I was clued on to this idea for a top 10 list from someone who commented on my top 15 anime series list. He said that I should do a list for my non-anime cartoon series. Got me to thinking. Now, a few things to know going into this. First, I grew up in a lower-middle class family. We didn’t have cable, growing up. So my knowledge of cartoons is rather limited. Second, I haven’t kept up in a long time. Cartoons as I understood them died out a long time ago anyway. For the days when I would wake up on a Saturday morning and watch Digimon (which will not be on this list. It’s anime. I made a list for that) or any number of cool shows. It kills me how great kid’s TV died not long after the 90’s. Right along with rock. But that’s a whole other deal. Here is the list of cartoons that I grew up with,
What do you get when you get the same animation team behind Recess and have them do a show about middle school safety officers that is basically taking the police procedural series and making it about school crimes? You get one of the coolest shows I used to watch. This series came out late in my youth. I was the perfect age for it, as I was in middle school when it came out. A pity that it wasn’t cool like this. Oh well. I have a theory about Ingrid Third and her personality that I wrote about in another post. Perhaps some of you will know which one I’m talking about.
Some of you may be wondering why it’s so low on this list, because no one can argue that this wasn’t a series of quality. Unfortunately, it’s because I don’t remember this series as much as I do others. I remember that it was awesome, and I loved it, but the memory is more than a little faded. The by-product of a head injury. Still, this series was fantastic. Some of the greatest writing you’ll ever see, with jokes that are mature and still hold up. It was amazing how hardcore this series could go with its euphemisms and innuendos. For the days when the makers of kid’s programming had balls. Though, maybe some of that’s coming back. After all, Legend of Korra did have someone’s head explode. Perhaps there’s hope.
8. Kim Possible
How many of you are judging me? I can tell. For all the SJWs who talk about how there are no good female characters, I am amazed that this series has gotten overlooked. We have a badass heroine who has a bumbling sidekick who is still loyal, persistent, and their friendship is believable. What’s more, their inevitable romance is believable. This show was just fun to watch. Again, I was in middle school when this came out, so it also caught me at the right time. It’s a fun spy action series, with a chick as a protagonist. Like teenage Tomb Raider. Given the midriff bearing outfits Kim wore, that works for me. You all have that one show that you aren’t proud of, so whatever for judging me.
7. Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
When I saw the Nostalgia Critic’s video about this show, I’m not gonna lie – it felt nostalgic. I feel no shame in admitting – I loved this bonkers mess. This series was insane. Batshit crazy. And I loved every minute of it! Growing up, I was a huge Sonic fan. The first console I ever had was a Sega Genesis, and the first game I had on it was Sonic 2. My oldest friend and I were so dedicated to that game that we made a diagram about how the final boss’s attacks worked so we could beat him. When we finally did, the two of us felt so damn accomplished! It was awesome! So this show was just at the right time for me. Was it nuts? Oh yeah. Was me liking it a sign of perhaps how crazy I am? Potentially. But I still loved this bananas show, and some part of me always will.
6. Superman: The Animated Series
Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like Superman. He’s so cheap! The guy is basically invincible. However, this show came out on the coattails of another series that you are going to see MUCH higher on this list, and I was still into it. Maybe it was the fact that I have always loved Lex Luthor was a villain. Maybe it was the awesome animation. Maybe it was the baddies, who are still awesome, even if the other series had better ones. Whatever it is, the reality is that I really liked this series. That nostalgia has faded over the years, as I grew up and grew my opinion on this character. However, this is still a show I grew up with. Take that for what you will.
5. Garfield and Friends
We are getting into the series that not only did I love as a kid, but I still love. As a kid, I read the Garfield comics to death! I still do, but now on my phone. Garfield was a character that always seemed to get me. He was an asshole, but always got his way. He was mean, but caring when he needed to be. He treated Jon like shit, yet was still compassionate to him and rewarded his owner’s dedication to him. Then you have this series, and they got the perfect person to voice him – the late Lorenzo Music. Rest in peace, old buddy. He brought my favorite comic character to life in a show that didn’t have the greatest animation, but had so much heart that it just worked. I own all the animated specials, and I may put the whole series on a Christmas/Birthday list in the future. It’s a classic, and every time I see it, it makes me feel like a kid again.
4. Pinky and the Brain
This show is such a classic! Everything about this series is perfect. Absolutely everything. There is nothing about this show that I am not in love with. You have the titular characters, who have the perfect relationship as roomies who have to deal with one-another. You have the flawless animation. There’s the hilarious antics that never fail to bring a smile to my face. My favorite part of episodes of Animaniacs was these sketches, so when they got their own show, I was in love. Brain and I would get along so well. At least as a kid. Now I’m kind of a cold-blooded cynic/misanthrope. Anyone who doesn’t like this series is a total piece of shit. Fact.
Why did this animation studio go under? Oh, right, as it says in the hilarious title, if we don’t watch, they’ll be unemployed. Such a bummer. The greatest spoof on superheroes of all time. The Tick was funny, but I’m sorry, this is infinitely better. It’s the WB version of Deadpool. The Fourth Wall did not exist to this guy. Every episode was drowning in hilarity. I loved the character, his villains, and the especially the cop who had to put up with their bullshit. How such an amazing show like this could go under is beyond me. Kids must have gotten very dumb or something.
This series is the quintessential linchpin of my childhood. Not only was every episode perfect, but it had the greatest protagonist of all time – TJ Detweiler. That kid was my idol, growing up. But I would be remiss without talking about how awesome every single character in this entire series was. I love them all. Even the villains. The reason I love them is because they are all three-dimensional. The Ashleys are more than just a bunch of prissy bitches. Principal Prickley isn’t just a jerk authority figure. He’s doing the best he can to run a school, and genuinely does have affection for the kids. Throughout the entire series, you grow to care about these characters, and when it ends, it’s all so bittersweet.
And my favorite series that I grew up with is…
1. Batman: The Animated Series
You all knew this was coming. I loved this show. I own this show in its entirety. This series is flawless. Every episode is awesome. Not one falls flat. There are the cool characters, the fantastic plots. It stars my favorite anti-hero. There is Mark Hamill’s INCREDIBLE performance as the Joker. This series will go down in history as one of the greatest ever made. The animation, the voice acting, I could praise it forever. I loved the dark and brooding nature. Every time I hear that theme song, to this day, I feel so good inside. Wish I hadn’t left those DVDs out at the parents. Will have to grab those, next time I go out there.
What are your favorite cartoons that you grew up with? Let me know down in the Comments.
Until next time, a quote,
“The Joker’s plans make sense to him and him alone.” – Batman, Batman: The Animated Series