An Alphabetical Guide to the Best Animated Series Ever

What're the best animated television shows of all time? We took on the difficult task of picking one for each letter of the alphabet. Sound off in the comments and let us know what you think we missed!
  1. A: Adventure Time
    Adventure Time has blossomed into one of the most distinctive cartoons currently on the air.
  2. B: Beavis And Butt-head
    Beavis And Butt-head is the smartest show MTV has ever aired, and it “stars” two of the greatest morons in cartoon history.
  3. C: The Critic
    Time has been kind to The Critic, whose format was ideal for the sort of quick-cut movie spoofs that can live well beyond their original context .
  4. D: Daria
    Daria, a show so entrenched in late ’90s alt-culture that one of its characters was named Trent, is due for a renaissance.
  5. E: Eek! The Cat
    Fox’s gleefully sadistic series delighted in putting its do-gooder hero through the ringer, all while satirizing a hypothetical audience of spoiled, impatient, cereal-eating kids.
  6. F: The Flintstones
    A prehistoric sitcom way ahead of its time, The Flintstones beat The Simpsons to primetime by several decades, and established a market for TV cartoons aimed at adults—even if, ultimately, most of the show’s audience was under 10.
  7. G: Gravity Falls
    Gravity Falls is essentially a Frankenstein’s monster of Bart-and-Lisa-centric Simpsons episodes, the atmosphere of Twin Peaks, and the dense mythologizing of The X-Files and Lost.
  8. H: Home Movies
    Home Movies is its own animal, heavy on inspired improvisation and featuring characters as richly developed as they are crudely drawn.
  9. I: Invader Zim
    Invader Zim was destined for a cult following. From its seemingly bizarre nature to its too-early demise, the Nickelodeon cartoon brought a darker form of entertainment to the kid’s network.
  10. J: Johnny Bravo
    Johnny Bravo used its main character to smack down—hard—the idea of the ultra-perfect male and his obnoxious sense of entitlement, while also exploring, in increments, some of Johnny’s surprising positive qualities.
  11. K: King Of The Hill
    It was a show that poked gentle fun at traditional American values—the kind held dear by its hero, sensible and stodgy propane salesman Hank Hill—without stooping to condescension.
  12. L: Liquid Television
    Liquid Television was the breeding ground for some of the strangest animation ever to make it to mainstream TV.
  13. M: Muppet Babies
    Muppet Babies flexed its powers of fantasy by transforming the babies’ nursery into fairy-tale settings, outer-space outposts, and any other Never Never Land Kermit and company could conjure.
  14. N: Neon Genesis Evangelion
    The series’ contrasting and contradictory themes have produced two decades of fan theories, which, at this point, are on the verge of overshadowing the fact that Neon Genesis Evangelion happens to also be a first-rate sci-fi action serial.
  15. O: The Oblongs
    The Oblongs was a biting, hilarious satire of class divisions and social stratification, delineated by the grotesque mutations of the Oblongs and everyone else who lived “below” the wealthy citizens of The Hills.
  16. P: Pinky And The Brain
    Like many of the best Warner Bros. cartoons, Pinky & The Brain is uncomplicated and repetitive, but the creators bring just enough variety to keep it consistently entertaining.
  17. Q: Queer Duck
    Queer Duck was the first animated series to center around an openly gay character.
  18. R: The Ren & Stimpy Show
    The Ren & Stimpy Show looked back to animation’s golden age not just with its wildly expressive main characters, but with its ability to ride the line between children’s entertainment and something far more adult.
  19. S: The Simpsons
    Here’s a no-brainer: The Simpsons is more than TV’s best “S” cartoon—it’s also the best animated series of all time, and television’s crowning achievement regardless of format.
  20. T: The Tick
    On-screen, as on page, The Tick was a gloriously silly parody of superhero conventions, featuring a lovably dimwitted crime-fighter.
  21. U: Ugly Americans
    The characters of Ugly Americans are matter-of-fact about the lunacy that surrounds them. That easygoing attitude is essential to the show’s humor.
  22. V: The Venture Bros.
    Intricate in both jokes and plot, The Venture Bros. has incredible rewatch value and the personalities of the characters and the relationships between them are both bigger than life and affecting.
  23. W: The Wacky Races
    Wacky Races may have been a short-lived feature for a gaggle of Hanna-Barbera’s second-tier characters, but those freewheeling contests proved they could go the distance.
  24. X: X-Men: The Animated Series
    The show tackled social and political issues throughout its five seasons, seeing its colorful team of mutants take on everything from intolerance and race to AIDS and religion.
  25. Y: The Yogi Bear Show
    The Yogi Bear Show was a mishmash of things people liked, and was well liked in turn.
  26. Z: The Zeta Project
    The winner of the Z category based purely on lack of options, but it does have the presence of both Kurtwood Smith and Diedrich Bader in its cast.