Few things on Earth are as magical as animation. The form has been entertaining people of all ages for a century, and it may be more dominant now than ever. Animated shows go toe to toe with their live-action counterparts on major streaming services, and with the help of FlixPatrol, we are here to break down the hottest animation across each platform.
Data reports from Netflix separate the numbers from adult and kid profiles. No animated series is currently streaming in the top 10 at Netflix for adults (Woody Woodpecker blends live-action and CGI animation, so we’re not counting it), but animation dominates the kid’s section. Series like Cocomelon, Bebefinn, and Little Angel are steady heavy hitters for the platform.
Behind them are more shows that skew very young, including Gabby’s Dollhouse and Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse. For a slightly older demographic, Kung-Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight sits in the middle at the number six spot, My Dad the Bounty Hunter at seven, and the 2006 series Tom and Jerry Tales comes in at number nine.
Kids are also streaming a few series that are giving animation a run for its money. In the number one streaming spot for kids on Netflix is the nature docu-series Predators, which chronicles life in the wild for some of the world’s most ferocious animals. At the other end, Our Planet brings up the rear in the number 10 spot; the nature docs create nice, educational bookends sandwiching a range of animation.
At Hulu, the dominance of animation looks very different. The streamer is arguably the mecca for adult animation, and Hulu has the numbers to prove it.
Archer currently occupies the number one spot for TV shows for the streamer, not just in animation but on the entire site. The series recently began airing its 14th season on FX. for which Hulu is the streaming home. Bringing up the rear in the top ten are adult animation classics Family Guy and Futurama, the latter of which now has new episodes exclusively on Hulu.
The rivalry between Netflix and Hulu is old, but these two streaming giants seem to have settled into their niches. While kids flock to animation at Netflix, adults flock to Hulu for their cartoon fix.
Ahsoka, the latest entry in the Star Wars canon, is topping the streaming charts for Disney+. After that, the Disney Channel original series Jessie is the only live-action show represented on the streamer’s top 10. The rest belongs to animation.
The most popular animated shows on Disney+ skew young; Bluey, I Am Groot, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse dominate the chart, followed by a more adult addition in The Simpsons. Animation for very young kids rounds out the rest of the list, with the exception of Star Wars Rebels, which, if we are being honest, is probably viewed by more grown-ups than children. How else will we be able to enjoy Ahsoka?!
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? And is his lease ever up?
Spongebob Squarepants is nearly 25 years old, and the show is the number one series streaming on Paramount+ right now. The lovable fry cook is beating everything on the streamer, including Taylor Sheridan’s Special Ops: Lioness, network staples like NCIS and Criminal Minds, and Showtime hits The Chi and Billions. Long live animation, folks.
Max and Amazon Prime
Animation is quiet at Max right now (rip Infinity Train). Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake is streaming in the Max top 10, but it is the only animation on the list, and it is barely making the cut. Amazon Prime has no animated movies or shows in its top 10 lists. Someone needs to teach them how to have some fun!
iTunes and Google Play Store
Yes, iTunes is still a thing. For those downloading their shows instead of streaming, animation is still a hit. Archer is a heavy hitter on both iTunes and Google. Star Trek: The Animated Series beamed its way into the top ten on iTunes, while Bluey and Family Guy remain popular purchases on Google.
Animation is a prevalent force, spanning a wide range of genres, budgets, and target audiences. The major streaming platforms have leveraged animation in different ways, but the medium remains a staple for many of them, regardless of the form it takes. Kick back this weekend and make Saturday morning cartoons a thing again, no matter which ones you love.