Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

Question of the Week: What’s your favorite animated television show?

A few factors led into this being the Question of the Week. One, I noted that ten years ago, Gravity Falls debuted on Disney Channel, and Gravity Falls is awesome. Then, my Star Blazers T-shirt came up in my rotation, so that made me think of cartoons I love (why, yes, I have a T-shirt rotation – doesn’t everyone?). So let’s talk cartoons!

Obviously, there are “adult” cartoons and “kid” cartoons. I’m not going to make any distinction between them, but I don’t care if you do. I know that animated shows can fall into as many categories as non-animated shows, but I’m not going to do that, either! My only criterion for this Question is that the show must be animated!!!!!

My favorite cartoon of all time is the aforementioned Star Blazers. I love every danged minute of it, and when I watched some of it as an adult, I loved it still. Part of it is nostalgia, I admit – I began watching Star Blazers around 1980, when I was not yet ten years old, and I would watch with my two best friends, and we would literally stop whatever we were doing at that time and run inside (we were usually outside) and watch the show (how did we ever survive without streaming services?!?!?!?). So there’s a whole thing of childhood and friendship and even snobbishness, as after it stopped running here in the States, it was hard for years to find anyone who had even heard of the show. One very minor reason I clicked with my wife was that she was a fan of the show. The story of the Argo and its voyage to Iscandar to rescue the Earth from the depravations of Gamilon and its leader, Desslok, is excellent, and the dumb-ass love triangle between Wildstar, Venture, and Nova was just so dumb-ass it became fun. The Comet Empire was, if possible, even more impressive than Desslok. I never saw Season Three, which is a tragedy of epic proportions. The show was a serial, which was a novelty for kids back then, and it dealt in “adult” themes, which now I know was a feature of Japanese animation but was bizarre back then for American kids. I just love Star Blazers. Look at this shirt!

Of course, I only ask for one favorite, but it’s hard to pin these down!!!! I love a lot of animated shows!!!! In the old-school category, there’s Battle of the Planets, which for a long time was even more obscure than Star Blazers. Who didn’t love Jonny Quest? And I always had a soft spot for The Mighty Heroes and Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, especially the Juggernaut episode. I watched a lot of cartoons when I was a kid, of course, but those were my favorites.

Another T-shirt!!!!!

As an adult, I watch fewer cartoons, but I still like them. The Simpsons, of course, holds a special place in my heart, but like so many others, I stopped watching it long ago. The first, what, ten seasons are comedy gold, though, and there’s just too many great episodes to mention. I liked Futurama when it first premiered, but then it went away for a while and I never got back into it. And of course, there are the two relatively recent Disney cartoons that I love and only watched because my kids were the right ages. Phineas and Ferb premiered in the summer of 2007, when my older daughter turned 5 (my younger daughter was only 2, so a little young for it), and Gravity Falls in 2012, when my younger daughter was 7. Phineas and Ferb is, of course, the more repetitive of the two, as the episodes are basically the same thing, but the jokes are stupendous, the special episodes are a ton of fun (the Star Wars parody is a highlight), and the brilliant songs are just brilliant:

Gravity Falls, meanwhile, is about two kids staying with their great-uncle (“gruncle”) in a small town in Oregon for the summer and finding out there’s all sorts of mysteries in the town, which all tie together into an apocalyptic disaster at the end of the show. Jason Ritter and Kristen Schaal are superb as Dipper and Mabel, and it will come as zero surprise to find out that the excellent Wendy, Dipper’s slightly older love interest, is voiced by Linda Cardellini, because Linda Cardellini is awesome. It’s also very, very funny, surprisingly heartfelt, exciting, and occasionally just really, really weird. The finale especially, which I won’t say more about because it’s best to experience it yourself.

What is your favorite animated show? You know you have one!!!!!


  1. Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

    Western Animation: Avatar the Last Airbender, closely followed by Justice League Unlimited and Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated.

    Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, closely followed by My Hero Academia, and Gurren Lagann.

      1. Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

        I honestly never managed to click with Gravity Falls because I was expecting something along the lines of Mystery Incorporated, haha!

  2. Eric van Schaik

    Super Hero Squad, Avatar the Last Airbender and Batman The Animated Series are some that pop up.
    When it comes to my favorite it’s hard to choose. 2 stupid dogs and Invader Zim . I’ve got t-shirts of both of them.

  3. Edo Bosnar

    Hmm, started trying to come up with an answer and then realized it’s kind of impossible – for me, anyway. The question’s too broad, given the sheer number of varieties, genres, etc. It’s kind of like asking someone what their favorite live-action TV show is. (Or have I predicted what next week’s question will be?)

    If I absolutely must provide an answer, I’ll say season 4 of Star Trek TOS, i.e., what many call The Animated Series.

  4. Le Messor

    Forget animation. Avatar: the Last Airbender is my favourite show ever.

    My animated favourites include:
    The Simpsons
    (early seasons only)

    How To Train Your Dragon spin-offs
    I used to love Dungeons And Dragons, but I haven’t seen it since I was 13.

    I agree that Gravity Falls was great, btw.

  5. My teenaged kids have recently introduced me to Gravity Falls and Infinity Train. Both were really impressive, in different ways. Gravity Falls is epic and funny, but Infinity Train really blew me away by its depth and cleverness. I’m just disappointed that the creators have so much more story to tell but HBO Max seems to disagree.

    I also like Justice League / JL Unlimited, and Young Justice for superhero stuff. My kids have also had me watch Over the Garden Wall, which has been fascinating. It’s a ten episode “miniseries”–we haven’t yet watched the last episode partly because I’m worried it won’t be a satisfactory ending and will thus ruin the whole thing.

    1. Le Messor

      I’ve just been watching The Justice League, and really enjoying it.

      It’s been a while, but I remember Over The Wall having a satisfactory ending.

    2. HAL 2000

      The Groovy Ghoulies? Hee. Apart from the usual suspects, I liked Dogtanian and The Muskehounds. Do you see what they did there? Inspector Gadget! Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors. Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. The He-Man/She-Ra Christmas Special. Yes, it wasn’t a series, and yes, I have no shame. Dungeons and Dragons! Muppet Babies! Dangermouse! Count Duckula! The Wind in the Willows.
      And, of course, The Raccoons! (Run with us, we’ve got everything you need. Run with us… We are free!) Obviously, not enough people watched it or else they would not keep supporting and voting for the Cyril Sneers of the world (or their puppets). Je suis Burt Raccoon!
      All of these animations had catchy theme songs/tunes too. A lost art in this degraded age. The Dungeons and Dragons theme song is the best thing about it! Honestly, it’s so moving; one really does get a feeling of loss. Those poor children really are far from home.

  6. conrad1970

    I would have to put Batman: The Animated Series at the top, nothing beats that.
    Others to mention would be,
    Dungeons and Dragons
    Pinky and the Brain
    and Danger Mouse

    1. Le Messor

      I’ve never seen Pinky and The Brain (shocking! I should fix that. I even quote it from time to time. “Same thing we do every week…”) But the others are all good choices.
      I thought of Battas, but not while I was commenting. 🙂

      Ooh! Gargoyles! Just thought I’d throw that out there.

  7. Darthratzinger

    Never even heard of Gravity Falls but I guess I´ll have to check it out now.
    There´s really only one possible answer to this weeks question though and that´s the Simpsons. Yes, also I haven´t watched it in years but the sheer longevity and quality for most of that shows existence is unbeatable.

  8. John King

    I’ve long enjoyed animated series
    My favourite series of Western origin would probably be Batman the Animated series

    though I also loved Reboot
    (unfortunately the UK broadcast ended in the middle of season 3 and, now I’ve got an imported DVD, the cliff-hanger finale in the middle of Season 4)

    and Earthworm Jim was great (Favourite episode “Evil in Love”)

    and from Japan
    Azuumanga Daioh – school comedy with eccentric characters done with great charm

    Neon Genesis Evangelion

    Paranoia Agent (Satoshi Kon’s only TV series)

    and not forgetting
    Haibane Renmai, Mononoke, Doki Doki School Hours, Hell Girl, Kimagure Orange Road, the melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, etc

  9. Terrible-D

    Too many. I have the obvious answers of Batman TAS and it’s follow ups. The original Jonny Quest is a nostalgic favorite. After that, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, and The Venture Bros. need honorable mentions.

  10. Der

    Too many to list because I rarely watch live action tv series or live action movies, I watch lots and lots of anime, and this season has really good anime

    Funny enough: We got(in Mexico) Battle of the Planets in regular over the air tv but never got Star Blazer. I got Star Blazers but my hard drive crashed before I saw it so I can’t comment on it but it sounds like a great show

    And we got lots of great shows in my childhood, and most of them were on regular tv so I watched a lot of anime when I was a kid and then I just keep watching it. We got: Slayers, Escaflowne, Slam Dunk, Magic Knight Rayearth, Dragon Ball, Captain Tsubasa, Ranma 1/2, Saint Seiya, Sailor Moon and lots and lots more(not even counting the western cartoons)

    At this moment, my favourite might be: One Piece, Full Metal Alchemist(both versions), Kaguya Sama Love is War, FLCL and Slam Dunk

  11. OK, I’ll work on it. But yes to Gravity Falls. And a big NO to Scooby-Doo, Where Are You. I can watch 6 episodes of Phineas and Ferb, but NOT SD, which I know because I was on a bus on the way to Indiana…

  12. Jeff Nettleton

    Too many to mention; but, I’ll hit the highlights:

    Batman TAS thru JLU
    Jonny Quest
    Space Ghost
    Gatchaman/Battle of the Planets/G-Force Guardians of Space
    Danger Mouse
    Thundarr the Barbarian
    New Adv of Flash Gordon
    Dexter’s Laboratory
    Harvey Birdman
    The Venture Brothers
    Bullwinkle and associated segments
    Tennessee Tuxedo and associated segments
    The Groovie Goolies
    Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies
    Tom & Jerry shorts
    The Inspector
    The Pink Panther
    Challenge of the Superfriends

  13. Rantel

    A few days late to this one, but I had to pop in to say Infinity Train, because not enough people have seen it (though I see it did get one mention earlier.)

    I am still not over its premature cancellation. They only made it halfway through the planned run! A true tragedy.

  14. JHL

    Ugh, tough question. For anime it’d be The Irresponsible Caption Tylor. Western shows, probably Animaniacs.

    I haven’t returned to either in years, and that is somewhat deliberate as I suspect (and in some cases clearly know) that both are going to have elements that haven’t aged well.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.