What would you choose as the 10 greatest cartoon series of all time? I’m talking about judging them on originality, artistry, humor, sheer viewing pleasure, most incisive/acerbic, most disturbing, whatever. The only guideline is limit your selection to 10.
Okay, though I’m no expert, here are some of mine, in no particular order:
The Bullwinkle Adventure Hour
Jonny Quest (the original)
Rolie Polie Olie (great toddler toon)
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (before 3-D)
Easy. Though some of these are “great” out of default to either popularity, hi-concept, or theme. But some truely shine, reaching all categories.
1- Simpsons (you won’t find better, and solid writing)
2- Kimba the White Lion (“Jungle Emperor” in Japan)
3- Batman animated series (best “mature” series from America)
4- South Park (hi-concept cool)
4- Beavis and Butthead (the original South Park)
5- Nadia (Anime series)
6- Big-0 (extremely under-rated, and overlooked series)
7- The Critic (though it tries too hard to be the Simpsons)
8- Duckman (also tries very hard to be the Simpsons)
9- Dirty Pair (anime classic - today’s anime owes them a lot)
10- Warner Bros. series of cartoons (fits all categories).
Don’t ask me why, but I’m a sucker for a show I’ve only caught a dozen, or so times. I can’t even spell the name…it’s about a Chinese cat and her family…the cat can write caligraphy, and paint pictures with her tail. The whole series is set in early period China, I ust can’t get enough of it. It’s a very basic show aimed at younger audiences, but it’s damn cool.
Invader Zim is also very good. Nice hi-concept stuff…though I’ve known Johnen for a while, and his style hasn’t changed much over the years. I guess I’m jaded from behind the scenes.
ON A SIDE NOTE:
Traditional animation isn’t the only cool thing out there.
I also dig some shows that BLEND animation, and/or, use other live-action methods in a series:
1- Thunderbirds (marionette puppets)
2- Captain Scarlet (more puppets)
3- Electro Woman and Dyna Girl (female Batman camp)
5- Space Ghost Coast to Coast
In no particular order, cause that would be too hard and irritating:
1 The Simpsons
2 Rocko’s Modern Life
3 Batman (the dark American one)
4 Looney Tunes
7 The Critic
8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I was a kid, so shaddup)
10 Two Stupid Dogs
Looney Tunes (particularly the Chuck Jones ones)
Tom & Jerry (but only the Chuck Jones ones)
Rocky & Bullwinkle
Tex Avery’s Futuristic Series
Battle of the Planets
Wait till your father gets home (the original Family Guy)
Scooby Doo (before Scrappy)
I really liked Hysteria!. I wish it hadn’t come and gone so quickly. I liked the focus on the history, and there was some adult humor to it.
I’ll toss in my two cents with “The New Mighty Mouse”, which ran for a couple seasons in the late eighties. That was back when the “big three” networks cared about their Saturday morning line-up, which may be why it lasted only a short while. But it was on late in the line-up and got the “Letterman” treatment: Nobody’s watching, so we can get away with more strange content. Seriously twisted and way ahead of its time, it looked like no other cartoon of its time but paved the way for many of the offbeat cartoons already mentioned.
Let me note that I fully blame the producers of “Jonny Quest” for my pathological fear of large spiders.
One of the original episodes involved a mad scientist who built an (almost) indestructible mechanical war machine that looked like a tarantula on steroids. I still have flashbacks of that nail-biting background music as the spider marches along, resisting all efforts to stop it, including Race Bannon, Haji and, um, Bandit.