Ranking of the best Christian Animation Series

My criteria for ranking these animation series are: 1) They have to either display Christian beliefs or be strong in wisdom that is compatible with Christian morality. 2) I am not judging them on production values, but on meaning (spiritual and moral) and creativity (fun, adventure, art, and story telling). 3) In general some of this ranking is arbitrary, because I like all of them.

Here we go my list of the best to the worst Christian animation series, I will only list series that I have seen the majority of episodes:

  1. Friends and Heroes (39 episodes 3 seasons) – Great for little boys, but little girls should enjoy this as well. It is a serialized (very rare in Christian programs) action cartoon, that seamlessly weaves in Bible stories through the greater story of a Jewish family living in 69AD to 71AD in the Roman Empire. I love this show specifically because of the smart serialized entertaining stories. The show has much of the same creative talent as behind the Story Keepers. Currently this is streaming on pureflix.com or https://www.jellytelly.com/ and is also available at http://www.friendsandheroes.tv/ but unfortunately like a lot of Christian entertainment it is prohibitively expensive here.
    Friends and Heroes
  2. Junior’s Giants (3 episodes) – Only three episodes ever made, but the content is beautifully mixed, between comedy, spirituality and wisdom. Currently this show is available for streaming on pureflix.com Listen closely pureflix, if there was ever a show to revive and give a full season of it is this one right here! This show is soooo much fun to watch. Right now you can find the only three episodes streaming on pureflix.com
  3. Lenny and Sid (2 episodes) – Only two real episodes were ever made, but the art style and story telling make me feel like this is a slightly better Charlie Brown. It could be the mood piano as well. I love when spirituality is integrated into a story and it does not feel forced, but natural, because Christianity should be natural and Lenny and Sid does this well. Both episodes can be watched on youtube in pieces or used DVDs can be found on ebay.
  4. Adventures in Odyssey (17 episodes) – Well constructed deep stories, enjoyable characters, excellent animation. They have one episode that stands out in particular, it is called “Baby Daze” it is about a baby who a scientist sees as an experiment, it is a subtle commentary on our treatment of life in our society and the evil of not valuing our children. The individual episodes can be bought as dvds or downloaded from Christianbook.com
  5. Animated Hero Classics (20 episodes from 1991 to 2004) – Made by ex-Disney animators every mini-biography teaches an important moral lesson for kids to grab onto. From Washington kneeling down and praying in the snow. To the loss of Abraham Lincoln as his son dies. The whole series displays history on a kid level, without skirting the difficult issues. Each cartoon has an activity book to help kids learn important qualities from each DVD. Old dvds can be found at your library or ebay. New dvds can be found at Nest Learning. They also don’t shy away from mentioning God when he is in the context of the story. The easiest way to find these is at a public library.
  6. Animated Stories from the New Testament – Well made new testament Bible cartoons made by ex-Disney Animators. Unfortunately these are again prohibitively expensive, and the only way to really view them is by buying the dvds.
  7. Animated Stories from the Bible (12 episodes) – From the makers of the Swan Princess, ex-Disney animators made 12 old testament cartoons. They are still horribly expensive, but the characterization and the music is wonderful. Unfortunately these are prohibitively expensive as well and the only way to view them is by buying the dvds.
  8. Testament: The Bible in Animation (9 episodes) – 9 episodes with 3 different art styles used and created for teens to adults, this series is visual artistically the best series out of all of these, but the stores are not quite as smooth as some of the others. The picture below is from the creepy scene in the David episode which had the Witch of Endor scene from scripture. All episodes of this show are available to watch on youtube. One other quick note the same people were responsible for the life of Jesus Claymation movie known as the “Miracle Maker”.
  9. Torchlighters – The stories of these cartoons are so important, great Christians that made extraordinary contributions to society. The DVDs often include documentaries about the people in the cartoons as well. The animation is a little weak, but really aside from that, well worth a view. These are super reasonably priced and are available from christianbook.com.
  10. Little Dogs on the Prairie (3 x 30 minute episodes) – Yet another Christian cartoon that is excellently made, but could not achieve the funding for that many episodes. Little Dogs has beautiful fun animation, great concept, good morality and fast pithy humor that is rare in any context. Super fun and worth watching. The episodes can be bought and downloaded from the original maker Fancy Monkey studios.
  11. Theo – If you want to teach your kids deep Christian belief and theology this is my number 1 pick, with What’s in the Bible being a second. The name “Theo” is the name of the lead character and is a shortened version of Theology. Each episode deals with a core part of the Christian life. “Loving Obedience”, “Redemption”, “Forgiveness”, “Saving Faith”, etc. The plot of the shoes is there is an old happy man named Theo who lives in the country and interacts with two anthropomorphic (human like) mice (they talk). Their antics usually introduce a situation that Theo talks about then shows a short Bible lesson on. The show quite possibly is the best animated show on this list, employing movie quality animation (better than some movies). As well as using consistently three different beautiful animation styles. Each episode is short, which makes them perfect for a Sunday School with limited time. Currently these episode can be found on both pureflix and jellytelly streaming services.
  12. Adventures in the Book of Virtues – This is a PBS shown cartoon, in general I trust PBS cartoons more than Disney and far more than Nickelodeon, at least they are educational. (Or at least I used to before the blind sided families with the gay wedding in an episode of Arthur.) This one in particular is odd for PBS it is based on a book by William Bennet, he collected what he viewed as the greatest moral stories in history from all the sources he could find, including the Bible. Though the Bible is by no means center stage and in fact is rarely used in the series, the morality in the show that is taught is absolutely in line with Christian morality. The sad thing is this show is incredibly expensive or difficult to find. Three dvds were released years ago and the whole series can be bought for a devastating price tag from the original creation house. The picture below is from an episode entitled “honesty” where the story of the Princess and the Frog is used to teach about keeping your word.
  13. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – I have seen every episode of this series and the depth and challenges that the stories bring to the wisdom of friendship is fantastic. I realize that it is not a “Christian series”, but the morality it represents is absolutely in line with my understanding of Christianity and I am happy for this series to influence my kids. One big note in this is that there are a couple of types of feminism. The most toxic type makes women want to emulate the worst traits of men, greed and power. This show on the other hand has the healthiest form of feminism, one that Christianity has no qualms with. It is where women look for the most virtuous and female experience of being a woman and embrace it. There is no gender confusion of women wanting to be men here. These are women, happy to be women. I LOVE that for my girls!!! Currently all episodes of this are streaming on netflix
  14. The Horned Avenger (Sadly only two episodes) – This rare and little seen gem should have had a longer life, by the second episode when the producers ran out of money the full potential of the series was just being explored and it would do great with a revival or a reboot. The series takes place on the mythical world of Speranza, where the Horned Avenger and his side-kick BLT have been prepared to fight evil. The theme is that in reflecting the creativity of the true Creator we come to know him. So, the Horned Avenger’s powers are his faith in the true creator makes his art become real. You would have to see them to understand how the idea is executed. Well worth watching.
  15. The Flying House – With super simple jap animation, I thought this show was just going to be a rehashing of Biblical stories I already knew. I was wrong, the loosely serialized stories, began to surprise me with the unexpected morality and depth that tied the Biblical stories beautifully with the goofy protagonists, Justin, Angie, Corky SIR the Robot and Professor Bumble. The premise of the show is that while playing hide and seek in the forest three kids seek refuge in a house from a massive thunder storm. The house it turns out is actually a giant flying time machine that accidentally gets triggered and broken and sends the crew back to Jesus time. The rest of the show is about the crew trying to get home and continually interacting with Jesus and his crew. Unfortunately there was only one DVD release of just a couple of episodes and that DVD is hard to find.
  16. Jot the Dot – One of the very first Christian animated series, Jot the Dot had a fantastic creative design to it. I still find it’s design almost magical and how it was both tied to the experience of a kid and other worldly at the same time as Jot (a circular creature that was a human metaphor) would go to school and Sunday school and learn lessons. This series has never been released on DVD, but many are available for viewing on youtube
  17. Veggie Tales – Though iconic and best selling with some of the most fun music in any of the shows, there is something here that just doesn’t seem to work as well as it could, it might be the anthology nature of the programs, and how depending on the episode there is a hit or miss feel to the series. 
  18. Kids 10 Commandments – Five episodes with two commandments taught per an episode this series saw the voice talents of the Little Mermaid’s Jodi Benson and many other famous actors. As well the animation was done by Richcrest animation which means that it is some of the higher quality still cell animation in Christian animation.
  19. Gigi – What I love about Gigi is that it targets an underserved market, little girls, it is the truly only cartoon in this list explicitly aimed at girls. (With definite Christian content) This cartoon is currently streaming on pureflix and saw some dvd releases as well.
  20. Angel Wars – Also serving an under served market segment, Angel Wars was targeted at slightly older boys. The plot saw conflict between angels in a sci-fi motif, but was really meant to teach faith and wisdom principles.
  21. What’s in the Bible – I love how the content in this Bible is simple enough for kids and deep enough for adults, I love the songs. I love the little short’s like Quaky’s Questions that are on some of the DVDs. There are two reasons this is not rated higher. One is the voices, one person did the majority of the voices and I think a combination of that and some of the puppets is the reason this is not as engaging to my young kids as some of the others. These are currently streaming on the Christian kids streaming site jellytelly as well are easy to find at the public library.
  22. Owlegories (18 x 15 minute episodes) – Made for slightly younger kids Owlegories has animated owls teaching wisdom lessons from nature and scripture to kids. The music is catchy and it is well made. Really though the greatest thing about the cartoon is that they teach belief from symbol down, so teaching from the lion or the sun, what do we learn about God and Jesus from those things. Very innovative and creative. These are often available at the public library.
  23. In the Beginning: Bible Stories – Made by the “Walt Disney” of Jap animation, though he was an unbeliever, the cartoons are super faithful in spirit to the Bible and some feel are an artistic master piece. The below is a scene where Gideon and his fellow warriors are blowing trumpets. The bummer about these is as far as I know are not available streaming or on dvd anywhere and your only chance to find some episodes are by sharing sites.
  24. Children’s Heroes of the Bible – This is the earliest Bible cartoon out of all of them, and though the action is slow, the voices are powerful (the most heroic out of any Bible cartoon) and the theme song is memorable. This cartoon is dirt cheap at christianbook.com
  25. The All New Super Friends Hour – I know you think I am crazy including just this one single season of the Super Friends. Sure it is not as weak on violence as the as the first season, which was also very societally conscience, but this season did a couple of things that make me feel pretty strongly that there were a lot of Christians working on the cartoon. 1) All the adult Superheroes in the cartoon are fantastic examples of adulthood. Totally emotionally healthy, no ego, a humility in service, great examples of working together. This is responsible TV for young boys right here. Next they had craft and public service segments that show a responsibility within society. Lastly the Wonder Twin segments always dealt with a core sin.  Boys crave action, they crave wanting to be the hero and being powerful enough to defeat evil. Though this is not a Christian cartoon in the sense of clearly calling out the Jesus name or the Bible, Christian ethics are embedded in it.
  26. 3-2-1 Penguins – I think the over all ideas are excellent, the colors chosen for the animation, the voice acting and the story depth and pacing and mythos all struggled, which is why this series is not rated higher. I do like the proverbs and wisdom that are brought out in every episode. 
  27. Superbook (1981) – This is a companion series to the The Flying House and was actually made first. Recently (2010’s) it was remade. The original is lackluster due to goofy characters and slow weak animation. While “The Flying House” primarily dealt with New Testament stories, this series primarily deals with Old Testament. This cartoon had never been released on DVD.
  28. Hoop Dogz (4 episodes) – Using a strange pastel laced infused computer animation Hoop Dogz is the story of some young kids (err animals) that like Basketball as well as some spoofs of religious television (think Jimmy and Tammy Baker). The messages are good, and you get a more solid urban culture representation than any of the other cartoons, but the stories are kind of spastic and feel poorly paced and juvenile. Kids may like these, but they were not very accessible to me. The dvds usually can be found on ebay.
  29. Bible Agent 7 (1 episode) – Made for Faithlife the makers of Logos Bible software for their new streaming service. The cartoon is flash animation and is made for smaller kids. There was nothing that struck me as exceptional within the story or the animation. 
  30. Avatar the Last Airbender – This one is at the bottom of the list for a reason, there is a lot of eastern mysticism that flies directly in the face of the truth of Jesus. I am well aware of this. There are two redeeming factors to the cartoon. Movies like Star Wars: A New Hope and Avatar the Last Airbender which seem to embed a lot of eastern ideas, pantheism for instance… have one deep idea in them that deconstructs their eastern ideas. That is that they embrace the concept that good and evil do exist and are very real. This idea is central to Christianity, but with Eastern religion, good and evil are ultimately illusions. Even in post-modernism, good and evil are being broken down, so there is no true evil… everyone has a pathos or reason for being evil… this may be surprising to some of my readers… but actually no… some people are doing evil things just because they are selfish and they want power, it has nothing to do with a wrong done to them. Avatar clearly denotes that there is evil. This idea is weakend in the sequel “The Legend of Korra”, which is almost worthless. The second redeeming aspect is the character of Aang. Aang (The Avatar) wants to do good to the people who wrong him, doesn’t hold grudges and sees the best in everyone. This harkens back to Matthew where Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies. At the same time though he is not weak. He fights when necessary for the right reasons and with the right restraint. If you do watch this with your kids, be ready to undermine the eastern religious ideas in it, but use that a spring board to represent that there is a spiritual reality all around us, that really can be tapped into and the main conduit is Jesus through the Holy Spirit. This is the opposite of Scooby-Doo where the supernatural is all fake and it undermines the Christian world view. Lastly there is a character in the show named Zuko that is filled with hate and malice and through a good loving mentor begins to let go of this and by the end is redeemed. This is Jesus everyday for us.