The 75 Best Animated TV Shows Of All Time (2024)

Table of Contents
75. The Jetsons 74. Aqua Teen Hunger Force 73. Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends 72. What If...? 71. The Proud Family CINEMABLEND NEWSLETTER 70. Beavis and Butt-Head 69. Schoolhouse Rock! 68. Static Shock 67. Dexter's Laboratory 66. Kim Possible 65. Muppet Babies (1984) 64. Family Guy 63. Robot Chicken 62. The Flintstones 61. Freakazoid! 60. Chip 'n' Dale: Rescue Rangers 59. Teen Titans 58. Gargoyles 57. DuckTales 56. Hey Arnold! 55. The Real Ghostbusters 54. Teen Titans Go 53. The Powerpuff Girls 52. Tiny Toon Adventures 51. Courage the Cowardly Dog 50. Adventure Time 49. Big Mouth 48. Arthur 47. Pokémon 46. Spider-Man 45. Batman: The Brave and the Bold 44. Doug 43. Pinky and the Brain 42. X-Men: The Animated Series 41. Infinity Train 40. Futurama 39. Mickey Mouse (Classic Disney Shorts) 38. Dragon Ball Z 37. Rocko's Modern Life 36. Animaniacs 35. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! 34. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 33. Archer 32. Batman Beyond 31. Star Wars: The Clone Wars 30. Bob's Burgers 29. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) 28. SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-Present) 27. Rugrats (1991) 26. Harley Quinn 25. Gravity Falls 24. The Boondocks 23. Justice League 22. Star Trek: Lower Decks 21. Sailor Moon 20. One Piece 19. The Critic 18. Daria 17. Over The Garden Wall 16. King of the Hill 15. Mickey Mouse (2013 shorts) 14. The Legend Of Korra 13. South Park 12. Star Wars Rebels 11. Invincible 10. Justice League Unlimited 9. Phineas and Ferb 8. Looney Tunes 7. Rick and Morty 6. Attack On Titan 5. Bluey 4. The Simpsons 3. Avatar: The Last Airbender 2. BoJack Horseman 1. Batman: The Animated Series FAQs References
The 75 Best Animated TV Shows Of All Time (1)

Animation is one of the earlier moving art forms, and has provided countless artists the means to bring their stories to life, be it through the black-and-white hues of Bosco the Talk-Ink Kid or the multicolored bliss of Fantasia. Toons can be as simple as the Oscar-winning “The Dot and the Line” from legends Chuck Jones and Maurice Noble, or they can be as endlessly complex as Wallace and Gromit’s stop-motion universe. Television has provided audiences with 80 years of memorable projects –- including some forgotten Saturday morning gems — with new shows debuting at a rapid pace, and we’re here to celebrate the very best animated series of all time.

From classic characters like Mickey Mouse and Fred Flintstone to modern favorites like Monkey D. Luffy and the Belcher family, CinemaBlend’s staff is saluting them all. So join us in paying tribute to the funniest, coolest, smartest, and most moving animated series that have graced our TV screens over the decades.

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75. The Jetsons

Despite being the first show ABC ever broadcast in color, The Jetsons was canceled after a single season and only 24 total episodes. It just couldn’t find the right audience, at least until the reruns started airing on Saturday mornings and an entire generation of kids fell in love with the futuristic setting and zany plotlines. George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, Astro and Rosey eventually became so popular in syndication that more than 20 years after its cancellation, a further fifty-one episodes were produced, as well as a movie. It’s an unconventional success story but perhaps one fitting for a show filled with futuristic tech that hilariously never works as intended.

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74. Aqua Teen Hunger Force

When Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block premiered in September 2001, Aqua Teen Hunger Force was one of its surreal cornerstones, and it’s pretty much stayed that way ever since. The long-running series follows three anthropomorphic fast food items – Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad – who get into all kinds of trouble with their neighbor(s), locals, and interdimensional beings. ATHF helped usher in a new era for adult animation at the turn of the century, and it's remained just as hilarious and timeless during that historic run. But for as wild and nonsensical as it gets, there’s a certain charm that makes it not just one of the funniest shows on Adult Swim, but in all of TV animation.

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73. Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends

Though not lauded quite as high as animation giants such as Walt Disney or Hanna-Barbera, Jay Ward delivered many of the medium’s most lasting creations, with The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle at the center of his zany, intelligent, and meta-before-meta-was-cool storytelling skills. The titular moose and squirrel’s serialized rivalry with the devious Boris and Natasha can never be forgotten, while the history-adoring side characters Sherman and his pup Mr. Peabody became a pop culture magnet unto themselves over the years. Now if only we could get a Fractured Fairy Tales spinoff for the 21st century…

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72. What If...?

Upon its launch, part of the reason why a Disney+ subscription was so appealing involved the streaming service's new content directly connected to major IPs like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And while we’ve been treated to a number of live-action shows, the studio also took a major risk with the multiversal animated series What If…? The comic book anthology series offers alternate realities to the MCU characters and events we know and love, and shows how the entire franchise could be radically altered if just one character's arc differed. Additionally, the voice cast of What…If? features many Marvel favorites reprising their roles to tell these ambitious stories that could never be produced in live-action.

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71. The Proud Family

The Proud Family was all about Penny Proud and her wild, yet relatable, journey through high school. While the premise was simple, this show’s fabulous crew of characters is what made it iconic, and its depiction of the day-to-day lives of an African American family is what made it groundbreaking. From our lead Penny to her father Oscar, her besties Dijonay, Zoey, LaCienega and Sticky Webb — and of course Sugar Mama — this family is the best, and we’ll adore them forever.


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70. Beavis and Butt-Head

Besides The Simpsons, arguably no animated series from the 1990s sparked a bigger array of multi-generational reactions around the country than Beavis and Butthead. As soon as it premiered on MTV in March 1993, Mike Judge’s groundbreaking, edgy, and unsavory cartoon became a national sensation while following two objectively moronic teenagers barely navigating school, life, nachos, and a carousel of music video commentary. Video games, movies, tons of merchandising (both official and bootleg) flooded the market in the years that followed, and there's a reason revivals keep happening: it's a great show, dammit. Mm-heh-heh.

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69. Schoolhouse Rock!

Schoolhouse Rock! is an animated gem that has been passed down from generation to generation for all the right reasons. Originally debuting on TV back in 1973, the show's approach to combining educational programming with toon-filled songs cemented it as a true classic with more lasting value than most. From grammar-focused tunes like “Conjunction Junction" to the iconic intro-to-governmental-processes track “I’m Just a Bill” to even its Preamble song, Schoolhouse Rock! has had a lasting cultural impact, influencing many other shows, and even inspiring some spoofs along the way to its permanent place within pop culture.

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68. Static Shock

The DC Animated Universe got a true shock to its system when Denys Cowan's Static Shock zapped onto TV screens in the early 2000s as a Saturday morning offering on Kids’ WB. Viewers were treated to some truly exciting, funny and heartfelt episodes that tracked the heroic exploits of teenager Virgil Hawkins in Dakota City. Thanks to late series creator Dwayne McDuffie and his talented team, Static Shock remains a dynamic piece of comic book fun, serving up some serious action mixed in with thoughtful social commentary on occasion. In short, this is a super-powered gem that’s rightfully still revered to this day.

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67. Dexter's Laboratory

What child hasn't wished they had a secret location in their house that provided the means to do the most fantastic things their heart desires? Dexter’s Laboratory helped many youngins live vicariously through its titular brainiac, and the general hilarity of his meddling sister Dee Dee derailing it all helped make this one a definitive Cartoon Network classic. From the brain of the similarly brainy Genndy Tartakovsky, Dexter also boasted other animated shorts like Dial M For Monkey and The Justice Friends, which were all equally as enjoyable. To this day, I bet there are many who owe their ability to say “cheese omelet” in French to this wonderful series.

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66. Kim Possible

“Call me, beep me, if you want to reach me,” because it’s time to talk about Kim Possible. Mixing a high-stakes spy drama with high school shenanigans appropriate for Disney Channel-aged audiences, this show is an action-packed good time. Largely centered on Kim’s missions to take down Dr. Drakken and Shego with the help (or more like attempted help) of her bestie Ron Stoppable and his naked molerat Rufus, Kim Possible defined many childhoods and taught generations of kids, and specifically girls, that anything is possible with the right mindset and gadgets.

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65. Muppet Babies (1984)

How amazing are Jim Henson’s Muppets? The list goes on, but one key factor would be that Kermit and the gang brought to life what remains one of pop culture’s only genuinely great examples of “Your favorite characters, but they’re babies.” Trading TV studios and New York City exteriors for a Nanny-run nursery where the power of make-believe knows no bounds, Muppet Babies showed viewers of all ages that imagination is powered best when one is surrounded by friends to the end. Unfortunately for avid fans, the show’s abundant use of licensed TV, film, and music clips will likely keep it from ever hitting home media.

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64. Family Guy

For one reason or 69 others — get it, Peter? — certain TV shows are able to get away with wildly edgy content without getting “canceled," either literally or figuratively. Granted, Seth MacFarlane's long-running fave Family Guy actually did actually get canceled by Fox back in 2002, but the '80s-adoring comedy was able to return from its shallow grave just two years later due to extraordinary DVD sales, a hit syndicated run, and the embrace of Adult Swim. and high ratings from reruns in syndication. Ever since that 2004 revival, viewers have followed the antics of Peter, Lois, Chris, Meg, Stewie and Brian along with all the ridiculous and often offensive cutaway flashbacks that fill their lives.

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63. Robot Chicken

Watching Robot Chicken calls to mind many chldhood memories of inventing scenarios with action figures modeled after classic movie and TV characters. That's essentially what Seth Green and Matthew Senreich’s stop-motion animated Adult Swim hit is: people playing with their toys. But with a bigger budget and more talented voice actors than any kids I ever played with. With boundary-pushing and insightful humor in the mix, the Emmy-winning Robot Chicken is sketch comedy at its most refreshingly unique, rebelliously raw, and deliciously nostalgic, and is not bogged down by the limitations that might come with a live-action production.

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62. The Flintstones

For many people, The Flintstones is one of the first cartoons we remember watching on TV. This classic Hanna-Barbera series about a lovable caveman and his family navigating a prehistoric world field with outrageous stone-age variations of modern-day appliances and tools, is just as funny and attention-grabbing as it was upon its release more than 60 years ago, which is really saying something about its quality. On top of such indelible characters like Fred Flinstone, Barney Rubble, and the Great Gazoo, the show also has one of the most iconic opening themes of all time.

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61. Freakazoid!

Though not the most marquee-ready superhero, Freakazoid!’s titular protagonist is the creation of Batman: The Animated Series legends Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, with Steven Spielberg and Tiny Toons vet Paul Ruegger leading the charge. So yeah, it’s a perfectly bonkers mix of comic book mythos mixed with slapstick and fourth-wall-breaking comedy, complete with a mini-universe of B-tier heroes and villains such as Candle Jack (but don’t say his name). Lasting two seasons from 1995-1997, Freakazoid! ss a joy for viewers of all ages, anchored by the stellar voice work of stars Paul Rugg and Ed Asner.

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60. Chip 'n' Dale: Rescue Rangers

Long before the series was reimagined as a hilarious Disney+ movie starring John Mulaney and Andy Sandberg, Chip 'n' Dale: Rescue Rangers started out as a tremendous and timeless action-adventure toon about a pair of chipmunks fronting a crew of anthropomorphic animals. Thanks in part to that earworm theme, it never gets old watching Chip, Dale, Gadget Hackwrench, Monterey Jack, and Zipper solve all manner of crimes (both big and small, really small) and save the day before the end of each episode, and the show can still hold the attention of our kids all these years later.

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59. Teen Titans

Some viewers probably weren’t sure what to make of Teen Titans upon its debut, but the series eventually became a hit – and for good reason. The quirky superhero romp is the definition of cartoon greatness, as it skillfully blends action and comedy, ultimately using both to great effect. Yet, most importantly, so much heart is on display amidst the explosions and sheer wackiness as well. Because of that, Robin, Cyborg, Starfire, Beast Boy and Raven remain not only one of DC’s best TV super teams, but also one of its greatest familial units. And, yes, that theme song still slaps.

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58. Gargoyles

The oft-underrated Saturday morning toon Gargoyles is one of those shows that manages to deliver more than the kind of action you’d expect from Disney's weekly animated fare. It’s a dark and complex drama series with dynamic characters, beautiful animation and stories that sometimes border on Greek tragedy. Many viewers understandably still have such reverence for the tales that EP Greg Weisman and his team told about the mighty Goliath and his clan of night guardians. It’s ironic that a group of beings that turn cold as stone are among some of the warmest heroes to ever grace a TV screen.

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57. DuckTales

Having quite possibly the catchiest theme song on this list that's chock-full of them is probably enough reason to include DuckTales on this list, but of course, the show has so much more going for it. Scrooge McDuck and his nephews, previously only bit players in Disney cartoons, earned the star spotlight for a show that was about as close to an action/adventure cartoon as Disney had delivered at the time, making it something fresh new, and exciting. But it was still “Disney” and thus more accessible to younger viewers than other ‘80s cartoons looking to sell action figures, drawing from Carl Banks' timeless comic run.

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56. Hey Arnold!

Amidst all of Nickelodeon's best chracters, perhaps no greater role model for younger viewers exists than the football-headed protagonist of Hey Arnold! In fact, Craig Bartlett’s series offered something very few animated programs have (then or since): a diverse ensemble whom kids could potentially relate to or aspire to be like. With a stunningly grounded urban aesthetic, even in its most peculiar momens, and a hefty set of valuable life lessons that often came out of dark situations, admittedly — not to mention an absolute banger of a jazz score — Hey Arnold! is a masterstroke for the medium.

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55. The Real Ghostbusters

1984's Ghostbusters inspired an immediate sequel, but when live-action follow-ups stalled, Sony did the next best thing: created this magnificent riff on the beloved property. No, they couldn’t get BIll Murray and Dan Aykroyd together every three years, but they could animate Peter, Ray, Winston and Egon for a series of animated adventures around New York City, the world, and even realms beyond. The best part about The Real Ghostbusters is that it understood the irreverent tone of Ivan Reitman’s two movies, but split the difference to also appeal directly to kids who just wanted to see Slimer. When we really need a hit of that nostalgic rush, these are the Ghostbusters stories that most deserve revisiting.

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54. Teen Titans Go

DC Comics adaptations often get knocked for being too serious, but that's not the case with Teen Titans Go, an effervescent, energetic, and rapid-fire funny series centered on Robin, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Raven, and Starfire. The show embraced irreverent humor, leaning hard into its heroes' stereotypical behaviors, from Robin’s crippling need to be a leader to Raven’s broody Goth Girl energy and beyond. Without hinging on continuity or major cameos from A-list DC heroes (at least, not until Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, which was equally excellent), this slap-happy toon basically gave young kids a comic book portal where they could enjoy “waffles, waffles, waffles” without having to brood over anyone's parents getting gunned down in an alley.

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53. The Powerpuff Girls

Sugar, spice, and everything nice wasn’t even half of what we got with The Powerpuff Girls. Like many other animated classics, it was a show made for kids that adults could easily also enjoy. The superpowered Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup deal with typical childhood troubles like sibling rivalry and bed wetting while also saving their town from a truly ingenious rogue’s gallery. These endearing kindergartners, their friends and foes (like arch nemesis Mojo Jojo, and Powerpuff wanna-be Princess Morbucks) provide us with laughs, lessons and intrigue, all wrapped in a parody and pop-culture focused package that doles out plenty of surprises.

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52. Tiny Toon Adventures

Following in the footsteps of the iconic Looney Tunes squad was always going to be a tall order, but the Stephen Spielbeg-produced Tiny Toon Adventures understood the assignment. While the characters may have been inspired by those that came before, each one from Babs and Buster to Plucky and Hampton, was given just as much freedom to be entirely new characters, not simply the “new versions” of the classics. The humor was always on point, with plenty of gags for younger viewers, alongside references only the older “kids” watching would get.

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51. Courage the Cowardly Dog

Making a cartoon for children that's as creepy as it is funny is no easy task, but Courage the Cowardly Dog found a way to execute that balance quite beautifully, relying mostly on overtly bizarre and/or paranormal villains. Courage protecting his owners, Eustace and Muriel, against everything from a cursed mummy to a duck with a mallet never gets old. It’s the most deserving Cartoon Network original that needs a revival, which could potentially still happen someday, considering Courage was part of a Scooby-Doo crossover movie released in 2021. Until that day comes, fans can revisit the entire series with a Max subscription.

50. Adventure Time

Most classic adventure cartoons engage in storytelling in a more earnest manner, but only a few effectively capture the joys of make-believe like Adventure Time — which for many is the absolute cream of the crop for Cartoon Network’s original programming. Creator Pendleton Ward’s fantasy-comedy follows Finn the Human (Jeremy Shada) and Jake the Dog (John DiMaggio) as they navigate the weird and wonderful, post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo, having a mathematical time along the way. With its charming animation, ingenious creatures, clever world-building, and a lighthearted tone that never abandons spellbinding excitement, the fun truly never ends.

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49. Big Mouth

It’s not every day that audiences get a hilariously offensive animated show that actually provides accurate representation of growing up LGBTQ+. On the surface, Netflix's Big Mouth, which rocks an all-star cast led by co-creator Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, simply shows the trouble and turmoil of puberty, sexuality, hormones, and the everyday struggle that we call “life.” Lucky for viewers, it is also much, much more than that. The show follows a group of young people who tend to be accompanied by “hormone monsters” (who now have their own wacky spinoff series) who help guide them through the changes and struggles that come with growing up.

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48. Arthur

Kids owe PBS for so many great animated series, but Arthur might be its crown jewel. For over 20 years, Marc Brown’s storybook aardvark, along with his friends and family, endeared themselves to the public. The author and the show’s writing staff, through their efforts, taught youngsters firm lessons in responsibility, community, empathy and much more. What’s particularly impressive is that the grade-school comedy managed to remain consistent in conveying such morals during its lengthy run. Of course, when the program wasn’t dropping vital nuggets of knowledge, it was simply exuding pure, imaginative fun. What we have here is a truly timeless show, and one that’s sure to delight audiences for generations to come.

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47. Pokémon

Part of the reason Pokémon remains one of the top franchises worldwide is because the series can have a different meaning for every generation that consumes it. The kids of 2024 can watch the same show O.G. viewers watched in the late '90s and appreciate those characters in new ways, given there have been plenty of successive projects that have come loaded with over a thousand different Pokémon for children to latch onto and make their favorite. The show's awesome battles haven't quite held up when it comes to the franchise's many video games, but perhaps someday, Game Freak will give the people what they want.

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46. Spider-Man

Spider-Man fandom has been known to grow from many sources, including the comics and multiple generations of live-action blockbusters, but theSpider-Mananimated series from 1994 holds a special place in the hearts of millennials – as it should, because it is amazing (pun totally intended). In retrospect, the content censorship is ridiculous (this is a show where Spidey wasn’t even allowed to punch people), but the filmmakers still found ways to deliver exciting adaptations of comic book stories, and some episodes are even better than the source material. We have yet to see a better version of the Venom origin story than what was created here.

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45. Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Thanks in large part to the success of Tim Burton’sBatmanfrom 1989, it was at one point decided that the best version of the Caped Crusader is the dark and brooding version. That has now been the go-to mode for the superhero for decades – but at the very leastBatman: The Brave And The Boldreminded us for a time just how much fun the Dark Knight can be. The deep voice and silly sensibilities of Diedrich Bader make him one of the best to ever play the hero, and every episode delivers a fun team-up opportunity. Every DC character is represented with love, but there’s an argument to be made that John DiMaggio's Aquaman is the all-time best version of the Atlantean king.

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44. Doug

The entire Nicktoons library was a big deal for '90s kids, and who was more relatable than Doug Funnie on Doug? Through his journal entries and soaring imagination, the preteen opened up about the seemingly everyday events of his life, from getting a haircut to trying liver and onions, and we totally felt that. We understood the middle school awkwardness, the anguish of his crush on Patti Mayonnaise and just how good it felt to rock out to your favorite band (The Beets, of course! “Aw-wee-oo! Killer tofuuuuu!”). We wanted Skeeter to be our best friend and a dog as cool as Porkchop. Not to mention, the opening credits and theme song are pretty iconic.

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43. Pinky and the Brain

Let’s be honest here: Pinky and the Brain was repetitive. In every episode, the two main characters did “the same thing we do every night, Pinky… try to take over the world!” But it was the way that the odd couple mice played off of each other — with Pinky being the doofus assistant to the Orson Welles-inspired mastermind mouse that is The Brain — that allowed this Animaniacs episode segment to thrive as its own standalone series. It's one we still quote to this day, using many of the cast members’ favorite jokes. Like everything in Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain benefitted from an “anything goes” approach to humor, meaning that stories would involve Brain’s archnemesis (a hamster named Snowball) or a bit where Pinky gets elected President of the United States. And it all worked because the creators understood how to be intelligent while also being goofy.

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42. X-Men: The Animated Series

Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe revitalized how big and connected comic book adaptations could be, few film and TV examples truly brought to live what people loved about the medium. X-Men: The Animated Series was one of the first, giving audiences comic book-accurate versions of the beloved mutants that felt like they jumped right off the page. The show offered long-term serializing storytelling just like the source material, something that was essentially unheard of for a Saturday morning cartoon. But whether one was an avid reader or not, these were (and perhaps still are) the definitive versions of the X-Men. It’s no wonder that decades later, the series was revived as X-Men '97.

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41. Infinity Train

Created by Regular Show writer/artist Owen Dennis, the Cartoon Network-turned-Max series Infinity Train is the crown jewel of overlooked and under-discussed animated series. A highly imaginative coming-of-age sci-fi fantasy, not the most common sub-genre, the series centers on a different interconnected story and character set in each of its four seasons, with everything taking place on a mysterious and impossibly long train where most cars present challenges for the characters to figure out and overcome. It’s an emotionally gripping and exciting tale that never goes off the rails, with a stacked cast of familiar voices.

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40. Futurama

The second mega-hit series created in part by Matt Groening, Futurama has always been far more than just The Future Simpsons, thanks to its unforgettable cast of meme-ready nutjobs, egomaniacs, and bending-proficient robots. From Fry’s dopey optimism to The Professor’s absent-minded genius to Hermes’ ability to drop everything if a limbo stick comes around, the series balances its strong personalities with tons of space-faring, paradox-thwarting, time-traveling mayhem that never stops being fun. Both one of the smartest and silliest animated series of all time, and filled with some of the nerdiest jokes possible, Futurama has remained a beloved small-screen entity in part because the Planet Express crew has managed to survive multiple cancellations at Fox and Comedy Central, reaching its third lifeform at Hulu, presumably because the Hypnotoad demanded it so.

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39. Mickey Mouse (Classic Disney Shorts)

There are few animated characters more famous than Mickey Mouse, and it’s safe to say the House of Mouse wouldn’t be everything it is today without Disney’s classic Mickey Mouse animated shorts that debuted in the 1920s. Smartly written and brimming with slapstick comedy, these quick hits of quirky fun introduced us to the loveable mouse — who displayed courage and strength but in a way that was achievable for any of us — along with the equally iconic Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Pluto and Goofy. Included in this series is 1935’s “The Band Concert” — Disney’s first color cartoon, which quite literally paved the way for Disney animation for 100 years and counting. And while it may not be part of that exact era, give me Goofy bungling up ski lessons any day.

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38. Dragon Ball Z

Though it wasn’t the first show in the franchise, Dragon Ball Z introduced countless kids and teenagers to iconic characters like Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta, and Gohan throughout the ‘90s, especially after the anime series became a mainstay in Cartoon Network’s Toonami afternoon block. This intense cartoon about a group known as the Z Fighters who attempt to protect Earth (and later, other planets) from diabolical forces was something many of us ran home from school or off the bus to catch each weekday. The introduction of increasingly dangerous and destructive villains like Frieza, Cell, and Boo (each had their own saga) continued to raise the bar as the series went on, and make this still a gem worth revisiting.

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37. Rocko's Modern Life

Is there a classic Nickelodeon show from the ‘90s that captures the spirit of the era more than Rocko’s Modern Life? This zany, surreal, and extraordinary animated series debuted in 1993 and quickly found an audience thanks to its unique style of humor that appealed to both children and adults. With characters like the neurotic titular wallaby, his best friends Heffer Wolfe and Filburt, and the various members of the Bighead family, there was so much to love about the show. It pushed the envelope with its humor and art direction and had a lot to say about the modern world, hence its name. The mammalian gang even returned to fans in 2019 with the special Static Cling.

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36. Animaniacs

We still have no idea how Animaniacs creator Tom Ruegger got the greenlight to make everyone's childhood better with this hilarious, clever, but extremely inside-baseball showbiz comedy aimed at mature kids. Yes, on the surface, the Animaniacs works as a variety show, an evolution off The Muppet Show during which the hosts – the Warner siblings, one with a Liverpool accent – would set up individual cartoons. But in between, the banter and humor offered up in Animaniacs consisted of some of the funniest, most outrageous, and unpredictable jokes that would spoof Dolly Parton, Marilyn Monroe, and the idea of fingering Prince, as it were. Sometimes the show managed to be educational, but mostly it was pure lunacy, and we loved every second of it.

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35. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!

Mysteries are the most entertaining genre of storytelling. What’s more satisfying than a tidy reveal at the end of a whodunit, and a villain exclaiming how they would have gotten away with it, if not for those meddling kids? Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? followed a very popular “monster of the week” format, but wasn’t afraid to push the envelope to freak out little kids who tuned into a cartoon and were terrified by haunted suits of armor, killer clowns, and more. From its unforgettable theme song to the vocal contributions of radio icon Casey Kasem as Shaggy, Scooby-Doo Where Are You? walked so that Goosebumps and Gravity Falls could run.

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34. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated

Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated is a breath of fresh air within the long-running franchise birthed by Hanna-Barbera. For this particular production, the typical case-of-the-week format isn’t in play, as serialized storytelling is utilized. It’s a great approach that really fleshes out the meddling kids and the titular canine in a way that past incarnations don’t. The humor associated with this entertainment property is definitely employed in this iteration. However, what’s also exciting is how the writers and artists aim to deliver some truly scary monsters, all seemingly tied to the antagonist Mr. E. While it’s admirable that the show sticks to its predecessors’ roots in many ways, its goal to shake up the classic formula results in an overarching mystery that’s both compelling and creepy.

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33. Archer

Creator Adam Reed’s singular vision and undying creativity turned Archer from a ribald spin on James Bond into one of the most well-rounded pieces of spy fiction in existence. H. Jon Benjamin’s unmistakable voice gives life to the booze-swilling agent’s snappy insults and TV-MA euphemisms alongside a downright stellar cast that also includes Aisha Tyler, Judy Greer, Jessica Walter, Chris Parnell and more. The series is a testament to the importance of characters compared to plot, with Archer’s core group shifting from years of traditional storytelling to multiple side-mission seasons such as the Miami-set Vice, the subconscious-set Dreamland, the jungle-filled Danger Island and others. On a jokes-per-minute basis, it stands next to comedy giants like The Simpsons and Airplane!, and can drink them both under the table.

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32. Batman Beyond

Debuting in 1999, Batman Beyond jumps decades forward into the future and showcases the story of a now-retired Bruce Wayne who is acting as a mentor to the next generation Dark Knight, Terry McGinnis, as voiced by the legend himself, Kevin Conroy. The show earned multiple award nominations, winning two Daytime Emmy Awards. Bruce and Terry have just enough similarities and frustrating differences to keep their dynamic captivating while still wholesome, which makes this particular animated series one of the most enjoyable to watch in the franchise. Terry is forced to work twice as hard in order to balance out both his personal life and his crime-fighting side persona, as he both learns from and teaches his mentor as they both work to stand up for what they both clearly believe in.

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31. Star Wars: The Clone Wars

While a lot is owed to Genndy Tartakovsky’s Star Wars: Clone Wars, the animated side of George Lucas’ sci-fi universe truly took off in 2008 with the launch of Cartoon Network's Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The series is, in large part, what it is due to franchise guru Dave Filoni, who thought his hiring was a prank. Filoni’s respect for Lucas’ work permeates the entire CGI show, but there are also some cool elements that he himself adds to the canon, including the now-beloved Jedi Ahsoka Tano. With incredible storylines, sweet animation and strong voice acting, this show works well on its own but also stands firmly alongside the films it builds upon.

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30. Bob's Burgers

One of the many things to love about Bob’s Burgers is just how close, loving, and, well, lovingly strange the main characters at the center of the show are. The Belcher family is (mostly) committed to keeping their small, family-run burger shop up and running, but their kooky adventures usually take the whole family away from the restaurant. Exasperated pessimist Bob, his happy-go-lucky wife Linda and their kids, Tina, Gene and Louise get into a number of hilariously weird scrapes that, honestly, most of us only wish we could have to make life more intriguing. Add to that Louise’s near-constant scheming, Tina’s awkwardness, and how the whole family interacts with a town full of endearing oddballs, and you have yourself a wonderfully weird winner. Tell 'em Teddy sent ya.

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29. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the perfect show for a perfect moment in time. It combined outrageous and over the top late 80s imagery with some of the first mainstream depictions of skater culture and added ninjas, an outrageous backstory and a steady stream of cheesy catchphrases. Deep in the sewer of our hearts, amidst roundhouse kicks and impossibly yellow April O’Neil jumpsuits, they carved out a place for themselves, and more than thirty years later, their ooze still remains in the form of reimagined shows, new movies and billions of dollars worth of merchandise. And despite all the success, they're still just heroes in a half-shell, and they're green. (Hey, get a grip.)

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28. SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-Present)

In 1999, if you told someone a silly gap-toothed sponge would one day be as recognizable to the children of the world as Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny, they would’ve laughed. And yet, SpongeBob SquarePants continues to entertain the children of today, and has been lovingly embraced by the Millenials and Gen-Z who grew up with it as well. The internet is loaded with memes dedicated to the franchise, and there’s still plenty of debate as to what is in a Krabby Patty. With plenty of episodes and even some spinoffs, it feels like SpongeBob and friends will be entertaining children for many years to come.

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27. Rugrats (1991)

Rugrats premiered in 1991 on Nickelodeon as one of the first three Nicktoons, aimed at a younger audience than Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show. It was a staple for kids throughout the ‘90s and into the early 2000s, with nine seasons about the adventures of babies Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil, with regular appearances from characters like the parents, Angelica, and (eventually) Dil. The show could swing from silly to serious, with memorable episodes that ranged from covering the grief of losing a parent to the spectacular Reptar On Ice, with a dinosaur love song that still rings in the hearts of plenty of ‘90s kids. There’s a reason why this Nicktoon show went on to inspire Rugrats movies and a 2021 reboot.

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26. Harley Quinn

What happens when you blend DC Comics mythology with the kind of crass adult comedy you find in shows like Family Guy and South Park? You get Harley Quinn, which follows Kaley Cuoco’s version of The Joker’s former squeeze going on adventures with Lake Bell’s Poison Ivy, her best-friend-turned-girlfriend, and getting into hijinks with fellow supervillains and superheroes alike. One doesn’t need to be a hardcore DC fan to appreciate Harley Quinn, although that definitely helps with catching the deep-cut references and Easter eggs. As long as you're in the mood for clever writing and all the edgy, not-safe-for-kids humor you could ask for, Harley Quinn is a must-[censored]-watch.

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25. Gravity Falls

With hands on our bible of beasts, baubles and bafflement — Journal 3, naturally — we can solemnly swear that Gravity Falls is the weirdest, wildest and gobblewonkiest project that’s ever come out of Disney, bursting through the castle doors like rainbows from a gnome’s mouth. Created by Alex Hirsch, the mystery-hinged funfest centers on a pair of siblings, Jason Ritter’s Dipper and Kristen Schaal’s Mabel, living with their kooky and perhaps unstable great uncle, Grunkle Stan (voiced by Hirsch). And for anyone who loves codes, hidden messages, deep lore, crytozoology, conspiracies, and everything sharing that fringe space, Gravity Falls is the holy grail of animated shows. (And that grail is filled with Pitt Cola.)

Despite nearly universal love and acclaim, Disney cut Gravity Falls’ run short at just two seasons, although the actual supplementary Journal 3 (which Hirsch co-wrote) is expansive and unique enough of an experience to at least count as a one-off special. There’s still hope that fans will one day go on more adventures in the Mystery Shack with Soos, assuming Bill Cipher doesn’t muck anything up, but even if these 40 episodes are all that ever get produced, it was perfection.

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24. The Boondocks

Aaron McGruder’s adaptation of his own comic strip, The Boondocks, is a must-watch for those trying to better understand racial relations, culture, and racism in the United States. With the help of some voice acting from Regina King, Riley and his brother Huey navigate the Black experience of living in a predominantly white suburb.

The Boondocks thrived on taking hot-button issues and forcing the viewer to think about not just the issue but their own reaction and perspective of that issue. The Boondocks deserves applause for how it pushed the envelope in its four seasons and offered thoughtful commentary in a way few other animated shows can.

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23. Justice League

Superheroes joining forces in the DC Animated Universe wasn’t anything new prior to 2001 thanks to special pairings in Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond’s “The Call” two-parter, but Justice League placed teamwork front and center. Viewers watched Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl vanquish terrestrial, alien and magical threats together, and it was a blast.

Justice League continues to be appreciated for its crisp animation, mature storytelling and stellar character development, as well as for transforming John Stewart from a B-list character to the definitive Green Lantern for a generation. Justice League makes an effective crash course for those wanting to dive into DC lore without having read any of the comics.

22. Star Trek: Lower Decks

Being such a well known and praised franchise for decades, die-hard fans were quite surprised when it was announced back in 2019 that the Star Trek franchise would be taking a shot at an adult comedy with a brand new animated show, Star Trek: Lower Decks. Written by Rick and Morty’s Mike McMahan, the show takes place in the 24th century and instead of focusing on the high-ranking officers on the Bridge Crew, it gives viewers a glimpse into the “lower deck” officers with the more humble jobs that keep the ship running…smoothly? The show often references the rest of the Star Trek earlier entries and breaks down sci-fi tropes, often in a very NSFW way, and should delight both seasoned and new fans alike.

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21. Sailor Moon

If you’re of a certain age, Sailor Moon may be the first anime you ever saw in your entire life. It’s one of those ‘90s anime that was sandwiched between Fist of the North Star in the ‘80s, and the explosion that was Dragon Ball Z, and Pokemon in the later ‘90s. Even so, Sailor Moon still managed to stand out, and it still stands out today. It may be because Serena (or Usagi, if you prefer sub over dub) is so dang loveable. As is her relationship with Darien (AKA, Tuxedo Mask).

And of course, we can’t forget the many other Sailor Scouts, as they all have their own unique personalities and inner worlds. In truth, Sailor Moon is the kind of cartoon that appeals to both young girls, but also grown men in their ‘30s and ‘40s, and really, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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20. One Piece

Shows like One Piece don’t come along often, and really, we’re not sure there is any other show on television that’s like it. It’s one thing to have an astronomically high episode count, but quite another for that story to be serialized and tell a great story of a pirate adventure that’s been wowing viewers for over two decades. The character development and growth of the Straw Hat Pirates and the world-building it boasts makes this an easy choice for top-tier anime, and it’s great that Netflix finally took notice and made an equally enjoyable live-action series.

It’s a modern-day epic story equatable to Gilgamesh or Beowulf, and feels like a lived-in universe more than any other anime out there. It’s totally worth the time investment for those who feel overwhelmed by tackling the 1000+ episodes of this ongoing series.

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19. The Critic

The Critic, which revolves around New York film critic, Jay Sherman(voiced by A League of Their Own’s Jon Lovitz)sometimes hits way too close to home. What we mean is, with many of us being critics ourselves, a lot of Jay’s fussy qualms about movies seem super spot on, such as the eye roll he gave to the made-up movie,Beverly Hills RoboCanine Cop and a Half 2(Starring Clint Eastwood!).

But that’s just the beauty of The Critic, because even though Jay was often fed up with having to review so many mediocre movies, he still loved his job, and stayed a movie fan to his core. Which, again, hits very close to home. Plus, it didn’t hurt that the series had The Simpsons writers, Al Jean and Mike Reiss as showrunners. It stinks!...that we don’t have any new episodes of The Critic to watch these days.

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18. Daria

Daria once described herself to a therapist as actively working to make people dislike her. She’s not wrong. Daria's main character is, at times, deeply unlikeable. She speaks as if she’s a detached observer into her own life, making callous observations in a dry, dispassionate voice. She’s like a real life narrator, condescendingly commenting on the world around her as everyone else plays volleyball and talks about who they’re going to prom with.

Despite all her efforts, however, it’s impossible to hate Daria because she’s really funny and also not wrong most of the time. High school is often pretty stupid and populated with try-hards who don’t know themselves or have any idea where they’re going. Listening to Daria judge them feels like therapy, even if, deep down, we know she’s just as lost as they are.

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17. Over The Garden Wall

What’s most impressive aboutOver The Garden Wallis just how effectively it slips under your skin and rattles you. The familiar sibling dynamic between Wirt (Elijah Wood) and his little brother Greg (Collin Dean) is disarming, as are the fantasy elements and talking animals… but never forgotten is the terror that comes from the show’s central premise: two boys getting lost in the woods and trying to find their way home. Each chapter starts with a light touch, but ends up gripping you by the throat and invading your nightmares.

The episodes brim with fantastic and horrific imagination - from the shadowy beasts that lead souls astray to the disturbing Auntie Whispers (voiced brilliantly by John Cleese). There are only 10 episodes and none of them run over 12 minutes, butOver The Wallleaves a deep impression, and it’s wonderful to revisit annually during Spooky Season.

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16. King of the Hill

I tell you what, it’s hard to get better than King of the Hill. The long-running hit (which has a Mike Judge-led revival coming to Hulu soon), focused on Hank, Peggy and their son Bobby Hill, and their day to day life in the small town of Arlen, Texas. This slice-of-life animated show used something a lot of people probably take for granted - the absurdities of relationships, work, growing up, marriage and other aspects of daily life - turned them up to 11 and made every episode across 13 seasons feel like we were laughing at our own friends and family.

Don’t we all know at least one person obsessed with lawn care? Or one boy who ain’t right? If not, you’ll certainly wish you knew the residents of Rainey Street and could call them neighbors, because mundane, working class life has never looked like so much looney fun.

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15. Mickey Mouse (2013 shorts)

Mickey Mouse is one of the most iconic characters in the history of animation. He’s been everywhere and done everything. What made the new series of shorts that began in 2013 and ended in 2023 special wasn’t that they did anything differently, (though certainly the visual style was completely new for the character) it was that they went back to the beginning and let Mickey be the Mickey he was always designed to be.

The modern run of shorts, simple called Mickey Mouse, let the big-eared protagonist be the hero, but they also let him be silly, angry, surprising, and ridiculous. They pack more gags into a five-minute short than would seem possible. The shorts were new, but also served as throwbacks to earlier Mickey eras when the character had more creative freedom before he became the icon we know. They were a breath of fresh air after decades of a stagnant and sterilized mouse.

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14. The Legend Of Korra

There is sometimes debate on whether Avatar: The Last Airbender or its follow-up series, The Legend of Korra, is the better cartoon. But, when it comes to us, all we have to say is, why not both? Because honestly, you can’t lose with either series. That said, The Legend of Korra definitely is special in its own right. This is a more grown-up take on the world of Avatar, where each season introduces a new threat to our heroine, Korra (Voiced by the magnificent Janet Varney).

With each season, however, we see Korra adapt and change in ways that Aang never got to do, which is enhanced by Korra’s fantastic Team Avatar of Bolin, Mako, and of course, Asami. Oh, and speaking of Asami, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention how groundbreaking this show was, as Korrasami is still one of our favorite TV couples of all time.

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13. South Park

Possibly the most controversial animated show of all time, South Park. With 26 seasons under their belt, Trey Parker and Matt Stones’ on Comedy Central follows the story of four young boys and the typically pop-culture chaos that surrounds them. The show’s intro blatantly states that the show “...should not be viewed by anyone.” South Park pulls no punches and gives no f’s. T

The creators have pulled some crazy stunts in the past, like attending the 2000 Oscars while being nominated, wearing dresses, and high on LSD. They have also attempted to get their own show canceled, been banned in China, as well as hitting a television milestone by going “bleep-free” with the use of the “f-bomb” live on air. It’s a show that could not be launched today, but since it has such huge weight in the zeitgeist, expect to see some more offensive Colorado antics for some time.

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12. Star Wars Rebels

Star Wars Rebels picked up the action set in the galaxy far, far away after The Clone Wars ended, and the animated series ran from 2014-2018 on Disney XD to expand on the era ahead of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story with a found family of original characters. Not only did the show prove that Star Wars doesn’t need to rely on legacy characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker to tell a fantastic story and deliver arguably one of the best deaths in the franchise’s history, but it set up some stellar stories that are being expanded in live-action with Ahsoka.

There was no certainty that Rebels would succeed back in the beginning despite the popularity of The Clone Wars, but the story was solid during its original run and stands the test of time for first-time watchers and re-watchers alike. And its characters, ships and plots have remained core to the universe even beyond its conclusion.

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11. Invincible

Invinciblewas released for those with anAmazon Prime subscriptionduring the height of superhero mania. Despite concerns aboutsuperhero fatigue, the animated series carved stands out within the genre. Namely by being the animated answer toThe Boys, and being an R-rated and wildly violent cartoon show. Invinciblefocuses on the title character aka Mark Grayson who is a young person coming into his own as a wildly popular hero who boasts the same powers, if not the same prowess, as his father Omni- Man, who is revealed to be something quite a bit more dangerous than anyone readily expected.

Adapted rather faithfully from Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker's comic book, the story is emotional, the action sequences are bloody and brutal, andInvincible’s voice castis led by A-list talent like Steven Yeun, J.K. Simmons, Sandra Oh, and more. And the show is so popular thatOmni-Man spawned a character in Mortal Kombat 1.

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10. Justice League Unlimited

Everything that was great about Justice League got ratcheted up a notch with Justice League Unlimited. Thanks to the team’s founding heroes expanding its ranks — minus Hawkgirl, who returned later in Season 1 — this continuation allowed the DC Animated Universe to shine the spotlight on even lesser-known heroes, from Green Arrow and The Question to Booster Gold and Huntress. Like its predecessor, the show wholeheartedly embraced its printed page while also putting unique spins on its starring protagonists and antagonists.

Although there were various standalone episodes peppered throughout Justice League Unlimited, the show was at its best when delving into its serialized stories that built off plot threads from the previous DC Animated Universe shows, namely the Cadmus and Secret Society arcs. That makes Unlimited arguably feel like the most comic book-y entry in this shared continuity. While the DCAU would be revisited a handful of other times following the show’s conclusion, Unlimited definitely marked the end of an era, and it stuck the landing wonderfully.

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9. Phineas and Ferb

The concept of two brothers spending their summer vacation trying to figure out a way to spend it comes with endless possibilities, and Phineas and Ferb explored them creatively and expertly. Following a formula where every episode the titular characters are always finding an over-the-top thing to do or build. Meanwhile, their sister Candace tries to bust them while their pet platypus Perry goes on a mission to stop his nemesis Dr. Doofenshmirtz and his latest -enator.

Over the years, Phineas and Ferb mastered its formula and had a blast with it. Watching the brothers build a roller-coaster, create a backyard beach, get their parents' favorite band back together and oh so much more was not only fun but creatively invigorating. Not to mention, many episodes also featured incredible original music – like the Emmy-nominated song “

Ain’t Got Rhythm

” – meaning you’ll be humming along and thinking about this show long after the episode ends.

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8. Looney Tunes

To describe Looney Tunes as a classic is completely appropriate, and yet, somehow not quite enough. This collection of animated shorts (produced from 1930 to 1969 and then revived in the late 1970s) has provided generations of audiences with wacky adventures featuring some of the most recognizable and quotable cartoon characters ever created. Even if you’ve only seen a handful of the many, many cartoons made by Warner Bros., you likely know that Bugs Bunny usually outsmarts everyone, Sylvester and Tweety are hilarious adversaries, Daffy Duck is at his funniest when he’s angry or on the losing end of anything, and that Roadrunner is way more trouble than it’s worth to Wile E. Coyote.

Looney Tunes is yet another example of how something could, technically, be pleasantly silly enough for kids, but just mature enough to get and keep the attention of adults. (Who doesn’t know what it’s like to repeatedly miss your target like Elmer Fudd?) When you watch one of these belly-laugh inducing entries, the only thing stopping you from watching another (and another) will be a power outage… That’s a joke, son!

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7. Rick and Morty

A decade ago, if you asked us to name our Top Five most thoroughly inventive, consistently thrilling, amusingly thought-provoking, and deeply moving science-fiction series, we would have never guessed an Adult Swim original comedy would make the cut. Nevertheless, Rick and Morty — co-created by the now-fired Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon — has risen above its crude animation, and even cruder humor, to be widely remembered as, not just one of the funniest sci-fi TV shows, but among the genre’s all-time finest.

It is no surprise the series was bred from a Back to the Future parody short, as the pairing of alcoholic scientist Rick Sanchez with his grandson, Morty Smith, feels like a more volatile Marty and Doc situation, which is also just one of the many ways the series brilliantly pokes fun at and pays homage to pop culture. However, the best Rick and Morty episodes — in addition to introducing eye-popping, otherworldly, and downright absurd concepts — honor the series’ more relatable themes, such as family and existential dread, which cleverly sneak up on you while you experience the duo's latest crazy adventure through time and space.

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6. Attack On Titan

There’s a lot of great anime out there, from wholesome shows like Spy X Family to much more action-heavy series like Demon Slayer and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. But when it comes to anime that just generally rivals some of the greatest television shows of all-time, then look no further than Attack on Titan, which we once called the best under-the-radar show on television. Because no show swerved like Attack on Titan did, and it all falls upon its protagonist/antagonist, Eren Yeager, who the audience is firmly behind…until we aren’t.

That’s right, Attack on Titan initially seems very simple in premise — Titans bad, people good — but soon changes dramatically to the point where we wonder if we may have had it all wrong the entire time. Are the titans were the ones who were misunderstood, and the humans were the bad guys. Plus, this is the rare exception where the anime may be superior to the manga, and if you know anything about manga, that is no small feat. This is an anime for the ages.

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5. Bluey

Bluey has simply become must-watch programming for families, and don’t be surprised when Mom and Dad find themselves just as entertained as the little ones. The infectious theme song ropes you in as it introduces Mum (Chilli), Dad (Bandit), little sister Bingo and big sister Bluey, but it’s the heart-filled interactions between the Blue Heelers that have kept people coming back. Some episodes are laugh-out-loud funny — “I slipped on my beans!” — and others will hit you right in the feels and cause tears to flow freely.

Parents have become endeared to Bluey because it inspires us to be better. It encourages us to play with our kids and gives us permission to act silly in public. Why care what strangers think if you can make your kids laugh, right? But Bluey also shows the harder moments. Sometimes Bandit and Chilli don’t have time to play. Sometimes they don’t know what to say or just need some peace and quiet after partying too hard on New Year’s Eve. We need permission to want those things in real life, too.

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4. The Simpsons

The Simpsons is the most popular and successful animated show in history because it’s hilarious in so many different ways. No matter what your sense of humor is, there’s almost certainly a Simpsons character that’s funny in the exact way you’re looking for. From highbrow literary references thrown out as asides to people falling over and getting injured in embarrassing or gruesome ways, and everything in between, each episode is jam-packed with jokes intended to do very different things and to appeal to very different people.

If it happened in a lesser show, it might feel like pandering, but with The Simpsons, the "whatever sticks" approach always felt like layers and variance. That’s a testament to the quality of the writing. Most shows that try to do too much are overtly better at one of the things they’re trying to do, which makes the rest seem less than or out of place. Not The Simpsons. Thanks to fantastic, complicated leads and the funniest supporting network of side characters in TV history, the writers can be funny in so many unique, challenging, satirical, irreverent and sometimes prophetic ways, and they have for more than 750 delightful episodes.

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3. Avatar: The Last Airbender

From scathing commentary about imperialism to discussions of spirituality, trauma and extinction, Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender packs deep philosophical meaning into its animated stories. This universe, centered around people boasting the ability

to bend elements

, follows Avatar Aang on his journey to master the elements and defeat the Fire Lord. This series from Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko is a masterful classic, filled with fun side-quests like the trio’s journey to Omashu, as well as complex politics surrounding the

Royal Fire Nation family

, sassy characters (we’re of course talking about Sokka and Toph), insanely well-developed story arcs like Zuko’s, and it's all taied together with mind-boggling action,

Like the Avatar, ATLA gets stronger with time, and as Aang mastered the elements, the series grew with him. No matter how old you are, this series hits hard, and the more you watch it the better it gets. Avatar: The Last Airbender seems destined to always feel timeless, and like the Avatar’s powers, this show will likely continue to be passed down through generations for years to come.

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2. BoJack Horseman

It’s understandable if you watch the first episode ofBoJack Horsemanand don’t quite click with it. It’s a show that throws you headfirst into its world – providing a deep inside look at Hollywood and celebrity in a reality where humans coexist with humanoid animals. That being said, as one of the first Netflix original creations, it’s a series that greatly benefited from the streamer’s binge model, as to dig deeper into the show is to fall in love with it and everything it has to say.

All six seasons ofBoJack Horsemanare witty, clever, and hilarious, with countless background gags that make it incredibly rewarding on rewatch – but what makes it special is just how real it is. The aesthetic may be silly, but the characters are all ultimately broken people and there is an unflinching and powerful examination of their individual damage over the course of the show. The penultimate episode of every season manages to be as emotionally devastating as anything that Hollywood has ever produced for the small screen, and each one is both shocking and mesmerizing.

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1. Batman: The Animated Series

Unquestionably one of the best examples of any animated TV show appealing to both kids and adults, Batman: The Animated Series continues to stand as perhaps the greatest triumph in the media history of DC Comics’ Caped Crusader. BTAS, and by extension The New Batman Adventures, followed in the footsteps of the Tim Burton Batman movies by bringing the character back to his darker roots and inserting viewers into an anachronistic Gotham City dripping with noir flavor. Here we have a Batman who strikes fear into the hearts of criminals just as easily as he inspires the innocent.

Anchored by the late Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne, Batman: The Animated Series effectively walked the line of honoring the source material while also putting unique spins on characters like The Joker, Mr. Freeze and Two-Face, while also launching neo-icons like Harley Quinn, Renee Montoya and a handful of others who’ve become mythos mainstays. Even ignoring that BTAS launched the beloved DC Animated Universe, Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski's show serves for many as the gold(black) standard by which all other Batman adaptations are judged. 1992 may be a long time ago, but BTAS still feels wonderfully timeless.

Hopefully the next 80 years of animated series can stand up to the classic eras that have already come and gone, as well as everything happening currently. But for anyone who hasn't yet watched everything listed above, now you know the assignment, mmk?

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Nick Venable

Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.

With contributions from

  • Dirk LibbeyContent Producer/Theme Park Beat
  • Cody BeckDirector of Product
  • Mack RawdenEditor In Chief
  • Mick JoestContent Producer
  • Erik SwannSenior Content Producer
  • Corey ChichizolaMovies Editor
  • Riley UtleyWeekend Editor
  • Heidi VenableContent Producer
  • Rich KnightContent Producer
  • Eric EisenbergAssistant Managing Editor

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The 75 Best Animated TV Shows Of All Time (2024)


What is considered the best animated show? ›

The 15 Best Animated Shows of the 21st Century, Ranked According to IMDb
  1. 1 'Bluey' (2018 - )
  2. 2 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' (2005 - 2008) ...
  3. 3 'Rick and Morty' (2013 - ) ...
  4. 4 'Attack on Titan' (2013 - 2023) ...
  5. 5 'Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War' (2022 - ) ...
  6. 6 'Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood' (2009 - 2010) ...
  7. 7 'Arcane' (2021 - ) ...

Which is the No. 1 cartoon show? ›

1. Tom and Jerry. One of India's most popular cartoons is Tom and Jerry, a classic animated series that has maintained a reputation following among viewers of all ages.

What is the most watched cartoon of all time? ›

Most popular cartoons
  1. The Simpsons. 1989– 768 epsTV-14. 8.7 (439K) Rate. ...
  2. Rick and Morty. 2013– 74 epsTV-MA. 9.1 (610K) Rate. ...
  3. South Park. 1997– 326 epsTV-MA. ...
  4. Family Guy. 1999– 425 epsTV-MA. ...
  5. Avatar: The Last Airbender. 2005–200862 epsTV-Y7-FV. ...
  6. Futurama. 1999– 180 epsTV-14. ...
  7. Archer. 2009–2023144 epsTV-MA. ...
  8. American Dad! 2005– 366 epsTV-MA.

What is the name of the longest running primetime animated show of all time it actually started in 1989? ›

The Simpsons

What is the most watched animation? ›

Highest-grossing animated films
RankTitleWorldwide gross
1The Lion King (2019)$1,663,075,401
2Frozen II$1,453,683,476
3The Super Mario Bros. Movie$1,361,992,475
46 more rows

What is the most recognized cartoon? ›

The Simpsons

Since its debut in 1989, this animated comedy series has been much more than just a television series. It has evolved into a cultural phenomenon with an enduring influence on society.

What's the oldest cartoon ever? ›

1908 – Fantasmagorie, considered by animation historians as the world's first cartoon, is released.

What cartoon made the most money? ›

However, The Lion King (2019) exceeded expectations. With its beloved story and star-studded cast, it quickly became the highest-grossing animated film of all time.

What is the longest still running animated TV show? ›

To this day, The Simpsons is the longest-running American animated series and sitcom, coming in at 760 episodes over 35 seasons.

What animated show has the most episodes in the world? ›

Sazae-San (7,920 Episodes)

Sazae-San aired 53 years ago for the first time. It holds the Guinness World Record for the longest-running television animated show ever.

What is the longest running TV show not animated? ›

Enter Law and Order: SVU, the longest-running primetime live-action series in the history of American television. The original recipe Law and Order ran for 20 years from 1990 to 2010, but SVU remains the only '90s series that continues to release episodes.

What is considered the best animation? ›

These are some of the greatest animations according to IMDb.
  • 10 'Up' (2009)
  • 9 'Toy Story' (1995)
  • 8 'WALL-E' (2008)
  • 7 'Your Name' (2016)
  • 6 'Coco' (2017)
  • 5 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' (2018)
  • 4 'Grave of the Fireflies' (1988)
  • 3 'The Lion King' (1994)
Mar 13, 2024

What's the number one animated movie? ›

What is the highest-grossing animated movie of all time? "Frozen II" is the highest-grossing animated movie with a lifetime worldwide earning of $1.45 billion.

What is the best animated scene of all time? ›

Top 10 Animated Movie Scenes That We'll Never Forget
  • #8: “We Don't Talk About Bruno” ...
  • #7: Parting the Red Sea. ...
  • #6: Finally Meeting. ...
  • #5: “Superman” ...
  • #4: Married Montage. ...
  • #3: Belle & Beast's First Dance. “Beauty and the Beast” (1991) ...
  • #2: “Circle of Life” “The Lion King” (1994) ...
  • #1: Facing the Furnace. “Toy Story 3” (2010)


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