All-Time Greatest Cartoons
Animation is a really strong medium. The majority of individuals have a cartoon that represents their youth. They made Saturday mornings worth getting out of bed for, and they put a spring in your step as you ran home from the school bus stop. Today, I’ll share my thoughts on the Top Ten Greatest Cartoons of All Time.
I looked at four important factors over the course of 112 years to decide what actually qualifies a cartoon for my TOP TEN. First, how can I review a cartoon without commenting on how it looks? Has it stood the test of time, or is it unwatchable due to poor quality? Second, did each episode hold your attention, make you chuckle, or keep you on the edge of your seat? Most importantly, did you feel compelled to see the following episode? Is it iconic, and third, is it recognizability? Has it endured the test of time and stayed in the hearts and minds of the audience? Then there’s the Intro/Theme Song. Of me, the jingle or beginning to a cartoon is what stays with you the most. Is it possible to skip the intro? Will you have that song stuck in your brain for weeks?
10: Kim Possible (2002)
Let’s be honest for a moment: Disney has produced some fantastic animated television throughout the years. After all, they didn’t become the monarch of animation by putting out mediocre work. Kim Possible, on the other hand, for me, outperforms everything else the House of Mouse has produced. Even when the main protagonists were jumping and backflipping their way to victory, the program looked fantastic. The character designs, both of the heroes and each of their colorful cast of rogues, were unique and fun.
Kim and Ron’s rigorous superheroics were juggled with their normal adolescent concerns in each episode, and in classic Disney tradition, the difficulties Kim encountered in her personal life tended to fix themselves while on mission. The program has fantastic action, wonderful comedy, and outstanding voice acting. Of course, the theme tune must be mentioned. One of the most known and memorable theme melodies of all time belongs to Kim Possible.
So many of my friends have that song as their ringtone, and everytime their phones ring, it’s an instant dance party, and rightfully so, since the music is a bop. For those who don’t aware, there’s a full 2:37 version of the theme on YouTube, and it’s exactly as magnificent as you’d expect.
While Kim Possible may not be the most famous cartoon of all time, it has had a beneficial influence on young women, which is why it made this list for me. At the time of Kim Possible’s premiere, the majority of cartoons featured male protagonists, and virtually all of the action-oriented cartoons featured male protagonists. Then there was Kim Possibility. She demonstrated to girls all throughout the world that they, too, can be heroes. Kim was smart, bold, humorous, and, at the end of the day, she was just like any other adolescent. Ms. Possible made errors, but in the end, she always did the right thing. She was a role model for many young girls and boys, and as a result, she is ranked ninth on my list.
9: X-Men: The Animated Series (1992)
Since the launch of X-Men: The Animated Series 28 years ago, the series has seen some incredible highs and some devastating lows. We’ve seen a few great X-Men films and a lot of dreadful cinematic experiences, but none of them come close to X-Men, which was released in 1992. The X-Men didn’t hold back from the outset. The program effectively pulled pages from comic books and animated them in front of our eyes. On our television screens, characters we had read about, grown up with, and knew were moving, talking, and fighting.
While the animation was inconsistent at times (particularly in the early episodes), the voice acting and storytelling more than made up for it. X-Men took on some of Marvel Comics’ most iconic themes and, in some ways, gave them justice better than their film adaptations. Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was ever conceived, the X-Men were able to weave into other Marvel products. When the X-Men crossed over with Peter Parker from Spider-Man: The Animated Series, some of the finest arcs in the show occurred. Not only did the X-Men crossover with other Marvel properties, but it also generated other great X-Men cartoons like X-Men: Evolution and the ridiculously brief Wolverine and the X-Men.
The theme tune from 1992’s X-Men, on the other hand, reigns supreme over the rest of the Marvel animation collection. Every episode began with a rock anthem that made your ten-year-old self excited for the next thirty minutes.
Aside from the excellent music, I applaud the intro for consistently reminding the audience of the cast before each episode. The X-Men had a vast cast of characters, and the opening showed you each member of the team, a quick description of their abilities, and a few of the enemies, which is extremely beneficial to a younger child. X-Men: The Animated Series will always be a part of my boyhood, and it is still the finest cinematic portrayal of the X-Men, earning it the ninth slot on my list.
8: Scooby-Doo: Where Are You! (1969)
Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and, of course, Scooby-Doo, the lovable Great Dane. Many people read Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys, but when I was a tiny six-year-old, my favorite mystery series was Mystery Incorporated, which began in Scooby-Doo: Where Are You? I discovered a handful of the original episodes to stream while writing this essay simply to be sure my nostalgia wasn’t clouding my judgment. Let me tell you something: Scooby-Doo is still fantastic.
The animation is actually rather good for an animated program from the late 1960s. The primary cast stands out against the drab backdrop thanks to their bright costumes. The series’ antagonists are iconic, even though they are evident in their real identities as adults. With their running gags, Shaggy and Scooby generate endless laughter, while the rest of the group serve as fantastic supporting characters. Scooby-Doo is unquestionably iconic.
Since its inception, the program has stayed relevant in some form or another, and while most of them pale in comparison to the original, some of the series and films are excellent. If you haven’t seen Mystery Incorporated yet, you should. It’s a fantastic, contemporary, and slightly darker take on the brand. Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island and the live-action flicks (don’t get get me started on Sarah Michelle Geller as Daphne, she’s a total queen) establish Scooby-Doo as one of the all-time greats of animation.
Scooby-Doo is making a comeback in 2020 with the new SCOOB! Movie, allowing the next generation to fall in love with the cowardly dog as much as we did. Let’s hoping the new version’s theme tune is as memorable as the original.
7: Looney Tunes (1930)
Bugs Bunny, the originator of it all. I don’t believe you can have a list of the best cartoons without include Looney Tunes. Looney Tunes established the standard for making viewers laugh.
Growing up in the 1990s, I was more into the Looney Tunes Space Jam era (which I don’t regret), but I have so many memories of my father sitting me down and watching me the classics. What I admire about Looney Tunes is that when I watched it with my father, not only did I love Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Wile E. Coyote’s wacky comedy, but my father was also truly laughing at the adult jokes. Sure, the slapstick was hilarious, but Looney Tunes was also deceptive; there was always a wink or a nudge to ensure that mom and dad got a good laugh as well.
I couldn’t recall what the intro sounded like at first, which upset me. I knew it was catchy, and I knew it was someplace in my mind, but I couldn’t recall it for the life of me. That said, it’s been etched in my head from the first time I heard it. That repetitive song has wormed its way into my skull to the point that I’m afraid I’m going to turn into a Looney Tune. While some of the gags haven’t aged well, the show’s overall humour and heart continue to shine brightly. While writing this part, I threw in a DVD of Looney Tunes’ greatest hits and was wiping away tears of laughter in seconds. I strongly recommend all of you who haven’t seen the classic shorts to do so, especially now since we could all need a good chuckle.
6: The Simpsons (1989)
You didn’t think we’d be able to compile a Top Ten Cartoons list without include the Granddaddy of them all, did you? I did at first, to be honest.
The Simpsons had a ten-season run that was just fantastic. While in quarantine and in need of a pick-me-up, I recently rewatched the series. I started watching from the beginning and was immediately fascinated. The comedy was clever, and the quips made me laugh out loud even though I was alone in my house. Every character (and there were a lot of them) had a distinct personality that tickled my funny bone in their own manner. Having saying that, I began to lose interest about season thirteen. The jokes were no longer as amusing, and many of the characters had deteriorated from their former status as classics. That’s EIGHTEEN seasons ago, and they’ve come a long way since then.
I debated whether or not to include The Simpsons on this list because of their past golden days. “Is The Simpsons really deserving of a Top Ten spot?” I wondered, since I couldn’t force myself to continue. You’re obviously aware that the answer is yes because you’re reading this. The Simpsons was, after all, good when it was good. Seasons 2 through 10 are among the finest television shows ever made. The animation gets better as the humour gets better. While the events become increasingly bizarre with each season, they remain as realistic as the Simpson family can get.
What I admire about The Simpsons is that they not only have a fantastic theme song, but they also have really catchy tunes throughout many of their episodes. My personal favorites are “Who Needs the Kwik-e-Mart,” “Canyonero,” and “We Put the Spring in Springfield.” To top it off, The Simpsons has the most incredible guest stars of any show. I strongly advise you to play the guest star guessing game while viewing episodes if you haven’t already (Meryl Streep threw me for a loop).
5: Justice League (2001)
I sometimes feel like I’m the only one who recognizes how fantastic this show was. What X-Men: The Animated Series did for Marvel, Justice League does for DC. It gathered some of DC’s most well-known characters together and gave them a new depth. It depicted the formation of the Justice League and united them as the team the world didn’t realize it needed. Each character added their own unique spark to the series, which allowed it to shine in a variety of ways. The show’s appeal stemmed from the fact that it did not cater to its target demographic. Death was at the forefront of several of the episodes of Justice League, which explored some extremely serious subjects. As the show progressed, it tackled increasingly intriguing subjects, such as how a “heroic” squad like the League would be perceived by the little people.
While exposing you to some terrific action, smart dialogue, and some of the best representations of these superheroes we’ve ever seen, Justice League made you think. The theme tune encapsulates the grandeur and action to come, while also displaying the primary actors in a similar way as X-Men. The Justice League featured something for everyone, allowing boys and girls to identify role models in each of the characters while still being amused for twenty-two minutes. If you haven’t watched it yet, whether you’re a DC fan or not, I strongly advise you to do so.
4: Animaniacs (1993)
You’ve found it, those of you who didn’t grow up in the 1990s and can’t seem to escape the sensation that something is missing from your spirit. Animaniacs is pure entertainment. In fact, I think I like it more now as an adult than I did when I was a youngster. As an adult, I’ve seen a lot of off-the-cuff jokes that went right past my mind when I was a youngster. I’m laughing so hard right now that I can’t stop myself.
Yakko, Wacko, and Dot are among of animation’s most charming, humorous, and adorable characters. Their slapstick humor is terrific for youngsters, and their smart (and sometimes filthy) gags are hilarious for adults. The animation is vibrant and well-done. Who could be shocked by the acclaim, after all, it was developed by Steven Spielberg, the guy, the legend. He understands what he’s talking about.
Even before the show begins, the entrance of Animaniacs is amusing, and the theme song is quite popular. The show is truly one-of-a-kind when you add in some amusing and insightful musical performances. The Warner siblings had a fantastic supporting cast, each of them dabbled in their own kind of humor. It’s an understatement to say that this program was fantastic; Animaniacs even had a spin-off series called Pinky and the Brain (one of my personal favorites). With a remake in the works, I’m excited to welcome the Animaniacs back into my life and enjoy a new round of chuckles.
3: Spongebob Squarepants (1999)
The Lord of Memes himself. Without Spongebob Squarepants, no list of cartoons would be complete. Spongebob is a living being. For the past twenty-one years, a program about an anthropomorphic sponge and his companions (which includes a sea dwelling squirrel dressed as a scuba/astronaut crossover) has stayed at the pinnacle of animation quality. Spongebob, like the Animaniacs, is popular because of its adult-friendly comedy. Spongebob’s antics may make the ten-year-old in you chuckle, but his naive remarks and clever asides will make any unwary adult laugh out loud. That, in my opinion, is the secret to a great animated show. It’s a victory if a cartoon can please both the youngster to whom it’s designed and the parents who are obliged to watch it. Spongebob Squarepants shines in this area.
The tiny yellow sponge is at the top of the list of most recognizable cartoon characters, thanks to both the brilliance of his show and the very memorable theme tune. I still impulsively yell back, “Aye, aye, Captain!” whenever someone asks, “Are ya ready?” If they don’t answer, “I can’t hear you!” then I know they aren’t my buddy.
2: Batman: The Animated Series
Masterpiece. I honestly believe I could finish my section on this show with just that word. Batman: The Animated Series is the pinnacle of animated television. Not only is it the pinnacle of animation, but it’s also the pinnacle of television. The animation was amazing, the soundtrack was wonderful, and the voice actors were incredible. When I think of Bats or the Joker, I still hear Tim Conroy and Mark Hamill’s voices. Batman: The Animated Series is a powerhouse, with four well-deserved Emmys under its belt.
What sets this show unique from the other comic book-based shows on this list, in my opinion, is that it improved the mythology. Mr. Freeze, for example, went from a joke to one of Batman’s most renowned rogues gallery. Harley Quinn was CREATED by it. Batman: The Animated Series has permanently changed the way we think about Batman and all that comes with him.
As an adult, I appreciate it better, but that’s not to say I wasn’t enamored with it as a youngster. I aspired to be Batman. Every episode left me wanting to learn more about him, his rogues, and Gotham. Episodes like “Mad Love” and “Heart of Ice” will live on in my mind and the minds of many others as examples of excellent television. There is only one animated series that comes close to beating Batman in my opinion, and it is by the slightest of margins.
1: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Water, earth, fire, and air, those four words clung to me a long time ago and anchored me through the most thrilling television experience I’d ever had. Avatar: The Last Airbender is without a doubt one of the finest films ever made. It’s full of passion, comedy, and action, and it’s delivered by a fantastic, three-dimensional ensemble of people. You’ll recall that I left off all of Anime from my list since I believed the genre needed to be on its own. Avatar was created in the United States and is largely recognized as a cartoon rather than an anime.
What a cartoon that is, too. Avatar is a trial by fire; it is continuously putting its protagonists through trials and tribulations in which they have every right to fail, yet they don’t. Team Avatar will not give up. Despite their flaws, they persist on. They are not deterred by the fact that they are lost, insecure, or blind. Avatar: The Last Airbender is amazing in my opinion. Every episode piques your interest and leaves you wanting more. Avatar doesn’t shy away from the more difficult issues that many cartoons of the time and now do. It doesn’t treat its target audience like a bunch of naive kids. Avatar gives you a tale, and at the conclusion of each chapter, you’ll be hungry for more. Many cartoon characters remain the same in order to maintain a sense of continuity for a younger audience, however
Characters in Avatar have the opportunity to develop. After each episode, Aang and his buddies grow and develop. While the essential elements of their personalities stay the same, they grow as persons throughout the episode. I could go on and on about Avatar’s brilliance, but I’ll just say this: if you haven’t watched it, I strongly advise you to do so before seeing anything else on this list. Because of the personalities and stories, you will grow as a person as a result of viewing it.