Emmy Circuit: Outstanding Animated Program

Welcome to the 2019 Emmy Circuit series, where we analyze and predict all your favorite TV series and their chances with the Television Academy (at least at this time of publishing).  The series examines the shows and performances about their awards potential, most notably the Emmy Awards.  Emmy nomination voting opens June 10 and closes on June 24.  The official Emmy nominations will be announced on Tuesday, July 16 while the ceremony airs on FOX Sunday, Sept. 22.  All Emmy pieces run with the following schedule: Mondays (Dramas), Tuesdays (Network Spotlight), Wednesdays (Comedies), Thursdays (Network Spotlight), Fridays (Limited Series, Variety Series, Below-the Lines).

Opening Statements:

Sometimes it takes a few seasons for a groundbreaking animated program to convince voters that it’s been phenomenal since inception. Such was the case last awards cycle with Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty,” the Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland-created show that defeated FOX’s long-running “Bob’s Burgers” at the 2018 Emmys. Streaming giant Hulu propelled “Rick and Morty” to popularity after making all three seasons available on their platform. This wider viewer and voter accessibility thereby validated the heap of critical praise it received years earlier. Even though it isn’t a freshman series, the award-winning science fiction family sitcom still feels like a minty-fresh show standing next to some pretty ancient competition.

However, its challenges for the Emmy throne can breathe a sigh of relief this year. Despite a 70-episode renewal, the adult cartoon of the moment will be taking a long breather following its win. The young series isn’t expected to return until the end of 2019 at the earliest, putting it out of Emmy contention for this upcoming awards season. That respite leaves room for perennial favorites like “Bob’s Burgers,” “South Park,” “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” and “Archer” to reclaim their former dominance.

Exit Strategy:

Looking to get a fitting sendoff is Warner Bros’ “Young Justice,” resurrected by Netflix for a (final?) third season in response to the high viewership numbers the first two received post-cancellation. With DC now in the public’s good graces, the teen-driven superhero show has a shot at replicating “Family Guy” and “Futurama” as an Emmy-nominated show brought back from the grave. The first half of the third season premiered earlier this year, with Part 2 arriving later in the summer.

Netflix has yet to announce if the show will extend past its commitment to serving its heroes a fitting resolution. Speaking of iconic protectors, the streaming behemoth’s “Voltron: Legendary Defender” is jettisoning away for good after eight back-to-back seasons discharged within a span of three years. This impressive releasing strategy from DreamWorks deserves ample Emmy consideration. There has never been a faster rate of series unveiling in the history of animated programming.

Freshman Fire:

New kids on the block are plentiful in 2019. Most prolific is Netflix’s revival of “Carmen Sandiego,” based on everyone’s favorite international cat burglar. Led by a top-notch voice cast that features Gina Rodriguez in the title role, the series concerns itself with foraging for the backstory of the most mysterious woman in animated pop culture. The reboot will contend with sibling shows “Transformers: Rescue Bots Academy,” the South Korean imported “YooHoo to the Rescue,” the Nickelodeon co-production “Pinky Malinky,” children’s book adaptation “The Last Kids on Earth,” Guillermo Del Toro’s “3Below: Tales of Arcadia,” and adult sitcom “Tuca & Bertie.”

Meanwhile, rival programmer Cartoon Network has a robust roster hoping to enter the fray. Most promising is Diego Molano’s “Victor and Valentino.” This supernatural show centers on two Latin American boys grappling with strange occurrences in their town. The creator wrote for the critically-acclaimed “Powerpuff Girls,” which by reputation already gives his latest series a leg up in quality expectancy. Other contenders from this channel worth moderate appraisal include “Care Bears: Unlock the Magic” and “DC Super Hero Girls.”

Guess They’re Contenders?

Two of the most buzzed-about animated shows have yet to receive their Emmy nomination glow. Naturally, we’re referring to Netflix’s double trouble adult sitcom duo “BoJack Horseman” and “Big Mouth.” The former is often declared the entertainment programmer’s greatest series across all genres. Series creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s sobering introspection and satire of fame gone asunder has rocked many viewers to their spiritual core. What seemed an innocent oversight now seems like downright hostility based on the acclaimed show’s consistent snubbing.

Although it has far less critical support, Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett’s raunchy coming-of-age sitcom “Big Mouth” might have the easier path to a nomination. The adult humor laced into a sitcom about teenage sexuality is revolutionary in how transparent it is about real issues affecting adolescents. The all-star voice lineup — including zeitgeist man of the hour Jordan Peele — will at least ensure a higher degree of visibility and positive industry word-of-mouth. Already on its second season, the disarming and provocative series doesn’t appear to zip its trap anytime soon.


  1. “South Park” (Comedy Central)
  2. “Bob’s Burgers” (FOX)
  3. “The Simpsons” (FOX)
  4. “Bojack Horseman” (Netflix)
  5. “Big Mouth” (Netflix)