The 20 Best Cartoons Ever Made…

20 – Ren and Stimpy – Nickelodeon (1991 – 1996)

Far ahead of its time, Ren & Stimpy set the tone for stoner cartoons for many years to come, including SpongeBob and anything on Adult Swim. Ren & Stimpy has catchy music, hilarious (albeit often dark or obscure) skits, and colorful visuals. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

19 – Doug – Nickelodeon (1991 – 1994)

Doug is another Nick toon that set the tone for an entire generation. From his colored-best-friend Skeeter to his generic-girl-next-door-dream-girl Patty Mayonnaise and his superhero alter-ego, Quail Man, Doug is the epitome of middle-class white America. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

18 – The Jetsons – ABC (1962 – 1987)

A futuristic version of The Flintstones, The Jetsons has held up much better over time. This is because while Fred and the gang paid homage to The Honeymooners of the past, George, Jane, Judy, and Elroy represent humanity’s present and future, as button-pressing drones mixed into a world filled with innovation. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

17 – Life & Times of Tim – HBO (2008 – )

Not as well-known as the other entries on this list, The Life & Times of Tim is one of HBO’s most underrated comedies. Perennial loser Tim and his girlfriend go through a variety of hilariously dark mishaps in episodes split into two vignettes a piece. What looks like a subtle comedy can very quickly turn into a Hangover-style romp. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

16 – Family Guy – Fox (1999 – )

Once cancelled for pushing the envelope too much, and constantly compared to The Simpsons, Family Guy has proven itself as one of the best comedies on Primetime network TV.  Known for cut scenes, low-brow humor, breaking the fourth wall, and constantly dragging jokes out over time, Family Guy is a laughfest from front to back. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

15 – Powerpuff Girls – Cartoon Network (1998 – 2005)

Adorable kid habits that lead your daughter to a job on the pole…
Chicks have very few cartoons, and even less are any good. The Powerpuff Girls took girl power to a level the Spice Girls couldn’t dream of. Destroying bad guys while going through the normal turmoil little girls go through (the mean kid hurting the class gerbil, getting glasses, etc.), these girls are the daughters we all wish we had. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

14 – The Boondocks – Cartoon Network (2005 – )

An urban Doug or  Malcom in the Middle, Huey Freeman is the voice of reason in this cartoon based on The Boondocks comic strip. Fresh art style and a breakbeat soundtrack give every episode of The Boondocks an edge it carries through every minute of the socially conscious plots. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

13 – Dr. Katz – Comedy Central (1995 – 1999)

Dr. Katz is more than just a show about a therapist – it’s an animated talk-show springboard for comedians of the time to perform various bits. The wiggly animation is a bit jarring at first, but once you get used to it, the charm of Dr. Katz can truly seep through.  Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

12 – Scooby Doo – Cartoon Network (1969 – )

A cartoon whose popularity has spanned decades, Scooby-Doo and his team have done it all in their Mystery Machine van.  The live-action film captures the essence of the cartoon, which is that everyone is stoned and on an adventure to hunt ghosts. In some incarnations of the show (i.e. The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo), the ghosts are even real. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

11 – Aqua Teen Hunger Force – Cartoon Network (2000 -)

One of those shows you either get or you don’t, Aqua Teen Hunger Force made Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming lineup a legitimate thing. Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad have hilariously surreal adventures similar to the Powerpuff Girls, though much more inappropriate. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

10 – Rick & Morty – Cartoon Network (2013- )

Rick and Morty Cartoon Network Adult Swim
Me, hard at work writing this blog…
Rick is an unstable alcoholic genius, and Morty is his idiot grandson. Together they go on adventures through time, space, and other dimensions, slaying Back to the Future, Bill and Ted, and just about every other beloved sci-fi franchise in existence in the process. Rick and Morty‘s second season looks to turn up the action a notch, so catch up soon, if you’re not already. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

9 – DuckTales – Disney (1987 – 1990)

Disney has always been known for its cartoon franchises. While critics may debate the best Disney cartoon movie, DuckTales reigns supreme on TV. Featuring Donald Duck’s nephews, Huey, Duey, and Luey, DuckTales is a throwback to a much less complicated world. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

8 – Batman: The Animated Series – Fox (1992 – 1998)

It’s been over 20 years since Batman: The Animated Series first aired, and it’s still one of the best cartoons ever made. Setting pop culture up for the modern Batman, BTAS also created one of the character’s most iconic villians – Harley Quinn. Mark Hamill’s Joker is overshadowed only by Heath Ledger’s turn, and the bat is as dangerous as ever. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

7 – SpongeBob SquarePants – Nickelodeon (1999 – )

The king of stoner comedy for generations has been SpongeBob Squarepants. If you have a kid, know a kid, or know someone with a kid, there’s a good chance you’ve seen at least one episode of SpongeBob, and there’s another movie in theaters as we speak. Under the sea adventures with SpongeBob and Patrick are classic adventures that never get old. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

6 – Animaniacs – The WB (1993 – 1998)

Most classic comedy cartoons aired at night, as though somehow kids wouldn’t stay up late to check out the good stuff from the commercials and TV guides. Now we have the Internet, so it’s hard to imagine, but believe me, life sucked back then. Thankfully, Animaniacs cleverly skirted TV censors, bringing adult-level humor to a seemingly innocent Warner Bros afternoon cartoon. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

5 – Futurama – Comedy Central (1999 – )

Like The Jetsons trumped The Flintstones over time, Futurama turned out to be the better Matt Groening cartoon, ironically being cancelled by Fox and resurrected by popular demand, just like Family Guy. Following a space delivery agency in the future, Fry, Leila, and the gang fill every episode of Futurama with classic quips and memorable lines. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

4 – King of the Hill – Fox (1997 – 2010)

Although Beavis and Butthead‘s commentary over videos turned out to be further ahead of its time than any of us knew, King of the Hill is the Mike Judge cartoon that still holds interest today. Hank, Peggy, Bobby, and LouAnn Hill have hilarious small-town problems that often feel almost more real than a live-action show like Silicon Valley. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

3 – Archer – FX (2009 – )

Paying homage to James Bond, Arrested Development, and, well…everything else, Archer is one of the most brilliant shows ever aired on television. The mixture of action, drama, sex, violence, comedy, flashbacks, drugs, and covert ops could attract fans of anything. Sterling Archer is the guy we all wish we were (unless you’re creepy like Dr. Krieger). Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

2 – The Venture Bros – Adult Swim (2003- )

Venture Bros Best Cartoon Ever
Until Venture Bros, Johnny Quest was a great cartoon series. Then the entire thing was lampooned in a way that made it even better, even including an aged and recovering Johnny himself. The Monarch arches just to arch, and the entire arch-enemy dynamic is explored in this adventure series. This is the life we all wish we lived, and seeing a henchman costume at PAX Prime 2014 was easily a highlight of my year. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

1 – South Park – Comedy Central (1997 – )

Once seen as juvenile, South Park has been consistently skewing everything we love and hate about pop culture. Like The Daily Show, South Park is not only the reason Comedy Central still exists, it’s a handy reference tool about the reality of subjects like Scientology, NAMBLA, and more things we wish didn’t exist. Also, let’s all just admit we all agree with Cartman more often than not. Check out an episode below or click above to shop for the toon on Amazon.

Versability

Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer.

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