Lisa, Maggie, Marge, Homer, and Bart scared in the woods in "The Simpsons"

Best animated TV shows of all time

May 12, 2021
20th Television

Best animated TV shows of all time

Animated television series have captivated audiences young and old, garnering dedicated fanbases across generations. Beyond the advertising value of commercial breaks and endless potential for merchandising, franchising, and movie deals, cartoons continue to occupy genuine spots in people's hearts and are an essential component of pop culture.

The first animated series to air on television was 1950's "Crusader Rabbit," which had four-minute episodes produced in part by Jay Ward, who would go on to create the iconic characters Rocky and Bullwinkle. Animated sitcoms as well as action and adventure shows became hugely popular in the '60s and '70s, thanks to iconic production houses like Hanna-Barbera Productions, United Productions of America, and Total Television.

These early studios paved the way for a long and diverse history of award-winning cartoon series of all styles. Stacker is here to list the 100 best animated TV shows of all time, ranked by IMDb user rating (as of April 2021). Shows needed at least 10,000 votes to be considered, and ties were broken by votes. Read on to find out how many you have seen.

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1 / 100
Big Jump Productions

#100. F Is for Family

- IMDb user rating: 8
- Years on the air: 2015–present

In spite of its throwback style of animation and complete disregard for political correctness, Netflix's "F is for Family" manages to tackle some pretty heavy topics, including toxic masculinity and quiet racism. Set in a fictional Pennsylvania town in the '70s, the series follows the daily lives of the Murphy family, who are voiced by actors like Bill Burr, Laura Dern, Justin Long, and Debi Derryberry, as well as their various friends and neighbors. 

2 / 100

#99. Star Wars Rebels

- IMDb user rating: 8
- Years on the air: 2014–2018

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a fledgling Rebellion began to emerge, fighting back against the Galactic Empire and ending its mission to hunt down every last Jedi. "Star Wars Rebels" is set five years before "A New Hope," and brings new and existing characters together in a mix of half-hour TV shows and longer TV movies. Praised by critics for the way it expanded George Lucas' universe and mythology as well as its storylines and voice acting, the series can be streamed on Disney+.

3 / 100
Disney Television Animation

#98. Phineas and Ferb

- IMDb user rating: 8
- Years on the air: 2007–2015

No summer adventures have ever been as fun as the shenanigans stepbrothers Pheneas and Ferb embark on in this Disney Channel original series. There's outlandish (and sometimes downright impossible) backyard inventions, an undercover agent pet platypus, and an overbearing big sister who never wastes any time tattling. Jeff Marsh and Dan Povenmire collaborated on the children's series, which utilized the voice talents of actors like Ashley Tisdale and Caroline Rhea.

4 / 100
Danger Goldberg Productions

#97. Big Mouth

- IMDb user rating: 8
- Years on the air: 2017–present

Don't be fooled by the fact that the main characters on "Big Mouth" are all preteens—this show about puberty is decidedly not for children. Frank discussions about body changes, sex, and more complex issues like coming out and interracial relationships are combined with body humor and literal hormone monsters in a way that perfectly captures the overwhelming and surreal nature of this stage of life. Comedy greats like Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph, Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jenny Slate, and Jordan Peele all lend their voices to the award-winning series.

5 / 100

#96. Black Clover

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 2017–2021

In "Black Clover," two inseparable young orphan boys, Asta and Yuno, have vowed to compete against each other to become the next Wizard King. At least that's the plan until it becomes evident that one of them lacks any sort of magical ability. Die-hard anime fans were disappointed to hear that the show would end in March 2021, although theories swirled around that the series may just be taking a break in order to give the manga's author time to complete the storyline.

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6 / 100
Children's Television Workshop (CTW)

#95. Sesame Street

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 1969–present

"Sesame Street" is loved and famous around the world for a long list of reasons, including its airing of classic-style cartoon shorts. The majority of the show features live-action puppetry with cartoons like "Pinball Number Count" in between the life lessons and catchy songs.

7 / 100

#94. Re: Zero, Starting Life in Another World

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 2016–present

In this "Groundhog Day"-esque series, a young boy finds himself summoned to another world where he's instantly killed. With the help of a silver-haired girl, he must unravel the mysteries of who summoned him to this place, why, and who wants him dead, all while trying to save his new companion from her fated death. Fans love the anime series for its action, drama, comedy, and romance elements as well as its well-developed magic system.

8 / 100
Warner Bros. Animation

#93. Superman: The Animated Series

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 1996–2000

Following in the footsteps of "Batman: The Animated Series," "Superman: The Animated Series" ran on the Kids WB for three seasons. Set in the late '90s, the series unveiled new plotlines and characters while remaining true to established Superman lore. A remastered, high-definition version of the cartoon hit HBO Max in March 2021, which may account for the once-forgotten series' resurgence of popularity.

9 / 100
Disney Television Animation

#92. Gargoyles

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 1994–1996

"Gargoyles" targeted the same older audience that made "Superman" a hit. Addressing issues like gun violence and prejudice, this animated series follows the adventures of medieval-era stone gargoyles who not only no longer perch atop a castle—they're not in Scotland at all. Tasked with protecting the citizens of modern New York City, the gargoyles must face a population that may not want to know they are there at all.

10 / 100
A-1 Pictures

#91. The Seven Deadly Sins

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 2014–present

This anime based on a Japanese manga series follows the adventures of a group of outlaw knights, each of whom represents one of the proverbial seven deadly sins, and the princess who needs their help to prevail in a war. Produced by the same studio as "Fairy Tale," the action-packed series shares common themes of strong, adventure-loving female characters.

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11 / 100
Warner Bros.

#90. Batman Beyond

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 1999–2001

"Batman Beyond," also called "Batman of the Future," ran for three seasons, with one television movie. The series chronicles the struggles of an aging Bruce Wayne as he tries to maintain order in Gotham, despite having no contact with the Justice League. Could an accidental newcomer possibly take his place? Nominated for several Emmys and Annies, the American animation awards, the series was an instrumental part of the greater Batman lore.

12 / 100
Disney Television Animation

#89. DuckTales

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 1987–1990

Not much was better for kids in the late '80s and early '90s than coming home from school and hearing the "DuckTales" theme on TV. A generation of kids followed the adventures of Disney's Scrooge McDuck and his nephews as they pursued treasure and protected McDuck's vast fortune. The show was rebooted in 2017, with David Tennant voicing the crotchety uncle.

13 / 100
TV Tokyo

#88. Bleach

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 2004–2012

A teenage Soul Reaper, whose job it is to banish evil ghosts to the afterlife and maintain the balance of living versus dead in this world, is the focus of the Japanese anime series "Bleach." A fan favorite in its heyday, the series was canceled abruptly in 2012 after more than 350 episodes. It was this conclusion-less ending that made viewers ecstatic when it was announced in February 2020 that the show would be revived in 2021 as a limited series that will cover the remaining manga arc.

14 / 100
Bento Box Entertainment

#87. Bob's Burgers

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 2011–present

"Bob's Burgers" has taken the primetime animated comedy slot by force, with razor-sharp humor at every turn, family-friendly situational humor, and a dynamic roster of regular and guest voice actors led by voice-over veteran H. Jon Benjamin. Bolstered by its formidable musical prowess, the show even has its own extended vinyl collection of hits, 15 of which were hand-selected as "the best" by the critics at NPR. The cast, which also includes Kristen Schaal and Eugene Mirman, regularly does live shows around the country.

15 / 100
20th Century Fox Television

#86. Family Guy

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 1999–present

The brainchild of longtime animator and comedian Seth MacFarlane, "Family Guy" follows the endearingly idiotic antics of Rhode Island resident Peter Griffin and his long-suffering, but equally hilarious family: a wife, two kids, a homicidal baby, and a talking dog. The show is Fox's second-longest-running series after "The Simpsons," and spawned a sequel: "The Cleveland Show."

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16 / 100
A-1 Pictures

#85. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2011

"Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day" told its story in only 11 episodes. The anime series followed six young adults who reunite to fulfill the final wish of the ghost of their dead friend. The show is as emotional and melodramatic as it sounds, consistently earning a place on lists of the saddest and most depressing anime series.

17 / 100
Marvel Enterprises

#84. The Spectacular Spider-Man

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2008–2009

Most people know of the famous Spider-Man formula: High-schooler Peter Parker, who lives in New York City with his doting aunt and uncle, is bitten by a radioactive spider and gains superpowers he uses to secretly protect the city from evildoers, while also trying to get through high school. Unsurprisingly, it makes for an enduring cartoon series, although this iteration only ran for two seasons.

18 / 100
TMS Entertainment

#83. Dr. Stone

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2019–present

If you awoke tomorrow to find that all of humanity had been turned into statues, would you have a plan to bring civilization back to life? The two teenage leads of "Dr. Stone" think they do. This anime series is poised to become even more popular with animation fans as it continues to expand its story arc.

19 / 100
Aardman Animations

#82. Shaun the Sheep

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2007–2020

A spinoff of "Wallace and Gromit," this British stop-motion animated series chronicles the antics of Shaun the Sheep, who appeared in previous installments of the popular show. "Shaun the Sheep" has 150 short episodes, two feature-length films, a video game, and its own spinoff series, "Timmy Time." 

20 / 100
Amazon Studios

#81. Undone

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2019–present

Two of the creative minds behind "BoJack Horseman," Kate Purdy and Raphael Bob-Waksberg, reunited to bring this genre and style-bending series to life. "Undone," an Amazon original, is about a woman who discovers her relationship with time has changed after she's involved in a car crash. What really makes the series stand apart from the crowd is the fact that it is the first show to be completed with rotoscope animation.

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21 / 100

#80. Metalocalypse

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2006–2013

This beloved Adult Swim staple follows Scandinavian death-metal band Dethklok as they apply their signature black humor to a fanbase who takes their lyrics very seriously—literally, in fact. The show's music is written and performed by Brendon Small, the show's creator, and the mind behind "Home Movies."

22 / 100

#79. Psycho Pass

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2012–present

An example of Japanese cyberpunk-style anime at its best, "Psycho Pass" also depicts a dystopian future in which people face constant mental surveillance as a crime prevention measure. The story follows members of the police state's criminal investigation bureau as they determine who may commit violent offenses.

23 / 100
Fuji Television Network

#78. Dragon Ball Z Kai

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2009–2015

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the original "Dragon Ball Z," the studio re-released the series, re-titling it "Dragon Ball Z Kai." The only changes? Updated color, different voice actors, a new intro/outro, and the deletion of several "filler" episodes. Despite being essentially the same thing, many fans maintain that "Kai" is the better of the two and easier to get into.

24 / 100
Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe

#77. The Amazing World of Gumball

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2011–2019

The first Cartoon Network series to be produced by its European studio, "The Amazing World of Gumball" is about a 12-year-old blue cat named Gumball and his best friend—a fish—who attend middle school together. The comedy centers on the organized chaos of Gumball's interspecies family life, and the antics of Gumball and his friends.

25 / 100
Cartoon Network Studios

#76. Steven Universe

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2013–2020

Lauded for its progressive subject matter as well as its innovative storylines and colorful, inventive animation, "Steven Universe" is one of Cartoon Network's most successful series, and its first to be created exclusively by a woman. One of many of the network's series geared toward older children and adults, "Steven Universe" follows the story of a boy being raised by a family of gem-powered superheroes. With a handful of award nominations under its belt, it's safe to say this story isn't going anywhere—in fact, a movie is in the works.

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26 / 100
Cartoon Network

#75. Courage the Cowardly Dog

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 1999–2002

For fans of the grotesque, horrifying, and hilarious, there's "Courage the Cowardly Dog." Coward wouldn't be so afraid all the time if the farm he lived on with a quirky old couple wasn't crawling with ghosts and other scary adversaries. Courage must face his fears to save his owners, whether they help him or not.

27 / 100
Frederator Studios

#74. Castlevania

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2017–2021

Based on a classic video game, "Castlevania" follows a vampire hunter who's fighting to save his city from Dracula and the various monsters under his control. "Castlevania" is the first original anime series to air on Netflix and has won numerous awards. A spinoff series set in the same universe is reportedly in the works.

28 / 100
Nickelodeon Animation Studios

#73. SpongeBob SquarePants

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 1999–present

It's the story of one famous resident of Bikini Bottom who lives in a pineapple under a tree. Widely considered one of the most influential animated series in history, "SpongeBob SquarePants" has aired, while thoroughly irritating parents, for decades, and also birthed a handful of movies and video games, plus a Broadway musical.

29 / 100

#72. Fate/Zero

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 2011–2012

You'll want to watch this Japanese anime series in chronological order, or your "fate" is to understand "zero" of the plot. Following the events of the Fourth Holy Grail War, seven master magicians conjure the souls of deceased warriors and heroes throughout history to battle for the Holy Grail capable of granting wishes.

30 / 100

#71. Baccano!

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 2007–2008

Based on a manga series, "Baccano!" is a historical drama set in America during different time periods. When the key to everlasting life is discovered by alchemists in 1930, the story's characters begin to come together in unexpected ways to keep the magic elixir from those who would use its powers for evil.

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31 / 100

#70. The Midnight Gospel

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 2020–present

Pendleton Ward, the creative mind behind "Adventure Time," struck gold once again with "The Midnight Gospel," a trippy, mind-bending show that follows a spacecaster's travels through the universe. Described by Thrillist as "a visual podcast," the show combines outlandish animation with more forthright conversation about navigating one's own existence. Thought-provoking without being the slightest bit dull, "The Midnight Gospel" is really unlike anything else that's currently on TV.

32 / 100
Marvel Animation

#69. The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 2010–2012

Marvel Animation strikes again with this series featuring a robust line-up of fan-favorite superheroes: Iron Man, Giant-Man, Hulk, Thor, and Wasp. Captain America, Black Panther, Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, and Vision all join in later episodes as well, and Nick Fury dutifully presides. 

33 / 100

#68. Tengen toppa gurren lagann

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 2007–2008

In the universe of "Tengen toppa gurren lagann" humanity has been forced into underground villages by the powerful Spiral King, but, after stumbling upon a mysterious object, two friends set out to bring their people back above ground. This anime series is unique in that it wasn't based off of a pre-existing manga (in fact, a manga was written around it after the fact), which gives the show more freedom with its storylines and requires less filler.

34 / 100
Ellipse Animation

#67. The Adventures of Tintin

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 1991–1992

An adaptation of the iconic comic book series by Georges Prosper Remi—better known as Hergé—this series, produced in Tintin's own native Brussels, brings the books to life. While the series was more or less faithful to the actual stories, the producers notably downplayed some recurring themes like violence, alcoholism, emotional abuse, and death, and omitted storylines involving Soviet Russia and African colonialism.

35 / 100

#66. Trigun

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 1998

Pivoting back to anime series about outlaws on the run, "Trigun" is the tale of Vash the Stampede, a legendary warrior from an arid, hostile planet with a $60 billion bounty on his head. The only problem? There's no proof he did what he's accused of: destroying entire towns. His true story is revealed over the course of the series, thanks to those tasked with hunting him down.

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36 / 100
Nicktoons Productions

#65. Invader ZIM

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 2001–2006

Invader ZIM is from the planet Irk, and has a robot named GIR and adversary named Dib. The series tells the tale of an alien-being with the goal of enslaving the humans of Earth. Tasked to blend in with his surroundings, Zim has his work cut out for him. Nominated for several awards, but cut short due in part to budgetary issues, "Invader ZIM" nevertheless garnered a large fanbase.

37 / 100
Forecast Communications

#64. Parasyte: The Maxim

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 2014–2015

A blend of sci-fi and horror, this Japanese anime series tells the story of a young boy forced to coexist with a violent parasite called "parasyte" bent on taking over his body. The key to his survival: the creature requires the host to live as well. A tale of symbiosis, endurance, and compromise, the pair battles other parasites in order to save humanity.

38 / 100

#63. Final Space

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 2018–present

"Final Space" takes the space opera concept to new heights, deciphering what and where "final space" really is with a ragtag group of cosmic and cosmonaut oddities. The show is voiced by Fred Armisen, known for his work on "Portlandia" and "Saturday Night Live." 

39 / 100

#62. Star Wars: The Clone Wars

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 2008–2020

Chronicling events that take place between "Star Wars Episode II" and "Star Wars Episode III," "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" depicts the war-time antics of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda. Beautifully animated with deeply layered storytelling, the series, which is aimed at kids, was deemed one of the franchise's "greatest entries" by Rotten Tomatoes.

40 / 100

#61. Naruto

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 2002–2007

Another Japanese anime series follows Naruto Uzumaki as he trains to become the strongest ninja in his village in order to assume the position of leader. English-speaking audiences responded positively to the show's airing in America, and subsequently built up an enormous fanbase for the show and graphic novel series alike—the latter of which has sold more than 130 million copies worldwide.

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41 / 100
David Production

#60. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 2012–present

"JoJo's Bizarre Adventure" follows various members of the Joestar family who are each blessed with psychic strength and antagonized by forces of evil. An unconventional anime series in its structure, each season covers a different arc of the manga series and features a different main character, which means that they can—to some degree—be viewed independently.

42 / 100
TMS Entertainment

#59. Detective Conan

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 1996–present

Young detective Jimmy is mysteriously transformed into a young child when an investigation goes awry. Going by the codename Conan, Jimmy, along with his elementary school classmates, form a junior detective club to find out more about the Black Organization. 

43 / 100
Warner Bros. Animation

#58. The Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes Comedy Hour

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 1985–1986

You'll find a well-curated selection of the hits of "Looney Tunes" in this delightfully nostalgic series. The show features some of legendary voice actor Mel Blanc's most notable work, and favorite characters like Roadrunner, Porky Pig, and Daffy Duck.

44 / 100
Bardel Entertainment

#57. The Dragon Prince

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 2018–present

After an elf assassin is sent to kill two human princes, the trio form an unlikely bond and proceed to search for a way to end the 1,000 year old conflict that exists between men and magical creatures. Though similar in style and form to a Japanese anime show, "The Dragon Prince" is actually a Canadian-American fantasy adventure series that was created for Netflix. In 2020, it was announced that the series was renewed for four more seasons.

45 / 100
Fuji Television Network

#56. Dragon Ball Super

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 2015–2018

The prophecy of a Super Saiyan god leads a deity of destruction to seek out his whereabouts in this Japanese manga series based on the popular "Dragon Ball" franchise. Fan favorite characters return for the fourth installment of the long-running cartoon, which received mixed reviews.

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46 / 100
Adelaide Productions

#55. The Boondocks

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 2005–2014

This animated series, in the style of Japanese anime, broke ground in many ways. Creator and animator Aaron McGruder originally wrote this story of an inner-city Black family settling into life in an affluent, mainly white suburb as a comic strip, which was then reimagined as a cartoon that proved difficult to find a home for.

Ultimately, the president of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim primetime block discovered the pilot episode, aired it, and reaped enormous benefits from viewers who had wanted stories about race, socioeconomics, gang violence, rap culture, family ties, and romantic relationships. Top it off with a brave, intellectual coming-of-age character who was easy to relate to, and CN had a formula for success. The show ran for four seasons, and enjoyed syndication long after.

47 / 100
New World Entertainment Films

#54. Spider-Man: The Animated Series

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 1994–1998

This iteration of the Spider-Man tale follows Peter Parker during his college years at Empire State University, and features many of the classic villains like the Green Goblin and Mysterio that fans first encountered in the comic book series. Generally regarded by fans as the best TV version of Spider-Man, the show won critical praise for its depth and allegiance to its source material, and was a commercial success.

48 / 100
Cartoon Network Studios

#53. Regular Show

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 2009–2017

Another Cartoon Network cult hit, "Regular Show" is the story of a blue jay named Mordecai and a raccoon named Rigby, best friends who work at a park and just can't seem to catch a break. Running for eight seasons, the finale saw the cast launch into space for a mysterious mission.

49 / 100
Genesis Entertainment

#52. X-Men: The Animated Series

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 1992–1997

A staple of Saturday morning cartoons, "X-Men: The Animated Series" was one of the first superhero series to take itself seriously. A passion project for director Margaret Loesch, it took almost a decade to get the show off the ground, but once it finally hit the air it was a ratings superstar. Today, the show is remembered for introducing the previously uninitiated to the likes of Wolverine, Cyclops, Professor X and Storm, and explaining the intricacies of the MCU, setting the stage for the franchise as it exists today.

50 / 100
Ginormous Madman

#51. The Legend of Korra

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 2012–2014

A sequel to Nickelodeon's record-smashing hit "Avatar: The Last Airbender," "The Legend of Korra" takes place approximately 75 years after the end of the Hundred Year War. Avatar Aang has moved onto his next incarnation: a water-bender named Korra. Along with her pet polar bear-dog and band of friends—one of whom was named for the late actor who loaned his voice to "Avatar's" General Iroh—Korra proves herself worthy to lead humankind alongside the spirit world while battling a loaded cast of evildoers bent on ending the avatar cycle forever. Among the many notable names in the cast are J.K. Simmons, Kiernan Shipka, Mindy Sterling, Aubrey Plaza, Daniel Dae Kim, and Anne Heche.

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51 / 100
20th Century Fox Television

#50. Futurama

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 1999–2013

"The Simpsons" was a hard act for creator and animation legend Matt Groening to follow, but follow and succeed several times, he did. Voice-acting from some of the industry's best—Tress MacNeille, John DiMaggio, Hank Azaria, Billy West, David Herman, and Lauren Tom, among dozens of celebrity cameos—launched this story of a cryogenically frozen pizza delivery boy and his intergalactic cast of friends into a household name.

In order to produce scientifically accurate concepts for story arcs and topical humor alike—as topical as humor about theoretical physics can be, anyway—the writing team possessed three doctorate degrees, seven master's degrees, and had attended Harvard University for 50 years altogether. Five years after being canceled by Fox, "Futurama's" creators released a season of straight-to-DVD feature-length episodes in lieu of an official fifth season, and Comedy Central picked up the cult hit for two more seasons and a finale.

52 / 100

#49. Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 1992–1995

In this Japanese anime series, the ghost of recently deceased Yusuke isn't ready to be ferried to the underworld just yet—and besides, the powers in charge aren't sure he belongs in either heaven or hell. The ruler of the underworld is willing to return him to his body, if he can complete a series of dangerous challenges involving mythical beasts, demons, tournaments and, ultimately, love.

53 / 100

#48. Mushi-Shi

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2005–2006

This inventive animated series, based on a Japanese manga, explores the world of Mushi. They're creatures with supernatural powers that typically can't be seen by the human eye. Ginko, however, is a Mushi master who's dedicated his life to helping people understand the nature of these mystical beings and serving as the bridge between two species.

54 / 100
DreamWorks Animation Television

#47. Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2016–2018

From acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro comes Netflix's "Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia." In a town rife with disaster, the world's first human trollhunter must protect both the underground trolls and humans who live above them, having been chosen by a mystical amulet, all while managing school and family life.

55 / 100
DC Entertainment

#46. Harley Quinn

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2019–present

In HBO Max's "Harley Quinn" series, the supervillain has broken up with her long-time boyfriend the Joker and is hell-bent on establishing a name for herself as the "Queenpin of Gotham City." Decidedly for adult audiences, the show, which was developed by several sitcom veterans, is side-splittingly funny and features more than one queer relationship. Despite its occasional deviation from established DC lore, the series remains true to its roots and is sure to delight even the most hard-core comic book lover.

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56 / 100
Warner Bros. Animation

#45. The New Batman Adventures

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 1997–1999

Batman fans of all ages learn more about the legend's supporting cast of characters in this award-winning animated series that aired for two seasons. Dark, macabre at times, and true to the original comics, with a few notable flaws, "The New Batman Adventures" was a staple of Saturday mornings and after-school weekdays alike.

57 / 100

#44. Mob Psycho 100

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2016–present

A parody of the traditional anime series, "Mob Psycho 100" is about a middle school boy who must learn to control his psychic powers and find his place in life. The series subverts the usual character types and storylines that can be found in more classic anime in a way that's really interesting to watch. Critics have also praised the show for its incredible visuals, which are quite stylized and eye-grabbing.

58 / 100

#43. Rurouni Kenshin

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 1996–1999

A former assassin who has promised to protect the innocent while never taking another life is the central character in "Rurouni Kenshin." The anime series, which was big in the late '90s, starts out fairly lighthearted but gets deeper and darker as the story goes on. In contrast to many other anime of the era, the central themes of the show are atonement and peace, not violence and bloodshed.

59 / 100
Bandai Visual Company

#42. Kôkaku kidôtai: Stand Alone Complex

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2002–2005

Members of an elite law enforcement squad called Public Security Section 9 investigate a slew of cybercrime and terrorism cases, particularly those that involve a shadowy figure called "the laughing man," in "Kôkaku kidôtai: Stand Alone Complex." Super-successful during its initial run, the anime series spawned multiple feature-length movies as well as a reboot that premiered on Netflix.

60 / 100
Astro Base Go!

#41. The Venture Bros.

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2003–2018

In another hit from Cartoon Network, daft teenage brothers Hank and Dean Venture, their mad scientist father, and loyal bodyguard battle evil wherever they find it, even if they find it accidentally and die trying. Don't worry, there are plenty of clones stored up for that very reason. The seventh season was particularly well-received.

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61 / 100
Studio BONES

#40. My Hero Academia

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2016–present

Surely you've wondered what it would be like to have superpowers, but have you ever wondered how life would be if you were the only one without them? That's the premise of this Japanese series that follows life in a high school for the magically inclined. Izuku, however, is bullied for his lack of special ability and must find a way to catch up, excel, and save society from evildoers.

62 / 100
Barnum Studio

#39. Samurai Champloo

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2004–2005

"Samurai Champloo" is a Japanese anime set to hip-hop music with an urban vibe and a large base of dedicated fans, though the show ended in 2005. Young waitress Fuu is attacked by samurai, prompting two wandering warriors to save her though inadvertently killing her assailants. Fuu helps the two escape their execution in return for a favor. Expect dramatic combat scenes in the style of traditional Japanese chanbara cinema—one of many reasons the show maintains its reputation.

63 / 100
Warner Bros. Animation

#38. Justice League

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2001–2004

"Justice League," based on the popular comic books, took the winning formula of the "Batman" series and expanded it into a full-on superhero parade. Packed with backstories, new villains, old rivalries, and plenty of famous names on the cast list—Neil Patrick Harris, Julie Bowen, Alfred Molina, Virginia Madsen, Ron Perlman, Brad Garrett, and Rob Zombie, to name a few—this was one show that called for and received a sequel: "Justice League Unlimited."

64 / 100
Cartoon Network Studios

#37. Samurai Jack

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2001–2017

Time-traveling ninja warriors? Check. Evil shape-shifting demon? Check. Dystopian science fiction-influenced world where humanity's survival is at stake? If you're still interested, "Samurai Jack" is the cartoon for you. Twelve years after its finale, the series received a fifth and final season to wrap up the story's events. Magical swords, mythical creatures, interplanetary travel, and romantic love abound.

65 / 100
The Bird Studio

#36. Dragon Ball

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 1986–1989

The manga that inspired the first animated adaptation of the "Dragon Ball" series was released in 1984, when fans first met heroes Goku and Bulma. Their mission: to gather all seven Dragon Balls scattered throughout the world in order to access their wish-granting powers before an evil emperor beats them to it. Along the way, Goku trains for an ultimate martial arts tournament, meeting a colorful cast of friends and villains. 

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66 / 100

#35. Neon Genesis Evangelion

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 1995–1996

"Neon Genesis Evangelion" falls into the "mecha anime" category as a Japanese anime inspired by world religions and, of course, a dystopian future in which a teenager must prevail against all odds to save the world from further annihilation. That's to say, everything hinges on oversized battle machines controlled by humans, seeing as the enemies in question are giant spiritual humanoid aliens named for Biblical angels.

67 / 100

#34. Fullmetal Alchemist

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2003–2004

Alchemy is considered among the most valuable of sciences in the futuristic world of "Fullmetal Alchemist." By honing their science, two brothers hope to break the code of the mythic philosopher's stone, which reverses death—though this practice is illegal in their society. Persecuted by those who would harness the brothers' abilities to further their own nefarious agendas, they must travel the world to stay ahead of their enemies and continue amassing allies. With two series and two feature-length films, not including a live-action production, "Fullmetal Alchemist" has enjoyed success in America and Japan as well as Poland, France, Portugal, Italy, and Korea.

68 / 100
Blur Studio

#33. Love, Death & Robots

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2019

An anthology series, "Love, Death & Robots" doesn't have a central plot but rather tells a variety of stories in the sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and comedy genres. Each episode of the series is created by different teams in countries all around the world. A visually stunning show, "Love, Death & Robots" is a five-time Emmy Award winner, taking home multiple trophies for Outstanding Individual Achievements in Animation.

69 / 100
A-1 Pictures

#32. Shigatsu wa kimi no uso

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Years on the air: 2014–2015

"Shigatsu wa kimi no uso" (or "Your Lie in April" in English) is a slice-of-life romance about two young musicians, a violinist and a pianist, whose romance alters the course of their respective lives. An absolute tear-jerker of a series, the show has won multiple awards for its voice acting and has been called a "must watch" by more than one fan.

70 / 100

#31. Monster

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Years on the air: 2004–2010

In this anime adapted from a manga series, Kenzo Tenma, a young Japanese brain surgeon, must address internal conflict when it comes to who will receive his life-saving attention at a busy hospital following a violent incident. Years later, Tenma begins to unravel the complex web of events that follow the surgery he once performed on an injured child. War memories of East Germany and the former Czechoslovakia have permeated the child's life, and could hold the answers to where the monster in question is hiding.

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71 / 100

#30. The Promised Neverland

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Years on the air: 2019–2021

After a trio of children raised in an isolated and idyllic orphanage realize that their caretaker has nefarious plans for their lives, they must come up with a plan to escape. Most fans of the anime series, "The Promised Neverland," seem to agree that the first season of the show is much better than the second, which has no central plot or purpose. 

72 / 100
Warner Bros. Television

#29. The Bugs Bunny Show

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Years on the air: 1960–1975

The original show, hosted by that "wascally wabbit," initially struggled through diminishing demand for animated short cartoons, but some clever remarketing—with the help of Daffy, Porky, Tweety, Road Runner, and Sylvester, of course—helped solidify its place in the history of American animation.

73 / 100
DC Comics

#28. Young Justice

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Years on the air: 2010–present

If you've ever wondered what fan favorites from the DC Universe would look and act like as teenagers, "Young Justice" answers all those questions and more. Though they don't technically belong to any official world-saving organization at first, a grown-up Batman invites the teens to form their own team in a secret hideout and receive mentorship from some of their favorite heroes.

74 / 100
Bandai Namco Games

#27. Code Geass

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Years on the air: 2006–2012

At its core, "Code Geass" is a political drama about a group of rebels led by an exiled prince with magical powers that is trying to overthrow the Holy Brittan Empire, whose core belief is that "not all men are created equal." Set in an alternative universe, this action-packed series comes from Studio Sunrise, a major player in the anime world. The highly praised animation is done by an all-female crew called CLAMP.

75 / 100
Frederator Studios

#26. Adventure Time

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Years on the air: 2010–2018

A work by famed animator Pendleton Ward, "Adventure Time" is Cartoon Network's flagship property, with 10 critically acclaimed seasons as well as multiple successful video games and a wealth of other merchandise, plus a sequel. Psychologically attuned to appeal in equal measures to children and adults, "Adventure Time" follows the antics of sword-bearing Finn the human—one of the last known on a post-apocalyptic Earth—along with his adopted brother Jake the magic dog, and their vibrant cast of friends: a sentient computer, a princess made of candy, a friendly vampire queen, a Korean-speaking rainbow unicorn and … well, a lumpy space princess.

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76 / 100

#25. Naruto: Shippûden

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Years on the air: 2007–2017

Naruto and his friends are back, older, and wiser, for more adventures in this series adapted from the Japanese manga. With a whopping 500 episodes over 10 years, "Naruto: Shippûden" finds the titular hero training tirelessly for a task beyond his wildest dreams: facing down the evil Akatsuki organization.

77 / 100
Floyd County Productions

#24. Archer

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Years on the air: 2009–present

"Archer" has staked its claim in the hearts of animation fans of an older age. Sterling Archer, voiced by industry superstar H. Jon Benjamin, is the world's greatest Bond-style secret agent. He has it all: looks, money, talent, and a deep-set mother complex. Voiced by several "Arrested Development" alumni—Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor, Judy Greer, and David Cross—"Archer" takes viewers around the world in a hilarious peek into what it's like to go undercover as a hired spy. Just don't utter any double-entendres: Archer will call you out every single time.

78 / 100
Gracie Films

#23. The Simpsons

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Years on the air: 1989–present

Animation legend Matt Groening graduated from his critically acclaimed comic book series "Life is Hell" to the big screen with "The Simpsons," which premiered on Fox in 1989. Loveable oaf and nuclear power plant technician Homer Simpson, his wife Marge, and their three kids, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie have been entertaining Americans for decades, and show no signs of stopping. A recipient of the coveted Peabody Award, as well as mountains of other accolades from some of the most important institutions in film and TV, "The Simpsons" holds the title of longest-running American sitcom of all time, while also being translated into a dozen languages worldwide.

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79 / 100
DC Comics

#22. Justice League Unlimited

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Years on the air: 2004–2006

An extension of the original "Justice League" series which ran from 2001–2004, "Justice League Unlimited" continued many of the plotlines that were begun in its predecessor, following our gang of superheroes as they fight evil and wage war on crime. This series introduced dozens of new DC Universe characters that never made an appearance in the first version of the story. In the final scene of this show, all of these characters run down the steps of the Hall of Justice, off to wage war against the Secret Society, in what has become an iconic piece of superhero animation.

80 / 100
Mainichi Broadcasting System

#21. Haikyuu!!

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Years on the air: 2014–2020

Sports drama and anime collide in "Haikyuu!!," a series about a short boy (nicknamed "the little giant") who becomes obsessed with volleyball and vows to become the greatest player in Japan. Despite its rather unique premise, the series earned a spot on several lists of the best anime series of the 2010s. It's also been praised for its mostly realistic depiction of the sport.

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81 / 100

#20. Jujutsu Kaisen

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Years on the air: 2020–present

If you're looking for an anime with exceptional world-building, "Jujutsu Kaisen" is an excellent choice. The series follows a high school student who swallows the finger of a demon, only to realize that he's now possessed by said demon. In order to perform an exorcism on himself, the teenager must locate and swallow the remainder of the demon's fingers and must do it quickly to avoid additional mayhem.

82 / 100
OLM-Animation Studio

#19. Berserk

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Years on the air: 1997–1998

This Japanese anime series asks the age-old question: Is humanity good by nature, or evil? Set in a fantasy-infused medieval world, the story follows mercenaries with dark, traumatic backstories as they battle sinister forces for revenge and freedom. With no shortage of gore, violence, and sexual themes, this is an insightful, though intense dive into the human condition.

83 / 100

#18. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Years on the air: 2019–present

After his family is murdered and his young sister is turned into a demon, a teenage boy begins training as a demon slayer with hopes of saving his sister and avenging his loved ones. Based on a manga series of the same name, "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba" was a massive success, and its movie, which bridged the gap between seasons one and two, holds the title of the highest-grossing anime movie of all time. Audiences who appreciate a good fight sequence would do well to check this one out, as critics almost unanimously praise the animation of these scenes.

84 / 100
Toei Animation

#17. Dragon Ball Z

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Years on the air: 1989–1996

The sequel to the original "Dragon Ball" anime, "Dragon Ball Z" continues the story of hero Goku and his young son, Gohan, who learn the origins of their uncommon superpowers when an alien visits their homeland. Who is Goku, and can he ever return to the original nature of his people? The seven mythical Dragon Balls return in a new capacity, and the legend of the Saiyans takes on new life in this popular expansion of the global franchise.

85 / 100
Tornante Company,

#16. BoJack Horseman

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Years on the air: 2014–2020

"Arrested Development's" Will Arnett voices BoJack Horseman, a washed-up former actor with a drinking (and everything else) problem in this Netflix original animated series. Critically acclaimed for its portrayal of mental health issues as well as its general critique of the trappings of Hollywood, "BoJack Horseman" follows the titular character's chronic failures alongside a cast of humans and fellow anthropomorphic animals. This included Horseman's on-again, off-again girlfriend and talent agent, Princess Carolyn (voiced by comedian Amy Sedaris). Other voice actors include "Breaking Bad's" Aaron Paul, as well as Alison Brie and Paul F. Tompkins.

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86 / 100
Comedy Central

#15. South Park

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Years on the air: 1997–present

"South Park" is the long-running story of four elementary school boys and their families and friends in the provincial mountain town of South Park, Colorado. The show has millions of fans around the world who follow its unapologetic social commentary.

The creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, earned award nominations and wins from the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, and Tonys. In addition, "South Park" has won honors from many more, including: CableACE; Behind The Voice Actors; the Chicago, Los Angeles, Florida, and Las Vegas Film Critics Associations; The Online Film and Television Association; the MTV Movie and TV Awards; Producers Guild of America Awards; and on top of all of that, the team won a Peabody Award "for pushing buttons and envelopes with stringent social commentary."

87 / 100
Amazon Studios

#14. Invincible

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Years on the air: 2021–present

A superhero show for adults, "Invincible" follows the ordinary son of a known superhero who, after being bullied for his entire adolescence, discovers he may have some powers of his own. Based on a series of comic books by Robert Kirkman (who also wrote the "Walking Dead" comics), the show isn't the same light fare as many other animated superhero shows. Instead, it explores darker and more dramatic themes like the aftermath of a "save," the traumas violent attacks leave in their wake, and tightly held family secrets.

88 / 100
Wit Studio

#13. Vinland Saga

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Years on the air: 2019

The Viking-themed anime you never knew you needed, "Vinland Saga" is a historical drama packed with violence, fleshed-out characters, and plenty of scheming. More than one fan has indicated that the series would be perfect for viewers who find themselves with a "Game of Thrones"-sized hole in their TV watching schedules. 

89 / 100
Frontier Works

#12. Steins;Gate

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Years on the air: 2011–2015

Ever wish you could text the past? In "Steins;Gate," an adaptation of a Japanese video game, D-mails are just that. By utilizing time travel technology developed by a self-professed mad scientist in Tokyo, multiple generations of characters are able to contact each other and change future events by manipulating history. But is it enough to stop World War III from occurring?

90 / 100
Toei Animation

#11. One Piece

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Years on the air: 1999–present

When an anime series has more than 800 episodes to its name, it's evident viewers are in for an addictive treat. Based on the Japanese manga, "One Piece" is about a young boy, Monkey, who seeks a pirate treasure known as One Piece. On his journey, he gathers a crew of misfit friends and hybrid creatures who help and sometimes hinder his dream of becoming King of the Pirates. The series was so popular, it even received a "Dragon Ball Z" crossover episode.

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91 / 100

#10. One Punch Man

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- Years on the air: 2015–present

Fans of the Marvel and DC Universes may want to queue up "One-Punch Man" for their next animated binge: Saitama can knock out foes with one thunderous punch. This is useful, as his planet has been overrun with mutants, monsters, and other villains bent on wiping out humanity. Along with other superheroes, Saitama channels the frustration of no longer being challenged by fighting after knocking out a constant stream of adversaries. Based on a webcomic, the graphic novel adaptation of the story spent two weeks on The New York Times' manga bestseller list.

92 / 100

#9. Hunter x Hunter

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Years on the air: 2011–2014

In the Japanese anime world of "Hunter x Hunter," some have attained the coveted rank which allows Hunters to follow the trails of treasures, mythical beasts, and fellow people. Hero Gon meets a group of friends during his notoriously difficult Hunter exam training, and together, they face adversity from foes, challenges during tournaments, and are hunted themselves by a larger-than-life carnivorous ant queen, all while searching for Gon's missing father.

93 / 100
Disney Television Animation

#8. Gravity Falls

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Years on the air: 2012–2016

Forbes once called this Disney Channel original "the best show on television." The series follows twins Dipper and Mabel as they help their uncle run a local tourist trap in the town of Gravity Falls, investigating paranormal occurrences and other mysteries along the way. With voice acting from Kristen Schaal and Jason Ritter, and guest appearances by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Will Forte, Nick Offerman, and John DiMaggio, "Gravity Falls" benefits from star talent as well as witty writing and relatable situational humor.

94 / 100
Bandai Visual Company

#7. Cowboy Bebop

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Years on the air: 1998–1999

In this original Japanese anime set in a dystopian near-future, a team of bounty hunters travel through space, tracking down criminals and other evildoers in order to earn much-needed cash to keep their ship fueled and stocked with instant noodles. Frequently referred to by fans and critics alike as the greatest anime ever made, "Cowboy Bebop" ran for a short two seasons. The series was Cartoon Network's first foray into Japanese cartoons, serving as many American viewers' first experience with the anime genre.

Owing to its classic Western, cyberpunk, and science fiction influences as well as its well-translated comedic zingers, "Cowboy Bebop" was an instant hit with older children, teenagers, adults, and fans of improvised jazz. In fact, a band was hired to compose the soundtrack.

95 / 100
Wit Studio

#6. Attack on Titan

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Years on the air: 2013–present

Adapted from the manga of the same name, "Attack on Titan" takes place in a world where humans live in walled-in cities to protect them from the massive creatures who roam free. Young Eren joins the Scout Regiment, tasked with protecting the population from these dangerous beings, knowing the walls will not protect his people forever and grieving the losses he's already experienced. A series of risky missions to defeat the Titans ensues, with help from Eren's fellow soldiers.

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96 / 100
Warner Bros. Animation

#5. Batman: The Animated Series

- IMDb user rating: 9
- Years on the air: 1992–1995

The first "Batman" animated series has a wealth of awards to its name, including four Emmys. With aesthetic influence from film noir as well as filmmaker Tim Burton—right down to a dark, dramatic soundtrack by Danny Elfman—the show proved visually captivating as well as superbly written. The series adapted several popular storylines from the original Batman comics, while also infusing the canon with fresh new faces, including spinoff character Harley Quinn.

97 / 100
D.N. Dream Partners

#4. Death Note

- IMDb user rating: 9
- Years on the air: 2006–2007

Based on the Japanese manga of the same name, this anime thriller follows the story of Light, a high school student who stumbles upon a notebook with mysterious properties known as the Death Note, which belonged to a demon god. Whoever possesses the notebook is granted the ability to kill anyone known by name and face. Well-meaning Light intends to use the notebook to eliminate crime but is met by resistance from those who want to destroy the notebook and prevent its power from being used to benefit society. "Death Note" was adapted into a live-action series by Netflix, which received mixed reviews.

98 / 100

#3. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

- IMDb user rating: 9.1
- Years on the air: 2009–2012

A more detailed version of the 2003 series, "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" tells the story of two brothers who practice alchemy, considered among the most valuable of sciences in their futuristic world. By honing their craft, two brothers hope to break the code of the mythic philosopher's stone, which reverses death—though this practice is illegal in their society. Persecuted by those who would harness the brothers' abilities to further their own nefarious agendas, they must travel the world to stay ahead of their enemies and continue amassing allies.

99 / 100
Nickelodeon Animation Studios

#2. Avatar: The Last Airbender

- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- Years on the air: 2005–2008

The epic story of a spiritual leader lost and found, the series follows the redemption of Aang: the bridge between the human and spirit worlds. An impressive 5.4 million people tuned in to watch the show's feature-length finale in 2008, with IGN proclaiming it deserved "an Academy Award." Enlisting the voice acting talents of Mark Hamill, Mae Whitman, and the late Mako Iwamatsu, the show was so beloved by kids, teens, adults, and critics that sequel series "The Legend of Korra" was quickly greenlit, breaking equal historic ground and adding a dozen additional famous actors to its cast.

100 / 100
Harmonius Claptrap

#1. Rick and Morty

- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- Years on the air: 2013–present

This relative newcomer to the animated world has taken the world, space, and all alternate realities and parallel universes by storm. Created by "Community's" Dan Harmon along with Justin Roiland—both of whom provide voices—"Rick and Morty" follows the peril-ridden adventures of Rick Sanchez, the world's smartest human, and his average grandson Morty, as they chart courses through infinite dimensions while trying to maintain a normal family life.

Jam-packed with the grotesque effects of the show's scientifically accurate references to theoretical physics, astrophysics, biochemistry, xenobiology, aerospace engineering, particle theory, interplanetary diplomacy, and just a dash of McDonald's Szechuan nugget dipping sauce, "Rick and Morty" has been renewed by Cartoon Network indefinitely in response to the overwhelming approval of animation fans of all ages and persuasions.

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