Welcome back to the countdown of the 50 greatest cartoons of all time! We’re down to the final 20 covering number 20-11 in this installment. Enjoy!
20. Harvey Birdman Lawyer (2000-2007)
After Space Ghost Coast to Coast‘s success the Cartoon Network launched Harvey Birdman Lawyer again using animated characters from the 60′s and 70′s. Updating and putting them in modern and hilarious scenarios. Harvey Birdman recreated the 1960′s superhero as a lawyer defending other characters of the era in court including, for example, Scooby and Shaggy for illegal possession charges! Frankly, some of the original series that they parodied were that good to begin with but this re-imagining breathed gold into these long dead characters!
19. Battle of the Planets (1978-1985)
Originally known as Gatchaman, in the 1980′s Battle of the Planets meant school was over and it was time to sit back and enjoy with your afternoon snack, a cold grape soda (maybe that was just me) and watch G-Force protect our galaxy from the evil planet Spectra. Can you say “Fiery Phoenix!” The show had had great plots, characters kids could identify with and grand, if not predictable, space battles.
18. School House Rock: (1972-2001)
Sure this wasn’t really a TV show but instead an ongoing series of shorts but it is part of the modern day bedrock of cartoon animation. Schoolhouse Rock! showed up and gave us history, science and English lessons for almost 30 years. They were so good and such an ingrained part of that magical time once known as Saturday morning cartoons, that you hardly realized you were learning. Sneaky! Just try hearing the catchy ditty “Conjunction Junction,” or “I’m Just a Bill” and try to stop yourself from singing them the rest of the day.
17. Space Ghost Coast to Coas (t1994-2004)
Space Ghost: Coast to Coastwas the Adult Swim’s first and best attempt at relaunching an old character/series into something completely new. Hosted by everybody’s favorite undead superhero Space Ghost, Coast to Coastwas a spoof talk show that borrowed characters and animation directly from Hanna-Barbera’s campy ’60s cartoon Space Ghost and Dino Boy.
With help from his friends/nemeses Zorak, Moltar and Brak, Space Ghost puts on the funniest and least relevant talk show in animated history. Boasting appearances by notable names such as The Ramones, Metallica, Hulk Hogan, Rob Zombie and Bobcat Goldthwait.
16. Super Friends (1973-1986)
Again this was an absolute stable of Saturday morning cartoons. I almost cancelled a whole soccer season when I realized that it conflicted the Hanna-Barbera gem. The show was cheesy but it also brought us Batman, Robin, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aqua Man and other heroes all in one show. not to mention the villainous Legion of Doom and God forbid, the Wonder Twins.
15. Loony Toons
Again, not a regular series, instead originally these were shorts for movies in the 50′s and 60′s but they seem to have always been with us, appealing to both kids and adults. Later they did technically have their own shows called the Loony Tunes or The Bugs Bunny Show (or the many variations, such as The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour). The adventures starred characters like Bugs Bunny, Marvin the Martian and Daffy Duck, created by amazingly talented artists like Fritz Freleng and Chuck Jones.
14. Robot Chicken ( 2005-Present)
Seth Green and Matt Senreich bring us their love toys and we say bring it on. They use stop-motion animation and toys, the targets here run a wide pop-culture gamut, from the Hollywood starlets to He-Man. There is a bit of over reliance on violence and potty humor, which prevented this from scoring higher on the list, but the work is genius and we love the Star Wars and other parodies.
13. Ren & Stimpy (1991-1996)
Ren & Stimpywas a pioneer cartoon in many ways especially because it made cartoons popular with the college crowd. Heck even MTV thought it was hip enough to run episodes (yeah I know it’s hard to believe MTV was ever hip). Speaking of potty humor, this show capitalized on it, but it worked while sometimes crossing into the surreal with bizarre concepts like Powdered Toast Man, the History Eraser Button, and everyone’s favorite TV series, “The Muddy Mudskipper Show” and even the crazy “Log” commercials. Ren was sarcastic and Stimpy was loveably simpleminded but you always rooted for them in the end.
12. Danger Mouse (1981-1992)
DangerMouse was a British-produced series that featured the title character, a rodent who served as a secret agent. A play on the James Bond scenario, the show was one of the first cartoons from the U.K. to crossover to American audience acceptance via syndication. The show was popular enough, in fact, to lead to a spin-off which is perhaps better know here in the U.S.: Count Duckula.
11. Avatar the Last Air Bender (2005-2008)
An American animated television series that aired for three seasons on Nickelodeon. The series is set in an Asian-influenced world of Chinese martial arts and elemental manipulation, drawing on elements from traditional Asian culture, blending the styles of anime and US domestic cartoons.
The series follows the adventures of the main protagonist Aang and his friends, who must save the world by defeating the evil Fire Lord and ending the destructive war with the Fire Nation. The Last Airbenderwas popular with both audiences and critics, garnering 5.6 million viewers on its best-rated showing and receiving high ratings in the Nicktoons lineup, even outside its 6–11-year-old demographic. The positive messages, creativity, story-telling and battle scenes are top notch.