So you’re a fan of The Bad Batch, but you want something to hold you over until the next episodes come out. What’s another good animated series to watch?
You’re in luck because I’m here to share with you some animated shows to take a look at. I’ll explain how and why they remind me of The Bad Batch for your consideration.
80’s Saturday Morning Cartoons
The Bad Batch has often been compared to the old Saturday Morning Cartoon format. They tend to be more episodic with archetypal characters going on one-off adventures. The introduction of the Batch in Clone Wars season seven very much fits the same mold as these shows. There are so many to choose from depending on your tastes like G.I. Joe, Transformers, Jem and the Holograms, and more. Look up the Canadian studio, Nelvana. They pretty much had a hand in many childhood favorites including the Ewoks and Droids cartoons.
But if you’re looking for more updated versions of these series that shift into a more serial format just as The Bad Batch is starting to shift in that direction, I personally love the 2018 reboot of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. 2011’s Thundercats and 2021’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation are both solid options too. Also, the voice of the Batch himself, Dee Bradley Baker is in both of these series as well as Masters of the Universe stars Mark Hamill. So, there are some wonderful Star Wars tie-ins there.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
On the surface, it would seem like Avatar: The Last Airbender would have no real connection to Star Wars. But it turns out it’s one of Dave Filoni’s early projects and his first time directing animation. Avatar definitely left an impact on him too as there are many references to the series throughout Filoni’s work. In Clone Wars, Commander Appo has an arrow on his helmet and is named after Aang’s pet Appa. The Magistrate’s home in the episode “The Jedi” in The Mandalorian is a lot like the city of Ba Sing Se in Avatar. It also takes a lot of homage from Princess Mononoke, one of Filoni’s biggest influences on animated Star Wars in general. I would also highly suggest that movie too as San was the direct inspiration for Ahsoka Tano. Those are just a few examples.
Though to speak candidly, Avatar: The Last Airbender is undeniably one of the best animated shows ever made. It’s also historic in changing the face of the Nielson ratings and forcing television executives to sweat as this animated series was beating out their live-action shows. It influenced an entire generation of fans as well as Star Wars animation as we know it. Check out this excellent fanmade trailer which really captures the essence of the series:
Cowboy Bebop is considered one of the greatest animated series of all time, right up there with Avatar for good reason. But it’s similar to The Bad Batch in a lot of ways too. It’s a sci-fi series drenched in the neo-noir genre that features a group of bounty hunters who come together to make an on-again-off-again found family. The show is very episodic in nature like The Bad Batch, but it also has those focused plot episodes peppered in to build the overarching narrative. Each character gets some good focus, something that season two of The Bad Batch has been starting to lean into.
Cowboy Bebop is a solid ride from start to finish. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll watch them fight sentient space fungus. And Yoko Kanno’s soundtrack just might be one of the best soundtracks ever made. It’s an excellent show all around
The Owl House
Outside of the selfish desire to always scream at people about this show, The Owl House is more here to talk about the similar themes it has. Something The Bad Batch does well is show how fascism invades swiftly with propaganda. Also, once a tool is used up like how the Empire treats the clones, they’re quickly discarded. The Owl House really hits these themes in its second season. Yes, season one does show the effects of propaganda on everyday individuals as the people of the Boiling Isles blindly follow Emperor Belos.
But the second season with the arrival of the Golden Guard‘s storyline is when this show truly starts to sing with those Star Wars beats. I would hands down argue that Belos is a far more terrifying villain than Emperor Palpatine, but they utilize the exact same playbook. The Golden Guard’s story is almost exactly the same as the clones in The Bad Batch. Both are tools being used by evil. And once they are used up, both series ask who are they as people.
The Owl House is also historic in many ways too when it comes to queer content, so I can’t recommend it enough. Enjoy the fun adventures and world-building of season one. Because once you hit season two, your feelings will be WRECKED.
As much as I would love to put The Legend of Vox Machina or Amphibia in this slot because both have their own unique vibes with a galaxy far, far away, I think Steven Universe is a much better fit with the themes of Star Wars and The Bad Batch. The story is about a boy named Steven who is the son of a revolutionary named Rose Quartz. He’s raised by the Crystal Gems, three rebels who have sworn to protect the earth from the Diamond Authority for hundreds of years. As the show goes on, Steven learns there is more tragedy around his mother’s legacy and she wasn’t who he thought she was.
I’ll be the first to say that Steven Universe is very slow in the beginning. When I watched it for the first time, I had no idea why everyone was hyping up this show as much as they were. It wasn’t until I got to the season one finale that it really kicks up into high gear when invaders from the Galactic Gem Empire showed up that I finally got it. The entire story is about standing up to fascism without losing your soul. Steven finds out that he has a very unique role in the Empire and it was a role he was born into with no choice. Just like the clones in The Bad Batch, Steven has to figure out how to use the tools of his birthright to stop the great evil before him. Honestly, if any of the Batch members have a moment like the character Amyethist and screams out that they never asked to be made, I will lose it emotionally. Steven Universe is excellent once it gets rolling. Do what I did and stick with it. It’s absolutely worth your time.
What are some of your favorite animated series that remind you of Star Wars and The Bad Batch? Let us know in the comments!