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If you liked Hazbin Hotel, here’s what you should watch next

The shows that cast adult animation in a whole new light for Vivienne Medrano

Charlie posing in front of the concierge desk at the Hazbin Hotel Image: Prime Video

Hazbin Hotel’s frenetic first season finished up on Friday, with a dozen reveals and dangling plot threads, all primed for a second season. The devilish comedy comes from creator Vivienne Medrano, who first posted the pilot episode on her YouTube channel, and follows Charlie, the princess of Hell, who opens a hotel in hopes that demons will rehabilitate and get to heaven. Oh, and it’s also a musical!

The first season finished with a bang, but it might be some time before we see the second season of Hazbin Hotel. So if you need something to sate your devilish desires for now, Medrano handpicked some of the show’s biggest influences.

Invader Zim

Tiny green alien Zim stands on a ledge. he is triumphant, raising his arm to the sky. Behind him is a red background filled with abstract planets. Image: Netflix

Where to watch: Paramount Plus

Merdano calls this one a “huge one” and it’s not hard to see why: Both shows share a similar kind of feverish sensibility, along with a strong, vibrant color palette. The spindly style of Invader Zim feels clearly at play in Hazbin, with characters like Alastor and Angel Dust feeling like they could fairly comfortably roll between shows.

The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy

 A scowling blonde girl stands next to a oafish boy, who stands next to the Grim Reaper, who’s making a disgusted face Image: Cartoon Network Studios

Where to watch: Max

The other childhood show Merdano cites is about two kids (one a clueless happy-go-lucky oaf, the other a cynical and smart-ass tomboy) who summon the Grim Reaper and beat him at a game of limbo, thus making him their eternal servant best friend. They get wrapped up in the paranormal world of demons, gods, and other supernatural creatures, but it’s all done with a goofy spin. The infernal through-line from Grim Adventures to Hazbin Hotel is pretty obvious.

BoJack Horseman

BoJack looking sad in front of the Griffith Observatory Image: Netflix

Where to watch: Netflix

While there were other shows she watched when she was younger, Medrano says Netflix’s BoJack Horseman — about an anthropomorphic, depressed washed-up sitcom actor (who is also a horse) — is the one that came at the “perfect time” to show her that she could tell a complicated emotional story in adult animation.

“[It’s] actually one of my favorites of all time; phenomenal show,” Medrano says. “It kind of showed me that adult animation can not only just be raunchy comedy, but it can be a story that has intense development of its characters. It can have incredibly flawed characters. It can make you cry. It can really get deep and dark.

“It had just started around the time that I was like, really making the pilot and they kind of made me go, Oh, wow, adult animation is starting to change. And it’s starting to evolve.”

South Park

South Park stick of truth hero

Where to watch: Paramount Plus

Medrano calls South Park a “huge turning point” for her with adult animation — an experience a lot of people had around Comedy Central’s classic. The show tackled topical ideas and events, all with a gleeful, jaded humor that has kept it running since 1997. “From that point on,” Medrano says, “I kind of just kept watching [adult animation].”

Rick and Morty

(L-R) Morty and Rick staring at a holographic projection of the multiverse with Evil Morty in Rick and Morty. Image: Adult Swim

Where to watch: Max

Similar to BoJack, Medrano cites this ever-popular Adult Swim comedy as a proponent of the depth and humor she tries to balance with her work. As anyone who has watched Rick and Morty can attest, there’s more to the show and more to Pickle Rick than the reputation it gives. “Something like Rick and Morty that is still very raunchy, and vulgar, and shocking in a lot of ways — it went this direction of like, Yeah, but let’s go a little deeper, let’s get a little darker. I think that also helped shift the space kind of more towards Oh, that works! That has an audience that did really well.

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