The 100 Greatest Cartoons Of All Time (90-81)

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.

 

90. Harvey Birbman: Attorney at Law

In 94, long before there was an Adult Swim, Mike Lazzo decided to raid the Hanna-Barbera vault for an obscure character to use and decided on the Superman inspired Space Ghost. He naturally decided the best use of the 70’s relic was hosting a late night talk show. It was an odd gamble but it paid off. Space Ghost-Coast to Coast was one of the longest running shows on Cartoon Network.

After the network created Adult Swim, Lazzo once again decided “Hey, that really ridiculous idea I had like 5 years ago, with the old cartoon characters that no one’s ever heard of being brought together in a contemporary setting? How bout we do that with that bird fellow as a lawyer? How’s that sound? Rhetorical question, make it happen.”

And in the year 2000, the world was graced with the greatest lawyer (animated, that is) television screens have ever seen. Lasting 4 hilarious seasons and including almost every character that was ever made by Hanna-Barbera, Harvey Birdman-Attorney at Law was and still is, one of the funniest shows on Adult Swim.

Habeas Corpus motherfuckers.

 

89. Metalocalypse

Imagine a world who’s entire financial structure is linked to the selling of your favorite rock band. The heavy metal band Dethklok is so successful, they’re the 7th largest economy on earth. If they endorse a product, that products competitors are driven out of business.

They have their own money, their own army and even have the attention of a shadowy Illuminati type organization. They’re literally the Vatican but without the silly hats and way more metal.

The show follows the five members causing as much wanton destruction and chaos as they can manage. They run afoul of hit men, crazy fans and coked up insane clowns.

Oh and they rock. They rock so fucking hard, that they’re a band in real life. They awesomeness couldn’t be contained to a cartoon. I saw them open for Mastodon and it’s still one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen. Did Josie and the Pusscats ever shred some ass in real life? I didn’t think so.

 

88. The Pink Panther Show

For the longest time, I always assumed the Pink Panther films were based on the cartoons but come to find out, it’s actually the other way round. After the massively successful Peter Sellers comedies, MGM decided to make a capitalize on that fat money cake by cranking out a cartoon to tie into the films.

In anyone else’s hands, it could’ve been a rush job but they wisely decided to give it to 5 time Oscar winning animator Friz Freleng and since he was born with two Midas fingers, a new icon was born.

Made up of different vignettes involving an aardvark trying to catch an ant, inspector Clouseau being his normal, bumbling self and the titular panther fucking with his neighbor all accompanied with the bounciest of jazz scores. There’s been many an animated cat but none have surpassed this cats cool.

 

87. The Smurfs

Measuring three apples high and living in the mushroom infected forest of our childhoods, The Smurfs are one of those properties that feel like they’ve always been there. Whether it’s in comics or cartoons or terrible live action movies, The Smurfs are a constant anchor in all our lives.

Admittedly, the constant use of the word ‘Smurf’ to describe everything is annoying and Donnie Darko kinda ruined Smurfette forever but you can’t deny you loved these little blue assholes when you where younger.

They’re still a million times better than the Snorks, that’s for damn sure.

 

86. Voltron

Before the Power Rangers assembled to defend the universe (and a little after Battle of the Planets, which missed the list by *this* much), Voltron defended it first. And cooler. It defended it way fucking cooler.

Created in 1984, Voltron, like all anime at the time, was a mish mash of different cartoons frankensteined together with a new plot and a dub added to appeal to American audiences. They did it with Robotech, Gundam Wing and probably a dozen others. It sounds like it should be a disaster but it worked. Kids fucking loved it. It was the highest rated children’s show for the 2 years it was on the air.

The plot is about 5 teenage pilots all controlling robotic Panthers and when the inevitable 3rd act shit goes down, they form the ass destroying mega robot, Voltron. It was awesome.

Hey Hollywood, don’t fucking touch it.

 

85. The Woody Woodpecker Show

Like Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse before him, Woody Woodpecker started his life in theatrical shorts dating all the way back to the 40’s. In fact, he was huge with soldiers in WW2. They would paint him on their bombers or even their helmets. There was something about his mischievous behavior that really clicked with them that I can definitely see.

Bugs was a trouble maker but he was too kid friendly and nobody thinks Mickey is tough. Woody though, he’s right in the middle. Stanely Kubrick loved him so much, he wanted to put him in every one of his films and David Lynch has four stuffed Woodpeckers that he refers to as family. There’s something about that bird that connects to people.

Or maybe they all love the word pecker? Who knows.

 

84. Frisky Dingo

Hey you. Guy* with the face. You like Archer? Of course you do. It’s hilarious. Well before Archer, Matt Thompson and Adam Reed created another show and that show is the show we’re talking about right now. Whiskey Tango. No. That’s not right. Frisky Dingo. What’s Frisky Tango you ask? Well buddy, you came to the right place.

Slappy Frisco is about a billionaire named Xander Crews and his Xticles and an alien named Murderface and his down syndrome son who might just be British and not down syndrome and ant farm keyboards.

Something like that.

*Or Gals. Sailor don’t discriminate baby.

 

83. Jem and the Holograms

Cartoons are usually a boys only affair. We have tons of shows specifically catered to us. There’s M.A.S.K for the kid who loves trucks, G.J Joe for the action obsessed and Thundercats for the ones who knew they’d eventually grow up to be furries. There’s something for everyone. But when you’re a girl, the options are incredibly low.

You can root for Velma to eventually solve the mystery, jam out with and then watch the Pussycats solve a mystery (Hanna-Barbera had a serious obsession with crime solving) or watch Gargamel kidnap Smurfette again. Or if you were really cool, you’d hang out with Jem and her Holograms.

Jem…
Jem is excitement!
Oouu Jem…
Jem is adventure!
Ooouu…
Glamour and glitter,
Fashion and fame!

Jem…
Jem is truly outrageous
Truly, truly, truly outrageous
Woo ooo Jem…
Jem
the music’s contagious (outrageous)

Jem is my name
No one else is the same
Jem is my name

But we’re the misfits
Our songs are bitter
We are the misfits (the misfits)
and we’re gunna get her

(Chorus)

But we’re the misfits
Our songs are bitter
We are the misfits (the misfits)
and we’re gunna get her

Jem (Jem)
The music’s contagious (outrageous)
Jem is my name
No one else is the same
Jem is my name
(JEM)

Jem was truly, truly outrageous. And if you’re not singing along to those lyrics, get the fuck outta here.

 

82. The Maxx

There was a time, a long, long time ago, when MTV was cool. I mean the coolest place in the fucking world. Not only did they play, you know, music but they had some of the most surreal, interesting content out there. There was Aeon Flux and The Head and obviously Beavis and Butt-head but the most thought provoking of the bunch was The Maxx.

The Maxx was based on a fairly obscure comic by Sam Keith about a homeless man who may or may not be traveling back and forth to an intergalactic planet where he and his queen rule.

Is it real? Is he really the key to peace on “the jungle” or is he just another paranoid schizophrenic? The show dealt with heavy themes of homelessness in America and mental illness along with substance abuse and prostitution.

Unfortunately, MTV pulled the plug after the first season but man, what a hell of a season.

 

81. Paranoia Agent

Hayao Miyazaki is the unquestionable king of anime. No one sits higher on the throne than him but there have been contenders. Mamoru Hosoda and Makoto Shinkai have put up a legitimate fight lately with masterpieces like The Boy and the Beast and Your Name respectfully but it’s Satoshi Kon that’s come the closest.

He only made four films with his short time on this earth but when those four films are Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfather and Paprika, the man clearly had the goods. Each film was perfect and was somehow better than the last. He left an enormous footprint in the world of cinema but that’s not all he did.

He also made a little show called Paranoia Agent.

A darkly, subversive thriller about a kid killing people with a broken aluminum baseball bat. But it’s about much more than that.

Satoshi Kon will never be forgotten in the world of anime film but his work in television should also be revered.

It’s a masterpiece.