Surprise! Just when you thought it was safe to go back online and avoid all those End of the Year Best of Lists, we at Psycho Drive-In are prepping to fill your January with enough longing looks back you’ll think we were getting on a plane and flying out of Casablanca, leaving the only man we’ve ever really loved behind. First up is a look at our Top Five Favorite Animated TV Series! Call us snobs if you like, but we really think these were the cream of the crop in 2014! And because we can’t decide which show was better than the others, they’re in alphabetical order! Suck on that, haters! Adventure Time Who knew that post-apocalyptic Earth could be so much fun? Adventure Time follows Finn the Human and Jake the Dog as the go from one outrageous situation to another. The Land of Ooo is vast and varied, full of humanized candy, animals, boxes and all manner of strange creatures. This show never shies away from difficult subjects or experimental storytelling and it always, always entertains. 11 minutes of Adventure Time is as nuanced and dramatic as any hour of regular television. The sixth season has featured some of the most revealing episodes in the entire series. “Wake Up/The Citadel” finally brought us face to face with Finn’s human father who abandoned him in the forest when he was a baby. It was no heartfelt reunion as Martin turned out to be a right bastard. Finn lost his arm as well as his hopes for some closure. “Breezy” exposed the darkness of depression as Finn’s previous adventures left him numb to joy and pain. This episode pushed the envelope for “children’s television” as it explored obsession and the taboo subject of rape without being insulting or dumbing itself down to cater to a younger audience. “Food Chain” by guest creator Masaaki Yuasa delivered a psychedelic, existential trip through the life cycle as Finn and Jake become each link in the, well, food chain. Then there was “Sad Face.” This episode abandoned Finn and Jake and, instead, focused on Jake’s tail as it moonlights as a clown for a traveling circus. Even though we barely saw our heroes, “Sad Face” became one of the most poignant episodes of the series. If you have never watched Adventure Time, give it a shot. If your kids watch and you don’t, well shame on you. Believe me, my son and I enjoy the show on different levels but it’s one of the best times we have watching TV together. Adventure Time has been the gateway to some serious discussions, honest belly laughs, and invented new ways for us to swear without getting in trouble. So, what the math are you waiting for? Go turn on Adventure Time and join us in the Land of Ooo. You can find all of our previous praise for Adventure Time here! — Dave Hearn The Legend of Korra Poor Korra, please know that the fanbase loves you even if Nickelodeon was hellbent on destroying your legacy. Halfway into Book Three, the show was abruptly removed from the television schedule and shuffled over to Nick.com, throwing fans (and reviewers such as myself) into a tailspin with regards to what the move meant for the show. Then, just as soon as Book Three ended, we learned that the Fourth, and final, book, Balance would be back on television. And, nearly as abruptly as it left that, The Legend of Korra was back, just in time to finish Korra’s story and leave fans weeping with tears of sadness and joy (KorraSami lives!!). The Legend of Korra was, hands down, one of the best shows on television. Note that lack of qualifiers. It wasn’t just the best “animated” or “family” show on television. Arguably, it almost transcended being a show at all. Korra’s story, and the story of all the Avatars, is one of the finest examples of modern mythology. It stands on the shoulders of the great epics throughout history, but it takes a direction all its own. Korra becomes a hero for the modern age, and introduces aspects to the Hero’s Journey that weren’t familiar to her male counterparts. Arguably, she became a prototype for a new kind of epic tale, a part of what FanGirl proposed as The Heroine’s Journey. If you missed the series when it ran originally (and who could blame you given the vague and confusing schedule) I highly recommend seeking it out. I don’t know the fate of any collected editions of the series, but I’m hopeful that Nickelodeon will do right, at least once, by the show, the creators, and the fans and release Books 1-4 via Amazon, Netflix, or similar means. Like The Last Airbender before, The Legend of Korra is a story that deserves repeated viewings. It’s modern mythmaking at its finest. It’s a story that I would argue holds its own against the works of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and stands proudly alongside the “new” legacies of works like Star Wars and Harry Potter. You can read my previous reviews, including the first half of Book 3, here! — Sean Reid Over the Garden Wall Over the Garden Wall is the sublime ten-part creation of Patrick McHale, a veteran of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack and Adventure Time, that tells the tale of Wirt (Elijah Wood) and Greg (Collin Dean) — two brothers lost in a bizarre forest called The Unknown. On their adventures, they meet a friend named Beatrice — whose entire family has been cursed and turned into bluebirds — and a scary Woodsman (voiced by Christopher Lloyd) who warns them to beware The Beast (a shadowy horned figure that recalls the nightmarish Wendigo hallucinations in Hannibal). To go into any more detail about their various misadventures, or the true nature of their journey, would give away some of the magic of this show. Let’s just say that over the run of the mini-series, there are ghosts, witches, talking frogs, friendships found, lost, and found again, brotherly love, brotherly guilt, and young love mixed with an unhealthy dose of paranoia and anxiety. The design of the series is deceptively simple, as are the plots and themes, all of which open up to reveal marvelous depths of profundity, beauty, and a remarkably strong emotional core. The set designs sometimes have the lushness of watercolors and at other times display a bizarre imagination at work. I went into this thinking it was going to be a weird distraction and came out the other end amazed, moved, and in love. If you missed it during its brief run on the Cartoon Network, seek it out as soon as you can. Each episode only runs 11 minutes, so the entire piece can easily be enjoyed in one sitting, although you may want to space them out in order to truly savor them. — Paul Brian McCoy Rick and Morty Created by Justin Roiland (who voices both of the titular characters) and Dan Harmon (of Community fame), Rick and Morty Season One is eleven episodes of batshit crazy that follows the adventures of Rick Sanchez (think Doc Brown as an alcoholic multiverse-endangering madman) and his grandson Morty (think Marty McFly as a little slow but earnest) as they… well… sort of destroy the world and skip off to an alternate dimension to live relatively guilt-free. This is animated sci-fi comedy that takes the sci-fi part as seriously as the comedy in much the same way Futurama or The Venture Brothers does. Only with a lot more swearing, drinking, and death. And did I mention that it’s hysterical? Whether they’re saving the world from hyper-intelligent dogs by Inceptioning the dreams of their leader or dealing with the accidental offspring of Morty’s frenzied pre-teen sex with a used sex-bot, Rick and Morty holds nothing back and easily became my favorite animated show. I’m just pissed that I somehow missed it when it was being aired. Luckily, I was able to get my shaky hands on a review copy of the first season and have been desperately awaiting its return ever since (Editor’s Note: looks like it’ll be a little bit of a wait with new episodes not on the way until Summer) Until then, here’s a look at some of the possible new catch phrases Rick will be sharing in Season 2: Wubba Dub Dub, Beeeeyatches! — Paul Brian McCoy Star Wars Rebels Three words come to mind when I think of Star Wars: Rebels: “Tie Fighter sound.” If, like me, you’re an Original Trilogy Kid (OTK) then you know exactly what that means. If you’re an OTK who has children of your own then your kids also know what that means. I had chills as I watched Spark of Rebellion (technically the first two episodes, but released as a single movie). I only recently got into The Clone Wars, so I had a certain level of expectation going into Rebels. I’m happy to say that it met and exceeded those expectations quite a bit. Rebels seems to have picked up directly from the momentum of the final season of Clone Wars as well as benefitting from a tighter story focus. Clone Wars episodes were done as part of a larger anthology that documented the struggle across the galaxy as the Empire rose to power. Rebels drops the audience into a time when the Empire’s power is at its zenith. The idea of rebellion is very much an underground movement. Rebels isn’t a story of domination affecting a galaxy. It’s the story of a handful of people willing to face certain death to, as the title of the first episode notes, be the spark that will ignite a rebellion. There wouldn’t be a Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie without Kanan, Hera, Ezra, Sabine, Zeb, and Chopper. Perhaps the most amazing part of this show is how well it tells that story, how clear it makes the path from Ezra to Luke, both orphans who discover they are destined to be part of something much bigger than just themselves. In spite of everything I know about Star Wars and my love for all things A New Hope, Rebels makes me care about the fate of these people. I know how the rebellion ends, and in spite of that knowledge, I’m frequently on the edge of my seat wondering if their crazy plan can actually succeed. Clone Wars did quite a bit to fill in some of the gaps, and remove some of the bad taste, left from the Prequel Trilogy. It was a grand effort that was full of enjoyable stories. But Rebels does the unthinkable: it makes me invested in new characters the same way I was the first time I saw glimpsed Tatooine. I care about these characters, and they make me excited to learn what happens next. In short, Rebels reminded me what it was like to be excited about Star Wars. Well done Filoni and company…the Force is strong with you. — Sean Reid Be sure to keep watching the site next week for our Top Ten Television Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy Shows of 2014 and Top Ten Television Dramas of 2014, followed by our Top Five Family Films, Top Ten Sci-Fi Films, Top Ten Horror Films, and Top Ten Everything Else Films as the month rolls on! Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response OUR TOP TEN FAVORITE 2014 GENRE TV SHOWS - Psycho Drive-In January 14, 2015 […] made the cut. So at Psycho Drive-In you’ll get three TV columns this year. Last week’s Top Five Animated Shows of 2014, this Top Ten Favorite Genre Shows, and on Friday we’ll have our Top Ten Favorite Television […] Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.