Animation is a storytelling medium unlike any other. It isn’t restricted by budget or bound by logic. The only imitations are that of the imagination. A child didn’t understand that Speed Racer was animated on 3’s, saving time and paper but giving it an unnatural motion that’s been parodied dozens of times. They didn’t give a shit because the car was cool and there was a monkey in it. No kid cares why Bugs Bunny can talk or why the Simpsons are yellow. They’ll accept it because it’s animated. Cartoons have to ability to suck us in but also present a world that we’ll instantly accept. Nothing taps into the imagination like cartoons, Whether it’s old school like The Ruff and Reddy Show (Not on the list) or brand new like The Happy Fun Times of Bojack Horseman (That’s not the title), animation has been here since the beginning and it shows no signs of going anywhere. Here’s my list of The 100 Greatest Animated Shows Of All Time.
100. Red vs Blue
The only web series to make the cut, Red vs Blue is a comedy made using the machinima technique of synchronizing video footage from a video game-in this case Halo-to pre-recorded audio. It wasn’t the first series to do it but it quickly became the most popular and well received. The series is about a red group of space marines vs a blue group of space marines. They know they need to get the other teams flag but neither team has the proper motivation. In 15 seasons and 5 Miniseries, the show evolves and takes a lot of different twists and turns but the humor and soul of the show is always consistent.
Created in 1955, this happy-go-lucky clay humanoid has been the star of two television shows and one movie. Along with his lovable orange horse named pokey (even though he has a dog named nopey. Greedy) and his dinosaur pal Prickle, the show follows them on their adventures in Toyland. The well ain’t exactly deep with this one but it was made in a time where Howdy Doody was the number 1 TV show, so Gumby at least gets props for trying. For culturally longevity, Gumby easily deserves a spot on the list.
98. Dora the Explorer
Dora the Explorer is an educational cartoon that lasted 14 years and taught thousands of children Spanish. It follows little Dora and her monkey pal Boots on various quests or journeys. The show is interactive, so the characters will break the 4th wall and talk directly to the audience to keep them engaged. Usually in Spanish, so they’re helping they’re buddies and learning shit at the same time. It’s brilliant. Oh and that sumbitch lurking behind that tree in that header pic? That’s swiper. He ain’t no good and he’s a bitch but Dora handles his ass.
Created as a kind of Superman parody but with pups, this show exploded in popularity in the 1960’s. When mild named shoeshine boy (yes, his name is his occupation) witnesses his love interest Sweet Polly Purebred get harassed by local thugs (which happens every. Single. Episode and the show ran for a decade), he quickly runs to the nearest phonebooth, pops some pills and then saves the day with violence and some sweet rhyming couplets, as in his catchphrase “Have no fear, Underdog is here!” Look, cartoons back in the day were weird. It was a different time. A time where all you needed to be successful was a punny name and I for one love that pun so much, it’s going on the list.
96. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Look, I’m gonna be honest with you folks. I don’t get “My Little Pony.” I’m not against it, I just don’t understand it. I’ve watched a couple of documentaries to try and figure out the mind of a “Bronie” but I leave as confused as I entered. It looks colorful and the message of friendship overcoming any obstacle is a good one, I guess but it ain’t for me. No judgments.
95. Danger mouse
Like Underdog, Danger mouse is a cartoon parody but instead of superheroes, it’s lampooning spy films instead, like James Bond and the Danger Man series. But unlike Underdog, Danger mouse is a badass who speaks 34 languages and has an eye patch. The show is about Danger mouse and his partner, Penfold and their attempts to foil whatever treachery their nemesis Baron Greenback has concocted. It ran for 10 seasons and Netflix even rebooted it a couple years back but you can skip that one. Oh and it also created a spin-off called Count Duckula, which is about a Dracula duck. It’s also awesome.
94. Galaxy High
Lasting only one season, this show quickly became a cult classic amongst fans. The story of two teenagers, a popular star athlete named Doyle and a shy, intellectual named Aimee are accepted into Galaxy High and once there (in a twist Lord and Miller must have seen for their adaptation of 21 Jump Street), their roles are reversed! Now Aimee is the popular one and Doyle is low man on the totem pole. The show was wildly imaginative with a wide array of different alien designs. It was unlike anything else and I guess it’s uniqueness was ultimately it’s own undoing. Damn you audiences of 86! Your apathy cost us a goddamn gem!
93. Sailor Moon
Debuting in 1992, this Japanese cartoon was many North Americans first introduction to the insane world that is anime. The series follows Usagi, a middle school (middle school! I, Umm, let’s just say I thought she was a high schooler…), student who’s gifted with the ability to turn into a crime fighting heroine named Sailor Moon. She’s eventually joined by other Sailor Scouts (Sailor Mars used to be my favorite, not anymore…), to defend the planet against demons and shit. Oh and there’s a talking cat. It’s a essentially the female equivalent of Dragon Ball Z. And no, I did not get my name from this show. Stop asking.
92. Wacky Races
Kids today have billion dollar movies starring bald actors driving fast and furious to keep them entertained but back in the day, we had Wacky Races. The plot? Just like the Fast and Furious films, there is no plot. Just a group of racers driving fast, each more wacky than the last. You had:
Dick Dastardly and Muttley–The mustache twirlin’ villain and his snickering dog
Penelope Pitstop–The wouldn’t be damsel in distress, this female driver is a force to be reckoned with in her compact pussycat
The Gruesome Twosome–These two Adams Family inspired ghouls drive the Creeping Coupe
The Slag Brothers–Inspired by Captain Caveman? Or maybe the other way round, these two drive the Boulder Mobile
The Ant hill Mob–Gangsters driving around in a bomb
And many more. Each car had a gimmick and each character had personality. Eat your heart out Speed Racer.
In the early 90’s, MTV launched Liquid Television (more on that later), which I guess proved popular enough that Nickelodeon wanted a piece of the action. Which is why they reconfigured the premise to be more kid friendly and Kablam! was born. A cartoon sketch show hosted by Henry and June, some of the segments include: Prometheus and Bob, Skizz and Fondue, Action League Now! And Life with Loopy. It was a grab bag of different animations and comedy styles. It was the most 90’s show ever and I miss it immensely.