It is widely acknowledged that The Simpsons is probably the most popular animated show out there for adults. South Park and Family Guy are controversial, and not everyone can understand or enjoy the humour. But, there are a lot more shows that don't get the attention they deserve. Most of them are available on streaming sites such as Netflix India, Hulu or Adult Swim. Here's a primer on what they are and why you need to watch them:
Rick and Morty
The highest-rated adult animated show on IMDb, Rick and Morty was created in 2013 by Justin Roiland and Community's Dan Harmon. In just two seasons, the show has created a solid followers base because of its unusual humour. Rick is a scientist, pessimistic, eccentric and alcoholic, voiced by Roiland. Morty (also Roiland) is his timid grandson, who tags along with Rick on adventures across dimensions. Sort of like Doctor Who, but much crazier and deeper in existentialist anguish. Season 3 is rumoured to be out some time this year. Watch the series on Adult Swim, Hulu and Netflix.
Adam Reed's Archer has been parodying the spy-thriller genre since 2009. The Emmy-winning series revolves around an international spy agency (called ISIS for the first five seasons) with Malory Archer (Jessica Walter) at the helm. The spoilt brat Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin), her son, is also an agent, along with his ex Lana (Aisha Tyler), Cyril (Chris Parnell), loud-mouth Pam (Amber Nash) and Cheryl (Judy Greer). The dark, raunchy humour could be mistaken for being obnoxious, but it's quite hilarious and smart once you get into the groove. You have seven seasons to catch up to, though you could start anywhere and still get a basic idea of the storyline. Watch on Netflix.
The Venture Bros
The Venture family—Rusty, an eccentric scientist with unethical means, his two sons Hank and Dean, and their maniac bodyguard, Brock—go on Jonny Quest-like adventures together. There's a supervillain called The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend. Numerous clever references to contemporary pop culture, especially Marvel comics, make it a delight to watch. Christopher McCulloch helms the six-season series that debuted in 2004. While news of season seven's broadcast date is still uncertain, catch up on the 20-minute episodes on Adult Swim or Hulu.
A satire on the shallow and quirky Hollywood life, Bojack Horseman is a faded, forgotten star of a 90s show, Horsin' Around. He tries to hold on to his glorious days of fame in 'Hollywoo', even as his life falls apart. At times meta and silly (not just because the lead and some other characters are talking animals), otherwise cynical and wallowing in despair, the show is but a wise dramedy that is critically acclaimed. Created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Will Arnett (Lego Batman) is the lead, along with Alison Brie (Community), Amy Sedaris and Aaron Paul. You might have to give it until season two to really grow on you. Watch seasons one through three (and also the original Horsin' Around) on Netflix.
Shows that are discontinued but you must still watch:
While working on The Simpsons, Matt Groening helmed another hit series that won six Emmy Awards. He co-created the sci-fi sitcom Futurama with David X. Cohen, which had a successful run between 1999 and 2013. Fry is a pizza delivery boy who accidentally gets frozen in time in a cryogenic pod, and wakes up in the year 2999. He then takes up a delivery job at Planet Express Corporation which covers delivery services for most of the universe. It blends geeky humour with workplace comedy, built on a vast universe with running gags lasting an entire season. Watch the seven seasons (including a Simpsons crossover) on Comedy Central's official site.
The Boondocks by Aaron McGruder, based on his own comic strip, is a satirical and often controversial look into American society through the eyes of a black family living in an all-white neighbourhood. It revolves around the lives of Huey and Riley Freeman (both voiced by Regina King), two young boys with radically different outlooks on life. They live with 'Grandad' (John Witherspoon), their exasperated grandfather. The show brings out gritting social commentary on a lot of important issues humorously, including but not limited to the hip-hop culture, racism and the varying (often contradictory) opinions within the black community. Watch the four seasons on Adult Swim.
From the creators of Archer (Adam Reed with Matt Thompson), Frisky Dingo delivers 11-minute capsules of dark witticisms and face-palming situations in each of its 13 episodes. Protagonist and supervillain Killface wants to destroy the world with his weapon, the Annihilatrix. While trying to get publicity for it, he also has to deal with “superhero” Awesome X. Besides references to pop icons, the show hits a chord with fans of Batman because of its subverted superhero trope (Awesome X a.k.a. Xander Crews is a spoilt billionaire orphan with a maniacal butler trying to take over the company). The two seasons released between 2006 and 2008, which you can watch on Adult Swim.