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IGN's Top 25 Animated Series

Well, IGN has named their top 25 prime-time animated series of all time, and you can find the complete list here, all fulla descriptions and fancy, descriptive rundowns, but I'm going to reproduce the list below. Can you guess the identity of number one? If you can't, you drank bleach.

25) The Jetsons
24) Aqua Teen Hunger Force
23) Spawn: The Animated Series
22) Invader Zim
21) Sealab 2021
20) Jonny Quest
19) The Venture Bros.
18) The Powerpuff Girls
17) Justice League
16) Aeon Flux
15) Spongebob Squarepants
14) King of the Hill
13) Space Ghost Coast to Coast
12) The Maxx
11) Samurai Jack
10) Home Movies
9) The Critic
8) Ren and Stimpy
7) Star Wars: Clone Wars
6) Family Guy
5) Beavis and Butt-head
4) Futurama
3) The Flintstones
2) South Park
1) The Simpsons

Now these lists are never going to please everyone, obviously, but I admit that my own list would have quite a lot of overlap--though the sequencing would differ significantly.

And while it's excellent to see some underappreciated gems (such as my personal favorite oddity The Venture Bros. and the far too unfairly cancelled The Critic) I can't help but notice that practically all of these shows are current (or very recent) shows...which sort of throws the "of all time" qualification out the window.

I know they specify "prime time," but why? Why narrow the field of competitors? So many great (and important) cartoons were built around morning or afternoon timeslots...Duck Tales, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman: The Animated Series, Animaniacs, Muppet Babies...hell, what about Looney Tunes? You can't, in good conscience, have a list like this without at least acknowledging such an important forerunner to every single entry on the list as Looney Tunes...

And I'm assuming they must factor in the overall importance a show has had culturally, otherwise The Simpsons really shouldn't be in the top spot anymore, and Beavis and Butt-head might have broke down a great deal of barriers in animation but not one of them was in terms of quality.

Well, whatever. That's the list. And it has The Venture Bros. on it. Oh, and it makes me want The Maxx on DVD. Why hasn't that happened? Why?

About this entry


Most lists like these are pointless for exactly the reasons you specify.

It would be much more interesting if they made the list but then missed out the top 5 or so entries. That way they can focus on promoting the things that people might not have seen instead of the things that everyone's watched to death.

By Jeffrey Lee
October 10, 2006 @ 1:56 am

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>Most lists like these are pointless for exactly the reasons you specify.

The funny thing is that even though I know they're worthless, I still find myself reading them. Anything that interests me at all. Books. Cartoons. Album covers. Original songs in films. Anything. I guess I keep reading these lists just to see how well they synch up with my own ideas of what should be where. Maybe that's why people read them.

Actually, I do remember reading one list in a magazine was at a bookstore...the best albums of the 1970s. A top 50. And the thing is I agreed with almost all of the albums on there...which meant I was pretty much on the same wavelength as the guy who made the when he was naming albums I hadn't heard, I sort of had that trust in him already and went out and bought them.

And I'm glad I did (never leave me again, Exile on Main Street).

So maybe that's the draw of these lists: if you agree with a good number of the choices, you become tempted to track down the couple you don't know. And if you agree with absolutely nothing, you get to whinge about it online. Everyone's a winner!

By Philip J Reed, VSc
October 10, 2006 @ 2:27 am

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Aeon feckin Flux???

By Karl
October 10, 2006 @ 2:52 am

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Agreed about the whole 'recent' thing. I am, however, very happy to see The Powerpuff Girls there - it's one of the best animated series ever made, in pretty much every way.

Pity Dexter's Lab isn't there too, but I suppose PPG represents that stable of cartoons anyway.

By John Hoare
October 10, 2006 @ 6:51 am

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I didn't think Powerpuff Girls was prime time, was it?

I know they specify "prime time," but why?

Because it's IGN, and they're trying to appeal to a "cool", "hip", teen market, who would never admit to such a childish thing as watching Saturday morning cartoons. But having a list of "best cartoons" that excludes Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, Pinky and the Brain, Rocko's Modern Life and the genius of the Chuck Jones-era Looney Tunes on a technicality, yet includes Aeon Flux and The Critic, automatically defeats its own credibility from day one.

By Seb
October 10, 2006 @ 10:37 am

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I think PPG was actually primetime on CN in America. But I couldn't say for sure.

But yeah, I absolutely agree that it's a stupid stipulation anyway, and you're almost certainly right as to why they stipulated it as well. Twats.

By John Hoare
October 10, 2006 @ 10:49 am

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So where the hell is Duckman?

By Tanya Jones
October 10, 2006 @ 10:50 am

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Agreed on Duckman. Heartily agreed. And Dr. Katz is sorely missing. Also agreed on Rocko's Modern Life. All of this stuff was primetime and so much better than, say, Aqua Teen Hunger Force or Sealab 2021...

Oh well. As I say, a good 15 or so of these would probably have made my own list so I can't complain too much...

I guess the strange thing to me is that "prime time animated series" is a pretty recent idea, isn't it? Okay, we have The Flintstones and The Jetsons, you have me there...but then we went through a hell of a long period without ANY primetime cartooning...only to have a resurgence in the 90s through today. So why bother with the "of all time?"

If I were going to make a list of my favorite albums of all time, and every one of them was released within the past five just seems a little cheesey, doesn't it? Even if it is true that I took EVERY album that's ever been recorded into account, it sure won't seem that way.

Very true on IGN wishing to appear hip and current. But is it really so uncool to acknowledge vintage Saturday morning cartoons?

By Philip J Reed, VSc
October 10, 2006 @ 12:55 pm

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>But is it really so uncool to acknowledge vintage Saturday morning cartoons?

Let me refine that slightly: obviously they think it IS uncool. So my real question is why? We grew up on this stuff. Where's the fondness for the shows they used to pop out of bed at sunrise to see? Was I the only one who had sleepovers on Friday nights just so you could all watch the cartoons (and Pee Wee) on Saturday morning? For god's sake, IGN...admit it.

By Philip J Reed, VSc
October 10, 2006 @ 1:08 pm

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Oh, it would also help if they explained WHY they'd picked those cartoons in that order. The article is absolutely appalling - it just summaries who the shows were made by and what they were about, rarely if ever going into any detail about why they're supposed to be any good, and what the criteria were for the (otherwise apparently arbitrary) order that was selected...

By Seb
October 10, 2006 @ 3:05 pm

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I think a lot of media has very odd ideas about what is cool and uncool. They get scared as to how they will appear to their audience.

Which is dumb because it's completely meaningless anyway.

By John Hoare
October 10, 2006 @ 3:09 pm

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Incidentally, has anyone here seen The Flintstones on the Rocks?

It's BRILLIANT - it truly catches the spirit of the early episodes of the show. Ignore the screengrab there which makes it look horrible - hunt it out if you can.

By John Hoare
October 10, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

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Who is Ian Flux ?

By Andy M
October 10, 2006 @ 6:58 pm

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>Oh, it would also help if they explained WHY they'd picked those cartoons in that order.

Yeah, I didn't even notice that until today at work. Last night I skimmed the a few of the rundowns but not many...and posted about it. Only when I got a chance to actually sit and read it did I realize there's no justification whatsoever.

Now, in fairness, maybe that's excusable. After all, the only real justification to have something higher on the list than something else is "I like it more."

But that doesn't mean there's nothing for them to say about why they like it more. Certainly some of these shows are stronger in character than others, stronger in plotting, maybe just laugh out loud hilarious in a way that the others aren't...

They don't need to say anything, maybe...but I do kind of wish they did anyway.

>Who is Ian Flux ?

Judging by the spelling error this is possibly a joke and I'll look like an idiot replying to it, but in case it's not, Aeon Flux is the heroine of a cartoon of the same name that debuted on MTV's Liquid Television. Which was actually extremely brilliant stuff--no DVD of course. But it was a hell of a showcase of alternative animation quite a long time before alternative animation could be seen anywhere else. (Beavis and Butt-head began life there as well.)

Aeon Flux as a show was a series of shorts that featured Aeon in various adventurous situations, though I don't think they ever made quite clear what she was doing, who she was working for, or why. It was far more stylistically-driven than plot-driven, but I'd be lying if I said it never achieved genuine tension.

It was also made into a live-action film last year. I didn't see it. And I don't blame myself.

By Philip J Reed, VSc
October 10, 2006 @ 11:40 pm

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Someone should show this list to John Kricfalusi and observe his reactions. That would be amusing. :)

It's a better list than Channel 4's "100 Greatest Cartoons", which made some extremely bizarre choices about when to group things together. For example, the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies were all crammed together as a single entry, but the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote episodes got their own entry. A similar thing happened with Aardman, where Wallace and Gromit and Creature Comforts were grouped together (no mention of the superb Rex the Runt, unsurprisingly), but Chicken Run was listed separately.

Of course, that whole list was automatically rendered void by the excludsion of Yellow Submarine. :)

> Which was actually extremely brilliant stuff--no DVD of course.

I thought a Region 2 Aeon Flux DVD was released recently to coincide with the movie? I don't whether R1 got the same, but a couple of years ago the original R1 boxset was going for ridiculous sums on eBay.

By Nick R
October 11, 2006 @ 2:39 pm

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>I thought a Region 2 Aeon Flux DVD was released recently to coincide with the movie?

Ah, I'm sorry, I wasn't clear. I think there is, in fact, an Aeon Flux DVD that collects the shorts, but I meant a DVD of Liquid Television, which was the animation showcase on which she premiered. Aeon Flux...well, I did like it at the time, but I can't say I have any strong allegiance to its quality. Liquid Television, on the other hand, was great, great creative stuff...and that would be an ideal DVD set.

So it's just down to me and sloppy communication.

By Philip J Reed, VSc
October 11, 2006 @ 10:03 pm

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