scabiorr (scabiorr) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

25 Greatest Animated TV Series

''The Simpsons,'' ''Family Guy,'' ''South Park,'' ''Archer,'' and many more made our list -- but you got the final say! Find out where your faves placed and what you voted as your king of TV cartoons!

25. Liquid Television, 0.1% of the votes
Anyone who says that MTV was ever just about ''the music'' is lying. The difference between old MTV and new MTV is that the channel's non-music programming used to be weird. That was never more true than with this animated series, which featured gonzo short films by underground cartoonists and featured the first appearance of Beavis and Butt-head (not to mention the debut of Æon Flux, still gorgeously weird almost two decades later). Liquid Television aired extremely sporadically between 1991 and 1994, but each episode is filled with utterly unique delights. —Darren Franich

24. Star Wars: Clone Wars, 0.2% of the votes
Sick of all that galactic politicking from the prequels? Then Star Wars: Clone Wars, the microseries that returned that Galaxy Far, Far Away to its nuts-and-blaster-bolts basics, is for you! Each lightsaber-lean episode brought the epic back to Star Wars — Mace Windu’s bare-fisted dispatch of an entire droid army is a thrilling highlight. But it also proved that action speaks louder than monologues, with terse new characters like Asajj Ventress and General Grievous slashing their way through Jedis to become badass new fan favorites. Taxation of trade routes be damned! —Christian Blauvelt

23. Aqua Teen Hunger Force/Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1, 0.34% of the votes
What is Aqua Teen Hunger Force? Well, it's a show about roommates — can't get more sitcom-y than that, right? Except the roommates are a talking milkshake, a bearded box of french fries, and a wad of meat named Meatwad. They go on adventures, except not really. Sometimes there are monsters, but they aren't very monstrous. Stuff happens, or it doesn't. Also, the name of the show just changed for some reason. And this has lasted 10 years. Dadaism has nothing on Aqua Teen. —DF

22. The Tick, 0.34% of the votes
Ben Edlund would go on to write the puppet episode of Angel and some of Supernatural’s most interesting story lines, but he will always be known for creating the absurdist comic-book hero the Tick when he was only a teenager. The character would become the basis for three seasons of an animated series on Fox Kids, but whereas Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lost its dark edge in favor of gnarly attitudes and goofy jokes, The Tick retained much of the satiric bite that made it so hilarious. Plus, how could you go wrong with villains like Chairface Chippendale and quotes like '' I am the mad bomber what bombs at midnight!!'' —KS

21. Robot Chicken, 0.52% of the votes
An essential component of the Comic-Con decade, Robot Chicken has been panoramically skewering generations of geekery for over half a decade. Some of the show's sketches are little more than 60-second jokes — Senior Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Beastmaster on Broadway! — but beneath the tongue-in-cheek tomfoolery, there's a real sense of bringing fun back to a geek culture that seems close to drowning in self-seriousness. That's especially true in the Star Wars spoofisodes, a delicate balancing act of adoring admiration and frustrated megafandom. —DF

20. Adventure Time, 0.6% of the votes
Think of everything you loved when you were a kid: candy, swords, noble heroes, beautiful princesses, costumes, dogs, sleepovers, hanging out with your best friend, pranks, magic, whatever. Now think of everything you were scared of when you were a kid: vampires, aliens, skeletons, the ocean, darkness, girls, boys, minotaurs, whatever. Adventure Time is all that and more. The story of a kid and his magic stretching dog, the show is simultaneously silly and scary, endearingly naive and deeply cynical. Put it this way: Adventure Time makes me wish I were a kid again, just so I could grow up to be as awesome as the kids who are currently watching Adventure Time will be. —DF

19. The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, 0.65% of the votes
Rocky and Bullwinkle is more than a cartoon for children — it's a crash course in pop culture savvy. As kids watched the metafictional adventures of heroic, brainy Rocket J. Squirrel and dim-witted, good-hearted Bullwinkle J. Moose, they also learned how to recognize and classify the tropes on which modern entertainment is built. But Rocky and Bullwinkle is truly great for a much simpler reason: It's really, really funny. Oh, and it also may have helped to bring about the end of the Cold War. —HB

18. The Ren & Stimpy Show, 0.66% of the votes
This classic Nicktoon about a rage-filled Chihuahua and his best buddy, a blissfully idiotic cat, is disgusting, disturbing, and often totally inappropriate for its intended audience — which is precisely why the children of the '90s found it so hilarious. Ren & Stimpy's demented originality (remember Powdered Toast Man, the elf who lived inside Stimpy's belly button, and ''Don't Whiz on the Electric Fence''?) makes it unlike any other animated series. The series also gets bonus points for effectively launching the career of virtuosic voice actor Billy West. —HB

17. King of the Hill, 0.73% of the votes
Only Mike Judge could make the mundane life of a propane seller from Texas and his family into a 13-season animated cartoon. But the brilliance of Hank & Co. is in this simplicity. That's right. We just called Hank brilliant. —SG

16. The Flintstones, 0.8% of the votes
When you think of it as The Honeymooners set in the Stone Age, the idea of Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane rebooting TV's original animated prime-time sitcom for Fox in 2013 doesn't sound insane. Fred and Wilma Flintstone, and their neighbors Barney and Betty Rubble, are surrounded by modern amenities cleverly converted to prehistoric capabilities, and, of course, plenty of timeless sarcasm. It was so good, it got grown adults to attempt a live-action film. (Pretend you don’t know how that turned out.) —Mandi Bierly

15. Beavis and Butt-head, 0.83% of the votes
Depending on your age and tolerance for colorectal humor, Beavis and Butt-head is either a funny animated show, a nifty existentialist satire, or the death rattle of Western civilization. Mike Judge's show about two lazy, metal-head high schoolers paved the way for a generation of dirty-minded 'toons, from King of the Hill and Daria (both B&B spin-offs) to South Park. But the original, which became one of MTV's flagship shows after its 1993 debut, still stands as a triumph of cartoon grunge and subversively asinine wit. Heh heh. Heh heh heh. I said ''asinine.'' —Adam Markovitz

14. The Boondocks, 1.02% of the votes
Aaron McGruder's no-holds-barred satire based on his syndicated comic strip engages issues of race relations head-on in a way that other series, animated or otherwise, wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole, marrying lush anime-style animation to provocative, and often controversial, story lines that pillory everyone from R. Kelly to Tyler Perry. —KS

13. The Rugrats, 1.06% of the votes
Whether they were teaching us how to achieve stealth cookie theft or the story of Passover, the nostalgic Nickelodeon watcher in us all will always have a soft spot for these goofy-looking babies. Oh, who are we kidding? We still love them, and always will — even when we're all growed up.—SG

12. Scooby-Doo, 1.32% of the votes
In the great tradition of tales that sound too scary on paper for kids comes this one about the cowardly Great Dane who rides around with four teen sleuths (Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy) solving supposedly supernatural mysteries and eating snacks. The combination of logic and reasoning skills, stoner appeal, and a talking dog with a comical speech impediment is truly astounding. As is the fact that the characters are still cracking new cases in multiple mediums today. —Mandi Bierly

11. Cowboy Bebop, 1.49% of the votes
There are a lot of genuinely brilliant anime shows that could sit comfortably in this spot — Neon Genesis Evangelion, Paranoia Agent, FLCL — but Shinichiro Watanabe's space Western takes the cake for our money. From its jazzy, Saul Bass-esque opening credits to its reshuffling of countless movie tropes and imagery, not to mention the classic-rock episode titles, everything is utterly, effortlessly cool. —KS

10. Archer, 1.53% of the votes
Emerging from the ashes of Adam Reed and Matt Thompson's beloved Frisky Dingo, Archer initially seemed like little more than a sarcastic spy spoof. However, the FX series has developed a comic rhythm all its own, rife with one-liners and throwaway references. But the reason why Archer belongs on this list, even this early in its life, is because of its demonically hilarious ensemble — a collection of nymphomaniacs, sociopaths, drug addicts, and at least one Hitler clone. —DF

9. Animaniacs, 1.66% of the votes
Tapping into the vein of anarchic, fourth-wall-shattering animated comedy that ran through Looney Tunes, Steven Spielberg and Warner Bros. produced this cyclone of characters, pop culture references, and pure, unadulterated hilarity. In a time when Saturday-morning cartoons talked down to kids and were saddled with simplistic lessons, Animaniacs referenced The Andromeda Strain and Peter Bogdanovich, and left its moralizing to random chance on a wheel of fortune. —Keith Staskiewicz

8. The Venture Bros., 1.68% of the votes
On the surface, The Venture Bros. may look like a simple parody of adventure cartoons like Jonny Quest, but it's really so much more. It's got laughs, to be sure, but it's also got great action set pieces, brilliantly conceived characters like that living incarnation of testosterone Brock Sampson, and the ability to somehow make you feel emotionally invested in the relationship between a man dressed in a butterfly outfit and his gravel-voiced girlfriend. —KS

7. The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour, 2.95% of the votes
Did the masterminds behind Looney Tunes invent the concept of entertainment that appeals equally to children and adults? Maybe not, but they sure perfected it. The exploits of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweety Bird, and a menagerie of other beloved characters still achieves what most ''family entertainment'' can only dream of — they're hilarious, inventive, endlessly quotable, and totally iconic. That's all, folks! —Hillary Busis

6. Batman: The Animated Series, 3.09% of the votes
All you have to do is read through the writer's bible for this show — it's available online — to see exactly how it managed to elevate itself above the simple superhero schlock. Drawing their visual inspiration from Max Fleischer's Superman cartoons, and their darker, grittier portrayal of Gotham partly from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, the producers crafted intelligent, well-plotted narratives and invented popular new characters like Harley Quinn, while totally redefining others like Mr. Freeze. Not content to just adapt the world of Batman, this series advanced it. —KS

5. Futurama, 3.8% of the votes
Confession: I prefer Futurama to The Simpsons. Yes, Matt Groening's first Fox TV series changed the TV landscape forever. But every episode of Futurama is so overstuffed with wondrously absurd far-future ideas, mashing together a whole assortment of upper-stratosphere geekery with the desperate kineticism that you only find on a TV show grasping for an audience. Futurama can also be remarkably moving — the tragic ending of ''Jurassic Bark'' plays like the famous marriage montage in Up, except seven years earlier and with a dog. —Darren Franich

4. SpongeBob SquarePants, 6.19% of the votes
For a period of time, SpongeBob SquarePants was one of the best-written comedies on television. Not among children’s entertainment, not among cartoons, but comedies, period full stop. SpongeBob, like Pee-Wee Herman before him, proved that ''family friendly'' can be delightfully subversive, and the show is shot through with moments of animated creativity equal to that of Chuck Jones or Tex Avery and tied together with a streak of sublime absurdity to match Monty Python. I mean, who else would live in a pineapple under the sea? —KS

3. Family Guy, 15.5% of the votes
The Fox series is like a good zombie: It has the distinction of having raised from the dead (after DVD sales spiked following its cancellation), and it manages to get inside our brains. Yes, as South Park parodied, it might seem as though the Griffin family's asides are penned by manatees, but Family Guy still succeeds at delivering one thing: humor. And you only have to look at the series' ratings to realize that, well, victory is theirs. —Kate Ward

2. The Simpsons, 18.96% of the votes
Like all comedy legends, The Simpsons should be remembered for, if anything, not its tragic downfall, but its greatest moments, biggest laughs, and contributions to pop culture history. And there are plenty of those when it comes to our yellow friends from Springfield. —Sandra Gonzalez

1. South Park, 33.98% of the votes
Satirizing everyone from Ben Affleck to the Pope, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s brainchild has become the most mature program about the most immature children on the planet. Not only has South Park made astute observations about fame, money, religion, politics, and, of course, poo, but the animated series has managed to stay relevant, regardless of how many years it has been on air. As Eric Cartman would say: Respect its authoritah! —Kate Ward

Tags: 1990s, 2000s, animation, cartoon / children's show, list, nostalgia, television
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