Toon In: Animated TV Highlights for June 2023, from Clone High to Skull Island

TV Lists animation
Toon In: Animated TV Highlights for June 2023, from Clone High to Skull Island

Welcome to the ink, paint, and pixel corner of Paste TV, where we’re highlighting some of the best premium animation projects aimed for teens and adults. As big fans of the animation medium, we’re always a bit sad that audiences have a tendency to forget that there’s a lot of fantastic animation making its way into the world that isn’t a theatrical release. And considering that the two biggest box office winners of 2023 are currently The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, there’s obviously appreciation and interest for animated offerings. And because we get that finding those gems can be difficult in the streaming landscape, with iffy promotion, we now offer this monthly column to give you an overview of some of the best animated series to check out.

Human Resources (June 9)

For five seasons, the hit Netflix animated series Big Mouth explored the agony and the ecstasy of puberty for 7th graders Nick Birch (Nick Kroll) and Andrew Glouberman (John Mulaney). They were endlessly tortured by their Hormone Monsters, who tempted them to act on their every teen impulse, and made their lives kinda miserable. The hilarious series featured an incredible cast of comedians and A-listers, many of whom return for the spinoff series, Human Resources

From the same creative minds behind Big Mouth, this series focuses on the perspective of the Hormone Monsters, all assigned to their humans to prompt and prod them on how to respond to love, shame, hate, etc… But we also get to see the monsters at their place of work, where there are quotas and success rates to achieve, putting pressure on them to perform and get results for their humans. More adult in tone, Human Resources also pokes at the underbelly of being human with both filthy comedy and heart. 

The Venture Bros.: The Complete Series (June 13)

One of the bedrock OG series in the Adult Swim library, The Venture Bros. creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer crafted seven seasons of the now-cult classic over 15 years. Now for the very first time, all 82 produced episodes of the series have been collected in a digital or DVD box set. The series plays like a satire of sixties animated classics like Johnny Quest, following the adventures of the dysfunctional Venture family. Bitingly funny while featuring absorbing arcs, The Venture Bros. is that series your cool friends have been telling you about for years and is absolutely worth the binge. Not to mention, it’s a good time to get up to speed on the whole series as MAX green-lit a wrap-up movie from the creators, The Venture Bros.: Radiant Is the Blood of the Baboon Heart, to close out the mythology. 

Clone High Season 2 Finale (June 22)

Not a lot of series, much less animated series, get resurrected after a 20-year cancellation. But then not many shows like Clone High can boast the creative pedigree of current comedy titans Christopher Miller, Phil Lord (Spider-Verse) and Bill Lawrence (Ted Lasso), who are all having a moment right now with their string of successes. And thus, you get the return of Clone High, their much beloved, cult animated series from 2002 about a military experiment that brings back the clones of some of history’s greatest figures to harness their brains for future shenanigans. 

Even two decades later, the series hasn’t missed a step with its satire or characters. Abe Lincoln (Will Forte), Joan of Arc (Nicole Sullivan), Cleopatra (Mitra Jouhari) and the rest of the gang are back trying to wrangle their hormones in a very different world that has raced onwards while they’ve been frozen in time. More of a fish-out-of-water tale this time around, the core cast now has a more diverse group of new clones to interact with and it’s been an entertaining mix of culture clash. The big mystery remains: Will controversial original character Ghandi make it out of his freeze by the season finale?

Skull Island (June 22)

Arguably one of the best installments of Legendary’s Monsterverse, Kong: Skull Island (2017) introduced an isolated island that houses a whole menagerie of monsters that evolution allowed to prosper in peace and tranquility. Well, maybe more like overseen to behave by the apex ape on the island, Kong. Much like Netflix’s official Jurassic World animated spinoff, Camp Cretaceous, this official series is also in-world and follows canon to tell a heightened adventure story meant to appeal to a teens and up audience. 

Created by Brian Duffield, who directed the very under-rated film Spontaneous, Skull Island is positioned to have the wit and stakes that will appeal to fans of the Monsterverse, while matching the lauded animation style of other Netflix hits Castlevania and Blood of Zeus. Plus, animation is the place to be when it comes to making a horde of monsters come to life. Last but not least, the series also has a killer voice cast including Nicolas Cantu, Mae Whitman, Betty Gilpin and Benjamin Bratt. 

Tara Bennett is a Los Angeles-based writer covering film, television and pop culture for publications such as SFX Magazine, Total Film, SYFY Wire and more. She’s also written books on Sons of Anarchy, Outlander, Fringe, The Story of Marvel Studios and the upcoming Avatar: The Way of Water. You can follow her on Twitter @TaraDBennett or Instagram @TaraDBen

For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.

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