Ever since the arrival of ‘The Simpsons’, people’s perception of animated shows has changed forever, and in a good way. ‘The Simpsons’ showed how animated shows can be topical, earnest in their treatment of the subject matter and diverse in every possible way. The show also managed to outrage people’s cultivated sensibility. So, if you are looking for series similar to ‘The Simpsons’, here are our recommendations. You can find most of these TV shows like ‘The Simpsons’ on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu.
14. Big Mouth (2017-)
‘Big Mouth’ and ‘The Simpsons’ are quite different in many ways but they also share similarities, particularly in their presentation of humor. The show chronicles the life of a bunch of young kids on the verge of their adolescent years. They are typically confused, shy and horny. The show not only features anthropomorphized genitals and personified hormone monsters but the gross-out humor is stretched to its limits with exaggerated scenarios. At the surface, it might appear as another dumb fun but the show also tackles the insecurities and moral boundaries of teenagers. The series successfully debuted in 2017 and the second series in 2018 only upped the ante with the inclusion of shame wizard.
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13. Seinfeld (1989-98)
On the surface, ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘The Simpsons’ don’t share many similarities at all. Apart from both being comedy shows and classics in their own respective way, both shows gave us what comedy could be. ‘Seinfeld’ is the story of Jerry Seinfeld who plays himself in the show as an upcoming stand-up comedian in New York City. He has his friends, friends who are offbeat and colorful, to say the least. Just like ‘The Simpsons’, ‘Seinfeld’ too features a great set of social and topical commentary on various day-to-day issues, mostly surrounding the city they live in.
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12. Archer (2009-)
‘Archer’ is an adult animated show focussing on the lives of spies. The viewers can sense a strong undercurrent of parody of worldly events and organizations in the show. Eight dysfunctional spies are forced to work together in International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS), a fictional intelligence agency. Show’s lead, Sterling Archer is an obnoxious womanizer whose emotionally indifferent mother Malory Archer acting as the head of the institution. Sterling Archer’s love interest and the mother of his child is also working with them. The agency features contrasting and weird characters and focuses on the group’s relationship with each other rather than dealing with much spy stuff.
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11. Daria (1997-2002)
The show ‘Daria’ is a spin-off of another great animated show ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ where Daria appeared frequently. ‘Daria’ focuses on the life of a teenager, Daria. Set in an American fictional town of Lawndale the show satirizes many of high school traditions and aspects through Daria’s experiences. Daria and her best friend Jane Lane undergoes various emotional developments as they observe the little suburban town around them. The lead characters’ vitriolic humor on the suburb’s existence among other things is quite strong. This serves as a scathing commentary on a typically closed American society while the two teenagers go through complex emotional changes.
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10. Rick and Morty (2013-)
‘Rick and Morty’ is a show that has rose to prominence in recent years. After running with underwhelming attention in its initial years the show received much more fan attention and acclaim in recent times, and rightly so. At the center, we have Rick Sanchez, a mad scientist with an unconventional life and his shy grandson Morty Smith. Rick lives with the Smith family consisting of Morty’s parents Jerry and Beth Smith and his sister Summer. Rick divulges into outrageous scientific ventures that bends time and space and reality. For most of the time, Morty is his company but he also undertakes the whole family through the journey of the multiverse. The show features a lot of unconventional premises, serious commentary and an alternate way of living, through the character of Rick.
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9. King of the Hill (1997-2010)
‘King of the Hill’ is a sitcom centering around the Hill family in Arlen, Texas. The show mainly exudes humor from day-to-day mundane things. We have the Hill family, Hank Hill, Peggy Hill and their son Bobby Hill. It also brings to the fore the brothers, nieces, mothers, and neighbors. ‘King of the Hill’ has made a mark through its ground reality. It’s in the mold of a slice of life show and derives the humor from regular things while dealing with realism in a more sensitive way.
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8. Family Guy (1998-)
‘Family Guy’ is one of the longest running shows in TV history. The show centered around the Griffins is set in fictional Quahog, Rhode Island. The family of the Griffins is consisting of Peter and Lois along with their children Chris, Meg, and Stewie. They also have Brian, an anthropomorphic pet dog. Peter is a hard working simple middle-class guy and Lois is a stay at home mom. Chris is basically the teenage version of his dad, Meg is often bullied and coy girl and Stewie is a weird and ambiguous adult mannered son with villainy air. Brian is a sarcastically refined speaker with a strong British accent. The show features a lot of topical issues and tackles them with ample humor.
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7. Bojack Horseman (2014-)
In recent years, ‘Bojack Horseman’ has gained a lot of traction because of its ever-improving subsequent seasons. The show is basically an anthem for the doomed generation of today. The world of Bojack is full of anthropomorphic animals living and speaking human language along with humans. Through the character of Bojack, the show sheds light in the darker aspects of the showbiz and internal miseries of humanity in general. Bojack is a narcissistic, heavily opinionated, foul-mouthed drunk with a nihilistic outlook towards life. He’s a tv star past his prime and suffering from the existential crisis. The characters around him act as foil and catalysts to Bojack’s change in nature. The show is full of realism with a tone of satire for the superficiality of showbiz.
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6. Gravity Falls (2012-16)
‘Gravity Falls’ follows the journey of two teenagers as they spend time with their great uncle during their summer vacation in Gravity Falls. Dipper Pines and his twin sister Marbel are made to spend time with their ‘Grunkle’ Stan. Stan owns a tourist trap named Mystery Shack in the fictive town of Gravity Falls. Things take a turn when Dipper finds a mysterious journal exposing the weird things going on in Gravity Falls. With a bunch of side characters, they start unraveling mysteries of the town. It’s a perfect summer story with a smart and addicting narrative that has ‘Twin Peaks’ vibes all over it.
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5. Adventure Time (2010-18)
‘Adventure Time’ is an animated show mainly aimed at children. But the show’s premise and character developments have made it one of the favorites of young adults. The show focuses on the adventures of Finn the Human and Jake the Dog. Jake is Finn’s adoptive brother who has the ability of shape-shifting. Finn is a fiery kid with a morally upright nature. They live in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo. The events of the series take place after thousand years of a destructive nuclear war that devastated the world. With the progress of the story, Finn and Jake come across multiple characters including Princess Bubblegum, Marceline the Vampire Queen, Ice King and BMO to name a few. The show is delightful and manages to find the sweet spot between childlike simplicity and adult content.
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4. Animaniacs (1993-98)
Bringing back from the grave is the classic animated show, ‘Animaniacs’. The show doesn’t follow a set format per se. Most episodes follow three short episodes where the Warner siblings act as a bridge between various new characters and segments. The show features many allusions to popular events and takes a huge amount of inspirations from the popular personalities of that time. The show became highly popular among kids and adults. Hulu plans to reboot the series in 2020 with at least two seasons and the return of popular characters are confirmed.
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3. Bob’s Burgers (2011-)
The show ‘Bob’s Burgers’ focuses on the family of the Belchers. The Belchers run a family burger restaurant in fictional Ocean Avenue. The family consists of the parents Bob and Linda and the children Tina, Gene, and Louise. The show tells us the story of how Bob manages to keep the business afloat amidst growing adversaries. They live in a two-story apartment whose bottom floor acts as the restaurant. He has neighboring buildings consisting of weird and funky business owners. Bob has an arch-rival Jimmy who owns ‘Jimmy Pesto’s Pizzeria’. Bob’s restaurant also faces a fair share of misfortune as he struggles with the growing demand of the family.
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2. South Park (1997-)
Even though ‘South Park’ is an animated show, the cutout figures give it a distinctive touch in terms of viewing experience. The show follows the adventures of four kids named Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick. Set in an apparently bland fictional town of South Park, the show delves deep into satire and parodies all the while maintaining the humorous tone that made it famous in the first place. Stan is an average fourth grader and Kyle is his best friend. Kyle’s Jewish origin has been treated with much satire. The boys experience many topical, extraordinary and supernatural events in the town but their narrative is surprisingly mature.
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1. Futurama (1999-2013)
‘Futurama’ operates on a bonkers of a premise. Sharing many similarities in terms of creative and developing minds behind the show, ‘Futurama’ tells the story of a Philip J. Fry who’s a pizza delivery boy and a nobody. He accidentally freezes himself only to wake up thousand years in future. Seeing the vast changes he decides to change his life for the better. He starts working in an interplanetary organization called Planet Express Corporation to deliver products across the universe. He meets a vast array of people, aliens and robots possessing some dark humanistic flaws. The show is a lot of fun and full of essential human traits in a futuristic plot.
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