Your guide to all the classics from Cartoon Network’s popular Adult Swim!
You know the saying “different strokes for different folks”? With a different genre spoofed in every show, a variety of animation styles and a range of approaches to humour, one or more of these shows could be YOUR stroke. Go for a dip and see what makes you laugh.
Space Ghost: Coast to Coast
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Space Ghost is the original Adult Swim show. It follows a retired super hero, from the real life Hanna-Barbera kids show, who now runs a talk show in a spaceship. As you do. His old arch enemies have been enslaved, and now work as his co-hosts (keep your enemies close, I suppose?). The animation is low budget, but this adds to the shows bizarre charm. Plus, throw in some (old) real life celebrities, such as Hulk Hogan and Slash, and you have a hilarious and surreal talk show.
If you have always wanted an animated version of Conan or Fallon, then this is the show for you!
Think of Robot Chicken like this: You’re flicking through the TV late at night, and each show has every pop culture cliche imaginable. But the more you flick through the channels, the more surreal and trippy the shows get…and then you think your brain might explode. In a good way of course.
One of the best things about Robot Chicken is it’s all claymation! Who does claymation anymore, you might ask? Creator Seth Green does!
(You know, Dr. Evil’s son, Scott, from Austin Powers? Yeah, that Seth Green.)
If you like Star Wars, sit-coms, MTV, infomercials, outtakes, movie trailers…well, there is something for everyone in this series!
This ultra-violent series follows metal band Dethklok, who rules the world with a cult-like fan base and has the 7th largest economy on earth. It’s no wonder secret government organisations are out to destroy them. We would want to destroy them too…or become them…hmmmm…
Featuring some face melting death metal music segues, a bunch of albums (Dethalbum I, II and III) and a touring band born out of the show, we can see how Dethlock has a cult following.
If you like Death Metal, Black Metal, Doom Metal, aluminium foil, and day-dreaming being a Rock god, then this is the show you should have watched years ago.
Companion anime: Attack on Titan
What happens when you stick a multicultural crew in a scientific submarine, who then get cabin fever and spend all their days goofing off instead of working? Well, you get Sealab 2021.
Using recycled footage and characters from a 1970’s Hanna-Barbera cartoon, Sealab 2020, spliced in with original animation and dubbed with new dialogue, you can probably understand how zany this show gets. Especially when episodes usually end in the destruction of the vessel or the death of crew members.
You will really like this show if you wanted ever to be a marine biologist (come on, who didn’t?), have been stuck under a vending machine for a year, or you’ve encountered a bizarre-o clone of yourself.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force
An obnoxious milkshake, a dim-witted meat product and a cynical box of french fries walk into a bar… Actually, they don’t. They spend their time arguing with everyone, visiting aliens and avoid their crime fighting job in the most weird and hilarious way possible.
You are going to love ATHF if you like your humour weird and random, or you have a hunkering for Maccas.
The Venture Bros.
The Venture family, twins Hank and Dean, father and failure super-scientist Dr “Rusty” Venture, and family bodyguard Brock, fight evil and, you know, do scientist and hero stuff. Their arch-nemesis is known as the Monarch, a really bad guy in a really nice butterfly costume.
If you prefer your cartoons with three dimensional characters who grow up, intricate plot lines that follow an arc, male lactation and jokes that pay homage to geek culture, then this is the show for you.
Tom Goes to the Mayor
Local entrepreneur Tom goes to the Mayor’s office every episode to pitch a business idea (like a shop for 1.8 Litre cups called “My Big Cups”) or ways to improve the town (like a WWII-themed educational restaurant). Only problem is, Tom lacks confidence and the Mayor takes advantage, usually taking over and landing Tom in legal trouble or physically injured.
This show is so visually different, with photos of the actors with over-the-top expressions on their faces being run through the photocopy effect in Photoshop and then placed on animated backgrounds.
If you like to see the bad guys win and the good guys lose, then give this crude and quirky show a red-hot shot!
Black Dynamite is a bad-ass, kung-fu fightin’ muddafugga who is going to fight Richard Nixon and other villains for the rights of the underrepresented everywhere.
With vibrant and slick animation, and well-choreographed action and fight scenes, and enough swearing to make Samuel L Jackson proud, this is an Adult Swim much watch. Speaking of Samuel L Jackson, he makes a guest voice apperance, along with many other brilliant celebrities, including Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu and Mel B.
If you know what Blaxploitation is, or you’re a Quentin Tarantino fan, you are gonna love the hell out of this show.
Companion anime: Afro Samurai
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
Another retired superhero, Harvey Birdman become a criminal defence attorney, with his former nemesis usually representing the opposition. Something must be wrong with the morality of cartoon characters from the 50s/60s, because Harvey is representing everyone from Shaggy and Scooby Doo to Fred Flinstone.
You’ll like it if you want a show that demonstrates how clever it is, and knows it, with each episode presenting its own case in a real legal format.
Kids, don’t go in the pool! Because Assy probably just shat in it. A literal arse is also a drunken, hard-nosed Irish detective who often fires his gun at the wrong person. All Adult Swim shows are for mature audiences, but this one probably takes the cake.
If your humour is potty humour, then this is the show for you. And if you don’t like potty humour, this show might change your mind.
12 oz. Mouse
An alcoholic mouse does odd jobs to pay for his beer. But there’s more to his life than meets the eye. This has a weird animation style that looks like a twisted 5 year-old, with the mind of a corrupt 60 year old drew it, and someone added cheap explosion effects to brighten it up. The fact that this show was made so cheaply is ridiculous, but somehow makes it all the more hilarious.
You will want to check this one-of-a-kind show out if you like slow humour and an intricate plot of sci-fi action (and you can put up with the cheap animation). Fans who have stuck with this liken it to the works of David Lynch.
Lucy, Daughter of the Devil
Lucy is your everyday, ordinary 21 year old, with the devil as her father, and a destiy to become the Antichrist. Wait…that isn’t that ordinary. With her boyfriend DJ (Jesus), she deals with everyday Antichrist life, like trying to not be destroyed the ‘Special Clergy’ and her father’s take-over-the-world schemes.
If you enjoy sassy characters, tongue-in-cheek religious jokes and have a dry sense of humour, then you’re gonna love this show.
Five male superheroes, all based on an ethnic stereotypes, join to fight a bunch of villans, all based on discriminatory concepts. Think about it.
The art style parodies and pays homage to Jack Kirby (the older comic artist for Marvel), so if you like old style comics and bad guys getting the stuffing beaten out of them, this is your kind of show.
Drinky Crow Show
Drinky Crow is, as his name suggests, a drunk crow. He and his friend, Uncle Gabby, a drunk Irish monkey, are constantly at war with the French, who are alligators, in this surreal and violent 19th century setting.
If you like drunken humour, graphic animated violence, everything bizarre and an overall sense of surrealism, then you need to see this.
Which show will you watch first?