Bojack Horseman


Bojack Horseman, Netflix

Bojack Horseman, Netflix's cartoon about a washed-up sitcom star who happens to be a horse, has drawn critical acclaim for its masterful mix of animated humor and emotionally harrowing takes on depression and personal failure.

The fourth season, which dropped in September, delivers more gutpunching tearjerkers: an adopted kid seeking her mother, a son dealing with a mother he despises suffering from dementia, and the agonies of miscarriage, infertility, and troubled partnerships.

In a year with painfully weird real-life politics, this season's extended B story involves a goofily well-meaning but ignorant and easily manipulated canine TV star, Mr. Peanutbutter, running for governor of California against a seasoned, policy-smart, and dignified woodchuck.

While doubtless conceptualized before Trump won, the show winningly avoids heavy-handed callbacks to our lived political reality and depicts electoral politics as a realm of near-pure maddening absurdity, where voter allegiance shifts for silly reasons and to ridiculous effect. (An episode on fracking leads to a group of celebrities eating Zach Braff. An episode on gun control leads to a statewide weapons ban—painted, alas, as a trouble-free good idea.)

Our pasts, our minds, our families, and our ambitions are serious stuff, the show tells us; attempts to win our support with dumb promises are best seen as an absurd joke.