The Winchester brothers, Raymond Reddington and the Devil himself are among the lucky TV characters to have found themselves in cartoon form.
While animated television specials have popped up numerous times over the decades, the coronavirus pandemic has forced even more series — including some you might not expect — to get creative with different art forms as live-action TV production halted during the last 18 months. In recent weeks, Hulu’s PEN15 and Netflix’s Lucifer have both experimented with animation, but where do those episodes rank among the rest of television’s animated specials?
In the list below, we’ve ranked 13 animated one-offs, meaning the shows in question are all typically live-action series that ventured into 2D styles on one occasion — or, in Community‘s case, three occasions. And though all 13 episodes intrigued us with their outside-the-box approaches, we quickly found that not all attempts at animation are created equal. (It still feels like we imagined that holiday episode of The Nanny, but alas, it’s real!)
We should also note that an episode did not need to be entirely animated from start to finish in order to make our list. The Blacklist, Legends of Tomorrow, Fringe and other series only delivered a handful of animated scenes in total, but they also made the cut (for better or worse).
Which animated episode claimed the No. 1 spot on our list? Scroll down to find out, then drop a comment with your own rankings!