The best thing about animation is that, more than any other genre, it has a massive range of visual possibilities. With any given movie or TV show, you'll get a story with a completely unique display of color, mood and artistry -- from worldwide hits created by major studios to lesser known indie gems and avant-garde masterpieces.
"Zootopia" (Netflix) Disney has made plenty of beautiful worlds, but none have felt as fun and lived-in as Zootopia. Combine that with top-notch characters that are a delight to look at and a socially-tinged mystery that isn't afraid to get messy, and you have a film that defies what you'd expect from a talking animal blockbuster.
"Emperor's New Groove" (Netflix) Though not as well-known as the Disney Renaissance films, "New Groove" has earned a well-deserved cult following, simply because it's the funniest movie Disney has ever made, thanks in large part to the hammy performances by Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton as the film's villains, Yzma and Cronk.
"Walt Disney Short Films Collection" (Netflix/Amazon) Featuring special introductions from Disney's top animators, this collection features a wide range of Disney tales, from modern spins on classic Mickey cartoons to the groundbreaking Oscar winner "Paperman."
"Fantasia"/"Fantasia 2000" (Netflix) To this day, Walt Disney's 1940 experiment with classical music remains one of the most audacious projects in animation history. Both the original and its 2000 sequel can now be seen in all their glory, from the classic "Sorcerer's Apprentice" to the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence that has given kids nightmares for decades.
"Animaniacs" (Netflix) During the 90s, Steven Spielberg and cartoon mastermind Tom Ruegger created a series of Saturday morning cartoon series. "Animaniacs" was the crown jewel, earning crossover appeal by combining kid-friendly slapstick with risqué humor.
"Batman: The Animated Series" (Amazon) For an entire generation of comic book lovers, this is the definitive Dark Knight. The four-time Emmy winner stunned audiences and critics with its visual blend of noir and art deco. Mark Hamill plays the Joker, while Arleen Sorkin debuts as Harley Quinn.
"South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" (Netflix) In 1999, "South Park" declared war on its haters, the MPAA, the Parents Television Council, and of course, Canada. The result is the franchise's most scathing satire ever.
"Beavis and Butt-head Do America" (Amazon) It takes a smart man to make idiotic characters compelling, and Mike Judge is a master of such art. In a feature version of his hit MTV series, Judge sends Beavis and Butt-head off on a journey to find a missing TV, resulting in an adventure that includes military crises, Vegas hookers, Bill Clinton and a peyote hallucination.
"Bojack Horseman" (Netflix) The story of a self-destructive, anthropomorphic Hollywood has-been has become one of the best reasons to get Netflix, but Season 3's "Fish Out Of Water" is a must-see even if you don't watch the rest of the series. This largely silent episode sees BoJack go to an underwater film festival where no one can speak English, embarking on a heartbreaking and surreal odyssey.
"Avatar: The Last Airbender" (Amazon) With a blend of anime and western styles, Nickelodeon's series pushed the boundaries of long form storytelling in kids' TV. It also balances its action and drama with some great humor, something that the infamous live-action adaptation ignored.
"The Legend of Korra" (Amazon) "Avatar's" takes the world into more mature territory, dealing with themes like personal growth and handling trauma. It's also famous for the final episode, which showed two of its main female characters getting a romantic ending.
"Wallace & Gromit" (Amazon) The complete collection of stop-motion classics featuring the English inventor and his dog are available to watch. Whether its a trip in a homemade spaceship or a mission to thwart a jewel thief, Wallace and Gromit charm audiences.
"The Little Prince" (Netflix) This gorgeous, tender adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's legendary children's book got a simultaneous theatrical and Netflix release in the U.S. Blending CGI and stop-motion technology together, "The Little Prince" captures its source material's balance of childhood wonder and adult observations.
"The Last Unicorn" (Netflix) Produced by Christmas movie mavens Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass, "The Last Unicorn" is an elegant and criminally underrated fairy tale with a heavyweight cast. Alan Arkin, Mia Farrow, Jeff Bridges and Christopher Lee lend their voices to this tale about a unicorn who is turned into a human to escape a fiery bull.
"Death Note" (Netflix) A bleak anime morality tale, "Death Note" tells the story of Light Yagami, a high school prodigy who discovers a notebook that allows him to kill anyone he wants just by writing their name down. As Light becomes corrupted by the notebook's power, he engages in a battle of wits with mastermind detectives trying to track him down.
"The Secret of Kells" (Amazon) From Irish studio Cartoon Saloon comes one of the great indie animation films of the 21st century. This Oscar nominee is inspired by the Book of Kells, an Irish illustrated manuscript that blended Christian and Celtic traditions.
"Song of the Sea" (Amazon) Five years after "Kells," Cartoon Saloon made their return with the tale of a mute girl who turns out to be a be a selkie, a creature who can shapeshift from a human to a seal. Much like "Kells," "Song of the Sea" borrows from Irish culture to tell a story of children facing a world of fantasy.
"A Cat In Paris" (Netflix) In the same vein as Cartoon Saloon is this French kid-friendly noir about a Parisian feline who is a little girl's best friend by day and a jewel thief's accomplice by night. Both worlds collide when the girl and thief uncover a plan by a vicious gang to steal a rare statue.
"World of Tomorrow" (Netflix) Finally, we have two works from arguably the finest indie animator of this century, Don Hertzfeldt. First is his Oscar-nominated short about a little girl (voiced by Hertzfeldt's four-year-old niece) who is transported to the future by a third-generation clone of herself.
"It's Such A Beautiful Day" (Netflix) This is Hertzfeldt's magnum opus, a trilogy of short films about a man named Bill who explores his past while slowly dying from a degenerative disease. What starts as an absurdist comedy quite suddenly transforms into a heartbreaking and deeply moving meditation on the beauty of living and the struggle of coming to terms with death.