The 100 Greatest Cartoons Of All Time (50-41)

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.

Previous Installments: 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51Didn’t Make the Cut.

 

50. Clone High

From the brilliant wunderkinds that brought you 21 and 22 Jump Street, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The Lego Movie, Clone High was a one season comedy that instantly became a cult hit among fans.

The show is about a high school that consists of nothing but the clones of famous historical figures like Cleopatra (Now a cheerleader), Joan of Arc (Now a goth), Gandhi (Now a party animal), JFK (Another party monster), and Abraham Lincoln (The main character who is in love Joan).

The show was unfortunately cancelled over complaints of the shows depiction of Gandhi. MTV needed those India numbers apparently. If you’re a fan of Lord and Miller’s distinct brand of comedy or 80’s high school comedies (Not only does Teen Wolf cameo in every episode, Michael J. Fox himself voices Gandhi’s liver), Clone High might be your new favorite show.

 

 

49. Æon Flux

Starting as a series of shorts airing originally on Liquid Television, Æon Flux proved so popular with viewers that MTV decided to turn it into a series.

And what a weird fucking series it was. MTV was years before and leagues ahead of the edgy programming Adult Swim would be known for. I already talked about some of the diverse content when I covered The Maxx but it bares repeating, old MTV was at the forefront of the avant garde and Æon Flux was the most interesting of the bunch.

Set in a dystopian world where the line between science fiction and fantasy are blurred, The title character is a assassin/mercenary that continuously butts heads with her lover/enemy Trevor Goodchild.

If you’re looking for a coherent story or even satisfactory answers to the many questions the show presents the viewer, you will no doubt be let down but if you give yourself over to the unique world Peter Chung has created, you’ll find a cartoon like none other.

 

 

48. Robot Chicken

Back when print media was still a thing, there was an entire magazine dedicated to toys. ToyFare was dedicated to nothing but toys, how much they’re worth and when the new ones were coming out. It was glorious and the crown jewel was definitely the “Twisted ToyFare Theater.” A five page comic in the middle of the magazine that was made using old 70’s superhero toys posed in hilarious situations. It was a real knee slapper.

It must have made quite the impression on Seth Green and Matthew Senreich because they decided to take that comic strip and turn it into what would eventually be Robot Chicken. 

A rapid fire sketch show made up of stop motion animation, Robot Chicken is the television equivalent of ADHD somehow getting addicted to crack. Segments can last from five minutes to five seconds and can be about literally anything. I’m pretty sure the writers get high on old bottles of Surge and write down every idea they have and the show uses all of them. It’s most definitely hit or miss but the ratio skews in favor of hit more often than not.

 

 

47. Gargoyles

The Disney cartoon department was a money printing machine in the late 80’s-early 90’s. They were cranking out hit after hit but they always based on a pre-existing property the company owned. They usually didn’t roll the dice on any new IP but thankfully someone decided to take a chance on Gargoyles. 

Gargoyles was more akin to Batman: The Animated Series than to anything in the Disney stable at the time. It was far darker in tone and was one of the only cartoons at the time that was serialized. It told a continuous story that involved mature characters and a rich mythology. It was far ahead of it’s time and I wish Disney took more chances like this.

 

 

46. Steven Universe

While researching this show for this list, I found out that, apparently, unbeknownst to me, it has one of the most incredibly toxic fanbases around. I’m talking about worse than the slime that primarily hangs around 4chan bad. I have no idea why so many douche bags gravitate to this show but if you manage to steer clear of the filth, Steven Universe is a delightfully charming and deceptively deep show about friendship, family and love.

Bridging the gap between My Little Pony and Adventure Time, Steven Universe mixes a little from column A and a little from column B to create a wholly original show that promotes LGBTQ rights and has a strong emphasis on world building.

The world Steven and the three lady gems he hangs out with is has expansive and intricate as they get. The storylines are deep and the characters are extremely well written. It’s a real Gem of a show. (Get it? Because it’s all about Gems)

 

 

45. Rocko’s Modern Life

How could a show about a wallaby, a gluttonous cow and a timid turtle be one of the most controversial kid’s shows of all time? Well, the fact that every episode has more double entendres, innuendo and visual jokes that were laden with adult humor than Beavis and Butt-head and Ren and Stimpy combined doesn’t hurt.

Rocko was one of those shows that felt like the creators were purposely hiding as many naughty things in every episode just to see what they could get away with. They named a chicken restaurant after a masturbation joke and Rocko even works as a phone sex operator one time. They sure don’t make cartoons like this anymore.

 

 

44. Thundercats

There’s two kinds of people in this world, people that love He-Man and people that love Thundercats and the latter is the only correct option. This would be much higher if it wasn’t for whatever the fuck snarf is but even with that annoying, floating sack of shit, it’s still clearly the better show.

Lion-O would kick the shit out of He-Man and Mumm-ra is way cooler than Skeletor. These are facts. What’s also a fact is that Cheetara was hot and this never felt like a glorified toy commercial, unlike some cartoons *Cough* He-Man *Cough* but it also never got as a cool a toy line as He-Man, so I guess they’re even.

Did I mention that Cheetara was hot?

 

 

43. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Speaking of a glorified toy commercial, this cartoon was specifically made to sell toys. They actually came up with the toys before the show but no one thought they would sell without name recognition, so they greenlit a show. But again, the toy line was so badass, that’s not really a complaint against the show.

Based on an extremely graphic underground comic, the cartoon is a complete 180′ from its source material. Instead of brutal gang violence and explicit sex scenes, the show was all about catch phrases like “Cowabunga” and “Shell Shocked” and eating pizza. The only controversial thing about the show was the title. Apparently, ninjas are so controversial in Britain, that they ordered the show to be renamed Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles and I hate it. It doesn’t roll off the tongue properly. Ninjas don’t even exist anymore. Get it together Britain.

 

 

42. Gravity Falls

If you were to judge a show based on how fanatical it’s fanbase was, Gravity Falls would be right behind My Little Pony in terms of devotion and adoration. Fans of this show really connected to it and it’s not hard to see why. It’s built like a less weird Twin Peaks but with way more mysteries and targeted more towards children. Not to say Twin Peaks isn’t for children (God knows I loved that log lady when I was younger), but, actually no, that is what I’m saying. Don’t show your children Twin Peaks. It’ll fuck em up.

The show is about Dipper and his younger sister Mabel who are sent to stay the summer with their great-uncle Stan in a town filled with nothing but paranormal oddities. It’s a regular ‘ol hotbed of weird, so much so that their great-uncle runs a tourist trap called “The Mystery Shack”, which sells nothing but bizarre knick knacks. The bulk of the show is about the two investigating the spooky shit that happens in the town and it’s fantastic.

Oh and it’s in the same universe as Rick and Morty, so It’s automatically good.

 

 

41. Daria

A spin-off of Beavis and Butt-head, Daria focused on the (mis)adventures of a cynical, highly intelligent teen trying to survive not only the hell that is high school but the drudgery that is her family.

“I don’t have low self esteem, I have low esteem for everyone else.”

Daria was one of the first cartoons to truly understand the “outsider.” Other characters realized immediately that she was intelligent but nobody ever bullied her or insulted her because she was introverted. They accepted that she was different and it wasn’t a big deal. Her sister and her vapid friends are the only ones that have a problem with it but the show goes out of its way to show that they’re the true “outsider” because they have nothing to offer anyone. They’re all just fashion mannequins that can talk.

Daria was a mature look at the teenage experience and when it ended, MTV officially died.

  • sailor monsoon

    I’d feel bad for boreanaz
    Doing all the work and having Keith David get all the accolades

  • DropYourLinen

    Well, I have always considered del Toro to be Disney horror, so he’s got that going for him. For the longest time I wanted David Boreanaz as Goliath with Keith David returning to dub the voice.

  • sailor monsoon

    Thank you.
    I’ve never understood the appeal of that terrible show

  • samandean10

    You have excellent taste!

  • sailor monsoon

    I agree
    But it doesn’t detract from its entertainment

  • Indianamcclain

    I watched it for the first time a few years ago. Shame that there’s no way to see it with the original music.

  • Indianamcclain

    Same here, but my worst fear is a live action Gargoyles film becoming something akin to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

  • sailor monsoon

    Liquid Television came extremely close to making the cut.

  • DryButSoupy

    Neat to see Aeon Flux here. I remember watching Liquid Television at my friend’s house while waiting for the mushrooms to kick in.

    Good times.

  • sailor monsoon

    I agree
    I’m surprised Guillermo del toro never wanted to make it with ron perlman as goliath

  • DropYourLinen

    Gargoyles for life. Still waiting for a live-action adaptation. Full suit/make-up and wing prosthetics would be so awesome. We need more urban fantasy horror.

  • sailor monsoon

    Daria hold up astronomically well
    I originally had it much higher but it switched places with justice league unlimited

  • sailor monsoon

    It’s funny that you mention ed, edd n eddy because it was in it’s own category on my previous article of the cartoons that missed the cut.
    The category it was in:
    The game that was never considered because it’s trash

  • *blank stare*

    My take on Daria is that they probably DID try and bully her.
    Once.

    That show holds up to a rewatch too, which surprised me a little.

  • samandean10

    I’m enjoying the stroll down memory lane that your list is treating me to. I haven’t seen many of the shows in this batch, but I have a real soft spot for TMNT. I watched many an episode of the show with my sons and my nephew and I always found it to be entertaining and amusing. Too bad all of the shows they watched weren’t as enjoyable for me. I don’t think I’ve seen it on your list so far, but one show that I hated was Ed, Edd and Eddy. I hope it’s not your #1 pick!

  • Joe Newman
  • sailor monsoon

    Of all time?
    Calm down J-mart.
    It’s not even the best of this decade or it would’ve made the cut

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    Star will probably be one of the best cartoons of this decade and of all time.

  • sailor monsoon

    You will love it

  • Nope.

  • sailor monsoon

    They’re amazing.
    You take a bite and then wash it down with some ecto cooler.
    I’m amazed I’m not dying of super diabetes come to think of it

  • Kemosabe

    I’d rather do that than bite into one of those slime empanadas, believe me.

  • sailor monsoon

    It came out 2 years ago J-mart.
    That’s waaaay to recent to make the cut
    Gravity falls only made it because it has a perfect ending
    Steven Universe is going on its 6th season and rick and morty is already a cultural phenomenon.
    The book has yet to be written on what impact star will have

  • sailor monsoon

    Bite your tongue sir

  • sailor monsoon

    It truly is a god awful cesspool of individuals.
    They’re so bad, that i had to mention them in the post

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    True it did came out recently but Rick And Morty and Gravity Falls and Steven Universe also came out recently and those shows made the list.
    It’s ok im fine with this. It’s your list not mine and I respect your opinion.

  • sailor monsoon

    I got detention one time because i yelled that in school.
    The principal that i was calling someone a hoe.

  • sailor monsoon

    I didn’t say i didn’t watch it
    I’m just saying it didn’t make the cut.
    I think it’s far too new to deem it One of the best of all time

  • THUNDERCATS HOOOOOOOOO!

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
    It’s the worst fandom out there! For those reasons. Which is why im not a part of it.

  • Manuel Orozco

    Let me know if the reboot is any good please

  • Kemosabe

    That sounds really terrible.

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    Yeah The original is fantastic the new one is great as well. I don’t know how the reboot is going to be.

  • Manuel Orozco

    I haven’t seen either

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    Just make it an honorable mention or find one cartoon to replace it with and im good. Im fine as long as you acknowledge that Star VS The Forces Of Evil is a fantastic cartoon. I can’t stay mad at you Sailor. *Hugs*
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c79da73d634ea4fed7885651051c55eff0daadc1b4a95818a52b40dc737c0a1e.gif

  • Kemosabe

    He makes a good case, @sailormonsoon:disqus.

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    What?!! Why?!
    But that cartoon is one of the best modern cartoons out there!
    It has fantastic animation, Fantastic stories, great messages, Great relationships, Fantastic villains like Toffee and Ludo and soon Eclipsa! The first 8 episodes of Season 3 are fantastic and Season 2 was amazing! The songs are really good, the spells are awesome. This is a dark cartoon and people die! Also Moon is a badass and I love the flashbacks. You are missing out at one of the best modern cartoons of the century.
    You also made Star Butterfly mad.
    You don’t want to Make Stay Butterfy mad.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b3f298d6aadb3b5cddc83e830ee96e9928003e94a12b58f187a4a6eabac89d72.gif

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    There is a teenage female artist SU artist who made Rose skinny and thin on Tumblr and the fandom basically told her to commit suicide and kill herself and she fell into depression and attempted suicide and went to a hospital and after that they still told her to kill herself. Tumblr is a mean place! That’s why I never go there. They thought she was racist and a fat shamer when she was drawing whatever she wants and the Crewniverse supported her but then Tumblr bashed them for drawing whatever they want. When people want them drawn the same way.
    Then there’s the Lauren Zuke controversy where it was an official SU storyboarder and she changed Lapis and made her a better character than she is now. The fans hated her for the way she made Lapidot a ship and harassed her and telling her to kill herself. She respond by quitting twitter and leaving the storyboarding team of SU. I feel so bad for her she didn’t deserve this at all. 🙁
    Then the evil SJWs came in and said the show is not for Men and that it was only for people in the LGBT community which pissed a lot of fans off. They also threatened to chase men who liked the show. They made fun of a cosplayer who was White saying that Amysthesyt shouldn’t be cosplayed by a white girl. It’s a horrible fandom for a fantastic cartoon. Which is very very sad. 🙁

  • Kemosabe

    Those are the nastiest looking empanadas I’ve ever seen.

  • sailor monsoon

    You’ve never seen gargoyles?

  • sailor monsoon

    The new series is pretty good but i think the original is far more iconic

  • sailor monsoon

    Turtle pie.
    I haven’t thought about that in years.
    You’re speaking my language poppity

  • sailor monsoon

    Star vs the forces of evil didn’t make the cut.
    Sorry champ

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    I think it’s more enjoyable in large doses but whatever your preference is I accept it.

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    Only the first 2 or the good ones and I saw the animated movie which was really good.

  • Kemosabe

    I don’t know anything about Steven Universe but this toxic fanbase intrigues me. You know why it’s so awful @joshuamartyniouk:disqus?

  • Kemosabe

    Have you seen the old ones?

  • Kemosabe

    Ooooh Daria. That was such a cool show back in the day. I miss that MTV.

    Gravity Falls is great. I stopped watching after Netflix started cracking down on VPNs. I thought it was pretty cool..some Twin Peaks mixed with X-Files. I’ll eventually finish it.

    TMNT was my jam. Had shirts, toys, the works. Fun show.

    Æon Flux. This show was way too weird for me to handle as a kid. Hell, it’s probably too weird for me now. I’m too afraid to watch. The fly in the eye thing freaked me out. I got a fly stuck in my eye once when I was little and it wasn’t pleasant.

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    Top 5 Best Steven Universe Songs in my opinion.
    5:Do it for her, Do it for him
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yG8caPPY1Y
    This song is just fantastic showing that Connie would die for Steven to save his life and I love anytime Pearl sings. I love this song so much showing how much you would die or protect the one you love.

    4:Here Comes A Thought
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHg50mdODFM
    This song is all about Connie getting over flipping a random kid at school over. It also works as a song about depression and the message this song sends to kids is fantastic. Also Garnet and Stevonnie’s VA are fantastic singers and the way they convey emotions while singing is fantastic. So next time your feeling down or having a bad day. Play this song and your bad thoughts will go away and you will be happy again. 🙂

    3: What’s The Use Of Feeling Blue?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtA-juh3rf4
    This sounds like a Disney Villain song in the best way! This cartoon is one where you can root for the villians and while I don’t like Yellow Diamond I love Blue Diamond because she has common sense and has the right to feel blue. The lyrics in this song are fantastic. “Start looking forward and stop looking back.” Shows how eventually you will have to get over the loss of a loved one. It’s tough and not easy but you have to keep living your life.
    Also Yellow Diamond VA is fantastic singer! This is probably my favorite villain song. Also Yellow Diamond breaking down was the best part of that show showing that the diamonds are effected by the loss of Pink Diamond.

    2: Stronger Than You
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpXcpiOdp4s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPwdHxNhqEQ
    This song is good because of one reason Estelle is a fantastic singer!
    This song is the best part of Season 1.
    The animation and the fight between Jasper and Garnet is fantastic and my favorite line “I just think your made cause your single.” Shows how good Rebecca Sugar is at writing and making songs for this show and how catchy the songs are! Even if you feel weak and feel that someone is better just remember you are stronger than the are. 🙂

    1: It’s Over Isn’t It?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ussqi3nagrQ
    If you want to introduce someone to Steven Universe this is the perfect song to introduce them too because it shows what this show is all about. It shows Pearl after all these years and episodes getting over the loss of Rose and finally understanding why she fell in love with Greg instead of her and how she has to be there for Steven since Rose decided to transform into him. She realizes that it was over ever since Greg came in the picture. It’s hard for Pearl to move on because she protected her, loved her and would sacrifice her own life for her lover Rose. This sounds like a broadway song. Because Dedede Magno originated from broadway like most of the other VA on this show. Rebecca Sugar wrote a fantastic love song that made me cry so hard the first time I saw this episode and her throwing the Rose away showing that she moved on but she still remembers her by her crying tears which I did when that happened and was the perfect song to end this musical of an episode. It is the best song in the show so far with a fantastic piano and violin melody. It will hit you so hard in the feels that you feel what Pearl is going through. It also proves that Rebecca Sugar is not only a great animator, and writer, but a great musician and songwriter and singer as well. Which is why Steven Universe has the best songs I have ever heard in a cartoon.
    Thank you Rebecca Sugar for giving us these fantastic songs and I can’t wait for Season 5 to return! 🙂

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    So happy Gargoyles made the list!
    Also please im sick and tired of people judging Steven Universe on it’s fandom which is really toxic and which im not a part of. Don’t judge a cartoon on it’s fanbase. This cartoon is fantastic! It’s Rebecca Sugar’s Magnum Opus! Should be much higher due to the fantastic story arcs like seeing Homeworld and the main diamonds, great main and side characters except Ronaldo, fantastic songs. Like It’s over isn’t it, Stronger than you, Here Comes A Thought, Do It For Her, Do It For him! and the theme song, Awesome fusions, great messages, and gives you so many feels, It’s a very dark cartoon and I love it! Episodes like The Trial and Jailbreak are the reasons why I love this show!
    Also Gravity Fall should be much higher for one reason. The perfect 3 part finale that was the perfect ending to the show. Alex Hirsh knew when to end his show. Plus Bill is probably the best villain in modern cartoons nowadays which isn’t saying much. This show was very dark and creepy and the episode of Grunkle Stan bringing back The Author of the 3 journals is one of the best episodes yet with a fantastic ending that made me scream in excitement! I love all the characters, the story, the messages, and the animation and of course that iconic theme song. This is the cartoon that millennials will remember! Because it is a perfect cartoon with a perfect ending.
    I knew Robot Chicken,Rocko and TMNT, and Daria and Clone High and Thundercats would make the list.
    Also I need to watch Aeon Flux that show is awesome!
    Now I wonder how high Rick And Morty and Star Vs the forces of evil got!
    Great List Sailor!
    Keep it up! 🙂

  • Manuel Orozco

    First one was really good sequel was better

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    The first movie is ok but the sequel is just bad.

  • Manuel Orozco

    To each their own

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    I hate the new movies a lot.

  • Manuel Orozco

    I’ve only seen bits and pieces of it too. At a vocational center I used to attend when one of the other clients brought a DVD for snack time.

  • I’m literally only seen Gravity Falls on this list and it’s quite enjoyable in small doses.

  • Manuel Orozco

    Turtles Pie looks so good

  • Poppity

    Great to see “Daria” on the list! I quite agree about the end of it being a vital change to MTv. Do they even play music videos anymore?

    I loooooved TMNT!! We had all the action figures and the NES games, one of which was a Street Fighter-like style game. It was so much fun! My fav turtle was Leonardo.
    Not to be forgotten is the infamous Turtle Pie, much beloved in my middle school days. It was essentially a Hostess pie with vanilla pudding and green frosting. Delicious, at least back then. 🙂

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/06b521754a5c699094c1521b5b87c0a5fe8a376c94f8cfc7169e60f3d4379f1a.jpg

  • Manuel Orozco

    Gargoyles partially scared me and I’m only a fan of the more recent movie incarnation of TMNT!