Adult Swim that catered to the late-night, delirious, and stoned crowd. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

9. Steven Universe Future

Steven Universe Future best animated series 2020

Rebecca Sugar’s animated series Steven Universe has gained acclaim with both critics and audiences for consistently tackling subjects such as LGBTQ+ representation, believing in yourself, and confronting your mistakes. While the show came to an end in 2019, Steven and the Crystal Gems’ saga continues two years after the show’s finale in Steven Universe Future.

The alien race of intergalactic Gems have been convinced to not destroy humanity and now Gems can peacefully live on Earth. After multiple seasons of trying to fight the Gem leaders known as Diamonds and trying to learn more about the powers he inherited from his mother, Steven has a less action-packed purpose. Now, he must address his own traumas brought about by fighting to save Earth and what it means to now have relative peace.

But, of course, there is no shortage of conflicts as Steve and the Crystal Gems try to navigate human-Gem coexistence. Steven Universe Future builds on the expansive world of Sugar’s original series while emphasizing the importance of growth through self-reflection.

8. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power


Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has been showered with praise for its LGBTQ+ representation as well as its discussion of identities outside of the gender binary. It is a truly queer children’s show that tells a fantastic story about empowerment and strength.

This year, sadly, the show premiered its fifth and final season, which provides closure to Adora, the latest iteration of She-Ra, and the Princess Alliance’s fight against the evil Horde and reveals the fate of their planet, Etheria.

Even more, there is a resolution to the central conflict between Adora and her best friend/enemy Catra that is particularly revolutionary for children’s television. She-Ra has displayed the possibilities for children’s entertainment and just how crucial representation is in media created for kids.

7. Blood of Zeus

Blood Of Zeus best animated series 2020

From the team that animated Castlevania comes a new tale: Blood of Zeus. The series delves deep into Greek mythology as it tells the story of Heron, an illegitimate son of Zeus, and his discovery of who his father really is. Like Castlevania, the character design in Blood of Zeus is impeccable, particularly in the designs of villain Seraphim, queen of the gods Hera, and a horde of monstrous Giants who look like they were pulled out of the stories of H.P. Lovecraft.

The show is unrelenting in its gore, which perfectly matches the truth behind the original stories of this pantheon of gods. It captures a cruel yet beautiful world that spans both heaven and earth, each setting more elaborately drawn than the next.

6. Solar Opposites

Solar Opposites

Justin Roiland, co-creator of Rick and Morty, is back with Solar Opposites, another sci-fi animated show but with a new twist. An alien family has escaped from their dying planet and have taken refuge in middle America, which is seen as both a blessing and a curse. Now, they must learn how to live amongst humans, and no matter how hard they try, something always backfires, from lobotomizing a human classmate with soda to creating a society of micro-humans.

Despite a similar animation style, Solar Opposites is an entirely different beast from Rick and Morty. It elevates the humor of Rick and Morty to create idiotic yet loveable aliens that, despite their good intentions, leave a trail of horrific bloody violence in their wake. Solar Opposites takes Rick and Morty to the extreme, which sounds impossible, but it’s true. It’s Roiland going all in. Think The Simpsons but with aliens, violence, and an adorable pupa. 

Next Page
Pages: 1 2 3 4

Related Topics: ,

Mary Beth McAndrews thinks found footage is good and will fight you if you say otherwise. When she's not writing, she's searching for Mothman with her two cats. Follow her on Twitter @mbmcandrews. (She/Her)