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The Adult’s Animation Renaissance

What’s in a cartoon? Well, it seems like it is more than meets the (graphically coloured and bold) eye. Animated series are better than ever, becoming more ambitious and entertaining than ever before. Recent animated movies and TV series are captivating kids and (and kids at heart), as well as tackling very adult themes.

This isn’t just limited to the few odd series. No, critics and audiences alike are touting the modern animation renaissance, claiming that animated content is now rivaling live action narrative television and film in terms of entertainment, storytelling and relevance. When you look at the critic’s top picks at the end of any given year, you will see a list of animation films right alongside live action offerings.

Cartoons aren’t just for kids

We all know that animated films and tv shows today aren’t just for kids, but this is far from a recent trend. In fact, you may not realise that the classic Hanna Barbara series The Flintstones and The Jetsons were both initially released as television series for adults! Yes, it’s true. The Flintstones was heavily inspired by the live action ‘50s TV series The Honeymooners (with its iconic – and questionable – catchphrase “To the moon, Alice!”). In fact, Fred Flintstone’s character was meant to be a visual nod to the portly Jackie Gleason.

In the 1970s, the decidedly not for children cartoon series ‘Fritz the Cat’ was released in counter culture circles and underground cinemas, featuring a litany of scandalous characters that no innocent child should ever encounter! Other than the rare art house flick, until the very late ‘80s, animation remained very much a kid’s game.

That is, until the early ‘90s!