Best of the 2000s: Top 10 animated TV shows

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Updated on December 10, 2021

In today’s look back over the 2000s, we’ll see my choices for my favorite 10 TV cartoons for this decade.

The 2000s in TV animation was fairly weak (unless you’re a fan of “Family Guy” and most of “Adult Swim”), so picking a top 10 wasn’t easy. And no, “The Simpsons” isn’t anywhere on here. I view “The Simpsons” as a 90s cartoon (when it was in its prime—it’s still my choice for the best 90s TV cartoon). But anyway, here we go…

1. SpongeBob SquarePants

Easily my choice for this decade’s best TV cartoon. A silly cartoon, yes, but one that to me is a throwback in tone and style of humor to the likes of Bugs Bunny, Yogi Bear, and Woody Woodpecker. Which might be a reason why it’s become such a huge hit among kids and adults alike, versus the tiresome spate of “human kids going to school with (a fairy godparent/ability to replace people by phone/aliens in space/etc.) in tow” cartoons.

The other choices from here on are in no particular order.

2. Kenny the Shark

One of my three choices for best “E/I” cartoons for this decade, and funny enough as it is to make my top ten list. I’ve written more about this show in another post.

3. Batman: The Brave and the Bold

A re-envisioned, well-written take on the Silver Age Batman. The Caped Crusader (more this than “Dark Knight” on this show) teams up with a different hero each week. Very fun, especially the episode where Bat-Mite appeared.

4. Batman Beyond

The other amusing Batman show of this decade (sorry, wasn’t thrilled by “The Batman”). While it debuted in ’99, so did “SpongeBob”… so this one gets in under the wire as well. The answer to the question “could Batman ever be replaced?”

5. Kim Possible

Disney’s adventure/comedy show featuring a strong heroine (and her bumbling male sidekick, Ron) puts this one in the top ten, even if it features one of my least favorite TV sitcom aspects, the obnoxious younger sibling. Or sibling*s* in Kim’s case—her two genius preteen twin brothers.

The most amusing aspect of the show is seeing Shego make sarcastic cracks about her boss, Dr. Drakken. It’s sometimes to the point where it seems like she’d rather be sitting around their lair or making cracks about Drakken, versus actually stealing for Drakken or fighting Kim.

6. 6Teen

A Canadian-produced cartoon about the hijinks of six teenaged friends at a colossal “Mall of America”-sized shopping mall. Funnier than it sounds… especially the running gag of Jonesy getting fired somehow (usually due to his own idiocy) once an episode.

This was of the many cartoons of this decade that made use of Flash (or Flash-like technologies). However, this one used Flash better than most.

7. Total Drama Island

From “6Teen”‘s producers (and like “6Teen,” Flash-animated), “Total Drama” is a parody of reality shows. It stars a group of teens (who’re all parodies of reality show contestant stereotypes) at a second-rate summer camp-like setting in northern Ontario. The host of the show’s the sadistic, egotistical Chris (and Chris’ Samuel L. Jackson-like sidekick, Chef Hatchet).

Given this decade saw the rapid rise (and dominance) of the reality show (a trend even more obnoxious than the rise of the infomercial in the 90s), it’s befitting that a cartoon made fun of it. It also did so in a better manner than what I saw of “Drawn Together.”

My favorite character on show’s Leshawna.

8. Teen Titans

A fun superhero cartoon featuring the teenaged superhero team led by Robin, the Boy Wonder. I enjoyed this series, including the emphasis on the relationships the teammates developed with each other. (Contrast “Justice League,” which I didn’t really enjoy, and wasn’t as much fun.)

9. House of Mouse

A Disney series that made use of the late 90’s “Mickey Mouseworks” cartoons (new made-for-TV shorts of the classic Disney characters—Mickey, Donald, Goofy, etc.). Said cartoons were used with wraparound segments about Mickey and his friends hosting a nightclub for all of Disney’s animated characters. The cartoons had a tone more like their competition at Warners than the usual Disney style, and managed to show that it’s possible to make Mickey actually funny (instead of just a corporate logo). One of the best moments of the show:

The cartoons had a tone more like their competition at Warners than the usual Disney style. They also show it’s possible to make Mickey actually funny (instead of just a corporate logo).

One of the best moments of the show: “Big Bad Wolf Daddy” performing a swing version of “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?”

10. The Fairly OddParents

I’m listing it here for the earlier episodes, which were pretty funny. The best one: “Information Stupor-Highway,” an adventure Timmy has inside the Internet.

Honorable mentions

  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force
  • Jimmy Neutron
  • Cyberchase
  • Dave the Barbarian
  • The Emperor’s New School
  • Static Shock
  • WordGirl
  • The Weekenders
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command

(Updated 12/19/16)

Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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