Top 10 Best Cartoons of All Time

A cartoon refers to any television series that primarily employs hand crafted animation. These animated series are widely popular amongst children and adults alike and have captured the hearts of generations. From classic shows that defined the golden era of cartoons to modern masterpieces, the world of animation has given us numerous shows that are both entertaining and meaningful.

This list includes critical hits, award winners, and high rated shows that have made an impact on the world of animation. Whether it's the nostalgia of childhood favorites or the awe-inspiring creativity of new releases, these top ten cartoons are a must-watch for any fan of the genre. So sit back, grab a bowl of popcorn, and let's take a trip down memory lane as we explore the best cartoons of all time.
The Top Ten
1 SpongeBob SquarePants SpongeBob SquarePants is an American animated television series created by marine biologist and animator the late Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon. SpongeBob is currently the most popular show on Nickelodeon, as well as the longest running show, running for 23 years, and is beginning its 13th season... read more

This is an amazing cartoon. SpongeBob began in 1999. It didn't achieve major success until season 2.

Season 3 elevated SpongeBob to new heights, although a hiatus occurred in 2003 during this season due to the movie being made. After the movie, things went a little downhill. Seasons 4 and 5 were still pretty good, but seasons 6 and 7 were pretty bad. However, season 8 brought back some of the old humor, and season 9 so far is even better than season 8.

Season 10 is coming next year and is supposed to be the longest and best SpongeBob season ever! There's a new movie coming next year, and hopefully, SpongeBob will be as good as the first 3 seasons!

2 The Simpsons The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening that originally started on April 19, 1987 as shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show. It got its own series on December 17, 1989 and is still running as of 2023, making it the longest running animated sitcom. It is about a man named Homer... read more

Okay, so maybe the modern episodes are not great, but man, just watch the first eight seasons. Well-rounded, consistent characters with conflicting motivations who are so fun to watch (especially Homer), amazing dialogue, unforgettable plot lines... this show was amazing and certainly worth your time. Just... if you are or have kids under the age of ten or twelve, don't show this to them.

It's fantastic, yes, but kind of too vulgar for younger viewers. It deals with some sexual themes and violence and stuff like that. Also, the characters aren't the best role models, and I can't say it always teaches great lessons. But the stories are great, relatable, and really funny. So watch it, if you can.

3 Gravity Falls Gravity Falls is an American animated television series produced by Disney Television Animation that first aired on Disney Channel, and then on Disney XD from June 15, 2012 to February 15, 2016. The series follows the adventures of Dipper Pines and his twin sister Mabel in the fictional town of Gravity... read more

The characters are three-dimensional, there are good mysteries, and there are no toilet jokes at all. It's probably not suitable for younger children because it can be dark at times, but it is very well written and appeals to pre-teens, teens, and even some adults.

There are also no stereotypes, laugh tracks, or even any fashion-obsessed teenage main characters like in other Disney shows. The art style is also very original, as is the theme song. Even the cast is very charismatic, featuring Kristen Schaal, Jason Ritter - son of John Ritter - and many guest stars, such as John Oliver, John DiMaggio, and Patton Oswalt. This is definitely unlike any other cartoon I've ever seen.

4 Looney Tunes Looney Tunes is an American animated series of comedy short films produced by Warner Bros. from 1930 to 1969 during the golden age of American animation, alongside its sister series Merrie Melodies.

Looney Tunes should be number one. Not only were the characters well-drawn, but the writing of the dialogue was so witty and creative. Plus, incorporating classical music was genius.

I took my kids to Symphony Hall in Chicago to see Bugs Bunny on Broadway. Just thinking about the live orchestra playing with perfect precision to those classic cartoons gives me chills. That performance had a profound impact on my five-year-old daughter, who had never seen musical notes in her life. When we got home, she drew out the notes she remembered seeing when they performed "Little Brown Jug." I recommend watching the clip for those who have never seen it.

5 South Park South Park is an American adult animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central television network. The show is about four boys, who are Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick, and their adventures in South Park, Colorado.

My passion and love for this show will never end. Sure, it's crass, it's crude, and it's pretty over the top, but you can't judge something by its surface. Unlike something like Mr. Pickles (not trying to offend fans), there's a really positive spirit behind that shocking exterior.

These messages leave you thinking but also laughing because, readers, they're pointing out everything wrong with society! It makes you realize what has become of the world and how you can try to fix it. A bonus is, maybe this is my own bias, but I love this art style.

The characters are perfect, the voice acting cracks me up, and the writing is unbelievably sharp. It can be low-brow, but I adore this show. I highly recommend it for everyone 13 and older to watch this warm, fuzzy, paper masterpiece. Thank you, Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

6 Avatar: The Last Airbender Avatar: The Last Airbender is an American animated television series that aired for three seasons on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. Avatar: The Last Airbender is set in an Asiatic-like world in which some people are able to manipulate the classical elements by use of psychokinetic variants of Chinese... read more

This show is the best. All the characters are so good. Some people even think it's overrated. It's not. Maybe they just watched a bit of it and felt bored.

Watch The Storm episode to learn about Aang and Zuko's past, but you need to watch the entire series to understand it fully.

This show is a masterpiece. It reinvented what it meant to be a cartoon by not being some ridiculous slapstick comedy that relies on shallow and unrealistic plot lines just to gain a laugh. Avatar was one of the first successful cartoons to introduce an overarching plot, a storyline that stretches over the entire series.

By doing this, they were able to show great character development. Sokka turned from a narcissistic, misogynistic jerk to a man deserving of leading the Water Tribe, while still maintaining his comedic elements. Aang turned from a bubbly little kid to a true hero. Katara turned from an overbearing supporting character to a strong, independent warrior. Zuko probably displayed the most change, literally turning from villain to hero. You get the point.

And aside from the main characters, there was an amazing and memorable cast of supporting roles like Iroh, Bumi, and Azula. Aside from characters, the universe they created was so expansive and detailed that the makers used the same universe for their spin-off series, The Legend of Korra. Don't even get me started on the beautiful animation. There was never such an epic yet hilarious cartoon. It definitely deserves to at least break the top 5.

7 Tom and Jerry Tom and Jerry is an American animated series of comedy short films created in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Best known for its 161 theatrical short films by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the series centers on a rivalry between the title characters Tom, a cat, and Jerry, a mouse. Many shorts also... read more

Nothing beats this cat and that mouse. Not even each other.

This is seriously amazingly awesome, and I couldn't part with it. It has been a part of my life since I was a little kid and now I am a teen - and I still love it more than ever!

Also, I don't know why it is NOT in the top three! Because it is way better than South Park - especially. Come on, vote for it! And get it to the top because it really, really deserves it!

Wait, the creator of Yogi Bear created this masterpiece of animation. Hanna-Barbera is capable of great things. It's the first cartoon I ever watched. All I knew back then was Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, which is my childhood.

Tom and Jerry is actually funny but also entertaining. I'd rather watch Tom and Jerry than Scooby-Doo episodes or season 30 of The Simpsons. I like the old Simpsons, not Lisa Goes Gaga.

8 Regular Show Regular Show is an American animated television series created by J. G. Quintel for Cartoon Network that premiered on September 6, 2010. The series revolves around the lives of two friends, a blue jay named Mordecai and a raccoon named Rigby—both employed as groundskeepers at a local park.

Another show that kicked off this decade. This cartoon was the very first that I grew up with. It takes mundane situations and makes them surreal and zany yet fun.

However, that formula has been fairly overused. But when you have a variety of unique characters, it can still make the show interesting. The characters' misadventures and stories do get touching and are amazingly funny at satire, but some can also be redundant with pointless filler.

Despite its flaws, Regular Show had a great run, and I will cherish it throughout my adulthood forever.

9 Adventure Time Adventure Time is an American animated television series created by Pendleton Ward for Cartoon Network. The series follows the adventures of a boy named Finn (voiced by Jeremy Shada) and his best friend and adoptive brother Jake (voiced by John DiMaggio)—a dog with the magical power to change shape... read more

Oh, it disappoints me to see such a great show not in the top 10. I know why this is so low. People who say, "It's too random and colorful. Pen Ward was stoned when he wrote it," overlook it and vote for something else. That would be understandable if you had never seen the show and based all your thoughts on the two minutes you've seen.

And it's not called "stoned." It's a little something called creativity. If you don't know why this show has such a large adult fanbase, I'll give you the gist: this show is quotable, creative, has likable characters, is funny, clever, and - big shocker for the people I've described earlier - it's not just "random to be random." If you were to watch it, the randomness is explained, and not through huge reveals, just bits and pieces of continuity slowly revealing the story's history. In simple words, it's great.

10 Batman: The Animated Series Batman: The Animated Series is an American animated television series based on the DC Comics superhero Batman.

The dynamic storytelling and unique film noir style are only matched by the high-caliber action scenes and unforgettable cast of characters. This show redefined Batman. The Joker's insane, maniacal schemes, the Riddler's uncanny intellect, Poison Ivy's charms and wiles, and Two-Face's juxtaposition and character development are only matched by the strong, harsh yet kind, caring Batman who knows what it's like to "have a bad day."

Alfred's dry wit and Commissioner Gordon's determination and inclusion as part of the Bat-family really make this show complete. Adults, children, and teens can watch this show and each enjoy it on different levels. It is everything a cartoon should be.

The Newcomers

? The New Batman/Superman Adventures
? The Zeta Project
The Contenders
11 The Amazing World of Gumball The Amazing World of Gumball is a British-Australian-German-American-Irish children's animated television series created by Ben Bocquelet for Cartoon Network.

Why on earth is this not in the top ten? Sure, it's like the War of the great cartoons, but everything it does is awesome. The themes, the plots, the characters (especially Gumball, Darwin, Penny, and Patrick) are all pitch-perfect.

And the only reason this actually manages to beat SpongeBob SquarePants is because Squidward is the only character I actually like in that show. Just to make it clear, these people have all saved their town at least once. Homer saved Springfield by stopping a bomb with Bart and ended the Simpson-Griffin grudge. SpongeBob saved Bikini Bottom once and the Krusty Krab numerous times.

But Gumball has saved lots of people and made them feel better about themselves, like when Penny revealed her true form and Gumball had to convince her she wasn't a monster. He has been saved more times than I could ever count. So I think the reign of SpongeBob should end, and to me, this is the new champion. Note: The only show that's better is Top Gear.

12 Futurama Futurama is an American animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company.

This show is all-around hilarious. It has the awkward working situations and romances of The Office and Parks and Rec, the surreal adventures of Rick and Morty, and the tone of The Simpsons. Mix all of that in with some of the greatest characters in cartoon history (i.e., Bender, Zoidberg), and you've got the greatest cartoon ever.

Sure, Looney Tunes is awesome, but come on, compared to nudist scammers who want to rob the world of everything valuable by getting Bender to go back in time and steal them using a code that breaks the universe, it's just plain hilarious.

13 Steven Universe Steven Universe is an American animated television series created by Rebecca Sugar for Cartoon Network. The show's based around a young boy by the name of Steven Universe, who is a hybrid of a gem and a human. He lives with his gem friends, Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl.

In the 21st century, where cartoons are becoming more developed with plots that even threaten to outwit anime, Steven Universe should rise high, along with other great shows like Gravity Falls. Steven Universe tackles some great issues in society, such as dictatorship and individuals feeling pressured. It has creative character designs, beautiful pastel animation, awesome storylines and plots, and most importantly, the emotional connection between characters.

If there is one thing Steven Universe has taught me, it's that "perfect" doesn't exist. No one is perfect, and yet we get along with that and are happy with it. This show is the masterpiece of modern cartoons and, even more so, an important lesson for the modern universe.

14 Teen Titans Teen Titans is an American animated television series created by Glen Murakami, based on the DC Comics characters of the same name.

By far the most incredible show ever made. As I get older, I'm introduced to more and more shows, but Teen Titans will always remain my favorite. There's nothing like that first show you become obsessed with when you're young - when no other show could ever be the same.

I love how you can really connect with the characters. Robin and Starfire were always my favorites. The GO version is completely different and is shown for different reasons. Sometimes I watch it, not just for a good laugh, but also for something more. I watch the show to look for clues hinting back to the original, in hopes of Robin and Starfire's relationship.

I feel like maybe the creators withhold this stuff in hopes we will keep watching and waiting. It was very clever of them. But still, the original will always have a special place in my heart. That's who the Titans really are to me. That was my childhood. So, I'll keep waiting and hoping. This cartoon was too good. Who knows, maybe Season 6 will come someday!

15 Ed, Edd n Eddy Ed, Edd n Eddy is a Canadian-American animated comedy television series created by Danny Antonucci for Cartoon Network, and the sixth of the network's Cartoon Cartoons. The series revolves around three preteen boys: Ed, Edd "Double D," and Eddy—collectively known as "the Eds"—who live in a suburban... read more

South Park, SpongeBob, Samurai Jack, Courage the Cowardly Dog - add these and you've got yourself the best era for cartoons: the '90s! As a '90s kid, I have to give it to this show because of how relatable it was. Going out and playing with your friends and getting into trouble in your neighborhood was part of being a kid.

Unless you're a late 2000s kid, this show won't relate to staying inside all day playing Minecraft and watching Adventure Time while being on your $700 iPhone with no way of interacting with other people other than through Facebook and tweeting them. Truly sad, but give them like 10 to 15 years and they will see their kids become antisocial hermits and will understand what the '90s kids were talking about. I imagine the year 2030 will look a lot like the people in Wall-E.

16 Invader Zim Invader Zim is an American animated television series created by Jhonen Vasquez for Nickelodeon. The series centers on an extraterrestrial named Zim from the planet Irk, and his mission to conquer Earth and enslave the human race along with his malfunctioning robot servant GIR.

An amazing show that for some reason just couldn't stay on television. Fans brought it back a few years later, in 2006, and brought back reruns on Nicktoons a few years after they stopped showing those. It definitely needs more episodes because, although I love it, seeing the same episodes over and over gets old really fast. All in all, it's one of the greats in the era which I consider to have come out with the highest concentration of hilarious and edgy cartoons, 97-03. Back when SpongeBob had its original writers, as well.

If the creator and the writers hadn't left after the movie, I doubt SpongeBob would get any of the flak it's gotten these past few years. Or if they had just ended it after the movie, it would have easily been the best cartoon of all time, even surpassing this one.

Actually, I think the movie would have been a good stopping point for the series. There have been a few good episodes after 2004, but every episode before the movie was a classic. Invader Zim ending was kind of a good thing in a way. It ended before it could become mediocre.

17 Phineas and Ferb Phineas and Ferb is an American animated comedy-musical television series. Originally broadcast as a one-episode preview on August 17, 2007 and again previewed on September 28, 2007, the series officially premiered on February 1, 2008 and ended on June 12, 2015 on Disney Channel, and follows Phineas... read more

Even though this show is popular, what I really liked about it was that it was the only Best Bro Show (in my 2009-2014 generation) that wasn't ruined by a girl (other than SpongeBob). I'm not being hateful, but in cool shows like Gumball and Regular Show, halfway through the series they decided to throw in a girlfriend for Gumball, Mordecai, and Rigby, which made the dynamic duos grow apart. I like how Jeff Swampy Marsh and David (or Dave) Povenmire didn't introduce a love life for Phineas. I mean, there was a time towards the end of the series where Phineas kissed Isabella, but I didn't get enraged because that episode came out the week before the finale.

18 Courage the Cowardly Dog Courage the Cowardly Dog is an American animated horror comedy television series created by John R. Dilworth for Cartoon Network as part of the network's Cartoon Cartoons block.

If you need a reason why Courage is one of the best cartoons of all time, check out these episodes: Freaky Fred, Courage in the Big Stinking City, King Ramses' Curse, Perfect, Remembrance of Courage Past, and Last of the Starmakers. All fantastic episodes. The last three are the saddest episodes of the series.

There's just something about Courage that makes you love him. The show is definitely creepy at times, but somehow, the little pink pup always pulls through and makes you want to keep watching. It's a very unique cartoon with a vivid world in the middle of Nowhere.

19 Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! is the first incarnation of the long-running Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon series Scooby-Doo.

Scooby-Doo has lasted longer than any cartoon that you have put on this list and at least deserves to be in the top two, if not number one. The two most iconic cartoon characters in the world are Mickey Mouse and Scooby-Doo, and you need to respect this show way more than it has been given credit for on this list. Without Scooby on this list, it is irrelevant and just straight-up garbage.

This is the best Scooby-Doo cartoon out there! I loved it! It's funny, scary, and interesting, all mixed into one great cartoon masterpiece!

It should be number 5 in all cartoons, 1 in old cartoons, and 10/10 on a scale of greatness. Hanna-Barbera's greatest creation is this amazing cartoon that deserves to be in the top ten!

Thank you, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, for making such a great cartoon!

20 Family Guy Family Guy is an American adult animated sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Griffins, a family consisting of parents Peter (Fat, Idiotic Dad) and Lois (Nagging Bitchy Wife), their children Meg (Socially Awkward Daughter) Chris (Fat, Idiotic... read more

Family Guy is a perfect definition of my humor: it is politically incorrect, yet still not only features shock-value content but also silly and goofy humor. Peter is a random and childish character who can barely say a word that doesn't seem hilariously stupid. It works because it shines through that Seth MacFarlane is, in fact, an intelligent person with awesome views on the world and is pretty much laughing at the characters and world he created, not so much with them. Family Guy may have gotten more graphic over the years, but the goofiness has stayed the same. It is the way it is delivered that makes it work so well.

21 Rick and Morty Rick and Morty is an American adult animated science fiction sitcom created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon for Adult Swim.

Honestly, I'm not generally into Adult Swim. I know that's kind of strange, but it's just that they're so inconsistent. They release one great show like Robot Chicken, and then they release Squidbillies. They release Venture Bros, then they release Mr. Pickles. But out of the shows they've released, this is far and away the best.

It has sharp, clever humor, fantastic plots (I mean, how do you beat switching dimensions because you ruined your old planet with a love potion? Just add parasites that infest people's memories!), great characters, and awesome action scenes. The only way to describe this masterpiece is as if Futurama meets American Dad, and they are crossbred with Invader Zim. That result is then consumed by Ren and Stimpy. And if that doesn't sound awesome, then you're weird.

22 The Fairly Oddparents The Fairly OddParents is an American animated television series created by Butch Hartman for Nickelodeon.

This show deserves to be higher. It has everything: life lessons, fun scenes, emotions, and magic. I've known about it for only four months, but it's better than anything else.

I loved the weirdness of it. That's exactly the power of cartoons. Also, it is great to learn about life in an impossible way.

Great show until season 5, then they start to ruin it.

This show, in my opinion, holds the "classic" badge alongside Rugrats and SpongeBob as the best shows Nickelodeon has ever aired. Funny as hell. It has an original story and hyper-active, over-the-top characters that never fail to make you crack yourself laughing.

The show is gold and deserves to be higher... for reals.

23 Star vs. The Forces of Evil "Star vs. the Forces of Evil" is an American animated television comedy produced by Disney Television Animation for Disney XD. It was created by Daron Nefcy and developed by Jordana Arkin and Dave Wasson. The series follows teenage magical princess from the dimension of Mewni Star Butterfly and her... read more

Perfect, perfect, perfect! A great cartoon that defies many stereotypes! First of all, when you look at the main character, you might think that Star is another blonde-haired, blue-eyed Disney princess. Well, she is all that, but move over, Sleeping Beauty! There's more to this princess!

Instead of sitting on her throne and waiting for her Prince Charming, she kicks monster butt with her friend Marco. And you don't see something like this too often! This show is also a lot funnier and more original than some other cartoons on today. This show is great. I highly suggest it!

24 My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is an animated children's television series based on the fourth incarnation of Hasbro's My Little Pony franchise. The show follows a studious unicorn (later an alicorn) pony named Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) and her friends Applejack (Ashleigh Ball), Rarity (Tabitha... read more

There are so many comments here talking about stereotypes, which is the first mistake. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is unique in its style. This cartoon show breaks those stereotypes most of you talk about, so that just lets me know you do not know the show well.

And I'm not going to tell all of you "go and watch more episodes." No, just watch a documentary about the show, called "Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony," and you'll see why this cartoon show does not have those stereotypes. Let me tell you, if you say this cartoon show has stereotypes, then you don't know a single thing about it. By the way, one episode for all of you: "Bridle Gossip" from Season 1. I hope you enjoy it!

25 American Dad American Dad! is an American adult animated sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane, Mike Barker, and Matt Weitzman for the Fox Broadcasting Company and currently on TBS. American Dad! is the first television series made to premiere on the network's Animation Domination block. The series premiered on February... read more

This show is the best that Seth MacFarlane has ever done since Johnny Bravo in the '90s. It's funny, with Stan who is actually hilarious, Francine who is the typical hot mother, Steven who is funny in his attempts to be cool, Hayley who is the hippy daughter, and Roger who is the funniest character on the show, along with Klaus. American Dad can never die.

American Dad should be at number one. It is just so funny. Roger is hilarious and so over-the-top. Francine is funnier than any other cartoon mom.

She made Stan and Hayley go out to bond, threatening to cut their faces with a wine bottle if they didn't. You wouldn't see Linda, Donna, Marge, or even Lois doing that. The other characters are funny and good too.

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