Baymax!, a spin-off of the Academy Award-winning 2014 film Big Hero 6, premiered its six-episode first season on June 29th. The show features its titular character, the loveable nurse robot Baymax, as he helps people around the fictional city of San Fransokyo.
The show keeps the same wholesome vibe as the original film while showcasing its scene-stealing protagonist and using its platform to deal with serious issues. Like Baymax!, other shows also used their setup to explore human-robot relations while exploring themes of inclusivity and diversity and remaining charming and entertaining enough for children and adults to enjoy.
The Jetsons follows a family living in a comedic version of the future. They reside in Orbit City, where patriarch George Jetson works for one hour a day, two days a week. The series followed the family’s adventures, contrasting them with the exaggeratedly advanced world around them.
Similarly, Baymax! also takes place in a fictionalized version of the future. Both shows include robotic assistants — The Jetsons had their loyal robot maid, Rosie, while Baymax! has the titular character — and features stories where these loveable machines bonded with the humans around them, greatly improving their lives.
A 1963 anime and adaptation of the Tetsujin-28-go manga, Gigantor takes place in the year 2000. It follows Jimmy Sparks, a twelve-year-old boy who uses a remote control to take charge of Gigantor, a massive flying robot. Created as a weapon, Jimmy uses Gigantor to protect and keep the peace.
Baymax is one of the best robots in film history, and Gigantor is a worthy equivalent for television. Both robots protect humans in need, helping them and developing some degree of affection towards them. The robots are also prized possessions, making them targets for other ambitious characters that seek to use them for nefarious means.
Astro Boy is one of pop culture’s most beloved and recognizable figures and one of the best half-human characters in anime. He starred in three television series based on the original manga of the same name. Astro is a robot built in the image of his creator’s dead son, who uses his robotic powers to solve problems and help others.
Although Astro’s adventures are more exciting and dangerous than Baymax’s, both robots have a deep commitment to helping others. They also have considerable love for humanity, coming from the love they received from their respective creators. Astro and Baymax are heroic robots who stay good despite the many hardships they face.
The long-running children’s show Arthur debuted in 1996 and went on for 25 seasons, producing 253 episodes. The show focused on Arthur, an anthropomorphic aardvark living in Elwood City, and his interactions and adventures with his friends and family.
Arthur used its platform to deal with numerous serious issues, to the point where adults loved the show despite it being aimed at kids. Baymax! also used its storylines to showcase real-life situations in the hopes of helping children become more accepting, especially in a country as diverse and fast-changing as the United States.
Years before Lightyear was even a glimmer in Pixar’s eye, the Disney Channel expanded on the astronaut’s mythos with Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command. The show followed the titular character who, along with his friends and partners at Star Command, defended the Galactic Alliance from numerous threats, particularly the evil Emperor Zurg.
Buzz Lightyear Of Star Command was much more interested in presenting Buzz’s exciting adventures and encounters with other alien races. However, the futuristic setup is similar to Baymax! and its advanced city of San Fransokyo.
The Transformers franchise includes commercially-successful movies, toys, games, and several popular TV shows. Transformers: Animated takes place in a separate continuity from previous shows but uses the same plot by featuring the conflict between the Autobots and Decepticons.
The entire Transformers franchise rests on the idea that robots can be heroic protectors of humanity, tirelessly working on helping them against threats. Similarly, Baymax! operates under the idea that robots can aid humanity not only as protectors against world-ending catastrophes, but as everyday helpers. Indeed, Baymax can make a person’s life better by doing something as simple as helping them wait tables at a restaurant.
One of Nickelodeon’s underrated gems, My Life as a Teenage Robot follows XJ-9, AKA Jenny, an adolescent female robot created to protect Earth. However, she must juggle her duties with her teenage impulses while trying to live a normal life alongside other teens.
MLAATR features a robot with healthy and complex relationships with other humans, in stark contrast to other shows that feature robots as foreign or weapons. Like Baymax!, MLAATR showcased the importance of the bond between the robot and their human companions while still showing how helpful Jenny could be in life-threatening situations.
Universally acclaimed, Adventure Time features a cast of likable characters and tells the story of Finn, a human boy, and his adoptive brother Jake, a shapeshifting dog. The show features numerous other beloved characters, including Princess Bubblegum, the Ice King, and Marceline.
Adventure Time championed LGBTQ+ representation through Bubblegun and Marceline and dealt numerous times with issues of gender fluidity. Baymax! also includes LGBTQ+ representation, confirming that animated shows are more willing to explore these issues and present them thoughtfully and respectfully.
A reboot of the Voltron franchise, Voltron: Legendary Defender takes place in a futuristic universe. The show follows the Paladins of Voltron, who bond together to form the giant robot Voltron and protect the universe from the evil Galra Empire. It went on for eight seasons and spanned 78 episodes.
Voltron: Legendary Defender features the classic idea of a giant robot serving as humanity’s mighty protector. The show is much more action-oriented than Baymax!, but both explore similar themes and showcase the good that one robot can do, especially with the help of worthy and trusting humans.
Steven Universe tells the story of the titular character, a young half-Gem boy who lives with the Crystal Gems and helps them protect humanity from monsters and other threats. The series ran for five seasons and included a TV film and a limited series that served as an epilogue.
Unlike other animated shows, Steven Universe dealt with serious issues from the start. It featured one of the best and most positive representations of LGBTQ+ couples in animation and addressed several mental health concerns in an easy-to-understand and entertaining way. Baymax! follows suit, continuing animation’s commitment to creating new generations that are more open-minded and accepting.
NEXT: 10 Funniest Running Gags In Steven Universe, Ranked