The 6 Best Cartoon Network Shows

The 6 Best Cartoon Network Shows

Oliver Barnfield, Cool Guy/Entertainment Editor

Cartoon Network was groundbreaking for its time. No other channel on TV was airing only Cartoons. So I thought it would be interesting if I wrote about my 6 personal favorite Cartoon Network shows. (No Adult Swim shows, miniseries are allowed)


6. Steven Universe (2013-present)

Most people would probably put this a little higher, but I don’t enjoy this show as much as it’s more die-hard fans do. It’s mid-period episodes are it’s best, and its current state is sadly disappointing, but it has some moments today that I laugh at. But when this show was great, it beat out any other show on the channel.

5. Clarence (2014-present)

Sure, it’s not high art, and the more recent episodes are mediocre at best, but the early days of this show perfectly captured the feeling of childhood. The randomness, the excitement, the beauty, the little moments, the humor, the funny things that can be found in everyday occurrences. The movies that you love, but don’t know why, the timeless quality, the long, hot days, the friendship that feels like it could last forever… but doesn’t.

I guess I’m reading too much into a cartoon show for children… but it’s early episodes are amazing and funny.


4. The Powerpuff Girls (NOT THE REBOOT VERSION) (1998-2005)

This show was great. It really had everything: an empowering message, defined characters, great villains, good character design, funny jokes, and hard-hitting action. This show is what made Cartoon Network different, what took it into the mainstream, and what proved that TV cartoons can be art. Predictably, Cartoon Network ruined all that by rebooting it in 2016, turning it into a bland, uninspired, slog.

3. Courage the Cowardly Dog (1999-2002)

This show is creepy. It can get dark. But it’s also REALLY funny, inventive and charming. Excellent and versatile character designs, a delightfully simple premise that builds into something truly great. The country setting is very unique, and I think the “creepy farm” aesthetic is relatable and awfully unnerving. Some of the creepiest and most terrifying things on kid’s TV were present in this show, from the ultra-realistic Harvest Moon to the unnerving, David Lynchian CGI monstrosity of the Blue Thing.

This cartoon pulled off a main cast of only 3 characters very well, and there are even rumors that the show will be revived…

2. Adventure Time (2010-present)

Adventure Time is a show that I love with all my heart. It’s just so great, you guys. Go watch it. Please. And not just because it’s great, but because it’s failing in the ratings. No-one seems to care about this show, and that’s really sad because it deserves more love it draws to a close. I cannot stress to you how much this cartoon means to me. Every character feels real, every location feels new and exciting, even if this is the 100th time we’ve seen it. There is beauty, darkness, and optimism in this cartoon. And throughout it’s 278, it has never once o seemed tired or lacking inspiration.

The colors are vibrant but muted. The tone is upbeat, but with doses of melancholy. The jokes are never in your face, making them all the more enjoyable. And it’s spawned some great talent over the years. Half of the cartoon on this list came from Adventure Time. Season 4 writer Skylar Page created Clarence, and Rebecca Sugar, a writer for 3 seasons, created Steven Universe. This show has some beautiful, poignant moments, and some hilarious moments too. This show is almost perfect. But Cartoon Network has created something even better if that’s possible…

1. Over the Garden Wall (2014)

This cartoon is… amazing. It has so much detail, so much joy is put into it… the music is old, but not at all creaky or dusty, it feels fresh and new. The animation is spellbinding, and it feels like a full-length film. Its charm and incredible scope lasts only 10 episodes, being a mini-series, but it leaves a rich taste in your mouth. Every music note, every animation cell, every line spoken, has so much fine craftsmanship put into its creation. This is truly the pinnacle of everything that the network created. Please watch it. It’s amazing.

Buy the DVD here