more seasons. While not all of the cartoons that made our Top 5 of this decade have achieved the same financial success or lengthy runs, they are surely successes in the quality of their writing, humor, and distinct visual styles.
it was impossible to fit them all into our compact list of excellence. Before we hit the Top 5, here are a few cartoons that didn’t make it, but are still quite good and warrant an honorable mention:
- Invader Zim (Jhonen Vasquez, 2001-2006): Zim, a
short alien with a big ego, is banished from his home world
and sets off to conquer Earth. The only one who stands between Zim and his goal is
Dib, a young paranormal investigator.
- Danny Phantom (Butch Hartman, 2004-2007): After a lab accident, young Danny Fenton gains ghost powers and uses it to fight off evil in his hometown.
- Penguins of Madagascar (Tom McGrath, Eric Darnell, 2009-present): Four penguins, who fancy themselves as special operatives, use their
skills to keep order in the Central Park Zoo. They often clash King Julian, leader of the lemurs.
5. El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera
superhero (like his father) or the life of a super-villain (like his
Why it’s here: Of all of the short-lived
Nicktoons to come out this decade, this was the best one. It draws you in with a character who has fun in whatever he does, whether it be saving the city or pulling off a huge prank. The flash animation is
some of the best on television and is complimented by the fun and
colorful Mexican folk art style. Rapid fire jokes. Great fight scenes. Incredibly well-storyboarded. What more could you ask for? It’s a shame it didn’t last longer, but it
was certainly an enjoyable ride.
4. The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
basis through his numerous experiments, only to make it right by the
end of the day with the help of his friends.
Why it’s here: Though Dexter’s Laboratory beat Jimmy to the punch by almost 8 years,Jimmy Neutron gains props for being a cartoon that started strong and grew stronger during the course of its run. The show was preceded by 5 shorts and a feature film release. The series featured a large cast of characters who knew Jimmy was a
genius, allowing for more open interaction between Jimmy and the others, more character-driven stories, and wacky adventures. One of the show’s more notable events was the crossover with The Fairly Oddparents, as it was fun to see characters switch between each other’s art styles. The series will see a spin-off in 2010, featuring Sheen, the hyperactive kid.
3. The Fairly OddParents
Turner seeks help from fairy godparents Cosmo and Wanda, who grant him
wishes that often lead to disaster.
Why it’s here: The concept of The Fairly OddParents showed promise even in its initial incarnation as a featured short on Oh Yeah!
Cartoons. The series has never been far from SpongeBob as one
of the most popular cartoons on Nickelodeon. The simple plot often leads to hilarity, and the show has stretched the boundaries of the ridiculous with the
behavior of the cast of characters becoming more and more bizarre as time has gone on. Continuity is another strength of the series, with previously wished gadgets
and friends coming back into play later in the show’s run. Though the
audience splits over the creator’s decision to add a baby fairy to the mix, the show still manages to pull some fantastically hilarious stories.
2. SpongeBob SquarePants
Why it’s here: A show like SpongeBob SquarePants doesn’t come along very often. It has a universal appeal, with the show’s title character being just as well-recognized amongst adults as he is by children. People of all ages love it, and who can blame them? The show has distinct visual style. The main character is childish and goofy, in an endearing manner. The humor is spot on, and in my personal opinion, the show’s strongest season was its second. This animation juggernaut has remained in production for ten years and is sure to stay in the hearts of millions of children and adults for a long time to come.
1. Avatar: The Last Airbender
Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko (2005-2008)
being frozen in a block of ice for a century, a young airbender wakes
up to a world consumed by war. As the long-awaited Avatar, only he can
Why it’s here: Of the shows to come from Nickelodeon this decade, Avatar was by far the most unexpected. It is the only cartoon of the action-adventure variety they have produced to this day, and it is a welcome surprise. It’s a fantastic cartoon that works on many levels, with the world in which the characters live being rich in history and culture. The characters grow throughout the series, whether it be mastering the elements or their inner turmoil. The series hits the entire emotional spectrum, with the right amount of weight being brought to the stories that need it. The action and animation are phenomenal. Each fight scene attempts to outdo the last and often succeeds. It’s all-out fun from
beginning to end.