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5 Shows like Gravity Falls: Magic and Mischief

Ciara Ruane itcher‘Gravity Falls’ has the perfect combo of cartoon fun and intriguing mystery. Shows like ‘Gravity Falls’ – including ‘Scooby Doo’ and ‘Adventure Time’ – have a colourful, sugar-high approach to the supernatural. ~ Ciara Ruane

Pine-Ing for Adventure

If you’re after series similar to ‘Gravity Falls’, with all the fun, thrills, spills, and puzzles, check out some of these cartoon capers.


Shows Similar to ‘Gravity Falls’…

‘Scooby Doo, Where Are You!’ (Hanna-Barbera, 1969-1971)

A cartoon classic!

Each episode is basically a re-telling of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’, with a hippy and his dog accidentally solving all the seemingly supernatural mysteries. Responsible for numerous reboots, a couple of live action movies and recurring background gags, it’s still as much fun as when it aired. Jinkies!

No doubt an influence on TV series like ‘Gravity Falls’, Mystery Inc. and their exploits are entertaining, fun and family friendly with a supernatural twist (i.e. people in convincing ghostly get-ups). Coming from the original TV cartoon masters Hanna-Barbera (fun fact: when I was a kid I thought they were all made by a woman called Hannah Barbara) it’s had a big influence on modern Saturday ‘toons and it still holds up, with suitably wacky cartoon humour and a winning formula that has been successful ever since.

Another fun fact: while looking up this show, I found out that Shaggy’s real name is Norville Rogers. Do with that what you will – might come up in a pub quiz.

Similarity Match: 90%
No doubt THE original adventure-mystery cartoon, it obviously has more of a 60’s vibe and classic humour but still has all the intrigue and fun of ‘Gravity Falls’.

‘Adventure Time’ (Cartoon Network, 2010 – )

This is perhaps, in the best way, the nuttiest and most surreal cartoon ever created. And when there are cartoons about mutated martial arts turtles and sentient sponges who work in fast food, it has plenty of competition. Finn The Human and Jake The Dog (who has stretchy powers) live in the Land of Ooo and fight ice kings, wizards and Lumpy Space Princesses, all to an audience of cult devotees.

If you want surreal, it has it in spades. The whole show feels trippy and dreamlike, and there are no rules. There is humour and heart, but a lot of its appeal comes from pure originality.

Like ‘Gravity Falls’, it has an audience beyond its intended demographic and is smart and witty enough to gain more widespread popularity. There’s also plenty of questions surrounding it, clues are dropped about the real and quite scary history behind Ooo and how it became inhabited by so many colourful characters.

Similarity Match: 80%
Like ‘Gravity Falls’ it has a cult appeal spanning all age ranges and a lot of clever wit, but with a far more surreal feel.

‘Pinky and the Brain’ (Warner Bros., 1995-1998)

The story of two laboratory mice trying to take over the world with the single catchiest theme tune of any show ever. This is more of a nostalgic one for those of my generation, but it’s a fun, dry and witty show from the studio responsible for Looney Tunes, and it has the twist of having a supervillain (well, wannabe supervillain) as its main character.

The classic double act structure of an enthusiastic if slow sidekick and a not-as-intelligent-as-he-thinks conspirator is the main focal point of this show. It has dry wit courtesy of super-mouse Brain and wacky exploits and outbursts from Pinky. A classic 90’s Saturday cartoon, it has the same cleverness and playful handling of darker themes as ‘Gravity Falls’, with a  more classically cartoonish feel to its look and humour. This doesn’t quite have the same age-range spanning appeal, but it’s a lot of fun and essential for fans of clever shows with unique humour.

Similarity Match: 75%
Another cartoon from yesteryear with an emphasis of villainy and up-to-no-gooders, it has a unique premise and humour like ‘Gravity Falls’ with more of a classic appeal.


If You Like ‘Gravity Falls’, You Will Like…

While ‘Gravity Falls’ is a cartoon, it has an audience of many different age groups thanks to its intelligent humour and involving plots. Here are some live action TV series like to ‘Gravity Falls’ if you want something that feels a little more grown-uppish.

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ (Fox, 1997-2003)

Although this iconic show is about a vampire slayer and features all the expected demons, evil and tragedy that comes with it, Joss Whedon’s writing means it’s light and enormously fun, never being more than a few minutes away from a stake-fight or a quip. It’s also a tale of the battle against otherworldly evil set in a small town beset with an unusually high amount of supernatural disturbances…

It has supernatural doings and fun in spades, and like ‘Gravity Falls’ it maintains engrossing relationships and continuing plots. At the centre is an ordinary girl who takes on the world of supernatural evil with the help of a few plucky classmates. Enemies become friends and friends become witches, all the while Buffy must bear the burden of being the slayer all on her own. Check it out if you want something equally as fun and involving as ‘Gravity Falls’, but with high school (and college) high jinks and monsters out for actual blood.

Buffy shares a lot of its DNA with ‘Gravity Falls’, but it’s a little more grown up with genuinely scary monsters and young-adult issues.

‘Pushing Daisies’ (ABC, 2007-2009)

In its look, ‘Pushing Daisies’ is about as close as you can get to a cartoon while keeping it in the third dimension. Bryan Fuller’s now cancelled romantic comedy about a baker who can wake the dead (terms and conditions apply) is chock-full of style AND substance, with plenty of magic.

‘Pushing Daisies’ proves that colourful, joyful fun isn’t just for kids, and it has murder, romance and lightning quick wit to entertain grown ups. The show is unashamedly bright and imaginative, and manages to deal with death without ever being scary or macabre, and romance without being sappy.

If you want something with all the bright colours and joyful fun of cartoons made specifically for people who have to work and pay taxes, you should check it out. Especially as it was cancelled after two series, and like some of the characters themselves it CAN be brought back from the dead if we all try hard enough. Or, if we have magical powers or major television producers on our side.

This show is irreverent, witty and fun with magic and mayhem at its heart, but with romance, murder and secrecy, too.


Supernatural Shenanigans

TV series like ‘Gravity Falls’ and ‘Adventure Time’ hold a unique place in that they are specifically aimed at kids yet people of all ages have come to love them thanks to their wacky fun and layered stories.

What cartoons have kept their appeal for you as an adult?

Tell us in the comments.

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