Travel Through Time and Space: The 10 Most Memorable Cartoons That Defined Our Childhoods

Since the first animated television show, Crusader Rabbit, in 1949, the animation world has grown into sweeping new areas, including astounding dimensional characters, heartbreaking storytelling, and comedic timing mastery. Redditors answered which cartoon is a 10/10 in their opinion. Here are ten shows that earned a perfect rating among Redditors. 

1. Bojack Horseman

Bojack Horseman wasn’t the first show of its kind, but it certainly served as a masterclass in animation. With a stellar theme song that shifts to match the tone of each season, Bojack Horseman invented an anthropomorphic world that comes closer to capturing the authenticity of the human experience better than any other live-action show ever could. The main character of the Emmy award-winning dramedy — don’t let the internet fool you into thinking Bojack is solely comedy — Bojack Horseman is a washed-up sitcom actor living off of his royalties (with his best friend Todd) in Hollywoo. 

2. Moral Orel

What started out as a religious satire of the protestant church turned into one of the best voice-acted animated series of all time. The three-season run of this claymation show followed Orel, a twelve-year-old boy who loved God and took the Bible verbatim. Viewers watched as Moral Orel found his way into trouble by following what he loved most, God. The comical, formulaic structure of the first season quickly developed into retellings involving darker themes, including miscarriage and abuse. 

3. The Regular Show

Mordecai, an easy-going, passionate blue jay in love with Margaret, a red-breasted robin that works at the coffee shop Mordecai and his friend Rigby frequent. Rigby is a self-involved, sarcastic, childish raccoon dead set on doing anything he can to get out of working his shifts. Mordecai is not as lazy as Rigby, but since the best friend duo lives together, Mordecai and Rigby both end up skimping out on work and avoiding their responsibilities. 

The Regular Show follows a seamless pattern, the first half of the ten-minute episodes follow a simple slice-of-life style of storytelling detailing Mordecai and Rigby’s early 20s, and halfway through the show, the plotline turns, well irregular. 

Another bonus of The Regular Show is Benson, the boss of the park, and Muscle Man, another worker at the park. Benson is an irritable gumball machine who converts into a blood-red dispenser whenever Mordecai or Rigby irks him. Spoiler alert, this happens most episodes. Muscle Man’s iconic My Mom jokes stick with you years after you’ve finished the series.

4. Over the Garden Wall

This Emmy-winning miniseries ran in 2014 with one season of ten short episodes. Over the Garden Wall follows two brothers lost in a mystical forest who soon befriend a woodsman and a bluebird that want to help them escape the magical forest. 

Each brother foils the other. The older brother, Wirt, is a nerdy, clarinet-playing, reserved kid who avoids mean people at all times. He’s been hurt a few times and yields a preemptive shield. His younger brother, Greg, only has love for people he comes across. 

Greg’s happy-go-lucky attitude elevates the humor dished out in this fairly morbid series disguised as a kid's show. This cartoon offers so much more than the surface-level storyline. Themes of life, death, love, grief, and betrayal brew in the subtext. 

5. Bluey

Don’t be fooled by Bluey. While the show is marketed toward younger children, Bluey’s viewing demographics run across the board. Why is that? Partly due to the realistic experiences of parenting and family life showcased in Bluey

The animation is stellar, and the characters are flawed like humans. A lot of viewers tune into Bluey, long after their kids wander away from the television to digest the raw material displayed by this well-animated family of dogs. The basic story follows two sisters, Bluey and Bingo, and their parents, Chilli and Bandit, while they embark on a trip or play a game. 

There is always a splash of adventure in an episode of Bluey. As opposed to annoying kid's shows that repeat the same storyline and pay little to no attention to reality, Bluey’s episodes burst with metaphors and morals that kids (and parents) can subliminally pick up on. 

6. Avatar the Last Airbender

What happens when two siblings uncover a 12-year-old boy and a flying bison trapped in an iceberg for 100 years? They all become best friends and explore the world together! Sort of. 

Avatar the Last Airbender follows Aang (the avatar, or master of all elements, Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire), Katara (a water bender), and her brother Sokka (a sarcastic yet loyal member of the water tribe). The trio treks through various villages to protect the world from the war started by the fire nation, which is determined to capture Aang.

7. Gravity Falls

Twins Dipper and Mabel move in with their Great Uncle Stan in the show’s titular town. Once they arrive, they realize Gravity Falls isn’t what it seems. Mysteries and riddles lurk beneath the surface, and the two sleuths decide to try and uncover the town’s puzzles with assistance from a mysterious journal.

Along the way, they run into a gaggle of side characters like Mabel’s pet pig, Waddles, Grenda Grendinator, an outspoken, brawny sidekick complete with a pet iguana, and Gideon Gleeful, a scheming child psychic clad in a light blue tuxedo matched with a 70s updo.

8. The Boondocks

Another black comedy focused on the Freeman family, two brothers (Huey and Riley) move in with their grandad in a predominantly white neighborhood. The show satirizes black American life and one of the best parts of The Boondocks is the narrator, ten-year-old Huey Freeman, an independent-thinking, self-identified black panther. (In fact, Huey’s character is named after, Huey P. Newton, a founder of the Black Panther political party). Huey’s younger brother, Riley Freeman starkly contrasts Huey’s unwavering political stances. Riley is concerned about money and fame.

9. Hilda

When a giant crushes Hilda’s (a blue-haired pre-tweens) home in the middle of the woods, her mother and her move to a city, Trolberg, where she meets new friends keen to join her on her adventures. Together, the group traverses through new territory and fights evil in the best way possible, together.

Fans of Hilda applaud its ability to maintain a storyline that never feels rushed or boring. The show takes its time in the best possible way. Plus, it has endless messages about friendship and emotional understanding. 

10. Futurama

Created by the genius behind The Simpsons, Matt Groening, landed the futuristic telling of Fry, a red-headed delivery boy, Leela, a one-eyed, purple-headed captain, and Bender, a robot created 1000 years ahead of our time, the 31st century.

Leela and Bender rock the futuristic look, but Fry seems a tad bit out of place, and there is reason for that! Fry tumbled into a cryogenic chamber by accident on January 1, 2000, and woke up on New Year’s Eve 999 years later, 2999.

The writers behind this futuristic satire understand the intricacies of weaving honest commentary into more serious topics. Many Reddit users claim to love the show due to its versatility, story-building, and rounded characters. 

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.