Inspired by a list of “The 50 Greatest Saturday Morning Cartoons” by Complex.com, I decided to come up with my own top 15 (I tried to make a top 10, but all of these are essentials…). Take a look at the original list, as it’s really extensive and well researched.
1. Looney Tunes
When I think of my childhood TV watching, the first thing that comes to mind is Looney Tunes. These shorts are surprisingly intelligent, as I find every time I go back and watch it. My favorites, by far, are Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.
This defined my conception of Batman. It’s smart, lightly laced with levity, but still retaining the dark, brooding nature necessary to Batman. Its Joker is certainly no Heath Ledger–more like Luke Skywalker–but its treatment of Mr. Freeze was brilliant and touching (and Emmy award winning).
This is classic Disney Channel, starring Scrooge McDuck and his great-nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. They solve mysteries, and sometimes they rewrite history. I didn’t realize until I started researching this that it began is 1987 and, while I’d like to claim that I watched this from the beginning (at age 1…), I must have watched it in syndication. I also loved the spin-off theatrical release: DuckTales, Treasure of the Lost Lamp.
4. Tom & Jerry
These shorts are similar to the Sylvester and Tweety or the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons (which is probably why I’ve rated this so high), but I think they actually flesh out the relationship between the titular cat and mouse in many of the cartoons.
I think that, because Animaniacs brought us Pinky and the Brain, two of the finest cartoon characters ever, in addition to gangster pigeons, as well as “Hellooo Nurse!,” Animaniacs will remain in my memory, evoking nostalgia all the way.
X-Men did for Marvel what Batman: The Animated Series did for DC. They ran simultaneously and, while I believe that Batman achieved more success, it certainly defined the X-Men for me. To this day, these two franchises remain my favorites of both comic universes. Finally, they’ve released this epic series onto DVD in 2 volumes. Read the reviews here.
Garfield is one of my favorite comics, and I grew up on this TV series. It’s mindless at times, while spotted with wit, but I couldn’t stop watching it. Maybe it’s watching Jon spiral into depression while Garfield makes sarcastic comments over lasagna with a side of kicking Odie.
Is it just me, or was I the only one who ever watched this show? I can’t eat gummi bears without thinking about this odd, goofy show with no more inspiration than the candies themselves. I thought that this was smart, and it certainly was one of a kind with its medieval setting and mythical gummiberry juice.
Premise: The Muppets are trippy when adults, so how crazy must their formative years have been. One of the moments I remember best is their Star Wars parody. I’ve had this theme song stuck in my head on and off for years…
10. The Flintstones
The Flintstone family is the classic Hanna-Barbera which, through juxtaposition, comments on modern society by placing social situations in the Stone Age. Love it.
11. The Jetsons
Similarly, the Jetson family demonstrates that the human condition remains unchanged despite, and is arguably accentuated by, their technological advancement.
Also, I’d just like to say that, as the show takes place in 2062, and as television is clearly the epitome of accuracy when it comes to reality, I want to know when we get to live in floating cities and have flying cars. Just sayin’.
12. Care Bears
You know what, I’m putting this out there: were they Care Bears not delightful bundles of fun? Except, of course, for Grumpy Bear. Seriously, I couldn’t get enough of them. Similarly, I watched Cinderella just about every day…when I was 3, of course. Only then.
13. Darkwing Duck
Darkwing Duck is the Batman of the DuckTales universe, albeit a slightly inept Batman, accompanied by Launchpad McQuack his more-inepter sidekick.
“Cowabunga Dude!” After the some mutant turtles fell into the sewer, Splinter taught them to be ninja teens–he is a radical rat–Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines, and that’s a fact, Jack! Moreover, Raphael is cool but crude, and Michaelangelo is a party dude. All in all, this sounds like an excellent recipe for crime fighters!
While this show doesn’t completely hold up after my childhood love, I still hold fond memories of this show which reminded me (and was likely inspired by) the excellent Disney film The Rescuers. I can’t eat Monterey Jack cheese without thinking of this show…
Spider-Man: The Animated Series (This probably should have been higher up…)
Winnie the Pooh
Star Trek: The Animated Series
What are your top shows?