Netflix has come a long, long way since its founding in 1997. In recent years, the streaming service has become the leader in online content, both television and film, with hundreds upon hundreds of original series and films produced. Most of their adult- and teen-focused content receives plenty of attention, in the press and in awards season and on social media.
But you might be surprised to learn just how much high-quality children's programming Netflix has been producing for years - even including some of its earliest original programming, altogether. Many of the best animated series include spinoffs of beloved animated films that received theatrical releases, but in recent years, Netflix has gotten into the revival and reboot game when children's series are involved.
Netflix has released dozens of children's shows. Here, we take a look at the eight best of the bunch.
8 All Hail King Julien
All Hail King Julien first premiered on Netflix in 2014, many years after the Dreamworks film series Madagascar first introduced its titular character in in 2005. But the length of time that passed between the first film and the spinoff series does nothing at all to lessen the hilarious fun that this series offers.
All Hail King Julien chronicles the unlikely king lemur's rise to power in the wake of his uncle's abdication of the lemur king throne. It also strengthens the relationship between Julien and his advisor, Maurice, as depicted in the films, and offers more material for the adorable, tiny Mort. The series ran for five seasons, as well as an additional spinoff season, All Hail King Julien: Exiled.
7 The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show
The Netflix animated series The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show has the unique distinction of being both a spinoff of a hit animated theatrically released film and a reboot of a cult favorite animated series from the 1960s. Mr. Peabody, a talking and time traveling dog, and his human son, Sherman, were first introduced in segments that detailed their travels through history during The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends in the 60s.
In 2014, Dreamworks reintroduced the characters in the film Mr. Peabody & Sherman starring Ty Burrell, which in turn spawned the 2015 - 2017 Netflix series. The Netflix show follows Mr. Peabody and Sherman as they both travel through time on more adventures, and host their own talk show interviewing prominent historical figures.
6 Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia
It's not every day you find an animated series created by an Academy Award winning director. Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia is a three-part series that hails from the genius mind of Guillermo del Toro, and is once again another series produced by Dreamworks. The series follows a young human boy named Jim who finds himself unwittingly becoming enlisted as a Trollhunter.
Forced to navigate both life as a teenager in the human world, and as a Trollhunter guarding against the threats from the Darklands, Jim undergoes the traditional hero's journey in a visually stunning way. The series also features an impressive voice cast, including the late Anton Yelchin, Kelsey Grammer, Ron Perlman, Steven Yeun, and Mark Hamill.
5 The Adventures of Puss in Boots
The Shrek series of films is a true, generation-defining work of art. This is known, and has been decided by the internet long ago. But even the keenest of Shrek fans may not be aware of the long-running Netflix series that follows one of Shrek's most iconic and beloved characters on his swashbuckling adventures.
Dreamworks' The Adventures of Puss in Boots ran for six seasons from 2015 to 2018 on Netflix, starring the daredevil feline as he works to ensure the safety of the village of San Lorenzo and all its many villagers. Now voiced by Eric Bauza, Puss is as charming and engaging a hero as ever, and more fully developed than he ever was as a supporting character in the films. Netflix also first tried out its groundbreaking choose your adventure technology first with the Puss in Boots film Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale.
4 Carmen Sandiego
Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? was arguably one of the most iconic forms of media for kids in the 1980s and 1990s. Whether you were a fan of the TV show, or the many home media computer games that were released in the time period, the adventures of the elusive world famous criminal mastermind likely played a big role in your childhood.
Netflix's reimagining of the character in their new animated series Carmen Sandiego, therefore, ruffled quite a few feathers upon its release. Now voiced by Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriguez, Carmen Sandiego has turned over a new leaf in her life, using her criminal background to help fight crime instead. It's a bold new look for the character, but one that is worth checking out if only for the beautiful animation alone.
3 The Magic School Bus Rides Again
Speaking of reboots and revivals of shows that defined the lives of 1990s children everywhere, Netflix in 2017 brought The Magic School Bus franchise back to life with The Magic School Bus Rides Again. With two seasons released so far as of 2019, The Magic School Bus Rides Again follows everyone's favorite time and space traveling school bus, but now with a new Frizzle driving the adventures.
After the Ms. Frizzle we all know and love retires from teaching, her younger sister, Fiona Frizzle (as voiced by Saturday Night Live's Kate McKinnon), assumes the role of the adventurous teacher to the same group of students from the original 1990s beloved series. The series is as educational and brightly animated as ever, now featuring impressive guest cast members like Sandra Oh, Martin Short, Nathan Fillion, and many more.
2 Trolls: The Beat Goes On!
In yet another instance of the strong relationship between Netflix and Dreamworks Animation, the adorable 2016 animated film Trolls starring Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake received a Netflix spinoff in the form of Trolls: The Beat Goes On!
With five seasons released so far, and a sixth season expected in April 2019, Trolls: The Beat Goes On! follows the movie's vibrant characters Poppy, Branch, Biggie, Cooper, Smidge, Bridget, and more as they navigate life as trolls and strive to maintain peace with their former enemies, the Bergens. Although in 2D animation versus the CGI of the feature film, and featuring an almost entirely different voice cast than the film, the Netflix series works on almost every level, from heartwarming stories to lively songs and more.
1 She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
When it was announced that Netflix would be rebooting the hallmark 1980s animated series She-Ra, the internet was excited but skeptical. When the new design for the characters was revealed, the internet whipped itself into a frenzy about how wrong the design was, versus the one that viewers had long been familiar with. But when the first season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power was released, it was clear that all of the controversy was for nothing - because the new She-Ra is better than ever.
With a cast of characters far more diverse and richly developed than the original, She-Ra has the potential to become something truly special, if Netflix allows it to continue on the way it already has so far. Including LGBT characters, and many complex relationships between fascinating female characters, Netflix's She-Ra is a female hero for a new generation of fans of all ages. Season 2 can't get here soon enough.