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The Best Dramatic Animated Series Ever Made

Updated November 11, 2020 3.7k votes 331 voters 4.9k 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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  • 1
    Avatar: The Last Airbender
    259
    25

    Avatar: The Last Airbender

    Zach Tyler, Dee Bradley Baker

    Premiered2005

    Avatar: The Last Airbender is an American television series that aired for three seasons on... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 2
    The Legend of Korra
    164
    69

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 3
    Young Justice
    126
    45

    Young Justice

    Danica McKellar, Jesse McCartney

    Premiered2010

    Young Justice is an American animated television series created by Brandon Vietti and Greg... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 4
    Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
    112
    48

    Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

    Kent Williams, Iemasa Kayumi

    Premiered2010

    Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Bones, 2009) is a Japanese fantasy anime series based on the... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 5
    Batman Beyond
    91
    38

    Batman Beyond

    Will Friedle, Kevin Conroy

    Premiered1999

    Batman Beyond is an American animated television series created by Warner Bros. Animation in... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 6
    Cowboy Bebop
    82
    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 7
    Star Wars: The Clone Wars
    77
    31

    Star Wars: The Clone Wars

    Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker

    Premiered2008

    This show is an American 3D CGI animated television series created by George Lucas and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 8
    Steven Universe
    96
    49

    Steven Universe

    Zach Callison, Estelle

    Premiered2013

    Steven Universe is an American animated television series created by Rebecca Sugar, former... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 9
    Dragon Prince
    68
    26

    Dragon Prince

    Jack De Sena, Paula Burrows

    Premiered2018

    The Dragon Prince (Netflix, 2018) is a fantasy computer-animated television series created by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 10
    Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated
    83
    40

    Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated

    Frank Welker, Mindy Cohn

    Premiered2010

    Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated (Cartoon Network, 2010) is an American animated mystery... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 11
    Justice League
    92
    50

    Justice League

    Carl Lumbly, George Newbern

    Premiered2001

    Justice League is an American animated television series which ran from 2001 to 2004 on... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 12
    Naruto: Shippuden
    73
    36

    Naruto: Shippuden

    Nana Mizuki, Yukari Tamura

    Premiered2007

    Naruto: Shippuden (Studio Pierrot, 2007), also known as Naruto Shippuden, is a Japanese action... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 13
    Attack on Titan
    73
    36

    Attack on Titan

    Marina Inoue, Yuki Kaji

    Premiered2013

    Attack on Titan (Wit Studio, 2013) is a Japanese fantasy anime television series adapted from... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 14
    Castlevania
    62
    29

    Castlevania

    Richard Armitage, James Callis

    Premiered2017

    Castlevania (Netflix, 2017) is an American adult animated web television series based on the... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 15
    Futurama
    64
    31

    Futurama

    Billy West, John DiMaggio

    Premiered1999

    Futurama is an American adult animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 16
    Death Note
    70
    39

    Death Note

    Mamoru Miyano, Aya Hirano

    Premiered2006-10-03

    Death Note (Madhouse, 2006) is a Japanese supernatural thriller anime series based on the... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 17
    Spider-Man
    63
    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 18
    The New Batman Adventures
    55
    28

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 19
    Dragon Ball Z
    74
    48

    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 20
    Gargoyles
    59
    33

    Gargoyles

    Keith David, Salli Richardson-Whitfield

    Premiered1994

    Gargoyles is an American animated series produced by Walt Disney Television Animation and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 21
    Welcome to the Wayne
    0
    0

    Welcome to the Wayne

    Alanna Ubach, Billy Lopez
    Welcome to the Wayne (Nickelodeon, 2017) is an American children's animated television series... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 22
    Fullmetal Alchemist
    50
    29

    Fullmetal Alchemist

    Vic Mignogna, Aaron Dismuke

    Premiered2003

    Fullmetal Alchemist (Bones, 2003) is a Japanese fantasy anime series based on the manga by... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 23
    Voltron: Legendary Defender
    51
    31

    Voltron: Legendary Defender

    Josh Keaton, Steven Yeun

    Premiered2016

    Voltron: Legendary Defender is a 2016 American animated web television series. The series... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 24
    The Spectacular Spider-Man
    32
    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 on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 25
    InuYasha
    47
    35

    InuYasha

    Kappei Yamaguchi, Richard Ian Cox

    Premiered2000

    Inuyasha (Sunrise, 2000), also known as Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale, is a Japanese fantasy... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button