Back in October, the staff of The Rambler took a look at the best TV shows from Nickelodeon. The response was strong as more than 200 votes were cast in our poll with SpongeBob SquarePants (23 percent) narrowly edging out Drake and Josh (22 percent) But while many students appreciated the shows of Nickelodeon, others asked why Cartoon Network’s shows were not given the same spotlight. Well, the wait is over. So, what is the best Cartoon Network show of all-time? Read our staff picks and weigh in on the new poll question with your top choice.
Cartoon Network has been known for its wacky and crazy ideas, which kids are greatly attracted to. But one of their shows that I used to watch as a kid, really stuck out to me. Ben Ten was one of the more popular shows at the time, although it’s begun to slowly lose popularity as time continues to pass. Ben Ten focuses on a young boy who discovers an alien artifact which allows him to transform into all different kinds of aliens, fighting off invaders and mutations on Earth. Throughout everything, Ben Ten has everything that a wonderful kids show needs. Drama, suspense, the wacky story which can only happen in a kids show, and most of all, humor. Cartoon Network has yet again chosen quite a good series to put on air, and I am glad that they still have good judgment. Without further ado, let the watching begin!
Courage the Cowardly Dog was a show that ran on Cartoon Network from 1999-2002. It is odd, frightening, and strange, but at the same time brilliant. This show was meant to be a kids show, and was directed at kids, but it contained a lot of material only suitable for adults. The show’s protagonist is a dog named Courage who lives with his owners Eustace and Muriel in the middle of nowhere. The subject of the show is strange for a kids show. Each episode features Courage defending his unknowing owners from various monsters that appear around their land. Courage’s name is ironic because he is actually frightened very easily. In my favorite episode, Courage defends his owners from King Ramses’ corpse. After Eustace happens upon an ancient slab buried in King Ramses’ tomb, he refuses to give it up because of its value. As a result, Ramses unleashes three plagues on the house. The episode is especially frightening because of Ramses appearance.
This is just an example of the many frightening and strange episodes in the series. All in all, I feel Courage the Cowardly Dog was a great show because it brought something new to TV. Never before had children’s shows been centered on such odd and frightening material. Recently there was a re-run on TV, and I still enjoyed watching it at age 17. I feel that the writers also wanted to make the show appealing to adults, and I think they achieved this through their mature story lines and material. I was never much of a Cartoon Network fan, but I did enjoy Courage the Cowardly Dog more than the others, and I think it was one of the best Cartoon Network shows of its time. If you’ve never seen it before, you can watch many of the episodes on Netflix.
One of the best Cartoon Network shows is Dexter’s Laboratory. The show centers around Dexter, a boy-genius who has a secret laboratory hidden in his basement. While the laboratory is secret from his parents, and although it requires a password or pulling on a specific book in a bookcase to enter, Dexter’s sister Dee Dee always seems to get into his laboratory somehow. Dexter also has an evil neighbor named Mandark who also has an underground laboratory. The plot of each episode is similar to that of Jimmy Neutron. Dexter usually creates some kind of awesome invention that ends up getting used wrongly over the course of the episode. Dee Dee and Mandark usually are the cause for the problems with Dexter’s inventions. Mandark’s inventions are also usually evil, and Mandark’s only weakness is his love for Dee Dee.
While the show itself is great, as are other shows based around the same concept like Jimmy Neutron and Phineas and Ferb, the one flaw with it is that Dexter has one of the thickest accents I have ever heard. Sometimes it is difficult to hear what he is saying because of his accent, which sounds somewhat like a Russian accent. Despite Dexter being a little bit difficult to understand, the show is by far one of the best from Cartoon Network. It ran from 1996-2003 and was extremely popular, even winning awards. Even today people love Dexter’s Lab. Last year an episode that never aired was released due to high public demand on Twitter and Reddit, which shows that even though the final episode aired a decade earlier, many people still loved Dexter’s Laboratory.
Dragon Ball Z picks up after the events of the Dragon Ball anime with Goku as a young adult and father to his son Gohan. Goku and Gohan lead an adventure along the planet alongside friends and foes. Goku is notorious for his battles with the evil Vegeta who later becomes a good guy to fight the enemies of the universe who are desperately trying to steal the Dragon Balls. The Dragon Balls have the ability to bring one person back to life and then it disappears. Over the duration of the series that is Japanese made, Goku fights and ultimately defeats almost all of his foes besides the mighty Cell. We also watch Gohan grow up throughout the series and turn into a grown up saiyan and he ultimately fights foes next to his father. I believe that this series was the best series Cartoon Network had to offer for a multitude of reasons. I won’t sit here and go on and on about it, but it taught valuable lessons that we use in everyday life. Trust, humility, and humbleness are just a few of these lessons that I am talking about. For me, it was far more than just another cartoon with pointless plots just aimed to make little kids smile. I believe Dragon Ball Z is the best cartoon they have offered ever. I truly do not think it’s even close to be honest.
Without a doubt one of, if not the best, show of our time was Ed, Edd, n Eddy. It first premiered on Cartoon Network January 4, 1999 and sought to resemble cartoons from the 1940s and 1970s. The show revolved around three main characters: Ed, who was always coming up with crazy schemes to get money for jawbreakers; Edd or “Double D,” who was the brains behind every operation; and Eddy, who was the lovable idiot who always managed to ruin every one of Ed’s schemes.
The entire show took place mainly in one cul-de-sac, and every kid in the neighborhood added a special something to the show. Kevin is the cool kid in the neighborhood who rivaled Ed. Johnny was the oddball of the neighborhood who mainly hung out with his best friend plank, a 2×4. Nazz is a stereotypical unattainable love interest who is typically seen with Kevin. Sarah is Ed’s spoiled and bossy sister who has a short temper. She is always with her best friend Jimmy who is weak, effeminate, and insecure. Rolf is an immigrant who had a strange obsession with meat and somehow always managed to become a part of Ed’s schemes. Outside of the neighborhood there was one group of girls, the Kanker sisters. These three girls were in love with the Eds and did everything they could to get a minute alone with them.
The Flintstones was a show about two families in the Stone Age. They lived in a little town called Bedrock. They are pretty much cavemen who have the capabilities that we do today. They have cars, sinks, toilets, and all of the everyday essentials we have today. The only difference is their everyday objects are made of animals or rocks. There are dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals walking around freely and as pets, such as the main character Fred’s pet dinosaur Dino. Other characters included Fred’s wife (Wilma), daughter (Pebbles), and the neighbors the Rubbles. This was easily one of my favorite show’s growing up.
Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends is a classic from Cartoon Network’s series of created shows. One day the main character “Mac” was playing with his imaginary friend “Bloo.” They were getting out of hand and destroying Mac’s mom’s house. She had come home unexpectedly and was outraged to see her house a mess. Mac’s mother banished Bloo from the house and said he can no longer stay here. Mac and Bloo were devastated. They then found a place where unwanted imaginary friends go after their creator is sick of them. Mac drops off Bloo to the house but what he doesn’t know is that he cannot visit Bloo after he leaves. Mac bargains with the owner into letting him see Bloo. Thankfully the man caves and Mac and Bloo can continue their shenanigans as a team with some new help from the other imaginary friends they just met.
The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy ran for seven seasons from 2003 to 2007. It was excellent for its entire run, wrapping the absurd around a kind of exuberant melancholy, but furiously steeped in a kind of humanism and belief in friendship that validates the viewer in numerous ways. Also, it is very funny, consistently amusing, and exceptionally unique.
Dig for a moment the premise of the series: When young, naive, idiot Billy’s hamster dies, Death personified comes to claim said mammal. Billy’s sadistic, intelligent, incredibly morbid friend Mandy strikes a deal with The Reaper, named Grim, that they play a game. The Prize for Grim, if he wins, is the children’s souls as well as the Hamster. If the youths win, Grim is condemned to be their friend for all eternity. The kids of course win, after cheating, and the series details the following years as the odd trio goes about confronting problems ranging from the exceptionally mundane, to the exceedingly cosmic.
This show is very important to me. It contributed, along with Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, to my cynical but ultimately optimistic worldview, that no matter how dark the surrounding, there is beauty in friendship, at least enough to make everything else worth it.
Out of the many great shows that Cartoon Network has produced and aired over the years, one is more legendary than all of them, the Looney Toons. For many years this show was seen as the face of Cartoon Network. With all the amazing memorable characters from Bugs Bunny to Daffy Duck to Marvin the Martian to Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner, these shows were chalked full of gut-bursting laughs and catchphrases that we will never forget, such as the classic Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd scene where Bugs casually walks up behind Elmer and says “Eh, what’s up doc?” There are countless more, but the list is just too large to say them all. The Looney Toons will go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest cartoon show ever created.
Of all the shows to ever air on Cartoon Network, none have ever made such an impact on a generation more than Pokémon. The reason this Japanese anime has had such lasting effects on its viewers is due to the fact that it transcended the television. While we were waiting for the new episode every week, we had the video games, the cards, and the toys. The video games may have been what got us hooked, but the show is what kept us.
The simple story was of a young boy coming from poverty with his best friend with one goal, to “Catch Em’ All.” It was also extremely entertaining. The story, the journey, the fights, the friendships, and the rivalries all combined into a plethora of fun and adventure.
Scooby Doo is easily the greatest show of all time let alone the greatest show on Cartoon Network. Shaggy, Fred, Velma, Daphne, and their dog Scooby Doo were the main characters of this show. They rode around in the famous Mystery Machine and solved the cases of ghosts, monsters and everything alike. Their trademark was unmasking the villain at the end of every mystery and revealing a real person. Although Scooby Doo was a kids cartoon it did send a great life lesson: it shows that the real monsters in life are people.
This one is a lost battle already. To my stupefaction, all but one student in the journalism class has never watched or even knew about the show the Wacky Races. The show is centered on the plot of 11 race car drivers of my beloved cartoon characters fighting to become the “World’s Wackiest Racer.” Characters like Penelope Pitstop, the Ant Hill Mob, my favorite the Slag Brothers and especially Dick Dastardly ran the show. There were a bunch of varied obstacles in each episode for these racers to overcome, plus all the lame excuse of Dastardly’s “plot twists” to get rid of the racers so he could win, were never too much for them. Muttly, Dick Dastardly’s too loyal dog, with his goofy laugh when Dastardly failed, always put on a show. These two, despite their attempts to sabotage the race, never won a race ever. But they were one of the only other racers to have their own TV shows come from the Wacky Races, so who’s laughing now? It is one of my favorite shows, so if that’s not enough to convince you it is the best Cartoon Network/Boomerang show, then I don’t know what criteria you look at when considering what constitutes a good television shows. The Wacky Races was my Saturday mornings and is the stereotypical cartoon that all should try to be replicate.
Yogi Bear is not to be confused with Yogi Berra or Smokey Bear. Neither a catcher for the New York Yankees nor protector of the forests, Yogi Bear instead devoted his life, much to the chagrin of Ranger Smith, to the thievery of picnic baskets of patrons of Jellystone Park. Yogi had a girlfriend of sorts in Cindy Bear, as well as what could be considered a sidekick in Boo Boo Bear. Despite the overall simplicity of the plot and story line, it was rather easy to find yourself cheering for Yogi and at times emotionally attached to him. Although his practices may have been immoral (perhaps we should question Cartoon Network’s motives behind airing a show that advocated and in a way hero-ified sneaky trickery), Yogi was and always will be for all future generations the lovable protagonist. Yogi Bear for me will always conjure up images of a fun-loving and charismatic bear.
Tom and Jerry and Johnny Bravo will also be featured in the poll.