Entertainment
383 voters

The Best Dramatic Animated Series Ever Made

Updated March 26, 2021 4.0k votes 383 voters 5.9k views44 items

List RulesVote up the best animated dramas that have aired on television.

The best animated television shows have never been about just being “cartoons.” The best animated drama series ever shown on TV prove that easily, with shows and scenes that get us caught up in the story. If you’ve been looking for the great animated dramas to get your feels on while enjoying the visuals of a cartoon, this list of the top animated drama series of all time will help you figure out what needs to go into your queue.

Some of the best animated dramas on TV balance the laughs with the tears. Anyone who has started sniffling during the "Jurassic Bark" episode of Futurama knows exactly the kind of perfect emotional blow a good animated drama can bring. Possibly because they’re just “cartoons,” we let our guard down and the dramatic moments have more impact. Shows that are children’s cartoons are often very good at this emotional bait-and-switch, with Gargoyles, Steven Universe, and even Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated introducing dramatic elements into their stories. Other series start out clearly as dramas, such as Avatar: Legend of Korra, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Watership Down - with light moments acting as a buffer, rather than the inverse.

Which animated TV shows bring drama the best? Vote up the best animated dramas, then vote down the shows that don't pull off being serious when they need to, and add any dramatic animated series that are missing.

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  • 1
    283
    25

    Avatar: The Last Airbender

    Zach Tyler, Dee Bradley Baker

    Premiered2005

    Avatar: The Last Airbender (Nickelodeon, 2005) is an American television series created by...  more
  • 2
    181
    77

    The Legend of Korra

    Janet Varney, P.J. Byrne

    Premiered2012

    The Legend of Korra (Nickelodeon, 2012) is an American animated television series created by...  more
  • 3
    137
    48

    Young Justice

    Danica McKellar, Jesse McCartney

    Premiered2010

    Young Justice (Cartoon Network, 2010) is an American action adventure superhero animation...  more
  • 4
    126
    48

    Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

    Kent Williams, Iemasa Kayumi

    Premiered2010

    Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (JNN, 2009) is a Japanese fantasy anime series based on the...  more
  • 5
    94
    31

    Star Wars: The Clone Wars

    Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker

    Premiered2008

    Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon Network, 2008) is an American animated action adventure...  more
  • 6
    92
    35

    Cowboy Bebop

    Kôichi Yamadera, Unshô Ishizuka

    Premiered1998

    Cowboy Bebop (Sunrise, 1998) is a Japanese sci-fi anime series. Set in the year 2071, it...  more
  • 7
    99
    42

    Batman Beyond

    Will Friedle, Kevin Conroy

    Premiered1999

    Batman Beyond is an American animated television series created by Warner Bros. Animation in...  more
  • 8
    87
    35

    Attack on Titan

    Marina Inoue, Yuki Kaji

    Premiered2013

    Attack on Titan (MBS, 2013) is a Japanese fantasy anime television series adapted from the...  more
  • 9
    83
    32

    Futurama

    Billy West, John DiMaggio

    Premiered1999

    Futurama is an American adult animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and...  more
  • 10
    101
    51

    Justice League

    Carl Lumbly, George Newbern

    Premiered2001

    Justice League is an American animated television series which ran from 2001 to 2004 on...  more
  • 11
    104
    54

    Steven Universe

    Zach Callison, Estelle

    Premiered2013

    Steven Universe (Cartoon Network, 2013) is an American animated action science-fantasy comedy...  more
  • 12
    91
    44

    Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated

    Frank Welker, Mindy Cohn

    Premiered2010

    Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated (Cartoon Network, 2010) is an American animated mystery...  more
  • 13
    73
    30

    Dragon Prince

    Jack De Sena, Paula Burrows

    Premiered2018

    The Dragon Prince (Netflix, 2018) is a fantasy computer-animated television series created by...  more
  • 14
    70
    34

    Gargoyles

    Keith David, Salli Richardson-Whitfield

    Premiered1994

    Gargoyles is an American animated series produced by Walt Disney Television Animation and...  more
  • 15
    65
    31

    Castlevania

    Richard Armitage, James Callis

    Premiered2017

    Castlevania (Netflix, 2017) is an American adult animated web television series based on the...  more
  • 16
    73
    41

    Death Note

    Mamoru Miyano, Aya Hirano

    Premiered2006

    Death Note (Madhouse, 2006) is a Japanese supernatural thriller anime series based on the...  more
  • 17
    59
    28

    Fullmetal Alchemist

    Vic Mignogna, Aaron Dismuke

    Premiered2003

    Fullmetal Alchemist (JNN, 2003) is a Japanese fantasy anime series based on the manga by...  more
  • 18
    66
    35

    Spider-Man

    Christopher Daniel Barnes, Sara Ballantine

    Premiered1994

    Spider-Man, also known as Spider-Man: The Animated Series, is an American animated television...  more
  • 19
    76
    45

    Naruto: Shippuden

    Nana Mizuki, Yukari Tamura

    Premiered2007

    Naruto: Shippuden (TV Tokyo, 2007), also known as Naruto Shippuden, is a Japanese action anime...  more
  • 20
    80
    50

    Dragon Ball Z

    Sean Schemmel, Christopher Sabat

    Premiered1989

    Dragon Ball Z (Fuji TV, 1989) is a Japanese action anime series based on the manga by Akira...  more
  • 21
    58
    29

    The New Batman Adventures

    Tara Strong, Kevin Conroy

    Premiered1997

    The New Batman Adventures is an American animated television series based on the DC Comics...  more
  • 22
    4
    1

    Invincible

    Steven Yeun, J.K. Simmons

    Premiered2021

    Invincible (Amazon Video, 2021) is an animated action/adventure series created by Robert...  more
  • 23
    56
    32

    Voltron: Legendary Defender

    Josh Keaton, Steven Yeun

    Premiered2016

    Voltron: Legendary Defender is a 2016 American animated web television series. The series...  more
  • 24
    40
    19

    The Spectacular Spider-Man

    Josh Keaton, Lacey Chabert

    Premiered2008

    The Spectacular Spider-Man is an American animated television series based on the superhero...  more
  • 25
    53
    35

    BoJack Horseman

    Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris

    Premiered2014

    BoJack Horseman (Netflix, 2014) is an American animated sitcom created by Raphael...  more