Before I became a parent, I knew I'd never be the type to limit her kid's interests, which is why my 5-year-old basically has free reign over the Netflix app on his iPad. I like to keep up with what he watches, but for the most part I let him discover new shows on his own. Thanks to the increasing number of Netflix Original animated series, there's no shortage of entertaining content. My son's ranking of Netflix cartoons shows just how much quality animation is out there. Sure, he's no expert, but who better to recommend shows to kids than an actual kid, right? (With supervision, obviously.)
Netflix has really gotten choosing their animated content for kids down to a science. Somehow almost every show the streaming platform acquires ends up being something entertaining or just silly enough to make kids remember theme songs and retell the same jokes afterward. As someone who watches enough shows that it's easier to name series I haven't seen, I can't even be mad at my son's wide range of tastes in Netflix shows. Like mother like son, right? If you’re OK with taking a five-year-old’s Netflix suggestions, here’s my son's ranking of his favorite cartoons currently available on Netflix in reverse order.
12Spirit Riding Free
According to my son’s Netflix Kids profile, he’s given Spirit Riding Free enough of a chance to justify his disinterest in it. To his credit, he did tell me he likes the cowgirls.
Maybe it's because I haven't done my duty as a Game of Thrones dragon-loving-mom and introduced my son to the original movie, How to Train Your Dragon, which inspired the Netflix/DreamWorks spin-off series. He just shows little interest. If I put it on for him, he’ll watch it for a little while and then get inspired to play quietly in his room. Otherwise known as his nice way of saying, "Nah, I’m good, Mom."
10She-Ra And The Princesses of Power
My husband was all about He-Man when he was a kid, so naturally I am not giving up on my son finding his own love for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Unfortunately, he hasn't found it yet, but he also hasn't completely rejected the cartoon, so there’s still hope.
Unfortunately, as adorable and non-threatening as the little monsters in Super Monsters are, they haven't grabbed my kid as much as other Netflix cartoons. Maybe his issue is that they aren't scary enough, but that takes some of the fun away for younger kids. Or, in my son’s case, kids who haven’t already been desensitized with Goosebumps.
8The Adventures Of Puss In Boots
My son has never been a dog person (I know, blasphemy), but we have three cats, so he’s been forced to tolerate and, eventually, love them. The Adventures of Puss in Boots, which stems from the Shrek franchise, is therefore likable to him because of the "cute talking cats." I also have a feeling it's because he hopes that Shrek or Donkey will show up at some point.
7Trolls: The Beat Goes On!
My son doesn't like Trolls: The Beat Goes On! as much as he liked the original movie, but it’s not the least of his Netflix faves since, as he pointed out, "it has the same trolls as the movie." Just don’t tell him there are different voice actors behind those little troll faces.
6Ask The StoryBots
Ask the StoryBots is a prime example of a Netflix cartoon I didn't know my son even knew about until he told me himself. Apparently, he was first introduced to it on Netflix at school (a far cry from the wheeled in TV and VCR of my day). Unlike some other cartoons my son develops obsessions with, Ask the StoryBots is actually educational.
5The Magic School Bus Rides Again
Admittedly, I never thought to introduce my son to the original Magic School Bus that I grew up watching at school. Instead, he found the reboot, The Magic School Bus Rides Again, on his own and instantly took to it. It helps that the animation is clearer and a little more modern than the original, but that magical flying school bus is his main reason for loving the reboot so much, which I completely get.
4The Epic Tales Of Captain Underpants
Like many others, The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants is a Netflix cartoon series based on the movie that came before it. One of the sole reasons my son likes it so much is because "it’s like the movie." I’m definitely starting to see a pattern here — if it’s funny, silly, and just so happens to have already captured your kid’s attention as a movie first, then you're golden.
3Cupcake & Dino: General Services
Cupcake & Dino: General Services is just weird enough to be entertaining for adults too. I've watched the nonsensical cartoon with my son on more than one occasion and even requested it when he insisted on watching one of his other shows for the millionth time. I don’t know if it’s the talking animals, living and breathing food, or the beloved "Grandma Steak" who is, in fact, a steak, but this one is high on his list.
2Boss Baby: Back In Business
Before Pinky Malinky came along, the other show my son watched on a loop was Boss Baby: Back in Business, the spin-off series based on the Boss Baby movie. He told me that he loves Season 2 specifically because the new threat of elderly people being more liked than babies and kittens is funny.
In the words of my little guy, he loves the newest Netflix cartoon Pinky Malinky because "it’s funny and it's silly." I didn't get much more than that when I asked him about why he likes all of the other Netflix shows he watches, but that's fair enough. Pinky Malinky was recently acquired by Netflix after it had a brief run on Nickelodeon. My son has already watched all 28 episodes more than once and I've heard about all of the weird inside jokes and songs just as many times.
The general consensus seems to be that if a Netflix cartoon makes little sense or already has a following from an animated movie, kids will love it. At least that’s the case with my son, who is slowly getting to be on my level with the amount of TV he knows about. Of course, I limit the amount of screen time he gets, but I think it's safe to say I've passed down my pop culture obsession to the next generation.
After a very frustrating first birth experience, this Deaf mother wanted a change. Will the help of two Deaf doulas give the quality communication and birth experience this mom wants and deserves? Watch Episode Four of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below, and visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes.