Domestic debut: October 4, 1995

Neon Genesis Evangelion​ is a complicated series. There's the original, 26-episode run, then there's two companion films, and now there's a four-part series reboot that's due to wrap up this year. The original series, which is what we're specifically recommending here, is cut from the fairly simple "giant robot" template: a humble boy stumbles into a role in which the fate of the world rests on his shoulders—through the cockpit of a giant, mysteriously powerful mecha. After finishing about a quarter of the series, however, the show becomes a larger commentary on depression, faith, self-doubt, parent-child relationships, and a slew of complex social interactions. With the series' being so enigmatic—what, with all the ambiguous psuedo-science and religious iconography—it's easy to see why a single run through of the series is going to leave viewers with more questions than answers. Unlike any other series, it's given me plenty to speculate, dissect, and enjoy regardless of its occasionally perplexing nature. —Gregory Babcock