The Pokémon TV series is available for streaming on Netflix, Hulu, the official Pokémon website, and a half-dozen other places.
I’m a long-time fan of the Pokémon franchise as an idea. It’s altogether wholesome and bright – hokey to a fault – and it’s available across a billion different formats. It’s present across video games, card games, oodles of merchandise, and one of the longest-running animated series still being produced. There’s been an episode dang near every week for the last twenty-three years, can you believe it.
But one major problem with long-running series: that they have a nasty tendency to get either long-winded, repetitive, or both. Especially with a series as brand-conscious as Pokémon, there’s pressure to air something new every week just for visibility’s sake. This paradoxically traps the series inside its own formula at times where it ought to have space to explore. Template-breaking writing is a secondary investment compared to keeping the production’s figurative head above water, after all.
So just as the show turned old enough to drive, it went and picked up one of its very best habits: going back to the drawing board.