Top 10 Classic Cartoons Every Animation Fan Should Watch


We all know that cartoons aren’t just for kids. Animation has plenty of advantages over other screen mediums because it engages the most creative thing there is — our own imagination. And, of course, there is plenty of room for satire, sometimes even dark humor, that other shows simply cannot compare to. Below, we’ve listed some of the best cartoons that have stood the test of time and gained plenty of loyal fans since they were first aired. 

1. Futurama (1999-)

A brainchild of Matt Groening, the creator behind the Simpsons series, Futurama is one of the best social satires ever filmed. The show has been canceled many times (to the utmost dismay of its loyal fans), but it always comes back on a different network. In 2023, Hulu streamed the long-awaited continuation after a ten-year break — and the show is still as good as ever. 

The premise is simple: a not particularly smart pizza delivery boy accidentally locks himself in a cryogenic chamber to be “defrosted” in a thousand years. Then, the series of hilarious adventures, full of (often dark) humor, begins. Futurama does have everything for an enjoyable evening — alcoholic robots, lobster-looking aliens, tough female pilots, and, of course, a crazy professor. If you’ve never seen this show, go ahead and watch — it’s going to be a very fun ride! 

2. Rick and Morty (2013-)

If anything can compare to Futurama in terms of dark satire, it’s Rick and Morty. It also has a not-very-bright youngster, Morty, who goes on all sorts of sci-fi adventures with Rick, his crazy-professor granddad. Episodes are packed with different pop-culture and social references, so it’s good that the first season aired not too long ago — there is a good chance you’ll still remember what the jokes are about. And the humor is totally worth it — like most adult cartoons on this list, Rick and Morty has a mass fan base all over the world.  For a good reason, too — the duo of morally right but dimwitted Morty and an almost insane, unscrupulous Rick is something to laugh about all evening!

3. SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-)

Perhaps one of the most famous and longest-running Nickelodeon cartoons with a huge following — and not just among the kids. Yes, SpongeBob SquarePants is mostly for kids — you will not find dark humor or socially controversial jokes here. But even though the series is not as thought-provoking as the purely adult examples above, they deserve a look — even for the fact that it’s been running for 25 years now and still keeps the kids and their parents glued to the screen. Plus, with 14 seasons currently available, you won’t run out of content too soon. 

4. The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (2010-2012)

This mini-series did not inspire such huge commercial success as Marvel Universe movies, but if you are a fan of the franchise, they deserve a look. You will get to spend some time with your favorite heroes — Ironman, Hulk, Thor, and Hawkeye. Together, they will battle against all sorts of villains and evil organizations and work to uncover some mischievous plots from Loki – another great character in the franchise. The cartoon series is not logically tied to the movies, so you can watch (and enjoy) them even if you have not seen all Marvel Universe movies involving the same characters. 

5. Toy Story Franchise (1995, 1999, 2010, 2019, 2022)

Toy Story is a great example of work when Pixar employees have truly outdone themselves. No wonder their creative effort turned into one of the most successful cartoon franchises, including four feature films with the same name and a 2022 spin-off called Lightyear. Toys are the center of the plot here, who live their secret life and watch over people. Each animated film has a distinct story with a few recurring characters.

6. Monsters, Inc. Franchise (2001, 2013)

While the Monsters, Inc. franchise is shorter than Toy Story, this hilarious work from Pixar has plenty of loyal fans who just cannot wait to see more of their favorite monsters. So far, only two films are available — the title feature Monsters, Inc. (2001) and the prequel Monsters University. And, considering the astonishing commercial success of the first film, it is surprising that Pixar has only made just one prequel so far.

7. Bob’s Burgers (2011-)

Another popular sitcom with plenty of positive feedback from loyal viewers. The first season received rather mixed feedback, but the show went on and grew better in the process. In the center of the plot, we have a family — a married couple with three kids — who run a burger joint. The series also inspired a comic book with the same name and a feature film released in 2022. Bob’s Burgers has been recently approved for the 15th season, so if you like the show, you should soon have a few more episodes to enjoy. 

8. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2020) 

Another example of an animated series based on a very popular franchise with millions of fans. So far, these series have seven seasons and 133 episodes — so quite a lot of hours to relax and enjoy your free time. Another reason to give Star Wars: The Clone Wars a look is that the series was created by John Lucas and was met with huge positive acclaim. You can enjoy these cartoons even if you have not seen all the movies in the Star Wars franchise. But if you have, you’ll get a chance to reconnect with some of the favorite characters from other popular shows, including The Mandalorian and a few other relatively recent TV series that were positively met by the audience. 

9. Scooby Doo, Where Are You! (1969–1978)

This one is an oldie but definitely worth a look if you have not seen it yet. Scooby Doo, Where Are You! is one of those animated series that aged well — mostly because it has little contemporary satire and features timeless jokes that remain funny for years. The plot is sweet and not too intricate, which makes it a good choice for a truly relaxing evening at home. In this show, you will meet several teenage friends and their playful dog who travel in a van and solve all sorts of mysteries on their journey.

10. The Simpsons (1989-)

No list of best cartoons can be complete without this timeless classic, and since we’ve started with one Matt Groening’s brainchild, it makes sense to wrap up with another one! Besides, The Simpsons is the longest-running cartoon sitcom ever made, with 762 episodes aired at the moment of writing. 

Watching all 35 seasons currently available will take some time, but it’s worth every second — if only to come across another one of the wild Simpson’s predictions that keep surprising people every time they come true. This show truly needs no advertising, so watch it — the sheer number of aired content implies you could have missed a few episodes!

Of course, these are by far not the only attention-worthy cartoons for all animation, but any of these series is an excellent choice for a relaxed evening at home. We do understand that it is impossible to accommodate all tastes — so drop us a comment if you think we’ve missed another timeless classic!