Adult Swim is Cartoon Network’s nightly programming block. Unlike the usual code of ethics and target demographic of its parent network, Adult Swim takes full advantage of its post-watershed programming slot, specializing in boundary-pushing shows that have gained cult followings.
Launched in 2001 to compete with “adult cartoons” such as The Simpsons, Adult Swim has become known for its original programming, as well as for its syndicated shows like Family Guy and American Dad! from the Fox Network.
Although Cartoon Network is primarily accessible via cable, it has, like many other television networks, begun to stream much of its content online – including Adult Swim. Here’s a guide for cord-cutters who wish to indulge in Adult Swim’s zany, transgressive comedy shows online.
Which shows are on Adult Swim?
Below is a list of Adult Swim’s most popular original programming.
- Rick and Morty (2013–present): the much-beloved science-themed animated series about a highly intelligent scientist and his very unscientific grandson.
- The Eric Andre Show (2012–present): a deeply bizarre chat show hosted by the apparently deranged Eric Andre whose interview technique involves emotional torture.
- Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (2007–2017): unsettling anti-comedy sketch show that satirizes public access TV.
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force (2000–2015): animated sitcom that follows the adventures of a group of anthropomorphic fast food orders
How to watch Adult Swim online live
Adult Swim is available to live stream on its official homepage. Programming is on air from 8 pm till 6 am, Eastern Time and Pacific Time. As well as this, Adult Swim also has plenty of its older shows available to stream in the US.
The block is also available on internet-based cable packages such as Sling TV. Subscriptions to such services are usually expensive, ranging between US$ 40–50 (although Sling starts at US$ 25), but they include a great number of other channels in your subscription.
Recently, All 4 obtained the rights to Adult Swim, making the sub-networks original shows available to view in the UK for the first time. Streaming is free on both the All 4 and the Adult Swim websites.
Unfortunately, though, some episodes and shows are unavailable for VOD streaming on either the Adult Swim website or All 4, which is because some other services, such as Hulu and Netflix, have bought the rights to the shows.
Copyright stipulations also prohibit viewers from outside the US and the UK from viewing Adult Swim. This can be a pain for a lot of viewers, especially US or UK residents travelling abroad and wanting to keep up with their favourite Adult Swim shows.
Toonami was originally launched as part of Cartoon Network’s evening programming, and was designed to appeal to teenagers. While there have been some attempts at original programming on this block, Toonami has historically shown mostly American and Japanese animated action series.
Among the shows broadcast throughout the block’s history are:
- Dragon Ball Z
- Ben 10
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Gundam Wing
- Samurai Jack
- Teen Titans
Cartoon Network has been playing around with Toonami since its launch in 1997 before eventually dropping it in 2008. In 2012, Adult Swim brought Toonami back as an April Fool’s prank before conceding to the overwhelmingly positive responses it received and reinstating it as part of the nightly slot.
Now, Toonami is available on Saturday nights from 9 pm until 4 am – seven solid hours of your favourite action anime. In the same way as Adult Swim, it is available to live stream anywhere in the world during broadcasting hours and is accessible this way via the Adult Swim website.
As with its parent block, Toonami shows are not available on VOD outside of the United States. Unlike Adult Swim, though, Toonami is not available to view in the UK by any means, unless you have Sky TV. (Cord-cutters in the US are able to view Toonami in the same way as Cartoon Network and Adult Swim: via over-the-top (OTT) internet TV packages such as Sling TV.)
Of course, there are certain ways of streaming Toonami and Adult Swim through, shall we say, non-official means, and for free. We’d advise caution against resorting to these methods, however, as not only are they illegal, but they are also gateways to malware.
Furthermore, if you’re in a territory where copyright violation is routinely penalised, you can get into some serious trouble for sourcing these non-official methods.
VPN for Adult Swim
As we mentioned, the Adult Swim VOD section is geo-restricted to the US. Furthermore, if you’re trying to view the Adult Swim live stream from a less permissive territory, you may find you can’t even access that.
The best solution to both of these problems is to use a virtual private network (VPN). This disguises your real location by sending your data requests through a remote server, which then tricks the web host into thinking you’re in a different location altogether.
This data transaction happens before your data even reaches your IP, so if you’re in a territory that prohibits the streaming of American media, there is a strong chance you will be able to bypass these firewalls altogether.
Our main recommendation is ExpressVPN, which arguably provides the best VPN service on the market today. Nevertheless, we also recommend reading a few reviews before you select a VPN for Adult Swim.
(As a side note, it’s worth noting that you should never be tempted by a free VPN provider. VPN services are expensive to run, and so a free provider will likely use subpar servers or provide undesirable encryption or connection speeds.)