Cartoons are seen as something that kids enjoy, which is true - for the most part. If you have spent any time on the internet, you should have at least heard about the subtle messages hidden in cartoons. This is again true, but only to some extent. Besides the subliminal messages, some cartoons have extremely good stories and plots that convey mature messages.
But we are getting off track. There are a ton of classic cartoons that are just fun to watch. Not every cartoon needs to have meaning. The point is - there are tons of cartoons out there. Some have a deeper meaning, while others are just fun to watch.
But if you are more into dramas, we do have a list of the best K-dramas on Netflix as well. So, if you are not onto cartoons, you can check them out.
10 Cartoons that are worth your time
The question now is- which one of them is worth watching? There is no way to list out all of the classic cartoons worth watching. Therefore, we have narrowed down 10 of the best ones from both the past and present. Naturally, there will be some exclusions and some personal opinions in this list.
As a side note, we will not cover any forms of Anime on this list.
1) Sponge Bob
"Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
If you want to waste time by watching something that makes no sense at all - SpongeBob is your guy. This cartoon is all about the nonsensical way a talking energetic yellow sponge and his lazy pink starfish solves their everyday problem. The events in this cartoon follow no specific timeline and are purely episodic. That said, if you go by this cartoon episode-wise, you will find a tiny bit of timeline here. This includes the introduction of Sandy the squirrel, Plankton's plan to steal Krusty crab's formula, and one sock-flying dutchman.
Needless to say, SpongeBob is some of the best-animated series on Nickelodeon.
As the opening line says:
"If nautical nonsense be something you wish
So throw your common sense outside and dive into the sea floor of the bikini bottom.
2) Samurai Jack
What do you get when you throw a Samurai from Feudal Japan with an indestructible sword into a dystopian future filled with monsters? You get Samurai Jack. Although this show is called Samurai Jack - Jack is not his real name. His real name is never disclosed.
While the Samurai Jack cartoon has a timeline, the plot progression is slow. You will not notice heavy plot progression in each episode as they are all about Aku (the antagonist) sending a demon to kill Jack while Jack desperately tries to get back to his own time. However, looking back at every few episodes, you will see the progression.
This is one of the best action cartoons to watch -one of the best-animated series on Cartoon Network for the '90s kid.
" I would have gotten away if it wasn't for these meddling kids!" This is an extremely popular iconic phrase from this popular kids' mystery show. With a team composed of a scared guy, a talking dog, a jock, a cheerleader, and a book nerd, this team finds the cause behind the hauntings and the true reason.
The real monster is always the humans. The plot of Samurai Jack is simple, and the characters are fun. Although Scooby doo is meant for the kids, the underlying message behind the fun is a deep one- Dang Jinkies.
Scooby Doo was one of the best shows on Cartoon Network to Watch for the 90s kids.
4) Dug Days
Up was one of the best Pixar movies in recent times. But what happened after the movie? How was the life of the kind but grumpy Mr. Karl Fredisken a Dug the Dog?
The premise of Dug days revolves around this very same concept. This light-hearted cartoon is about looking at the cute and derpy dog and his adventures in the new suburbs. There is not much to say about this cartoon besides the fact that you will enjoy every moment of Dug Days.
5) Regular show
Regular Show is an animated series that is anything but a regular show. If you are bored and looking for ways to kill some time, you are not alone. The main characters of the regular shows Talking Blue Jay and Talking Racoon are doing the same. They just want to slack off work and entertain themselves, leading to some hilarious and absurd situations.
Although this is indeed a cartoon, it is not meant for kids but rather teenagers. You can find violence, intoxication, curses, sexual hints, and many stereotypes. If you were into the cult classic Beavis and butthead back in the 90s and didn't get offended easily, this is one of the best cartoons to binge while lazying on your couch.
Regular Show and adventure time are quite similar in this aspect.
7) Gravity Falls
If your mind has ever thought, "What would happen if we combine regular show and scooby-doo?" Gravity falls the answer you have been searching for. Although the jokes and adult theme of this show is much lower than the regular show, there are some spooky scenes such as Dipper, Mable, Wendy, Grunkle, and Soos as they uncover the mystery of the Gravity Falls.
Although this is technically a kid's cartoon, the mysteries of the Gravity falls, the adorable Mable and dipper, relatable Grunkle, and edgy but caring wendy make this show worth your every second. Regardless of your age, as long as you are above seven, Gravity falls undoubtedly one of the best cartoons you can watch.
Have you ever wondered if children have their language or not? If you have, then Rugrats is the best cartoon for you. This cartoon is about the adventures of four babies and their annoying cousins. As babies, they are naturally curious with their limited field of view. They talk in their language - that we get to listen, enjoy being pampered, and discover new things.
Rugrats will give you a new perspective on how small kids view the world, filled with unknown discoveries and risks, and was one of the best-animated series for the 90s kids.
9) Phineas and Ferb
"A Platypus? Perry the Platypus!"
If you know this iconic line, we don't need to speak another word about this show. Phineas and Ferb are about two Genious, including Isabelle, Baljeet, and Buford doing impossible things in their background while driving Candice insane. Anything that can happen will happen in this show - so it is a good idea to keep your common sense aside. While this is the show's main premise, we also have a side story of spy Perry the Platypus vs. Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirt.
At first glance, the episodes seem somewhat disconnected, but there is a story here. No spoilers, but would you believe that Phineas and Ferb will be in a relationship by the end of this show?
Suppose you want to find out how then this is a must-watch show. Just be careful whenever Dr. Doofenshmirt comes around. You will get an earworm from his jingle.
10) Avatar The Last Airbender
Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony … then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.
We end our list with a cartoon that has a fully-fledged plot and story arcs and covers a wide range of subjects. It would be impossible to cover every aspect of Avatar the last air bender in a few sentences. But the general gist of the plot is; In a world filled with benders (people who can control fire, water, air, and earth) fire nation began its conquest and killed almost every air bender. Aang, the last air nomad, must now find allies to recover balance in a war-filled world.
As you may have guessed from the core plot involving the tribal extinction, and war, this cartoon covers some really deep topics like war, betrayal, love, regret, loss of identity, loneliness, and change.
As a side note, although Avatar the last Airbender looks like Anime, it is not, as Anime is a term specifically used for animated shows in Japan.
All-time bests and honorable mentions!
But where are Loony Toons, Tom and Jerry, and Micky Mouse? Although they may be somewhat opinionated, the ones in this list cannot compare the OG's like Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes. Although these classic cartoons lack consistent plotlines, they are undoubtedly the best of the best.
Besides these best ones, we would like to mention Ben 10 as a really good cartoon to watch as well. Not including the spin-offs and retcons, Ben 10 has one of the best plotlines among action/adventure cartoons.
As honorable mentions, we would like to include Chalk Zone, Code Name Kids Next Door, Power Puff Girls, Dexter's laboratory, the Flintstones, Teen Titans, American Dragon Jake Long, and the infamous Courage the Cowardly Dog.
You may have noticed that we did not list adult cartoons like the Family Guy, Simpsons, South Park, Bojack Horseman, and Rick and Morty. This is because they deserve their own separate list.
We hope you found this interesting and entertaining. And as always, thank you for reading till the end.