It has been almost three decades since Cartoon Network was launched. It was originally intended to serve as a platform for Turner Broadcasting Company to air the Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbara cartoons they had acquired. However, the network began making original content along the way establishing itself as one of the leading creators of animated television shows ranging from the inspiring to horrifying and everything in between. Thanks to their contribution, cartoons have evolved from shows meant for kids into brilliant works of art that can be enjoyed by people of any age. Here are some of the best Cartoon Network TV shows that have amazed and dazzled us over the years.
Best Cartoon Network TV Shows
15. JOHNNY BRAVO
This animated classic was one of the earliest Cartoon Network TV shows to hit the air. It set the tone for a good number of others. The series centers around the titular character, a man who considers himself a ladies man but is really just a clueless douchebag. He often finds himself in very weird and sometimes terrible situations. Johnny Bravo is a cartoon that was way ahead of its time. It is a satirical take on the alpha male tropes. Despite Johnny Bravo’s good looks, brawn, and excessive confidence in his abilities, he’s just as lost as everyone else and the world will always strive to put him in his place.
14. COW AND CHICKEN
When you pair a cow and a chicken as siblings and children of human parents, a delightful festival of humor and silliness is what you’ll get. While Chicken was the snarky and skeptical little brother, Cow was the sister with a giant heart full of love. The difference in their personalities made for really entertaining episodes. The humor is a little crude and racy and will have you blushing red if you’re the type of person who gets easily embarrassed, but the show is a delight to watch.
13. COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG
This spectacular series follows Courage, a small dog who scares easily as he does his best to save his owners from frightening situations involving mad scientists, monsters, aliens, and a wide range of supernatural phenomena. His owners, Eustace and Muriel, have no idea what’s going on so it always comes down to Courage to save the day even though he’d rather be hiding away to save his own skin. The humor in Courage the Cowardly Dog is a little dark and surreal as it is billed as a horror series, but it remains one of the best Cartoon Network TV shows ever made.
12. REGULAR SHOW
Mordecai and Rigby are two young men in their twenties who are stuck at a dead-end job they find incredibly monotonous. To liven things up, they shun work in favor of having all kinds of adventures. They’re full-time slackers and nerds, and this combination of boredom and intense excitement over nerdy stuff often lands them in comical situations. Regular Show won the hearts of millions of fans with its oddball humor and relatable themes. After all, who doesn’t hate Mondays?
11. GRIM ADVENTURES OF BILLY AND MANDY
Depending on whom you ask, this series is the darkest Cartoon Network TV Show ever made. Grim Adventures masterfully blends endless silliness with blood-curdling horror that draws inspiration from the works John Carpenter and Stephen King. The quirky series follows two friends, the simpleminded but kind Billy and the smart but evil Mandy who manage to enslave the Grim Reaper for all eternity. The show’s wonderful spin on famous signatures from the horror genre in tandem with its dark take on humor and morality made it a commercial and critical success.
10. CODENAME: KIDS NEXT DOOR
In a world where adults are mean and evil, children must band together and save themselves from the reign and tyranny. The result of this coming together is a secret organization code-named Kids Next Door, whose singular purpose is to bring liberty to children all over the world. Using mad science, computer knowledge, and a bunch of other nonsense, the five kid agents in the United States set out to fight evil adults, teens, and children who cause harm to kids. Kids Next Door is a brilliant take on action and spy movies.
9. SAMURAI JACK
Created by Genndy Tartakovsky, Samurai Jack is an epic story about a young prince who must travel back in time to defeat the evil Aku (a shape-shifting demon) and undo his terrible actions. This Cartoon Network show was quite different; its episodes relied less on dialogue and more on imagery to tell the story, blending time travel with dystopian science fiction and a dash of the supernatural. The show follows the titular character, Jack, as he attempts to find a portal to take him back to his own timeline so he can put an end to Aku’s reign of terror before he becomes the ruler of the world. However, the cunning demon always seems to be one step ahead of the samurai prince.
8. ED, EDD N EDDY
Ed, Edd n Eddy was the perfect show to chill to after a long day. The titular characters were three boys with crooked minds that were always coming up with assorted moneymaking schemes. They usually carried out their scatterbrained plans in their neighborhood, much to the annoyance of other kids. After spending 10 seasons on the air, it became one of the longest-running TV shows on Cartoon Network.
7. FOSTER’S HOME FOR IMAGINARY FRIENDS
When eight-year-old Mac is asked by his parents to part ways with his imaginary friend Bloo, he decides to send him to an orphanage home for imaginary friends. The orphanage gives the imaginary creatures a chance to get adopted again, but Mac agrees to visit Bloo every day in exchange for the latter not being put up for adoption. During these visits, the pair get embroiled in all kinds of crazy adventures. The first episode of the show premiered in 2004 and the final in 2009. During that time, it picked up 7 Emmy Awards, which goes to show how amazing it is.
6. TOM AND JERRY
You can’t talk about the best Cartoon Network TV shows ever aired without mentioning Tom and Jerry. It is by all standards a classic, which is an incredible feat for an animation that featured no dialogue. If you were born within the last eight decades, you definitely grew up watching the epic cat and mouse story. No matter how many times you watch the series, it never fails to make you laugh with its never-ending rivalry between the titular characters. Tom and Jerry is a charming and magical show that delights audiences any day, any time.
5. POWERPUFF GIRLS
Buttercup, Blossom, and Bubbles were the perfect blend of sugar, spice, and everything nice. The ass-kicking superheroes used their incredible abilities to keep the world safe and free of criminals. The powerful girls managed to fight crime and still look cute doing it. When they were not defeating villains, the girls navigated normal childhood troubles like fighting over a lucky blanket, losing a tooth, and other kinds of kid drama.
4. DEXTER’S LABORATORY
From the mind of Genndy Tartakovsky comes this animated masterpiece about a boy genius, his secret laboratory where he conducts all kinds of looney experiments, his annoying older sister – Dee Dee, and his arch-nemesis – Mandark. The show is full of hilarious gags, riffs on pop culture, and is one of the most popular animated series to come out of Cartoon Network.
3. STEVEN UNIVERSE
Steven Universe is a hilarious Cartoon Network show sheds light on salient issues such as coming of age troubles, unconventional families, sexuality, and self-acceptance in the midst of space adventures and other crazy scenarios. The storyline was further elevated by the incredible lineup of characters who are dealing with different sort of problems. This animation is simply one of the best around.
2. THE AMAZING WORLD OF GUMBALL
This Cartoon Network TV show follows a blue cat named Gumball and his adopted brother and best friend Darwin, who is a goldfish. They are easily some of the coolest characters in the history of animated television. The Amazing World of Gumball is a story about the daily lives and happenings of the siblings as they try to navigate middle school and their peers, while their parents are struggling to make ends meet. The Amazing World of Gumball is at once refreshing and relatable.
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1. ADVENTURE TIME
Adventure Time is what you get when you combine the best parts of video games and Dungeons & Dragons. It tells the tale of a boy called Finn and his wonderful adventures with his dog Jake who, by the way, can shapeshift. Their life revolves around fighting villains and rescuing people in their strange, post-apocalyptic town called Land of Ooo. The show might be all laughs on the surface, but there are serious themes woven through the storyline. The dark humor and intriguing array of characters is what makes Adventure Time one of the best Cartoon Network shows ever aired.