Exploring Innovative New Animated Series

March 21, 2024

Over the past decade, animated series have seen a surge in popularity across diverse genres and platforms. Shows like Avatar: The Legend of Korra and BoJack Horseman have garnered acclaim for their rich storytelling and complex characters, while Rick and Morty has gained a massive following for its blend of dark humor and imaginative sci-fi adventures. 

Exploring Innovative New Animated Series

Advances in animation technology are revolutionizing the industry, allowing for lifelike characters, immersive worlds, and seamless integration of visual effects. Techniques such as motion capture, AI-driven animation, and real-time rendering have pushed the boundaries of what’s possible, resulting in stunningly realistic animations that captivate audiences across various mediums. From film and television, here are a few new animated series that audiences are raving about.

Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake (2023)

Based on the hit animated series Adventure Time, Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake is a gender-swapped story that reimagines the beloved characters Jake and Finn. In this new animated series, Fionna, accompanied by her loyal friend Cake set out on a thrilling journey across the multiverse. As they navigate through various dimensions, they encounter fresh dangers and uncover profound truths about themselves. Madeleine Martin (What We Do in the Shadows, The Marvelous Ms. Maisel) voices Fionna and Roz Ryan (Hercules, The Looney Tunes Show, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack) voices Cake.

Monsters at Work 2 (2024)

The 2001 movie Monsters, Inc. was a hit, winning the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song. Starring When Harry Met Sally star Billy Crystal and The Big Lebowski star John Goodman, the film was a fun departure from the typical “monster under the bed story.”

The film quickly got a prequel with the 2013 movie Monsters University, and the 2021 series Monsters at Work. Starring Ben Feldman, Billy Crystal, and John Goodman, Monsters at Work 2, the continued series, follows the journey of Tylor (Feldman) as he moves through the ladder at Monsters, Inc. 

Monsters at Work 2 brings the crew back together for laughs and also features Mindy Kaling and NYFA Guest Speaker Henry Winkler. Tom Kanter, NYFA storyboard instructor, worked on this season. Image via comingsoon.net.

Miraculous: Ladybug & Cat Noir, the Movie (2023)

Marinette’s ordinary life in Paris takes a superhuman turn when she transforms into Ladybug. Endowed with the power of creation, Ladybug joins forces with Cat Noir, her counterpart, to protect Paris from a new villain wreaking havoc on the city. Directed by Jeremy Zag, the movie is based on his popular TV series of the same name. Zag also worked on projects including Ghostforce, Zak Storm, Sammy & Co, and Rosie.

The Matumbila’s (2023)

The Matumbilas, an animated comedy series, follows a middle-class Tanzanian family in the United States. The satirical series covers topics including immigration, family, and both African and American culture.

The series was created by Zul Manzi, the show stars Gabrielle Barlatier as Amina, Zul as Hashim, Denise Khumalo as Zainat, and Chris Yates as Rajab. NYFA had the honor of screening the series at our New York campus in March 2024.

The Ark and the Aardvark (2025/2026)

Fans are looking forward to the upcoming The Ark and the Aardvark, an animated film currently in production. In the film, an aardvark named Gilbert is responsible for herding the animals on Noah’s Ark. The film, directed by John Stevenson of Kung Fu Panda, Shrek, and Monsters vs. Aliens, has a stacked cast and is slated for a 2025/2026 release. Gilbert is voiced by actor Miles Teller (The Offer, Top Gun Maverick), and additional cast members include NYFA alum Aubrey Plaza, Jenny Slate, Stephen Merchant, Rob Riggle, and Craig Robinson.

Grimsberg (2024)

In Grimsberg, Jon Hamm plays Marvin Flute, who is the most exceptional detective of his time. The only challenge? His own family. Still in love with his ex-wife, Marvin pursues every clue he can find, eager to redeem himself in her eyes. The show also features former SNL cast member Rachel Dratch, The Goldberg’s star Erinn Hayes, and Do the Right Thing actress Rosie Perez. It’s directed by Jack Perkins (King of the Hill, The Cleveland Show), and Roy Burdine (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, The Adventures of Puss in Boots). 

What If…? Season Three (2024)

While season three of What If? isn’t expected until the end of 2024, Disney Plus continues to drop breadcrumbs on what fans can expect. Jeffrey Wright will return as The Watcher, with Hayley Atwell as Captain Carter, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov, Laurence Fishburne as Bill Foster, and Barbie star America Ferrera as Ranger Morales.

Produced by NYFA Guest Speaker Kevin Feige, the series continues to uncover the Marvel universe, exploring alternative storylines and character development. Even Marvel star and NYFA Guest Speaker Simu Lee wants to get in on the fun, pitching a potential What If? character of his own. Image via Mashable.

Castlevania Noctrune (2023)

Amidst the turmoil of the French Revolution, Richter Belmont, a prodigious vampire hunter, battles to honor his family’s heritage and thwart the ascent of a ruthless, power-hungry vampire. Starring Edward Bluemel (Sex Education, A Discovery of Witches), and Thuso Mbedu, who co-starred with Viola Davis and NYFA alum Masali Baduza in The Woman King. There are eight episodes in the first season, which is currently streaming on Netflix.

Hilda, Season Three (2023)

Between the first two seasons of Hilda (2018) and the 2021 film Hilda and the Mountain King, audiences have fallen in love with the titular blue-haired protagonist. Starring the Last of Us star Bella Ramsey, Hilda is like a warm hug, bringing viewers into a warm and wonderful world with enchanting and mysterious creatures.

Season three, released in 2023, continues and finalizes Hilda’s story, following the she-ro and her friends and family, Frida, David, Alfur, Aunt Astrid, and her dog Twig. Image via IGN.

Scavengers Reign (2023)

In Scavengers Reign (2023), the crew of a malfunctioning deep-space freighter finds themselves stranded on a stunning yet perilous planet. Starring Sunita Mani, Wunmi Mosaku, Bob Stephenson, and Alia Shawkat, the first season earned a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The New York Times gave the show a glowing review, writing that while “the world is frightening and violent but in its own way harmonious…Some creatures poison you, others eat the poison. What may seem to the harried survivors like constant danger is, on Vesta, just the cycle of life. After all, we may root for the humans, but they are the invasive species here.”

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (2023)

Based on the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) was based on the graphic novel, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (2023) is a visually dynamic animated film directed by Abel Gongora, Moko-chan, and others. Depicted in an anime animation style, the series follows Scott Pilgrim as he battles the League of Evil Exes to win the heart of Ramona Flowers, blending elements of romantic comedy, action, and video game aesthetics to create a unique cinematic experience.

Michael Cera returns to voice Scott Pilgrim, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Ramona), Brie Larson (Envy), Chris Evans (Lucas), Mae Whitman (Roxie), Aubrey Plaza (Julie), and Jason Schwartzman (Gideon) reprising their roles. Image via Variety.

Blue Eye Samurai (2023)

Fuelled by a desire for vengeance against those who cast her out in Edo-period Japan, the Netflix series Blue Eye Samurai follows a young warrior who carves a brutal trail toward her destiny. The all-star cast includes Maya Erskine of the 2024 series Mr. & Mrs. Smith, legendary film and television star George Takei, Masi Oka (Heroes), Randall Park (WandaVision), and Brenda Song (Dollface), the show already won Best Animated Television/Media Production for Mature Audience at the 2024 Annie Awards.

Unicorn Warriors Eternal (2023)

In Unicorn Warriors Eternal (2023), a squad of legendary heroes inherits the duty of safeguarding the world from a looming threat. However, their awakening arrives sooner than expected. The series stars Hazel Doupe, Tom Milligan, and Grey Griffin, and was directed by Genndy Tartakovsky. Tartakovsky is an Emmy-award-winning Director for hit animated series such as Primal, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and Samurai Jack. He was also a Producer for iconic series like The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter’s Laboratory. 

Pokémon Concierge (2023)

Pokémon Concierge (2023) was a refreshing return to stop-motion with all of the charm of the Pokemon universe. Featuring beloved characters such as Psyduck, Squirtle, and Eevee, the show follows camp concierge Haru as she navigates the exciting world of Pokemon.

Considered as one of the best Pokemon shows in decades, the show is making an exciting return as director Iku Ogawa teased in an article for VarietyImage via The Verge.

Fired on Mars (2023)

Max Original Fired on Mars, starring Stargirl’s Luke Wilson and The Office’s Leslie David Baker, follows Jeff Cooper, who is dismissed from the space start-up Mars.Iy. Stranded with no option to return to Earth, he navigates a treacherous corporate realm—alien and strangely familiar—to rediscover purpose amidst the dangerous landscape. The show was created by Nate Sherman and Nick Vokey. 

Delicious in Dungeon (2024)

Can sisters be reincarnated from dragon poop? That’s the question that Laios and his friends Marcille and Chilchuck try to answer. Delving into an endless dungeon in search of his fallen sister, fighting monsters, starvation, and corruption along the way, Delicious in Dungeon is a fun and imaginative story. The show features Kentarô Kumagai (Yu-Gi-Oh!: Go Rush!!) Sayaka Senbongi (Heavenly Delusion), Asuna Tomari (86), and Hiroshi Naka (One Piece). 

Hazbin Hotel, Season Two (2024) 

In a bid to address Hell’s overpopulation without resorting to violence, Lucifer’s daughter establishes a rehabilitation hotel, offering a group of misfit demons an opportunity for redemption. Created by Vivienne Medrano (Helluva Boss), the animated show, which also has musical numbers, stars Erika Henningsen, who was featured in NYFA alum Tracy Oliver’s series Harlem, and played the role of Cady Heron in the Mean Girls musical on Broadway.

Hazbin Hotel also features Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Encanto star Stephanie Beatriz, Kimiko Glenn (Baby Shark’s Big Show!), Alex Brightman (The Black List and Beetlejuice on Broadway), as well as Keith David of The Princess and the Frog and Rick and Morty. Season two was announced in February 2024. Image via The Geeky Waffle.

Bring Your Stories to Life at NYFA

The 3D Animation & VFX degree programs at NYFA are crafted to empower aspiring animators and storytellers to emerge as innovative trailblazers. Through immersive, hands-on training, students delve into every aspect of the animation and visual effects realm, equipping themselves with the skills necessary for creative excellence. Ready to tell your own story through the art of 3D animation? Learn more about our programs today!