10 animated adventures like ‘Gravity Falls’ that bring all the fun
Back in 2012, the peak of childhood for some, the Disney Channel released the mysteriously addictive Gravity Falls. The series, created by Alex Hirsch, follows Dipper Pines and his twin sister Mabel. For the duration of summer vacation, the Pines twins are sent to Gravity Falls to be with their great-uncle Stan. As the series progresses, Dipper and Mabel begin to notice ⏤ and subsequently investigate ⏤ supernatural occurrences within the local community.
Running for four years and accumulating over 40 episodes, Gravity Falls won two Emmy Awards, three Annie Awards, and a BAFTA Children’s Award, earning critical acclaim for its overall concept and its ability to entertain any and all ages, ranging from young children to young adults. The show has attracted a passionate fanbase due to the flawless way it encapsulates humor and adventure and targets multiple demographics at once.
If you happen to be a fan of the Disney hit, here are 10 more animated shows like Gravity Falls that bring all the laughter, thrills, and fun.
1. Adventure Time (2010-2018)
For a taste of the weird and wonderful characters that Gravity Falls brought to life, Adventure Time is the best comparison. There are all manner of strange creatures in the land of Ooo, from a talking elephant to a cloud princess with anger issues. These anomalous characters are only rivaled by the vomiting garden gnomes and demonic floating triangles of Gravity Falls.
Not only that, but Adventure Time blends the childlike innocence of fun-loving antics with some hard-hitting social issues and life lessons. As with most animated shows, Adventure Time isn’t just for children ⏤ there are some important and inspiring messages hidden among the silliness and absurdity for older viewers as well. Adventure Time has gathered an impressive collection of accolades and spawned various forms of merchandise, making it one of Cartoon Network’s most popular productions.
2. The Owl House (2020-)
The Owl House boasts many achievements. The series won an award for Children’s & Youth Programming at the 2021 Peabody Awards and became the first Disney asset to feature a same-sex couple in the leading roles of Luz and Amity, which was hugely significant for the positive representation of the LGBTQ+ community. Dana Terrace created the fantasy series, which follows human apprentice Luz and her witch mentor Eda, who takes Luz under her wing and gives her a family at the Owl House.
As Gravity Falls heavily focuses on the spiritual and paranormal, so the supernatural element of witches, wizardry, and the mystical forces that The Owl House brings to the table matches that sub-genre for those who seek it. As an added incentive to watch it, Dana Terrance is a former storyboard artist for Gravity Falls, so the similarities are uncanny in all the right ways.
3. Amphibia (2019-)
For any Gravity Falls fans that haven’t seen Amphibia yet, think of this as a call to action. Amphibia was created by Matt Braly, previously a storyboard artist (and later director) on Gravity Falls, so the animation style is very similar and the characters look as if they could co-exist in the same universe. Amphibia stars Brenda Song as the independent Anne, who steals a music box that transports her and her friends to Amphibia, a land full of anthropomorphic amphibians. The series chronicles the trio’s misadventures and endeavors to return home.
If its identical animation style isn’t enough evidence that Amphibia is as worthwhile as Gravity Falls, then the heartwarming journey that leads Anne to true heroism will. As the series develops, more mysterious forces reveal themselves and an adventure that looks harmless on the surface begins posing new dangers and throwing a wrench into things for Anne and friends.
4. Phineas and Ferb (2008-2015)
As part of their daily schedule, Phineas Flynn and Ferb Fletcher produce unrealistically grand inventions, much to the dismay of Candace Flynn, their older sister who attempts to “bust” them (aka expose the project to get Phineas and Ferb in trouble). An underlying B-plot involves the boys’ pet platypus Perry, who lives a double life as Agent P, an animal secret agent for the O.W.C.A. (Organization Without a Cool Acronym).
Like Gravity Falls, certain aspects of Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh’s Phineas and Ferb are aimed at adults, which seems to be a common thread in both Disney exclusives. Besides that, Phineas and Ferb follows stepbrothers and Gravity Falls follows twin siblings that frequently embark on extraordinary adventures and take their viewers along for a new ride every episode.
5. Steven Universe (2013-2019)
Nine years ago, Rebecca Sugar, writer and storyboard artist for Adventure Time, made history as Cartoon Network’s first non-binary individual to solely spearhead an animated series. She owes that triumph to Steven Universe, the wholesome coming-of-age story about a young boy, Steven, who lives with magical beings known as the Crystal Gems in Beach City. As a Half-Gem himself, Steven unites with the Gems to protect the world from outside threats. The show has been praised for promoting healthy interpersonal relationships, positive LGBTQ+ representation, and the importance of love in any form.
One of the major similarities between Gravity Falls and Steven Universe is the mutual inclusion of magical beings with unimaginable powers. More prominently, Steven, like Dipper Pines, has a deeper connection to these otherworldly entities than originally thought. Just as Dipper was destined to find the journals, Steven is fated to become a Crystal Gem and follow in his mother’s footsteps.
6. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018-2020)
Unlike many others, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power was made by Dreamworks Animation, not Cartoon Network or Disney Channel. The central conflict centers on Adora, an adolescent capable of transforming (with the help of a magical sword) into the heroine She-Ra, and Catra, her best-friend-turned-enemy. During the series, Adora and Catra are pitted against one another to their contrasting allegiances, but soon discover that their hatred is unwarranted.
Gravity Falls brings all-new adventures with every episode, but She-Ra keeps the action-packed suspense throughout, twisting and turning with all its unpredictability. For slow-burn romance, kick-butt combat, and a heartwarming journey of self-discovery and transformation, She-Ra is highly recommended.
7. Camp Lakebottom (2013-2017)
Moving forward, these last few recommendations are generally aimed at children more so than adults, purely due to themes of slapstick comedy, toilet humor, and general tomfoolery throughout. Lasting for four years, Camp Lakebottom produced 65 episodes. The series focuses on McGee, Gretchen, and Squirt, three campers that end up at Camp Lakebottom after getting on the wrong bus. Each episodes sees the trio tackle a new obstacle or enemy, typically McGee’s nemesis Jordan Buttsquat.
Gravity Falls and Camp Lakebottom share similar episode patterns, usually revolving around a central conflict that the main protagonists overcome within the twenty-something minute running time. There are also running gags with the characters, as each of them adopts a uniquely influential personality, especially the minor roles.
8. The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack (2008-2010)
Relying on a more outdated animation style than some of the others, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack may have been removed from mainstream media after it concluded over 10 years ago, but there is still some charm to its execution that is rarely replicated nowadays as technology improves. Flapjack follows the title character, a boy who was raised by a whale named Bubbie and mentored by a pirate named Captain K’nuckles. The trio embark on daily misadventures to search for Candied Island, a land made entirely out of candy.
In some ways, Flapjack, Bubbie, and Captain K’nuckles are counterparts of Dipper, Mabel, and Stan from Gravity Falls. One is overly enthusiastic and determined, another is dim-witted and fun-loving, and the other is more stern, no-nonsensical, and seen as the “parental’ figure. For lovable characters and old-school animation, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack is a top pick.
9. Disenchantment (2018-)
Aimed at older audiences, Disenchantment follows Princess Bean, a rebellious alcoholic who loathes the idea of becoming a sovereign and rebels against the system. In her misadventures, she encounters the naive Elfo and destructive Luci, who tag along and aid her as a traveling trio. Disenchantment was created by Matt Groening, the man responsible for The Simpsons and Futurama, hence the identical animation styles.
Similarly to Gravity Falls, the environment of Disenchantment is home to many mythical and magical creatures/beings. Disenchantment is invariably imbued with Groening’s distinctive and trademark humor, focusing on unfortunate outcomes and situational foul-ups as primary gags. As it progresses more through its now four-season run, Disenchantment has become fully-functional and has prioritized its character development and world-building to become coherent, non-stereotypical, and forward-thinking.
10. Big City Greens (2018-)
Big City Greens was the brainchild of Chris and Shane Houghton, with the former serving as a storyboard artist on Gravity Falls with Rob Renzetti. There are times when Big City Greens completely milks the rural stereotypes for all they’re worth, but overall, the series shows progressive self-awareness and promotes strong family-centric morals, all the while bringing the lighthearted laughter along for the ride.
Just like any family, the quirkiness and individuality is what we come to recognize within ourselves and our own family values. Especially for children, Big City Greens instills a positive mindset that no matter what, one should always remain considerate, supportive, and optimistic. With Big City Greens, you come for the silliness and stay for the wholesome character relationships.