Since the debut of Arcane and Maya and The Three, animation history’s first Animated Event Series have taken the Internet by storm. Animated Event Series are the type of “big-budget movie quality on TV” shows that Game of Thrones was able to achieve at the height of its popularity, and in my opinion goes a step even further. The medium of animation has fewer limitations than its live-action counterpart. The limitations on the medium are only those of public perception.
The artistic progress enabled by these series cannot be overstated. Even five years ago it was an open secret within Western animation that televised cartoons served primarily as toy advertisements for 6-11 year-old boys.
Many cartoon enthusiasts noticed how animated shows that focused on action or story got axed in favor of wacky comedies with superior toy sales. Even female showrunners described the process of getting a cartoon with a female lead as an uphill battle.
This is why it’s so monumentally satisfying to see two groundbreaking Animated Event Series with a focus on action, long-form storytelling, and many complex female characters. These Event Series make the most of what was innovative about Spider-Verse with fresh art styles, creative editing, unique soundtracks, and high stakes for its characters. There are many exciting possibilities that open up for animated storytelling. We could we see an Animated Event Series set within in the worlds of Warhammer, 2000 AD, or Bioshock.
I hope that the success of these Event Series will embolden more cartoon creators to push the envelope, pursue higher concepts, and tell stories that can only be told within the medium of animation. Not every show can or should have the production values of an Event Series, but the narrative limits of animation are only those of public perception… and the perception is changing.