onpointless’ top ten animated series
23 March, 2009, 1:42 am
Filed under: Cartoons, Culture

Yes, I’m doing a top Ten. Set in a vaguely chronological order, these series are whittled down from a huge list as the top (or at least most important to me) animated shows I’ve grown up with.

1. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.


“By the Power of Grayskull!”

I have so many memories of He-Man and his toy line it’s hard to compress it down into short form. Needless to say this show was an immensely formative force in my childhood. Whatever I may think of it in hindsight, I can in good conscience leave it out.

2. The Transformers


“Transform and Roll out!”

I’m talking G1, Optimus Prime Vs. Megatron smackdown. No boy growing up in the 80s could miss this phenomenon of Cybertronian proportions. We all shared the trauma and the glory that was the original Transformers The Movie. The animation was pretty bad in retrospeck, but there was some specacular sound design. Marketers are still capitalizing off of this series twenty years later, but with the exception of Mainframe Entertainment’s Beast Wars, most new versions are forgettable.

3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles



The 80s and 90s were all about ninjas. I would watch this show every day before school just to take in the awe inspiring cool of the Technodrome, the weirdness of Casey Jones, and the evil of Krang. This show had a million great moments, tons of memorable characters, and an amazingly catchy theme song. My favorite turtle was Donatello.

4. Duck Tales


“A sea monster ate my ice cream!”

The adventures of Scrooge McDuck, his nephews, Huey Dewey and Louie, and their pilot Launchpad McQuack, sparked an era of Disney ducksploitation yet to be rivaled. It was the perfect treasure hunting family friendly adventure show and was the anchor for the Disney Afternoon. Don’t pretend you can’t sing along.

5. The Simpsons



My friend and I had a spooky running gag where every time we quoted a Simpsons episode it would air that night. Of course we quoted it so often the law of averages pretty much explain that.This show has had its ups and downs over its about 20 year run. While I don’t follow it much anymore it brought the animated prime time show to the American home.

6. The Tick



To this day I adore this show. Genius, perfection, comedy gold. It was nonsensical up to the borderline of surreal, incredibly punny, and spectacularly entertaining. A send up of the super hero genre, if features the nigh invulnerable blue Tick and his moth themed sidekick Arthur in their quest to save The City. Think of it as a much much much much much liter version of watchmen. Definitely, yeah definitely the apotheosis of cool.

7. Futurama


“Good news everyone!”

Matt Groening strikes again. I admit this show isn’t for everyone, but for those who love this type of insider, super nerdy, often cynical humor, Futurama was far superior to the safer format of the Simpsons. It had a much more biting social commentary than its predecessor, Futurama painted a hilariously twisted vision of an advanced earth culture a thousand years in the future that was strangely suck to the pop culture references of the late twentieth century.

8. Reboot



Reboot, by Mainframe Entertainment was the first all computer animated weekly television series. There is a world inside your computer where sprites, binomes and, Command.coms battle it out with viruses with dialog drenched in technology puns. Over three seasons the animation grew more elaborate and beautiful while its plot got darker and more compelling. The season 3 finale in true Mainframe form was epic. Don’t watch Season 4.

9. The Powerpuff Girls


“My Crayons are beautiful, just not magic.”

Made of sugar, spice, and everything nice (plus a dash of chemical X) at first like this cartoon would be for young girls, (and succumbing to its own iron it eventually was) but Cartoon Network’s Powerpuff Girls (originally named the Whoopass Girls) were a stylized and sugarcoated super violence, filled with action and comic book references. Because of the show’s intentionally cutsie look, that contrasted its aggressive nature many never give it a chance.

10. Cowboy Bebop


“Just like that… sing for me, please.”

This icon of anime showed us a future where earth was a meteor struck wasteland and Mars was the happening place. We follow an amazing cast of bounty hunters, with some terrible names, as they try to scrape a living in a sometimes comic, but often dark work. Amazing visuals, killer soundtrack, fantastic story, and an abundance of style. Bebop is an almost perfect series.


1 Comment so far
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I agree that cowboy beebop is a masterpiece, not for it’s borderline crappy animation, but it’s plots are just unbelievably good… I never knew a cartoon could be so good, and use music so well… That said, the Ninja Turtles and the Tick are also highlights of my youth. I think that the Tick’s character designs were punnily outlandish… I mean a chair for a head? But it still works!

I miss that much color in the things we watch today… everything seems so drab by comparison. Or maybe I watch too much Law and Order.

Comment by emilyleibin

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