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Toons of the 2000s: Top 25 Animated Television Series Countdown #25-21

You are reading #25-21 of the Top 25 Animated Television Series Countdown

25-21 | 5-1 | Toons of the 2000 | s Intro20-16 | Go back to the Toons of the 2000s Intro.  

The past decade has offered plenty of animation for the fans to rejoice in. In fact, it’s rather difficult to look through the 00s and pick just 25 shows that stood above the rest. Did the show have a somewhat original concept? Did it have characters that drove and added to the story? Better yet, did the show actually have a decent story? And let’s not overlook the artwork. For a series to make it into our Top 25, all of these questions had to be met with a ‘yes.’

Not all of the shows mentioned in this list were created in the 2000s. What has been taken into account is whether or not the show hit its stride during the past decade. Do know, however, that all of the shows on this list are here because they met certain criteria that put them above the rest. Without further ado, here are toonzone’s Top 25 Animated Series:


Dates: 1997-2009


255 episodes

Created by Mike Judge & Greg Daniels

Starring: Mike Judge, Kathy Najimy, Pamela Segall Adlon, Brittany Murphy, Johnny Hardwick, Stephen Root


A sitcom about a family man (Hank Hill, voiced by co-creator Mike Judge) and the going-ons with his friends and family.

Why It Made The List

King of the Hill is a show about real life. Even if you’ve never been to Texas, you’ve probably met your share of folk who remind you of Hank and Peggy Hill, or of their friends and family. It is this commitment to reality that sharply distinguishes Mike Judge’s show from other animated sitcoms and earns it a place on this list.

The series is also notable for staying true to itself across its twelve-year run, even as it killed off major characters and led others through life-changing events. Such consistency in the face of change is another rarity, not just in animation but in television itself.


Dates: 2007-2008


26 episodes

Created by R. Gutierrez & Sandra Equihua

Starring: Alanna Ubach, Carlos Alazraqui, Eric Bauza, Grey DeLisle.


A boy with a belt that grants him superpowers must decide between being a hero or a villain.

Why It Made The List

Most cartoons focus on the heroes. But what about the villains? And must good inevitably triumph over evil?

El Tigre challenged long-standing presuppositions such as these. It placed its title character in a family full of heroes and villains and forced him to choose between good and evil. This distinguished it from numerous other shows about superpowered characters.

But concept isn’t everything, and the series also boasted likable characters, a strong sense of humor, and solid animation. Unfortunately, it was canceled after only one season, but it shone brightly during its brief existence.


Dates: 1999 and 2001-2004

UPN (1999), Adult Swim [Cartoon Network] (2001-2004)

52 episodes

Created by Loren Bouchard & Brendon Small

Starring: Brendon Small, Jon Benjamin, Melissa Bardin Galsky, Janine Ditullio, Ron Lynch


Pint-sized cineaste Brendon Small makes movies with his friends Melissa and Jason.

Why It Made The List

This series about a precocious Steven Spielberg-wannabe originally ran on the now-defunct UPN, but its main claim to fame is as the first show to air on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Its combination of clever scripting (mostly improvised by its actors) and very limited animation gave it an air of eccentric, avant-garde maturity that perfectly encapsulated what Adult Swim strove to be. Other signature shows took the network to new heights, but Home Movies deserves high honor as one of the first and sustaining series of that very successful programming block.


Dates: 2007-2010

Cartoon Network

49 episodes

Created by C.H. Greenblatt

Starring: Nicky Jones, Dwight Schultz, Tara Strong, John DiMaggio, Dana Snyder, Liliana Mumy


The wacky misadventures of a small boy apprenticed to a caterer.

Why It Made The List

Bright, cheerful, and genuinely funny, Chowder nourishes not only as one of Cartoon Network’s best recent productions but as an often beautiful work of art in its own right. The show mixes traditional hand-drawn animation with stop-motion and puppetry to clever effect, and its use of static patterns and textures to color clothing (and in some cases skin), while not a novelty, gives it a look that lifts it above many of its contemporaries.

Smart and good-looking – what other reasons does one need to gratefully devour Chowder?


Dates: 2003-2006

Cartoon Network

65 episodes

Created by Glen Murakami

Starring: Scott Menville, Tara Strong, Hynden Walch, Greg Cipes, Khary Payton


Five teenage superheros fight crimes while they struggle with their powers.

Why It Made The List

Teen Titans caught most people by surprise. This eccentric adaptation of a mainstream comic book title used trippy visuals to convey stories that were occasionally comic, usually dramatic, and sometimes even tragic. The tension between its flexible, cartoony designs (influenced by anime and Japanese pop) and its grounded heroes and villains could have been destabilizing; instead, it added further layers of invention and entertainment to the show.

The series was also deft at offering standalone tales alongside the season-spanning arcs which developed each of its heroes. The Teen Titans never lost their sense of fun, but they came to have a gratifying depth. It is hard to mix comedy and drama; harder to mix slapstick and drama; harder still to mix them while using a sometimes zany visual style. Teen Titans balanced such opposites with a gymnast’s skill and a circus performer’s love of spectacle.  

You are reading #25-21 of the Top 25 Animated Television Series Countdown

25-21 | 5-1 | Toons of the 2000 | s Intro | 20-16 | Go back to the Toons of the 2000s Intro.