Ok everyone, you probably remember my first article of what I deemed the worst cartoons. If you need a refresher, click this link:
Ok, now to business. One of my friends on this site calling himself dalmatianlover once made a hypothetical list of what would be what I think are the best cartoons. He made a list of 10, but I thought to counter the 15 Worst, I'd make a 15 Best. I have a lot of favorites, but I narrowed the Top 15 down to six 1980s cartoons, seven 1990s cartoons and two 2000s cartoons. Since I love them all to pieces, they are only listed in chronological order:
Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983)
If you were aware of the fact I happen to love animated versions of music videos (not to mention 1980s cartoons), you would know for certain "Alvin and the Chipmunks" would be on my list. Basically it's about the chipmunk brothers who live with their adoptive human father figure David Seville. Most of the time it's about the boys getting into a jam and they would need to find a way out. The lone Ruby-Spears cartoon that lasted more than two seasons, of course this was not the world's official introduction to the characters--they began life in the 1950s as a series of novelty songs--but for me, this is the definitive version of Alvin and the Chipmunks. It lasted much longer than the 1960s
"Alvin Show" and obviously has a bigger budget. In addition to humor, there is also heart--and I think it was nice that they would introduce the Chipettes and have them in focus episodes; after all, little girls need heroines as well. Call me crazy, but I actually think I love the movie-styled episodes and DiC's animation style a little more than the earlier episodes. While I loved "The Chipmunk Adventure", I will admit I didn't care much for "The Chipmunks Go To the Movies", a series of spoofs of whatever was hot in the multiplex at the time, but overall, "Alvin and the Chipmunks" holds a permanent spot on my Best of the Best Cartoons list.
And yes, the 2007 movie was cool. These 'munks got moxie.
Transformers: Generation 1 (1984)*
A toy-based cartoon to end toy-based cartoons, Transformers is another '80s cartoon that I loved to bits. The show was about a continuing battle between two factions of giant transforming alien robots with the fate of Earth in the middle of everything. The battle between the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons (there was basically an Autobot or Decepticon for everyone) was epic. To tell the truth, it has a fairly silly theme...but I guess the ridiculousness is what makes it fun. While it may take a one-sided
theme--we get a lot of familiarization with all the different Autobots, not so much with a majority of the Decepticons--but I am willing to forgive it mainly because I love a good show with strong moral value; we find ourselves caring more about the Autobots and seeing them win always made us feel great. Of course, I always prefered the 'pre-movie' episodes to the 'post-movie' episodes--I hated seeing so many characters I loved in Seasons 1 and 2 die, so they could be replaced by lesser attractive new characters--but I don't really follow those episodes so much and I'll always have Seasons 1 and 2.
The Real Ghostbusters (1986)*
Now, you probably remember that I didn't care much for the Filmation Ghostbusters or this show's sequel series, "Extreme Ghostbusters", but I loved the classic Ghostbusters series. Loosely based on the classic 1984 movie, it was about the Ghostbusters answering their calls to stay in business keeping New York clean of ghost activity. Of course it can't rival the ultimately well-done original 1984 movie, but it is certainly better than the 1989 sequel. The ghosts are more goofy than creepy, which I liked; comedy does more for me than horror, I can say without question the voice acting was awesome, the many different mythologies they incorporated into the show was a nice touch; adults will find something to like in this show as well. Now, I will also say I don't like the more 'kiddie-oriented' "Slimer! And the Real Ghostbusters" either, the whole show stunk of the culture one may expect to see on "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo". Other than that, this is the only Ghostbusters cartoon one would need.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)
Cowabunga! I am sure anyone with even a faint '80s memory, at one point, loved our four favorite Heroes on a Half-Shell. This show was about four anthropomorphized turtles (they're reptiles, not amphibians) doing the justice thing, saving New York City from the evil Shredder and his goons from beyond the stars. For many people, the original '80s show is the definitive version of the Turtles, and who could forget dragging our parents to see the original 1990 movie? I loved the corny, goofy humor and fun stories. Hell, even Shredder and his mutant henchmen Rocksteady and Bebop were a riot. Of course, due to an attempt to make the Turtles more heroic, the show would get less violent--Michaelangelo lost his nunchukus due to the fact many places deemed them as legal as brass knuckles--and the somewhatheavy reliance on Donatello hurt some of the later episodes, not to mention the (almost) complete disappearance of Shredder and Krang to see the obviously Power Rangers-inspired Lord Dregg...but in the end, this version of the Turtles will always be THE Turtles--forget the action-heavy 2003 series, the 80s Turtles are awesome.
Garfield and Friends (1988)*
Probably the most successful cartoon series about one of the Sunday Funnies (forget Peanuts for a moment), "Garfield and Friends" is a kid's cartoon with a sophistication the over-18 crowd would like. Based on the widely-syndicated strip about a lasgana-loving fat cat, Garfield is one of the longest running Saturday morning cartoons. The messages they would try to push where often handled without cramming it down the kids' throats, which was nice because preachy cartoons get tiresome quickly. Garfield was always there to make a funny joke that everyone would appreciate without an over-reliance on body function humor. Now, while I like the "Garfield" cartoons very much, the 'toon sandwiched inbetween the two corresponding Garfield cartoons--Jim Davis' other idea, the less successful and popular "U.S. Acres"--never did much for me. I think the main problem I had was the fact Garfield, Jon and Odie all had endearing personalities, and the amount of characters due to brevity of the episodes worked, whereas in U.S. Acres, the characters aren't really as engaging and there's too many of them for only seven minutes.
The Simpsons (1989)
I don't think any introduction is necessary, but it likely goes without saying that "The Simpsons" is in my Top 15. It's basically the wacky adventures of a middle-class working family in the animous town of Springfield (no state given). The smart writing, humor and heart in the show is only a few of the things that make it an extremely successful show. And who could forget doing the Bartman? While not perfect--some episodes, especially a large number of the ones made after Season 12 can miss an awful lot, and the show tends to stumble if it focuses on characters we don't care too much about like Marge or Lisa--but it deserves its success.
Darkwing Duck (1991)*
A superhero spoof series from Disney and a spin-off from 1987's DuckTales, "Darkwing Duck" is a show that clearly touched my heart. It is about Drake Mallard, aka Darkwing Duck, a bumbling vigilante superhero in the vein of Batman who protects the city of St. Canard from criminals, evil, and some other things too bizarre for words. DuckTales is a solid show for what it is, but there are times when I would just want a 'darker' edge and that's what Darkwing Duck offers. Darkwing is a hero for no reason other than an ego streak, which can be a welcome break from the "great power comes great responsibility" angst-ridden heroes of late. I loved how the show never took itself seriously and it always had a punchline to help it out once it got too serious. Now, some aspects seem to date the show a little and some flaws are more apparent (like we never know what Drake Mallard does for a living, and the true origin of NegaDuck), but still, it will hold a permanent spot in my list.
Beavis and Butt-head (1993)*
Call them crude, stupid, puerile...to me, they're hilarious. This show was about a pair of moronic teenage metalheads who can't stay out of trouble. Beavis and Butt-head was a show that my parents would not let me watch until 1995, but the show is incredibly funny to this day. I'm sure we all remember those two kids who were just like them in school, the two that were always together and loved heavy metal music, while they dreamed of one day making that big score. Beavis and Butt-head's biggest flaw, I think, can be the fact that without the music video interludes, the episodes
themselves can feel a little short. As characters, Beavis and Butt-head always held some magic--and terror--of again being fourteen years old and trying to survive junior high school. They were charming in a crude, bizarre way, and never stooped being an insipid melodrama like King of the Hill would often be.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1993)
Often regarded by many video gamers as the best American-based Sonic cartoon(forget "Adventures", "Underground", the ADV
"Movie" and "X", this show is the best Sonic cartoon series!), Sonic SatAM was certainly a short, but sweet, series. It was loosely based on the popular video game series about a heroic blue hedgehog who, together with a band of 'freedom fighters', would go on stealth missions to save the former Mobotropolis from the megalomaniacal Dr. Robotnik. This show had everything--action, adventure, drama, sci-fi, comedy--and it all felt natural in this show. I tend to prefer a canon for most mediums, but I would prefer this series' continuity over the SegaSonic universe mainly because it isn't the same 'hunt for the Chaos Emeralds' deal all the time. Robotnik is actually menacing, unlike the wierder "Eggman" that we currently see. Plus, I'd be more afraid of a mad doctor named "Robotnik" than "Eggman". The biggest flaws in this show, that I can see, is for one, it can be a victim of its own hype--some people may lead you to believe this show is to animation what Star Wars was to film, which clearly isn't the case--while some characters like Sonic, Tails and Sally are good to have anytime, others like Antonie and Dulcy are better 'moderation' characters and we see them far too often. If nothing else, I prefer this series probably it has Sonic with Sally, anything to keep him away from Amy.
The Critic (1994)
Another series that was ended long before its time, "The Critic" is a cult-favorite series that I will always hold onto. It's about a short, pudgy, balding New York film critic who hosts a cable TV host where he reviews movies he hates for a living. There was always something funny in "The Critic", which may prove that no one has been able to de-throne "The Simpsons", but we at least took a good stab at it. Everything in this show, including the 'joke' sequels that actually happened to Jay's romance with Alice, was too cool for words. The only flaws in this show that I can see is it's short run and the
Flash-animated "Webisodes", but "The Critic" was able to make me laugh after the Sinclair family met a tragic end in the finale of "Dinosaurs", and that has to say something.
101 Dalmatians: the Series (1997)
My prefered '101 Dalmatians' medium (it outdoes all four of the movies), 101 Dalmatians always stuck with me. It is about three of the Dearly pups, Lucky, Cadpig and Rolly, together with their chicken friend Spot, doing what they could to protect their new farm home from their nasty neighbor Cruella DeVil, who constantly plots to steal their land. I loved the humor and warmth that was so prominent in this show, I would have some laughs and feel good at the same time. I'm sure we all love puppies, and admittedly at first, I wasn't loving the idea of the movie I remember becoming a TV show ("Aladdin"
was a nauseous example), but 101 Dalmatians was one of Disney's best movie-based series. My main gripe is that the show could stand to synergize some of the other characters (like ditch Spot in favor of other pups like Patch, Tripod or Two-Tone) but 101 Dalmatians is clearly an underrated series that deserves some more exposure. It'll always have a place in my heart.
Ed, Edd n Eddy (1999)
One of Cartoon Network's stronger original series, "Ed, Edd n Eddy" became the longest running series on the network to date. It's about three dopey con artists who would do anything to get money for jawbreakers. Sure, it's a shallow, slapstick-heavy show, but it's funny, and that is what can count sometimes. But still, the shallowness of the series can be countered by the character depth. All the characters in this show are very strong and are likely to elicit some feeling or another out of the viewer. The biggest flaw is it could live beyond a neighborhood cul-de-sac, and while there are very strong characters, there's a max of only 12 characters in the whole show. As strong as the existing characters are, I'd like to see more (although "The
Brothers Grunt" would probably deter anyone from wanting to see adults in "Ed, Edd n Eddy"). An easy rival for the more recognizable "Dexter's Laboratory" and "The Powerpuff Girls".
Family Guy (1999)
"The Simpsons" may have gotten long in the tooth creatively, but "Family Guy" is the current gen reason to look forward to Sunday nights. It involves the dysfunctional Griffin family striving to cope with everyday life as they are thrown from one crazy scenario to another. I love the randomness of the series, one cannot say Family Guy is predictable at all. Sure, one could step into the show and kill everyone and nobody would care, but when something happens to them, it's just the funniest thing on TV. Logic may have little meaning in this show's world, but I'd say that the amount of laughs and unpredictable nature of the show is a fair compromise. "Family Guy" is clearly a must-own for me, something that the later "American Dad!" could hope to, but never actually, be.
Lilo and Stitch: the Series (2003)
I owe a lot to Lilo and Stitch. There was a time when Disney seemed to have fallen out of my favor, but the "inter-Stitch-als" (involving Stitch doing a rip on The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, etc.) led me to grapple with the idea of seeing the movie, and finally I said "To hell with it" and I loved it! I found myself wanting more after the movie, and "Stitch!: the
Movie" got me psyched for this show. Following "Stitch!: the Movie", Lilo and Stitch are assigned by the Grandcouncil Woman to find and reform Jumba's other 625 experiments scattered all over Hawaii. Some compare it to Pokemon, but there isn't much in terms of similarity; Jumba's experiments are all intended for an evil purpose, unlike Pikachu and his kin. Like 101 Dalmatians: the Series, this show has a lot of heart, and laughs as well. Some of the experiments I would like to see a little more of, and some of the eps are a little limited in terms of rewatch value, but it's still a terrific show. I can do without "Stitch Has A Glitch" but
the series is an absolute favorite of mine. If nothing else, I have a crush on Stitch's 'boojiboo', Angel.
Teen Titans (2003)
Loosely based on the comic book series from the 1960s, "Teen Titans" is another show I can't do without. It's about Robin and his team of heroes, consisting of himself, Cyborg, Starfire, Beast Boy and Raven fighting for truth, justice, and the last slice of pizza. I loved the character dynamics and dialogue, and the heart in this show helps make us care about the characters once the action sequences kick in (something you don't see on shows like "Loonatics Unleashed"). I also loved its sense of humor; it's corny at times but that was something I thought worked in TMNT and such. The show works best if it balances everything. I like it best if all five Titans have a main role; one or two characters isn't working so well. Another issue is the action and comedy work best
together; a hard-nosed action episode or all-comedy episode usually falls flat. Still, a must-see cartoon in my book.
* = These shows are the ones I added to the list, everything else was his.
Again, my picks for the shows in animation I can't do without. I wouldn't lose them for anything. Thank you and good night. ^_^