20 Favorite Animated Television Series

I like cartoons. A lot. After watching a new episode of the exquisitely wonderful Adventure Time last week, I got to thinking about some of my other all-time favorite cartoon series. After mulling the list for awhile, I share links to snippets from the 20 cartoon series that most moved me over the years and once upon a time, below. I limited the list to actual cartoons, e.g. shows that were drawn or painted, rather than being created with stop motion, puppets, Claymation, or other 3-D techniques. I also limited the list to shows that ran originally in television series form, rather than things like the classic Looney Toons or Tom & Jerry cartoons that ran as standalone theatrical shorts before they were compiled into blocks of Saturday morning fare. Some of these overstayed their welcomes (I’m looking at you, The Simpsons and South Park), but when they were fresh, they were great. Some of these are undoubtedly guilty pleasures or Generation X nostalgia moments, but I love them nonetheless. What were (or are) your favorites?

8 thoughts on “20 Favorite Animated Television Series

    • I don’t know why I have never been able to get into “The Tick” . . . it certainly seems like the kind of thing I would normally like.

      One of my coworkers also said I needed to watch “Pinky & The Brain,” so I will investigate that.

      In re “Dangermouse” . . . I’ve ever even heard of that one, though I love the “Prisoner” premise. It looks like it came out in the States when I was at Annapolis, so I did not watch much TV then, except for my room-mate and I generally trying to catch “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” when we could . . .


    • I don’t know that WB’s attempted animation renaissance in the 90’s was as good as the classics, but they gave it a good shot, and this is the best TMBG video ever made.


      • That is a great video . . . . I somehow missed that era of WB, which is odd, since that’s when my daughter was at the prime age for watching such fare!

        In re TMBG videos, we all must doff our caps to this one too . . . .


  1. Lots of good ones in there…one of the joys of parenthood is sharing the classics with my boys while grumbling under my breath about “kids today and their lousy cartoons”…although, as you noted (“Adventure Time” and “Regular Show” as prime examples), there are some great ones out today. I’d add “Bob’s Burgers” (after a patchy first season) to my current “gotta-see” animation list (which includes “Adventure Time” and “Regular Show”).

    Current ones for the younger set that I enjoy watching with the lads are “Phineas and Ferb” and “Kick Buttowski.” Both are clever, have witty dialogue and great characters, and enough classic cartoon mayhem that they hold their own with the greats.

    I also have a soft spot for Cartoon Network’s first generation of original programming, especially “Powerpuff Girls” and “Dexter’s Laboratory.” Both fantastic to look at and the dialogue was smart and funny. Same goes for the Spiderman reboot from 2008-2009 on the CW, “The Spectactular Spiderman.” Not normally a superhero cartoon fan (“Super Friends” in the 70s notwithstanding, but we were a desperate, captive audience), but I starting watching it with my oldest and quickly got hooked.

    And I will use your forum for a true, cartoon-loving confession: I don’t get “Speed Racer.” Have tried it many times over the years — just don’t care for it. Cartoon blasphemy, I know, but I won’t deny it any longer!!!


    • For some reason, I seem to have missed that first generation of Cartoon Network programming . . . . I never really had any exposure to any of those shows, so maybe I need to do some DVD research.

      In re “Speed Racer” . . . . we used to race home from elementary school to watch that, at a time when we probably still identified with Spritle and Chim Chim. After “Speed Racer” came “Ultraman,” which we also found equally riveting. Had I first encountered those shows when I was older, though, I might not have connected as strongly with them, since I agree they are a bit hard to watch these days.

      But, that being said, you still must be stoned to death for heresy. Stone him!!! STONE HIM!!!!!


      • AIIIIEE!

        Another bonus with “Kick Buttowksi” — awesome opening credits. Eye-catching design and a catchy, AC/DC-styled theme song — how could I resist?


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