A Cartoon Master Post – Part 1
Updated: Apr 10, 2020
PLEASE BE AWARE: THIS IS A LARGE BLOG POST AND WILL TAKE A FEW SECONDS TO FULLY LOAD.
I was inspired the other day by a similar list to highlight all of my favourite animated TV series over the years. Some of the shows on this list I’m nuts about and others I moderately enjoy or really liked at one point in my life. So brace yourself, this is going to be a long list, they won’t be in any specific order either as my guess is that there will be too many to rate from 1-10 and so on.
Hopefully this list will take you down memory lane and perhaps inspire you to watch some new shows!
Where do I even begin?!
Creators: Arlene Klasky & Gábor Csupó
Originally Aired: 1991 – 2004, Nickelodeon. Lasted 9 seasons.
Plot: The story of a group of 5-7 babies (depending on the series) and the adventures they get into when their parent’s aren’t watching.
Additional Info: ‘KlaskyCsupo’ are also responsible for The Wild Thornberry’s, Rocket Power, As Told By Ginger as well as a few episodes of The Simpsons and more. Rugrats spawned 3 feature films – including a cross over film with The Wild Thornberry’s – and 2 spin off series: All Grown Up! & Rugrats Pre-School Daze.
Why it Made This List: Klasky & Csupo are animation legends and Rugrats was a real staple to mine and my sister’s childhoods.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Creators: Michael Dante DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko
Originally Aired: 2005-2008, Nickelodeon. Lasted 3 seasons.
Plot: A world divided, made up of 4 nations: the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation, and Air Nomads. Each nation contains individuals with the ability to bend their chosen element; water benders, fire benders, earth benders and air benders. The Avatar has the ability to master all 4 of the elements. Aang; a young monk Airbender is the latest incarnation of the Avatar therefore it is his job to save a world at war.
Additional Info: ATLA spawned a sequel series – The Legend of Korra as well as a few comic book series and a questionable live action movie adaptation (don’t waste your time)
Why it Made This List: You only have to see the series once to know why it made this list, It’s phenomenal.
Creator: Loren Bouchard
Originally Aired: 2011 – present, Fox. Currently on it’s 8th season.
Plot: The show plays out like a family sitcom and follows the day to day running’s of the Belcher’s family run burger restaurant and the hilarity that ensues there.
Additional Info: This is the first ‘adult’ cartoon on our list! I use quotation marks when I say ‘adult’ because I wouldn’t say that Bob’s Burgers is on the same level as shows such as Family Guy or Rick & Morty per se but I think I’d still put it a notch or two above The Simpsons.
Why it Made This List: It’s honestly hilarious, full of unbelievably funny dialogue, great voice actors as well as loads of spot on references.
American Dragon: Jake Long
Creator: Jeff Goode
Originally Aired: 2005 – 2007, Disney Channel. Lasted for 2 seasons.
Plot: Jake Long, an American-Chinese teenage boy who lives in New York City and loves to skateboard; happens to have the ability to transform into a dragon. He has a responsibility to protect all of the magical creatures in New York City. Jake must train with his grandfather Lao Shi, a dragon master whilst also balancing school, a social life and keeping it all a secret from everyone, even his father!
Additional Info: The series went through some pretty drastic changes in series 2 with the art direction changing fairly drastically. If you watch the theme embedded above then watch the theme for season two, you can clearly notice the new direction.
Why it Made This List: My sister’s and I watched this show A LOT growing up, it’s very nostalgic so one of my favourite series of all time.
Creators: Traci Paige Johnson, Todd Kessler & Angela Santomero
Originally Aired: 1996 – 2006, Nick JR. Lasted 6 seasons.
Plot: The show would follow a formulaic structure – as most children’s shows do – so in each episode the series’ host: Kevin and the viewers would have to follow the clues that Blue: his dog has left around the house to help them figure out what Blue wants to do that day
Additional Info: I’d like to apologise for the quality of the clip featured above, it’s incredibly hard to find information and videos of the UK version of Blue’s Clues as the show is more famously known by it’s American originator. Just so you all know though I am exclusively talking about the UK version as it’s the one I grew up watching.
Why it Made This List: I know I say this about a lot of cartoons, but genuinely this series fills me with so much joy. I can vividly remember watching this in my very early years of around 2-5 years old. I remember really loving it and now that I look over it 15 or so years later, I’m still so impressed by it! I like to think that’s it’s literally one of the best examples of young children’s television programming, the art style, the storytelling, the viewer involvement is all perfect and I wish that I had created this series myself!
The Wild Thornberrys
Creators: Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó, Steve Pepoon, David Silverman & Stephen Sustarsic
Originally Aired: 1998 – 2004, Nickeloden. Lasted 5 seasons.
Plot: Eliza Thornberry is a 12 year old girl who travels around the world with her family in a decked out mini van, her parents film a nature show blissfully unaware of Eliza’s gift; she can talk to animals. Similar to Jake Long in American Dragon though, she can’t tell anyone or she’ll risk losing her gift.
Additional Info: The Wild Thornberrys also spawned an AMAZING movie; The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2004) as well as a Rugrats crossover movie; Rugrats Go Wild (2003). The show features a cast of pretty impressive actors including Tim Curry (that’s right, the original Pennywise) as Nigel Thornberry, Lacey Chabert (Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls) as Eliza Thornberry & Flea (of Red Hot Chilli Peppers fame) As Donnie.
Why it Made This List: As a child I wished I could be Eliza so bad and now as an adult, I wish I had worked on this show so bad! So of course, It made my list.
Creator: Alex Hirsh
Originally Aired: 2012 – 2016, Disney Channel. Lasted 2 seasons.
Plot: Twins Dipper and Mabel Pines spend their summer visiting their Great Uncle (“Grunkle”) Stan in Gravity Falls, Oregon. Grunkle Stan runs a tourist trap called the Mystery Shack where he displays and sells “oddities” of Gravity Falls, mostly unbeknown to him and the rest of Gravity Falls though is that the town is full of paranormal and mysterious goings on including the likes of Unicorns, Demons, Mermaids, curses and more! Dipper and Mabel must find a way to uncover all of the mysteries surrounding the town as well as simply survive the summer!
Additional Info: Gravity Falls has a large older audience due to it’s cryptic behind the scenes puzzle solving, each episode starts and ends with cryptic clues as to what is to happen in future episodes. Fans all over the internet all worked together to figure out what lies ahead for the series, many of them working it out before the next episode had even aired!
Why it Made This List: I caught an episode a few weeks ago on Disney XD and found that it still holds up! It’s still just a witty, just as clever and just as funny as I originally found it.
Gruesome Tales For Grizzly Kids
Creators: Jamie Rix
Originally Aired: 2000 – 2007, CITV. Lasted 10 series.
Plot: The series was basically a scary show for children, the stop motion animated host would tell a different cautionary tail every episode in the form of a 2D animated short that was basically supposed to teach children to not be a***holes. The kids in each story were brats or in the wrong in some way so saw a scary consequence because of it.
Additional Info: Sorry to any of my readers who don’t live in the UK but I think this show was created and aired mainly/only in the UK (I’m not 100% sure of this though, if you saw this aired in a country other than the UK, let me know!)
Why it Made This List: For many of you a similar age to myself you may also remember finishing school and catching an episode or two of this when you got home. I remember being fascinated whist also disgusted by this series, kids love that in a TV series!
What’s New Scooby-Doo?
Original Creators: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Originally Aired: 2002 – 2006
Plot: This series stays pretty close to the original series, only really updating the in series technology, mannerisms and culture bringing it into the 21st century. A group of 4 teenagers and their Great Dane strive to solve mysteries involving the paranormal, aliens, monsters and more.
Additional Info: Many of the original voice actors returned for this series, Frank Welker reprises his role as Fred whilst also gaining the task of voicing Scooby-Doo in this series onwards and Casey Kasem returned to the role of Shaggy too; on the condition that for this series, Shaggy would be a dedicated vegetarian.
Why it Made This List: Those of you who know me, know that I love many different productions within the Scooby-Doo franchise. However, What’s New Scooby-Doo? the Warner Bros. Animation produced series is most probably my favourite. I have actually got into a bit of a habit of watching late night re-runs of this show at around 11pm on Boomerang and it’s so delightful reliving the episodes I used to watch daily at around 5-6pm as a kid.
Original Creator: Naoko Takeuchi
Originally Aired: 1992 – 1997, Multiple Networks. Lasted 5 seasons.
Plot: The series follows the life of 14 year old Usagi/Serena (depending if you’re watching it in Japanese or English) a clumsy, unorganised girl who can never seem to get anything right. One fateful day, she finds out that she is actually destined to save the Earth from evil as superhero; Sailor Moon! Much like many of the other entries on this list, Sailor Moon must also keep her real identity a secret from pretty much everyone she knows. The show plays out like your average secret super hero series however with Japanese culture throughout.
Additional Info: The series boomed in popularity and has since spawned a number of different animated tv series, movies, live action series, stage shows, video games and more; gaining popularity all over the world. The franchise remains a milestone in the ‘Magical Girl’ genre. Sailor Moon is now seen as a staple of Japanese Otaku (Japanese term for nerd) culture as well as Japanese Kawaii (Japanese term for cute) culture.
Why it Made This List: Unfortunately, I was not cool enough to watch Sailor Moon in the 90s and instead started watching it when I was around 16-17 years old, I also have only watched the English dub (excluding Sailor Moon Crystal). Regardless though, I love this series in all of its dorky splendour.
House of Mouse
Creators: Rob Gannaway & Tony Craig
Originally Aired: 2001 – 2003, Disney Channel. Lasted 3 seasons.
Plot: Honestly, there wasn’t actually much to this show, the general idea was that Mickey Mouse owned his own dinner theatre club where all of your favourite Disney characters frequented from the likes of Ariel, Hades, Lady & Tramp and so on. The club was also run by Mickey’s pals such as Donald, Goofy, Max Goof, Daisy, Chip n Dale, Huey, Duey & Louie and so on, who each had their own role from in house band to valet parking attendant, chef, presenter and even landlord in the case of Pete. The show was created simply just to showcase Mickey Mouse shorts.
Additional Info: This show ranks pretty high in my My Top 10 Favourite Disney Animated TV Shows list.
Why it Made This List: There was something so exciting to me as a kid looking out for all of my favourite Disney characters making brief cameos in between each cartoon segment. I would love to see this show get a revival one day with all of the new Disney faces such as Rapunzel, Baymax, Moana, Judy & Nick, Ralph, Pixar pals and so on!
Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends
Creator: Craig McCraken
Originally Aired: 2004 – 2009, Cartoon Network. Lasted 6 seasons.
Plot: The show tells the story of a large - almost orphanage - for imaginary friends who are no longer needed by their child creator and therefore are waiting to be adopted by a new child, kind of like the RSPCA for imaginary friends. Mac, a young boy is pressured into giving up his disruptive imaginary friend Bloo to Fosters. Afraid that Bloo will be adopted and that he would never see him again, Mac makes an agreement with the owner and caretakers of Fosters that if Mac comes to visit Bloo every day, he is allowed to stay in the house without the risk of adoption. Mac visits the home everyday, makes new friends and in typical cartoon fashion, chaos always ensues.
Additional Info: In addition to both being animation powerhouses, Craig McCraken & Lauren Faust are actually married in real life! The story for Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends stemmed from the experience the pair had adopting 2 Labradors from an animal shelter.
Why it Made This List: I’ve most definitely mentioned it in a blog post before this one however I do have a rather large tattoo on my leg of the Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends house, that’s how much I love this show!
Creators: Vincent Chalvon-Demersay & David Michel
Originally Aired: 2002 – 2008, Jetix. Lasted 5 seasons*
Plot: The show focuses on 3 teenage girls from Beverly Hills, California, who happen to be undercover agents on the side. Not too dissimilar to Charlie's Angels.
Additional Info: *whilst researching for this blog post, I found out that Totally Spies! Didn’t end when I initially thought it did, I was under the impression that it had been and gone but it turns out that once the original series had ended, it was renewed for a 6th season in 2013! I’m not sure if it ever found it’s way to our shores though.
Why it Made This List: Growing up Totally Spies! was my sister’s favourite show, we all sat down to watch it whenever it was on though, it remains one of those shows that we still get excited about. I believe the original series occasionally has reruns on POP and possibly Nickelodeon these days but I don’t see it very often.
The Amazing World of Gumball
Creator: Ben Bocquelet
Originally Aired: 2011 – present, Cartoon Network. Currently on it’s 6th season.
Plot: The show follows the story of 12 year old Gumball, a blue cat living in the city of Elmore with his adopted goldfish brother Darwin, rabbit sister and father, Anais and Richard and his cat mother Nicole. Not to mention all of the other quirky characters living in Elmore! I honestly don’t know how I can describe the plot of this show as it’s all over the place, I’ve only seen a handful of random episodes however my favourite ones from that handful are ‘The Spoon’, ‘The Console’ & ‘The Responsible’ so if you’re looking for a place to start, give those a try!
Additional Info: As you can see from the intro above, the show adopts a pretty cool visual style. A blend of 2D and 3D environments as well as a blend of illustrative and photo realistic elements. The Amazing World of Gumball was the first and for a long time only show produced in Cartoon Network Europe Studios in the UK, that’s pretty cool to me.
Why it Made This List: I actually put off watching this for a pretty long time as I just didn’t understand it. Turns out all you have to do is watch one episode to understand the pure brilliance and hilarity that it contains. But be warned, it’s a little on the weird side.
As Told By Ginger
Creator: Emily Kapnek
Originally Aired: 2000 – 2003, Nickelodeon. Lasted 3 seasons.
Plot: The series follows 12 year old Ginger Foutley as she traverses her way through middle school and later high school. Rather low in the school’s pecking order, Ginger and her best friends Macie & Dodie attempt to climb their way up the social ladder all while tackling school bully Miranda and any embarrassing incidents that may come their way.
Additional Info: This is the 3rd Klasky-Csupo production on my list after Rugrats & The Wild Thornberrys. The series was aimed towards a pre-teen demographic as it covered topics such as bullying, high school, friendship groups, first boyfriends, single parent households, body image and more.
Why it Made This List: I watched the series when it was originally aired and although I didn’t understand a lot of the teenage-drama, I did enjoy it. Re-watching it now that I’m an adult I can really appreciate the writing and themes this show bought us. I know I say this about practically every show I love BUT SERIOUSLY, I can’t applaud this show enough.
Creators: Glenn Eichler & Susie Lewis
Originally Aired: 1997 – 2002, MTV. Lasted 5 seasons.
Plot: Cynical and sarcastic teenager Daria and her family have just moved to the fictional town of Lawndale, where Daria and her sister Quinn must adapt to a new school full of new people. Daria has something witty to say about everything and everyone.
Additional Info: Daria first appeared as a reoccurring character in Beavis and Butt-head before landing her own spin off show! Also side note: it was pretty impossible to find a good quality clip of the shows intro so I embedded a DVD advert which is nicer quality and has the theme included throughout, this clip actually sums the series up better than the intro.
Why it Made This List: The show is hilarious, Daria’s dry witty humour never fails to make me laugh. The show makes me nostalgic of the 90s and I was a baby then!
The Legend of Korra
SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t seen Avatar The Last Airbender and want to, scroll past this entry! The plot and video above will spoil Avatar The Last Airbender for you!
Creators: Michael Dante DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko
Originally Aired: 2012 – 2014, Nickeloden. Lasted 4 seasons.
Plot: Set 70 years after the events of ATLA, The Legend of Korra follows the story of the latest Avatar in the cycle – 17 year old Korra from the Southern Water Tribe. When the series begins she has already learned 3 out of 4 of the elements, water, earth and fire. She is yet to learn Air Bending. The series follows an almost similar pattern to ATLA, it’s a progressive story which follows one underlining story so if i were to explain it all now it would take a very long time. Just know that it’s amazing and slightly more mature than ATLA and should be watched if you enjoyed the original series.
Additional Info: During the 3rd season of the show, Nickelodeon stopped broadcasting the show on their television channel, opting instead to distribute new episodes on their website and through online streaming services. This continued on to season 4 as well.
Why it Made This List: It’s literally one of my favourite cartoons of ALL TIME.
Baby Looney Tunes
Based On: Looney Tunes.
Originally Aired: 2001 – 2006, Cartoon Network. Lasted 2 seasons.
Plot: All of your favourite Looney Tunes characters are now babies! Including, Bugs, Daffy, Sylvester, Tweety, Taz & Lola. Granny is still old though and acts as the babies’ carer in the show.
Additional Info: Baby Looney Tunes is kind of similar to Muppet Babies if you’re familiar with that.
Why it Made This List: I watched it an awful lot when I was younger, I haven’t watched or really heard anything about it since then though. I was pleasantly surprised when I found the intro that I seem to know the theme song pretty well still!
The Powerpuff Girls
Creator: Craig McCracken
Originally Aired: 1998 – 2005, Cartoon Network. Lasted 6 seasons.
Plot: 3 chemically engineered kindergarten girls – Blossom, Bubbles & Buttercup must use their unique powers to save the city of Townsville from evil on a daily basis. All before bedtime!
Additional Info: Some of you would have noticed that this is the second Craig McCraken production on this list, McCracken also created and developed Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends.
Why it Made This List: The Powerpuff Girls was literally my favourite show as a kid, I can remember being as early as 3 siting down to watch this at 6pm every night, aww.
Creator: Pendleton Ward
Originally Aired: 2010 – present, Cartoon Network. Currently on it’s 10th season.
Plot: In the land of Ooo, 12 year old Finn the Human and his best friend Jake the Dog spend their days fighting evil and spending most of their time saving the local princesses from the evil Ice King.
Additional Info: Many celebrities have lent their voices to the series including, Neil Patrick Harris, Mark Hamill, Ron Perlman, Andy Samberg and more!
Why it Made This List: I actually only got up to season 5 of this series before I sadly lost interest in it however this show is pretty influential and has some great episodes.
Creator: Genndy Tartakovsky
Originally Aired: 1996 – 2003, Cartoon Network. Lasted 4 seasons.
Plot: Young boy genius Dexter has a secret lab hidden in his house where he regularly invents things, that is until his sister Dee-Dee finds her way in and disrupts everything and Dexter has to try new ways in which to keep her out.
Additional Info: During the first 2 seasons, shorts were also included in the show including Dial M for Monkey and Justice Friends.
Why it Made This List: This was another of my OG cartoons that I watched as young as 2-3 years old.