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My Favorite Animated TV Shows

  • Apr 25, 2010
Well, here's my list of favorite animated television series. Most of these are kid-friendly, but not all of them, so hopefully you'll be smart enough to know which of these are only appropriate for adults. Oh, and if you're waiting for Spongebob, you'll want to look elsewhere.
1
Gargoyles Logo
Not only is it my favorite animated series, it's also one of my favorite television series regardless of medium or genre. Gargoyles is quite simply the best thing that Disney has put on TV, period!
2
The Simpsons
Funny, satirical, and willing to poke fun at everyone, The Simpsons won their way into my heart with their subversive story-lines and silliness. In fact, sometimes I wish I was part of their family more than my own. LOL!
3
Batman: The Animated Series
Outside of Nolan's Batman films, this animated series is probably the most faithful interpretation of the legendary comic book character and his world. Dark, edgy, and full of great action, Batman: The Animated Series is a classic.
4
South Park
It's an irreverent, potty-mouthed, social satire of the most immature kind... who doesn't love South Park? 'Nuff said.
5
X-Men (TV show)
As far as animation goes, X-Men is perhaps the most visually perfect attempt to adapt comics to the small screen. The characters are as true to their origins as in the comics, even if the stories aren't as well-written.
6
Spider-Man: The Animated Series
While it wasn't as expertly animated as some of the other series based on comics, Spider-Man: The Animated Series stood out for its complex stories and great sense of excitement. Cool music too.
7
Daria
One of the more sophisticated shows that MTV has put out, Daria was also one of the few animated series that felt truly believable to me during my teen angst phase. I wish it would get a proper DVD release...
8
Rugrats
Man, this one started off great, but went downhill in the late '90s. I miss the old adventures of the Rugrats gang before they introduced Dil and the other new kids. Probably one of the most imaginative and clever children's cartoons out there.
9
Rocko's Modern Life
Any show that features a talking wallaby named Rocko and his pet dog Spunky and featured an opening theme song performed by The B-52's is automatically the bomb! One of my favorite of the irreverent and slightly controversial early Nickelodeon shows.
10
King of the Hill
One part social satire, one part family comedy, and all funny. People still argue about whether Mike Judge's sitcoms were making fun of redneck and white trash culture or giving them a loving jab, but either way he managed to tell some hilariously poignant stories with a cast of great characters.
11
The Flintstones
Basically, what we have here is a classic animated series that took the premise and the characters of The Honeymooners and set them up in prehistoric days. Historically anachronistic and often simplistic, but at the same time lovable and timeless. I wish I could have a pet dinosaur named Dino.
12
Doug
This was a great Nickelodeon show and I always used to watch it after coming home from school, along with Rugrats, but then in the late '90s it ended up being bought out by Disney and it went downhill after that. The early episodes are still classic though!
13
Garfield and Friends
Pure classic cartoonage. I can't tell you how many Saturday mornings were spent watching back-to-back episodes of Garfield and Friends. Ah, good times!
14
The Pirates of Dark Water
A cult classic animated series for sure. I remember thinking this was the greatest when I was between the ages of 6-10... until Gargoyles blew it out of the water (no pun intended). But all in all, still one of the best and most underrated animated kid shows I've ever seen.
15
Ren And Stimpy
The most deliberately anarchic and edgy cartoon on Nickelodeon, Ren & Stimpy pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable television and did so with glee. Gotta love 'em!
16
Real Ghostbusters
I actually dug the show more than the movies, but that's beside the point. I loved the mix of supernatural adventure with goofy comedy. Was I the only one who was thoroughly confused that Lorenzo Music, the guy who voiced Garfield, provided a voice in this too?
17
Darkwing Duck
So silly and stupid, yet it was also one of the first legitimate superhero spoofs that was entertaining and actually funny. Plus, I like the color purple.
18
Beavis and Butt-head
Foul-mouthed, immature, and possibly responsible for the decline of Western Civilization in the '90s. Also, one of the most stupidly funny duos ever put together on screen... Bunghole!
19
James Bond Jr.
It's been so long since I saw this that I don't remember much about it, except that I was a big collector of the comics and the action figures. Probably it wouldn't hold up well now, but back then it was pure action TV for the munchkins!
20
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
The animation wasn't bad and the series had a great voice cast and I appreciate the message about saving the environment, but damn, this show was obnoxiously preachy. Plus, what kind of a lame hero is Captain Planet anyway?! He looks like a toothpaste company mascot with his blue skin and green hair.

What did you think of this list?

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November 09, 2011
Fascinating list. Anyone who lists South Park makes me happy.
 
February 19, 2011
Great list! I'm surprised not to see American Dad on here. King of the Hill animation was done by one of Neal Adams' sons, which I learned last year at a comics convention. That panel was called the Adams' Family, with Neal and his kids. I heard there's a new animated Spider-man and some new sci-fi cartoons on The Cartoon Network. My animation fixes nowadays are in the theater with Pixar and Dreamworks stuff. Still, love the occasional Simpsons. I met Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart. Great actress.
 
November 17, 2010
Daria! I haven't thought about that show in ages! Great list and walk down memory lane, thanks Orlok :)
November 17, 2010
Yeah, I love "Daria". I may need to pick up the recent DVD box set of the whole series at some point.
November 17, 2010
It's on DVD? Oh my GOODness...I might have to look that up :)
November 17, 2010
Right here. It's kind of pricey, but definitely worth it based on what the reviews say.
 
April 29, 2010
I think Family Guy is responsible for Benji making a remark once about "Hot Asian chicks" when he was 7--and he didn't even like girls. These things have power.
April 29, 2010
I hate that show. Only the dog is cool. And  I enjoy irreverent and satirical humor, but a lot of the time people don't recognize it for what it is, especially children and conservatives.
April 29, 2010
if it were up to me I certainly wouldn't let the kids watch it--or The Simpsons either. Kris always complains that Benji gets an attitude when he watches too much TV> I don't think it's so much the quanity as it is the type of shows he's watching.
April 29, 2010
"The Simpsons" isn't too bad, but a lot of these shows are definitely not for kids. I think parents mistakingly assume that if it's animated then it's kid friendly. Obviously, that's never been true. Even Betty Boop was intended for adults. Some of her old cartoons were really risque.
April 29, 2010
If you're talking about a kid picking up attitude, then believe me The Simpsons is bad. Most of those real old time cartoons were risque and not meant at all for kids.
April 29, 2010
Yeah, a lot of them were pretty racist and politically incorrect, although in some cases that only has made them more popular today.
April 29, 2010
Very sexual too. But I miss the ones that were populated by famous people of the day--caricatures of actors etc.
April 29, 2010
Have you seen the one of Groucho Marx and Bugs Bunny at the movies? I love that one.
April 29, 2010
Not that I recall but it sounds great.
 
April 26, 2010
Awesome list, Sean! The only one I was unfamiliar with was "James Bond Jr." I loved all your selections, though!
April 26, 2010
Thanks. "James Bond Jr." was very short-lived and didn't do that well as far as ratings go, but it's developed something of a cult following since. I still have a bunch of the action figures and a few of the comics somewhere. LOL!
April 27, 2010
(laughs) Maybe I will check it out someday since it was the only one I hadn't seen on your list. :)
April 27, 2010
I don't know if it will ever get released on DVD though. Your best bet to see it now would be to track down the old VHS copies from the early '90s and that wouldn't be easy either. It's too bad that so much of the crap on TV these days gets an immediate DVD release and then there are these wonderful shows that never do.
April 28, 2010
You never know...they have been releasing a lot of retro cartoons on DVDs these days. Maybe this one will have its moment again in the future. :)
April 28, 2010
It would be nice to see how well it holds up almost twenty years later.
 
April 26, 2010
great list but I never got into #'s 19 and 20 and I haven't even heard of #7. Where's Marine Boy, The Centurions and Thundarr the Barbarian? ;-) (oops, I am showing that I am older than you LOL)
April 26, 2010
"The Centurions" I vaguely remember, but mainly because I had the lunchbox and a ton of toys. "Thundarr" I know by reputation and from hearing about it. "Marine Boy" must be before my time, 'cause that one's not ringing a bell at all.
 
April 25, 2010
I loved the Nicktoons of the 1990's.  I was especially fond of Rugrats and Doug.  Unfortunately I never really got to watch The Pirates of Dark Water, but what I did see I did like.  I wasn't much of a fan of Beavis and Butthead or Ren and Stimpy (I don't recall ever actually watching Beavis and Butthead, now that I think about it but I remember seeing something... probably that movie).  Strangely enough I could stand Nickelodean, but the only show I could EVER stand that came on MTV was Daria.  Like many shows done by Viacom... it didn't really have much of a run. 

This list brings back a lot of memories.  My brother and I used to get up early right before school to catch Ghostbusters.  It used to come on every morning.  Batman The Animated Series... probably still my favorite animated show ever.  And I love The classic episodes of The Simpsons but I'm not very fond of the new stuff.

What an amusing list.
April 25, 2010
Did you ever see the series "Aeon Flux"? That was quite good I'm told. I only saw a few episodes and couldn't follow it because I wasn't a regular viewer, but it was good unlike the film.
April 25, 2010
I only saw a couple of episodes, but I liked it from what I saw.  I wasn't a regular viewer either, I kept missing it.  I tried to watch the movie.  Honest-to-God, I tried.  But it wasn't happening.
April 25, 2010
Most definitely not. Charlize Theron's worst movie ever!
 
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