50 GREAT ANIMATED TV SHOWS

For anyone who wants escape from adulthood to indulge their inner child. Excluding "The Simpsons" because obviously you know that one, and Japanese anime, because there is just too much of that and it's not my taste anyways.
  1. 1.
    Avatar: The Last Airbender
    Nickeldeon- the GREATEST show, animated or otherwise. Seamless world-building, gorgeous animation, excellent voice cast, effortless comedy, heart, and wisdom. The action sequences are riveting, and it's themes are complex and well-explored. Compact into three seasons, it knew when to stop which is good because there's a lot on this list who didn't know when to stop. If you haven't seen this, watch it now.
  2. 2.
    The Legend of Korra
    Nickelodeon- The Last Airbender spin-off, how could you live up to a show like ATLA? You can't. Despite some hits and misses, The Legend of Korra is a follow-up worthy of your attention. There's a lot of sequences in this show that are extremely well-done, both story wise and in animation. The world Avatar started is explored more thoroughly in this series, which is probably the show's biggest strength. Plus, the series finale was incredible, I still get emotional about it.
  3. 3.
    SpongeBob Squarepants
    Nickelodeon- Okay, this show was genius up until the movie (which was great), and then proceeded to never reach the same level of cleverness it had under show runner Stephen Hillenburg, who left after season 3. The humor still holds up to this day and is endlessly quotable. It's a challenge creating comedy without pop culture references, but because of Spongebob's goofy, nonsensical, and witty assortment of characters, it never ceases to make me laugh.
  4. 4.
    Rocko's Modern Life
    Nickelodeon- Quintessential 90's toon that holds up despite the nostalgia factor. And some bits you never caught as a kid make it all the more laughable on rewatch.
  5. 5.
    Danny Phantom
    Nickelodeon- If you like supernatural-themed superhero cartoons, there's no beating this. I love how they made the folklore of supernatural details into superpowers, like the chill of feeling a ghost in your midst all the sudden becomes Danny's "spidey sense."
  6. 6.
    The Fairly Odd Parents
    Nickelodeon- The formula of 1) Timmy doesn't think something's fair 2) Timmy wishes for something to make it easier 3) Wish escalates out of proportion 4) Timmy realizes he could have solved it a better way- gets tiring as you get older, but I always manage to get a good chuckle from a stupid comment from Cosmo
  7. 7.
    The Mighty B!
    Nickelodeon- I wish this show had done better, mainly because I love Amy Poehler and this was her show, and it was genuinely good! Bessie Higgenbottom was like a younger, animated, lisp-ridden Leslie Knope! It never really went anywhere, but it was always fun to go along on adventures with such an enthusiastic, optimistic character like Bessie.
  8. 8.
    My Life as a Teenage Robot
    Nickelodeon- Like Danny Phantom in that it turns cool ideas about technology and makes them into superpowers. Not big on laughs, but the style was always interesting, dynamic shapes and an interesting color palette made the show an artistically inspired, underrated gem.
  9. 9.
    Star VS the Forces of Evil
    Disney- currently airing, the story follows a space princess with magic powers as she tries to fit in on Earth. The style is very bubble-gum pop and the humor is often overly-exaggerated volumes and inflections to pass for comedy, but it's not terribly grating. Overall, it's an exciting, creative show to indulge the space princess in you.
  10. 10.
    Phineas and Ferb
    Disney- for a show that relies so much on plot formula, my love for it really shows just how well it does at playing with it. The jokes are all worth a chuckle, some innocent and some thoughtfully clever, and the self-awareness gets better the longer you stick with it. With voice talents by Ashley Tisadale, Candace is a riot, and even though you know she'll never get away with busting her brothers- seeing her run herself ragged through endless maniacal, desperate attempts makes for great laughs.
  11. 11.
    Gravity Falls
    Disney- This definitely the laugh-out-loud funniest show on Disney right now, with surprisingly abarasive humor mixed with a loveable goofball quality, it never ceases to entertain. Plus, there's a great mystery quality to it that sticks through to the end. There's no easy answers in Gravity Falls, which makes for an ever-engrossing series full of suspense and memorable laughs.
  12. 12.
    My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
    The Hub- Say what you will about Bronies, but this show isn't exclusive for weirdos and children. It's a genuinely good show that's well written, and has touching moments that express the values of friendship and virtues. And it's cute and clever, the characters all have their loveable quirks and the animation can be beautiful at times. Don't let the fetishization and annoying fandom get in the way if you're looking for something to watch with high-spirited energy and endless smiles.
  13. 13.
    Bob's Burgers
    Fox- Shows that an animated show can be funny without being vulgar and offensive. With an expert mixing of deadpan and screwball comedy, Bob's Burgers dysfunctional family sitcom challenges the stereotypes of the typical American household and thrives off characters that feel relatable and outstandingly absurd. And who can forget the awkward, hormonal teenage girl, Tina Belcher, who has butt-grabbed her way up to TV treasure status. If nothing else, watch this show for her.
  14. 14.
    Futurama
    Fox/Comedy Central- This has a few chuckles, but the humor's not quite as refreshing as it could be. It's best qualities are when it focuses on the relationship between Fry and Leela, and leaves it to its characters to make the jokes- rather than leading the characters to the jokes they want to make. It's easy fun if you like the stabs at the sci-fi genre, or how the future setting makes pop culture references seem nostalgic.
  15. 15.
    Bojack Horseman
    Netflix- the comic timing in this doesn't do it for me, it just sounds like it hasn't quite left the writer's room- that being said, this is still a very well-written satire about the life of an aging celebrity horse. Its humor lies in messy situational comedy about the pitfalls of fame. It's like an inside look into a life in the distorted paparazzi spotlight. It's smart and makes interesting political statements throughout, but it takes itself a little too seriously at times.
  16. 16.
    Rick and Morty
    Adult Swim- I haven't seen this, I try to stay away from Adult Swim most of the time, but I've heard it's great. Full of both raunchy gags and philosophical wisdom, I'd suggest it based on the acclaim alone.
  17. 17.
    Daria
    MTV- We all have a little bit of Daria in us. The animated series centered around the monotone teen was the show of shows for every kid going through a punk phase in the 90's, and it continues to succeed as a brash reminder of how we all hated high school and saw beyond the lore of prom and graduation. It made thinking outside the box into a lifestyle, as Daria presented us a teenage mindset not limited to typical high school conundrums.
  18. 18.
    Mission Hill
    Adult Swim- If you remember this, you too probably had nothing to watch at midnight- stuck on Cartoon Network as the night dragged on. But it was memorable, and it illustrated the lives of a few NYC twenty-somethings in a unique way.
  19. 19.
    Archer
    FX- a tad too raunchy and abrasive for my tastes, but the comic style is visually compelling and the voice talent is uproariously funny. It's like James Bond meets The Office meets Deadpool.
  20. 20.
    Justice League/Justice League: Unlimited
    Cartoon Network- I prefer Unlimited because there it becomes a much more diverse and interchanging ensemble piece (pretentious blabber for cooler superpowers), but the entire series is an action-packed collaboration of your favorite DC superheroes. It's at its best when the stakes are high, and the threat is monumental. It's got that classically entertaining story where we get to see the super-strong reduced to underdogs in the face of evil, and nothing gets me fired up like seeing them prevail.
  21. 21.
    The Batman
    Cartoon Network- Currently watching on Netflix, this is a more stylistic attempt at telling the classic Batman story. Bruce Wayne's younger (and hotter 😳) and Batman's more teched-up in this version. The stories are the same, so if you love Batman and his cast of villains then you'll love this. Batgirl even makes an entrance in Season 3, a character never really given the proper screen time to get to know her. When the animation looks edgier, which fits in with the darkness of Gotham.
  22. 22.
    Batman: The Animated Series
    WB- Probably the most popular Batman series, after all it was the first time we got to see Harley Quinn in action. This Batman series is also probably best for capturing what Batman's all about: a dark knight out to save Gotham. If you're looking for classic Batman, this is it.
  23. 23.
    Teen Titans
    Cartoon Network- the BEST show about superheroes, hands down. It was hilarious, it was an ace at visual comedy that matched wonderfully with its perfectly executed voice acting. It could handle dark themes and still end on a light note. It had genuinely endearing moments of friendship. The characters are well-rounded and all get their chance to shine. The chemistry between characters is what made it so enjoyable, and what made it so devestating when things turned dark. Always a go-to rewatch.
  24. 24.
    X-Men: Evolution
    WB- Remember when the X-Men were all in high school? Not the deepest in its genre, but if you're a big X-Men fan, it's a fun choice to indulge your desires to see the X-Men face up against Magneto and his gang, AND face the trials of high school.
  25. 25.
    Batman Beyond
    WB- The most grungy, stylistic of the Batman series. Set in the near future, Bruce Wayne is old and tired and the mentor to a new generation of the Batman. It's a cool expiriment in reinventing the series, and provides a dark take on the trials of a run-down Gotham.
  26. 26.
    X-Men: The Animated Series
    Fox Kids- This had the best theme song, and really captured the rocking spirit of the 90's, from Rogue's hair, to Jubilee's outfit. It made simple themes and storylines feel grand and epic.
  27. 27.
    Young Justice
    Cartoon Network- Only had a two season run (kind of derails in the sophomore season with an unnecessary time jump) but the first season showcased the strengths of why Young Justice held its audience's attention. The stakes felt real and always tense, the plots were well thought-out and the charcater dynamics had a nice mix of humor and the edge of competition. It's more Justice League than it is Teen Titans, like you'd expect. But it's still worth a watch.
  28. 28.
    Ben 10
    Cartoon Network- Okay this one's kind of embarrassing, but if you're up to just indulge in some alien superhero action with cool characters and can stomach the amateurish humor (half the jokes are him accidentally getting Grey Matter when he wanted Four Arms but fixing the issue anyways, it's like, we get it! Grey Matter's small and useless) then you might be interested in this show. The spin-offs are equally as fun and action-packed, but the original will always be my favorite.
  29. 29.
    Totally Spies
    Cartoon Network- This show made me gay. They're three preppy teenage girls who have cute, clever gadgets and use their boy-crazy brains to solve crimes. I loved it, and the humor is like kind of middle-school, but if you're ALSO one who finds yourself sounding like a bratty princess from time to time, then this show and it's characters may speak to you.
  30. 30.
    Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends
    Cartoon Network- This show is worthy of your attention simply for its ingenious creativity and intricate design. Like, I would watch this for the character and background designs alone. The stories are fun and the characters are loveable, sparking with wit and heart. Above all, it reminds you about what is was like to be a kid, when you had an imagination so vivid and endless, it wasn't tied down by reality. And that's what I love about cartoons, they release you from the limitations of reality.
  31. 31.
    Dexter's Laboratory
    Cartoon Network- Bits and pieces of this show stick with me and occasionally visit my daydreams. I'll always know what "cheese omelette" is in French, or what your pet monkey does when you're not looking. And to this day I still find myself laughing in the classic Mandark rhythm. I'd rewatch this just for the nostalgia factor, and also because I wanted to be a scientist just like Dexter. But even now I still find laughs in the everyday ups and downs of Dexter's inventions versus his sister Dede.
  32. 32.
    Samurai Jack
    Cartoon Network- They're bringing this back, so now's the perfect time to catch up on it. Samurai Jack wasn't your typical Cartoon Network show, it was quiet and patient. It was refreshing to see a channel so geared towards hyper-active children embrace a slow-burning, visually stunning piece valuing beautiful animation over cheap laughs. Jack's quest to defeat Aku was never anything less than epic, & the stories that paved the way were an engrossing break from the mind-numbing toons of its day.
  33. 33.
    The Powerpuff Girls
    Cartoon Network- How can you resist these bug-eyed little angels? You can't! A marathon of Powepuff Girls is like a shot of pink, sugary, giggle-inducing adrenaline. Every character was unique and the balance between the girls' personalities spoke to every aspect of my being. Smart and sensible Blossom, sweet and sensitive Bubbles, and tough and brave Buttercup. The supporting characters provided most of the laughs, but the girls' naivety made the show light-hearted and laughable.
  34. 34.
    Courage the Cowardly Dog
    Cartoon Network- This show was messed-up, and maybe that's just what you need! It's not everyday you get to see cartoons embrace the weird, dark recesses of your subconcious. This show presented an unflinching look at the outrageous and showed how even the most cowardice of creatures can overcome the crippling fear of the unknown. It's artistically bold, and it's comedy is coal-black, crooked and a little raunchy. If anything, Courage the Cowardly Dog was always fascinating.
  35. 35.
    Regular Shows
    Cartoon Network- A show for the slacker millennials who find that the best adventures involve doing nothing in particular. I have to give the show props for making ordinary situations into outrageous predicaments. The humor's probably the most down-to-earth on its channel, and the characters feel like people you know. It works to the show's advantage, as it would be hard to make a show about nothing seem interesting if it didn't seem so relatable.
  36. 36.
    We Bare Bears
    Cartoon Network- A fish out of water kind of story involving three bears assimilating into modern society. The technology-obsessed Panda feels a little grating for a cartoon, but there are some genuine laughs and observations about Internet culture. Ice Bear's a one-liner machine, and Grizzly pretty much represents the wannabe extrovert in all of us, seeking to understand the ease in which some people socialize with others. Even when it's humdrum, it's always manages to win you over with heart.
  37. 37.
    Steven Universe
    Cartoon Network- PLEASE DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THIS SHOW! It develops it's characters so well and the way its story unfolds, building upon the lore of its world and the magic within it is so fascinating! The mythology is compact enough to make sense, but expansive enough to explore. The characters are all aces, there's not a bad one in the bunch. I have laughed and cried and been swept away by the twists of the secrets in Steven's universe. AND it's not afraid to embrace lesbian relationships!
  38. 38.
    Over the Garden Wall
    Cartoon Network- This show is a legitimate masterpiece. CN's first miniseries, exploring the familiar storybook worlds harboring dark secrets and mysteries. Two brothers stranded in the Unknown face challenges of finding their way back home and escaping the clutches of the eerie, malevolent shadowy figure simply named: The Beast. When its secrets are revealed, the rewatches provide a more rewarding experience. The finale is a stunning, breathtaking payoff of a haunting tale. Please watch this.
  39. 39.
    Adventure Time with Finn and Jake
    Cartoon Network- This covers just about every indulgence you're looking for in a cartoon. You want silly and clever humor with a cast of goofball characters? You want colorful, captivating animation with extravagant, original sci-fi and fairytale-inspired designs? You want unexpectedly poignant and heartbreaking themes and explorations of grounded, humane characters? You want to feel the spirit of adventure in your blood? Adventure Time is your show.
  40. 40.
    The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack
    Cartoon Network- If you're in a silly mood and just want to giggle along with an adorable, contagiously laughable character and his crumudgeony, self-centered caretaker set in a world that makes you crave candy like no other- then this is the cartoon for you. It's not the deepest show, and their quest for Candy Island doesn't ever go anywhere, but it's definitely a stylistically investing and has a unique mix of creepiness and adorableness.
  41. 41.
    The Looney Tunes Show
    Cartoon Network- A sitcom version of the Looney Tunes characters COULD have been bad, but this is a surprisingly funny twist on the classic chemistry between Bugs and Daffy and the rest of the gang set in the modern world. The humor is very dialogue-driven, which makes the quippy exchanges between characters a great showcase for the actors' voice talents (including a hilarious Kristen Wiig as a manic, high-strung version of Lola Bunny). It had a short run, but it's worth a look.
  42. 42.
    Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated
    Cartoon Network- If you like Scooby Doo, then you'll like this. I was never fond of the same old, same old masked villain turning out to be the gardener… again. But this show did more than that, it fleshed out its characters and incorporated a much grander mystery involving an unsolved crime tucked away in the shadows of Coolsville. As far as humor, you get what you expect from Scooby and the gang, but it never falls too comfortably into the old-fashioned comedic stylings of the original.
  43. 43.
    The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy
    Cartoon Network- A unique, darkly hilarious set-up involving the Grim Reaper and his relationship with a mind-numbing nitwit and his cheerless, sinister best friend. It's at its best when it pokes fun at supernatural elements. The humor ranges from gross-out nonsense to bleak, dry deadpan. The two comedic styles shouldn't work as well as they do together, but even when it crosses into brain-dead stupidity, it manages to stand its ground by taking it back through unfiltered, bitter wit.
  44. 44.
    Ed, Edd, and Eddy
    Cartoon Network- I loved this show as a kid, and I don't know what it is about it that I loved so much? The repertoire between the three Eds? Maybe I wanted to live in their neighborhood and build contraptions like them in an attempt to scam the kids of the culdesac? Or maybe I just wanted to see what was underneath Double D's hat. I just loved it, and the movie they made was a satisfying ending to a much-missed show. I think I need a rewatch.
  45. 45.
    Xiaolin Showdown
    WB- Another kind of embrassing addition, I just loved it for the action and the cool magical artifacts they had called the Shen-Gong-Wu. A new Shen-Gong-Wu appeared in every episode and had some cool magical ability, like an orb that creates floods, or a ruby that moved objects at will. Even in my 20's, I still think it's fun, and their adventures make me feel like a kid again. The humor doesn't kill it, and sometimes manages to exceed expectations. Even the animation has moments of beauty.
  46. 46.
    Bee and Puppycat
    YouTube- An original concept comprised of a few short episodes featured on Cartoon Hangover, that involves a quirky temp who adopts a mystical part-puppy, part-cat creature who accompanies her on missions to solve intergalactic crisis. The aesthetic is like old-fashioned anime, with an original twist to it. The episodes are short, so there's not a whole lot they can pack into it, but the funny mumblings of Bee and gorgeous design make it worth watching.
  47. 47.
    Bravest Warriors
    YouTube- From the creator of Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors has the same kind of random, nonsensical humor spiced-up with an outstanding imagination depicting an inspired version of the future with plenty of little details that make it stand out amongst Cartoon Hangover's other showcases. There's plenty of cute moments worth a hearty laugh, and the episodes are short enough to not require a commitment to any sort of big-picture. Watch it next time you're bored on YouTube.
  48. 48.
    Simon's Cat
    YouTube- Of course everyone knows about Simon's cat, the silent series detailing the mini-adventures of a cat. Simon Tofield's wonderful hand-drawn animation of his beloved feline friend is great for cat-lovers or someone wanting to spend a lazy Sunday endlessly watching snippets from his channel.
  49. 49.
    The Most Popular Girls in School
    YouTube- The stop-motion series about the baddest bitches in high school is a step-up from Adult Swim's Robot Chicken in its use of Barbies as models, by making their cheeky, permanent smiles like a perpetual gag of petty passive-aggression towards one another. Endlessly quotable, it's humor adapts to my mood for hours after I watch it. If you like Mean Girls or Jai'me: Private School Girl, you'll love this.
  50. 50.
    Eddsworld
    YouTube- A British web series created by the late Edd Gould feels like a fun session of goofing around with your best friends, roasting each other and making puns, but gives it the added twist of unusual adventures. It has quite a few episodes to it, and is still currently updating, so if you're looking for a casual investment in an animated web series, this is a great show to start with.