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The Best Dramatic Animated Series Ever Made

Updated November 11, 2020 3.8k votes 360 voters 5.5k views42 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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  • Avatar: The Last Airbender1
    275
    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
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  • The Legend of Korra2
    176
    74

    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
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  • Young Justice3
    132
    49

    Young Justice

    Danica McKellar, Jesse McCartney

    Premiered2010

    Young Justice is an American animated television series created by Brandon Vietti and Greg...  more
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  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood4
    117
    50

    Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

    Kent Williams, Iemasa Kayumi

    Premiered2010

    Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Bones, 2009) is a Japanese fantasy anime series based on the...  more
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  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars5
    88
    30

    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
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  • Cowboy Bebop6
    88
    34

    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
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  • Batman Beyond7
    93
    40

    Batman Beyond

    Will Friedle, Kevin Conroy

    Premiered1999

    Batman Beyond is an American animated television series created by Warner Bros. Animation in...  more
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  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated8
    88
    39

    Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated

    Frank Welker, Mindy Cohn

    Premiered2010

    Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated (Cartoon Network, 2010) is an American animated mystery...  more
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  • Steven Universe9
    101
    53

    Steven Universe

    Zach Callison, Estelle

    Premiered2013

    Steven Universe is an American animated television series created by Rebecca Sugar, former...  more
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  • Dragon Prince10
    68
    27

    Dragon Prince

    Jack De Sena, Paula Burrows

    Premiered2018

    The Dragon Prince (Netflix, 2018) is a fantasy computer-animated television series created by...  more
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  • Attack on Titan11
    77
    35

    Attack on Titan

    Marina Inoue, Yuki Kaji

    Premiered2013

    Attack on Titan (Wit Studio, 2013) is a Japanese fantasy anime television series adapted from...  more
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  • Futurama12
    72
    31

    Futurama

    Billy West, John DiMaggio

    Premiered1999

    Futurama is an American adult animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and...  more
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  • Justice League13
    94
    51

    Justice League

    Carl Lumbly, George Newbern

    Premiered2001

    Justice League is an American animated television series which ran from 2001 to 2004 on...  more
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  • Naruto: Shippuden14
    76
    38

    Naruto: Shippuden

    Nana Mizuki, Yukari Tamura

    Premiered2007

    Naruto: Shippuden (Studio Pierrot, 2007), also known as Naruto Shippuden, is a Japanese action...  more
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  • Castlevania15
    64
    28

    Castlevania

    Richard Armitage, James Callis

    Premiered2017

    Castlevania (Netflix, 2017) is an American adult animated web television series based on the...  more
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  • Death Note16
    71
    38

    Death Note

    Mamoru Miyano, Aya Hirano

    Premiered2006

    Death Note (Madhouse, 2006) is a Japanese supernatural thriller anime series based on the...  more
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  • Gargoyles17
    65
    33

    Gargoyles

    Keith David, Salli Richardson-Whitfield

    Premiered1994

    Gargoyles is an American animated series produced by Walt Disney Television Animation and...  more
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  • Spider-Man18
    65
    33

    Spider-Man

    Christopher Daniel Barnes, Sara Ballantine

    Premiered1994

    Spider-Man, also known as Spider-Man: The Animated Series, is an American animated television...  more
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  • Dragon Ball Z19
    77
    47

    Dragon Ball Z

    Sean Schemmel, Christopher Sabat

    Premiered1989

    Dragon Ball Z (Toei Animation, 1989) is a Japanese action anime series based on the manga by...  more
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  • The New Batman Adventures20
    55
    27

    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
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  • The Liberator21
    2
    0

    The Liberator

    Bradley James, Mike Rowe

    Premiered2020

    The Liberator (Netflix, 2020) is an American animated action drama created by Alex Kershaw and...  more
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  • Fullmetal Alchemist22
    53
    29

    Fullmetal Alchemist

    Vic Mignogna, Aaron Dismuke

    Premiered2003

    Fullmetal Alchemist (Bones, 2003) is a Japanese fantasy anime series based on the manga by...  more
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  • Voltron: Legendary Defender23
    51
    30

    Voltron: Legendary Defender

    Josh Keaton, Steven Yeun

    Premiered2016

    Voltron: Legendary Defender is a 2016 American animated web television series. The series...  more
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  • BoJack Horseman24
    48
    31

    BoJack Horseman

    Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris

    Premiered2014

    BoJack Horseman (Netflix, 2014) is an American animated sitcom created by Raphael...  more
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  • The Spectacular Spider-Man25
    34
    17

    The Spectacular Spider-Man

    Josh Keaton, Lacey Chabert

    Premiered2008

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