So, once again, my fiance has issued me a Top 10 challenge. As you can see, this one will cover ten of my favorite cartoons up to this point in my life. I will say that I don’t normally think of these as topping each other, but for the sake of this list I tried my best to put things in a suitable order. Oh, and as a reminder, this list is based on my personal opinion and involves shows I’ve seen either all or enough of to consider putting here. I know everyone’s favorites differ, so feel free to share yours in the comments. Now, let’s start this countdown!
10. Ruby Gloom
I had to include this show on the list for how cute and charming it is. If it wasn’t evident from the cast of characters, “Ruby Gloom” is a gothic-esque kids show that focuses on the group’s friendships. I love Ruby and every one of her friends for how different their personalities are whether they’re separated or together. The show also has great visuals and good doses of humor to boot. “Ruby Gloom” may be long over, but it’s criminally underrated and easily the best Canadian-made show I’ve seen in years.
9. The Fairly OddParents/Danny Phantom
Even though I know “The Fairly OddParents” is still going (and isn’t as good as it once was), I still have fond memories of watching the show alongside episodes of “Danny Phantom.” Both shows have great senses of humor, but I also love how different they are. Timmy, Cosmo and Wanda get to have kooky, often nonsensical adventures and the use of magic allows for a lot of creativity. Meanwhile, Danny, Sam and Tucker get slightly more serious and very action-packed adventures with awesome ghost baddies to deal with. It’s cool how Butch Hartman created both and yet easily managed to make each show unique.
8. Lilo & Stitch: The Series
As much as I liked “Aladdin: The Series” back in the day, I’d be remiss if I left this continuation of my favorite Disney movie off this list. “Lilo & Stitch: The Series” took the concept from the sequel film of finding the rest of Jumba’s experiments and turned each episode into a hunt for them. Many had a moral attached, but I loved how unique each experiment was in both their designs and abilities. Plus, I can’t get enough of Lilo, Stitch, and the gang, so this show was for me from the very start. I’d easily say it’s my favorite TV adaptation of a Disney movie yet.
7. Batman: The Animated Series
What else can I say about this show that I haven’t already said? It’s still my favorite superhero cartoon (even though “Earth’s Mightiest” is pretty cool too) and is what got me into other serious cartoons like “Gargoyles.” To this day, I still consider Kevin Conway and Mark Hamill to be the most iconic portrayals of Batman and the Joker. As much as I’ve enjoyed the movie versions, these animated versions are who I think of when I picture those two characters. And who could forget the brilliant inclusion of Harley Quinn? This show was chock-full of great villains, a moody atmosphere, and many memorable episodes.
6. Kim Possible
As much as I liked other girl-driven cartoons like “The Powerpuff Girls” (the original series) and “Pepper Ann,” this show always felt kinda similar to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” for me. Well, only with a lot more goofiness and spy gadgets. I loved that although Kim often got a lot of focus as the lead, her sidekick/best friend-turned-boyfriend Ron still got his fair share of butt-kicking in as well. They were one of the best duos I’d seen in a cartoon and their enemies were often equal parts silly and threatening. For being a Disney show not based on an existing movie, this was everything I could’ve hoped for.
5. Avatar: The Last Airbender
I know people still tend to forgot this show’s not an anime, but I think that’s a testament to just how good it is both from an animation and story standpoint. It knows just when to balance the humor with the more dramatic moments, and I enjoyed seeing how each of the main characters grew as the series went on. The animation is just gorgeous and leads itself well for when fight scenes occur, and they’re never hard to follow either. The whole use of elements is a neat idea and the world-building that’s set up within the show’s three seasons is really well done. Honestly, compared to the likes of real anime I’ve watched such as “Pokemon” or “Sailor Moon,” “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is far more entertaining to me.
4. The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show
This is easily the most nostalgic entry on this list and for good reason. Without “The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show,” I might’ve never gotten into and enjoyed “Tiny Toon Adventures” and even “Animaniacs.” The Looney Tunes are still a staple in cartoon history and these series of shorts compiled into episodes is how I came to fall in love with them (especially Bugs, Daffy, and Wile E. Coyote). Even before I started to understand some of the more adult jokes, I liked the slapstick and getting to know each character’s personality. I feel like it may have helped shape my taste in humor and lead me to enjoy stuff like sketch comedy and improv skits. In my mind, it deserves to be in the top 5 for that alone.
3. Steven Universe
Now we get to something more modern. “Steven Universe” is one of my favorite ongoing shows, though it did take me time to warm up to it at first. This was mainly due to it having a slower, fluffier start like “Adventure Time” did. But as the show went on, I enjoyed it more and more. The animation, especially during battles, is awesome and I love the Crystal Gems as both characters and concepts. The humor and plots can sometimes be hit or miss, but the show’s charm keeps bringing me back again and again. And I never thought I’d say this, but I adore most of the songs that pop up from time to time. It’s sometimes hard to incorporate songs into cartoons without them coming off cringe-y or obnoxious, but this show is pretty good at avoiding that. It may be the only cartoon on this list I’m currently watching, but “Steven Universe” is a show I’d highly recommend.
2. The Simpsons
If you’ve read other entries of my blog, you know this was bound to be on the list. And yes, I know “The Simpsons” is not nearly as good as it once was (though I did enjoy the 2007 movie), but it holds a special place in my heart. Sure, the nostalgia of watching it during my childhood is a big factor, but I’ve always loved how the Simpsons as a family had a lot of heart. No matter how many plots involved Homer screwing up, Bart causing trouble, Lisa fighting for a good cause, or Marge trying out a new job/hobby, they always came together in the end and felt like a family. It’s for this reason I can’t stand shock humor “family” shows like “Family Guy” or “American Dad.” Granted, the Simpson family has had many missteps in these more recent seasons, and the show really does need to end some day. But despite “The Simpsons” being hit and miss now, I’ll always look back on those times when I regularly watched it with fond memories.
1. Gravity Falls
“Gravity Falls” is, in my mind, the closest I’ve seen a cartoon come to being perfect. From the very first episode, this show hooked me and didn’t let go. And as it went on, I wanted to know all the secrets creator Alex Hirsch had up his sleeve. The show’s visual style sucked me in from the beginning, but it was the characters and interesting stories that made me stick around. The mystery element also had me intrigued, as not only was it a fun mystery to theorize about and follow, but it was also something I couldn’t recall seeing in a cartoon before. At least, not so thoroughly. For all their faults, I loved following Dipper, Mabel, Stan and the others and watching them deal with one weird situation after another. Oh, and I have to applaud Disney XD for not only letting Alex Hirsch end the show on his terms, but for also allowing him to include dark, crazy stuff like Bill Cipher in it. Even after the show ended, I was still obsessed to the point of wanting the book edition of Journal #3 and followed along online as people participated in Alex’s scavenger hunt last summer. To sum up, “Gravity Falls” is now what I picture when I think of not just a great modern cartoon but a great cartoon period.
And those are my picks for my top 10 favorite cartoons! Agree? Disagree? Again, feel free to say so in the comments. There are so many more I could’ve included, but I feel this list best reflects my taste in cartoons. Until next week!