|This is a /co/ related article, which we allow because we find it interesting or we can't be bothered to delete it.|
This is a list of /tg/ approved cartoons, organized loosely into genres. This list was only recently split from the television page, so feel free to contribute; try to keep to the formatting used in the anime page, and fix any deviations (episode counts, related games) that you can.
- The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: 80s cartoons were all just merch-driven crap... aside this gem. Amazingly high quality show, which is still perfectly watchable today (unlike pretty much anything else from the 80s). Mostly famous for combining space exploration, western and alien invasion, without falling into camp. Oh, and killing characters left and right. Think about it as a prototype Exosquad. Also, kick-ass music.
- The Adventures of Tintin: A very faithful adaptation of classic Franco-Belgian comics series, combining quality animation, great source material and the pulpy adventure feeling. Think Indiana Jones, but with a reporter instead of an action archeologist. And just like the source material, the series swiftly balances humor, pulp qualities and serious, often dark themes (while stylized, rather than depicted gorily, there is on average at least one dead body per episode, yet this is still a kid-friendly show).
- Exosquad: The European Front of World War II IN SPACE with Mechs and Power Armor. It is well plotted and can get surprisingly dark for what is supposed to be a kids' show with a very high body count, policies of extermination through starvation and genocide. Even so it suffered from having a small budget and a few sub par designs.
- Gargoyles: Disney's serious response to Batman: TAS (as opposed to Disney's satirical response to Batman: TAS of Darkwing Duck, which was pretty damn good itself if a bit more conventionally cartoony). Some Gargoyles (a race of winged strong humanoid creatures that turn into stone during the day, rather than mere architectural adornments) live in Scotland the middle ages fighting Vikings, get betrayed, frozen in stone and are re-awakened in modern New York by a businessman who could give Tzeentch lessons in plotting played by William Riker. That is just the beginning, as there are also stories of betrayal, robots, suits of power armor, cyborgs and a fair number of magical things borrowing from a variety of mythological sources, but most notably the works of William Shakespeare.
- Gravity Falls: 12-year-old boy-and-girl twins, Dipper and Mabel, are sent to spend a summer with their shady great-uncle ("Grunkle") Stan in the titular town of Gravity Falls. It's a Disney cartoon, so the tone is solidly Noblebright, but some of the supernatural stuff is surprisingly Grimdark for a kids' show. Notable for ending organically at two seasons, preventing any seasonal decay. In Stan's own words, the show has "a big mystery element! And a lot of humor that goes over kids' heads!"
- The Legend of Calamity Jane: A too-good-to-last 90s cult classic. Probably the best "serious" animated western. Since it wasn't exactly made with kids in mind, it provides a lot of mature content. Which is the main reason why moral watchdogs killed it after just 13 episodes.
- Motorcity: Corporate overlord Mark Hamill has built an apple brand hive city on top of post apocalyptic Detroit and rules it with an iron fist while a band of renegades fights him from the Detroit Underhive with high tech muscle-cars. Similar to Megas XLR in a lot of ways, including being screwed over by the Network Execs.
- Nanook's Great Hunt: A French-Canadian co-production, telling a story of a young Inuit boy on his self-declared quest to hunt down a mythical Great Bear which brought famine to his people. All in the backdrop of early 20th century and modernity slowly pushing even into the frozen fringes of the world. Borderline fantasy, since as long as things are viewed from Inuit perspective, everything is explained by magical thinking. Worth watching even for the setting and lore alone.
- Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles: Take the best parts of the book and film and none of the crap. One of the early CGI shows (and it shows) cut short due to budget (as in just short of the ending).
- Samurai Jack: A wandering samurai lost in the future kicks ass and saves lives in his quest to get home. Elegance in simplicity. Amazing animation. Kaldor Draigo wishes he could be this cool. Finally got a conclusion on Adult Swim after years in limbo and the tragic death of Mako, the villain Aku's VA.
- Star Wars The Clone Wars: Not to be confused with the other one from 2005. A TV series that started out bad and gradually got better, while also injecting gradually enough grimdark to make some question how this show was for kids. Include the awesomness that is the Clone Troopers and their incredibly talented VA, who was starred in several of the shows on this list, great character development all over the board and smart ass one-liners. Really just did a fantastic job with the lore and expanding the universe. It is advised to skim through the first two seasons, as the series was still trying to figure out what it wants to be. Then again, maybe don’t, since the first two do have some important plot points for later, but you have been warned.
- Todd McFarlane's Spawn: Imagine a world where animated series aren't related with kids and "animated" doesn't mean "low quality". That's the world from which Spawn was accidentally teleported from. Dark as fuck, it plays anti-hero dial so high you seriously wonder if the guy can even quality as a hero at all. Worth even for the imagery alone. It gave us Keith David as the man himself (bless his sexy, deep voice).
- War Planets/Shadow Raiders: Forgotten third show from Mainframe in the 90s, alongside Reboot and Beast Wars. Four alien races that have been screwing each other over for thousands of years because they need the resources of each other's worlds have to put aside their difference in the face of a common foe -- a "Beast Planet" that devours entire worlds and their civilisations whole, overwhelming its prey first with armies of mindless drones. Very intense, very good characters, plenty of action. The Beast Planet is kind of a "Necrons imitating Tyranids" enigma, which may be a good or a bad thing.
- Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes: A Marvel animated series about the titular Avengers. Unlike the later Avengers Assemble show, it relies primarily on the comics for it's inspiration rather than the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also unlike the later Avengers show, it's actually good. Does a good job at balancing "monster of the week" episodes with a couple of running plot arcs across two seasons.
- Batman: The Animated Series: In a time when most cartoons were still glorified half hour toy commercials BtAS dared to defy convention with a dark art style, darker themes, and characters you actually gave a shit about. This show was so iconic that a lot of the stuff you think was from the comic book (Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze's wife Nora, Bruce being Best Friends with Harvey Dent before turning into TwoFace, and more recently, the Phantasm) actually started here. The show also gave us an incredibly well-rounded view of Bruce Wayne beyond his brooding demeanor, with episodes highlighting his philanthropic nature and genuine care for Gotham's people, even the no-name thugs that he's able to rehabilitate. This should be mandatory viewing for people making Batman films.
- Batman: Beyond: Sequel to the above series about a future Gotham where Bruce Wayne is a cranky old man who had to give up being Batman due to heart problems, in which a teenager is reluctantly accepted as a replacement Batman, using cyber-armor that is basically the batsuit sans cape but with rocket boots. Aside being a worthy contender for best animated Batman, it's also a great mine for cyberpunk ideas and storylines.
- The Justice League & The Justice League: Unlimited: More of the same cape stuff. These times with Superman & Batman are: Wonder Woman (WONDER WOMAN!), The Flash, Green Lantern (token black guy), Martian Manhunter (token green guy), Hawk Girl, and The Flash. Includes an amazing story arc involving Project Cadmus, mature story themes and jokes, and the amazingness that is The Question.
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series: One of the series that were Marvel's attempt to challenge the DC Animated Universe, most of which (Batman TAS, Batman Beyond, Superman TAS, Justice League) are already mentioned here. Whilst hindered by an absolutely insane chief executive who labeled ludicrous restrictions on the show (for example, Spidey was never allowed to be shown punching people), it had an amazingly creative writing team who managed to miraculously pull off a decent cartoon despite her. Drawing heavily from the 90s and late 80s comic, it had season-long story arcs, actual character development, and plenty of fantastical action sequences. It's not as good as BtAS due to a lesser budget and the aforementioned restrictions, but it is generally considered the absolute best of the Spidey cartoons, saving perhaps maybe the Spectacular Spider-Man from the early 2000s.
- Spider-Man 1966: One of several series of "motion comics" that Marvel put out in the 1960s, including ones for the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man and Thor. Limited animation, but the visuals and the plots are so batshit insane that it's worth watching just for laughs. A legendary fountain of memes just about everywhere on the Internet.
- Superman: The Animated Series: About the same quality of writing as the latest episodes of B:tAS (Bad, don't listen to the fanboys). This features 'the' seminal, if less popular, superhero: Superman from the planet Krypton. Made largely by the same crew as the above Batman, this series is another of the so christened 'Timmverse' that ended with...
- Teen Titans (2003): Unlike the erratic shittiness that is Go! this series is pretty good, but barely makes it onto this list. It stars a group of DC characters no one usually knew about until this show (unless you read the comics). It had mostly good character development and it had the Half-Demon awesomeness that is Raven. However, it's bogged down by bipolar tone (keeps shifting between goofy humor and serious drama, albeit not as badly as Hellsing Ultimate), a shitty character that dares to name herself after Holy Terra, and some bullshit plot devices. Hilariously, there is a villain that is literally a combination of a Neckbeard and a 4chan board full of skub. He also happens to be the monster responsible for Go!'s existence. When Control Freak dies, he's gonna be Trigon's torture buddy for the rest of eternity for such a sin.
- Transformers: Near-legendary multi-series franchise dating back to the mid-80s, all of which revolve, in some way, around giant alien robots fighting a war that has been raging for millions of years without end. Different series have different aspects, so pick carefully.
- X-Men: The Animated Series: One of the sister shows to the aforementioned SMtAS, and generally regarded of the best of them. Takes all of Spidey's creativity and faithfulness to the comics, lifts some of the restrictions, but also piles on an extra serving of ham and cheese. The story goes the voice actors were Shakespearean theatre trainees and couldn't quite get the hang of toning it down. Still, if you like voluptuous Southern belles suplexing giant robots whilst their hot African weather witch partner rants like an angry goddess, you've come to the right show.
- Young Justice: A DC animated show wherein Batman recruits the sidekicks and super-powered relatives of various heroes to serve as a black ops team for the Justice League. In spite of starring a bunch of teenagers, everyone still gets decent character development when the show isn't trying to be Dawson's Creek with superpowers. Unfortunately canceled because the execs felt it wasn't toyetic enough. Recently renewed for a third season to drive subscriptions for DC's exclusive streaming service.
- Adventure Time. tl;dr: A kids cartoon made by a DnD nerd. Starts off random is funny, and never really gives up on that, but slowly reveals itself to be set in a Grimdark post-apocalyptic fantasy world inhabited by mutants and whatever remains of Earth's original animal population. The main character is one of the few humans left alive. Had a lot of potential but was ruined by talentless noodle animation and excessively grimderp "real world problems" writing. Written to be accessible to both adults and kids, so oldfags can watch the earlier episodes with their hellspawn, should they wish. Also, you want to fuck the vampire.
- Archer. Think "Arrested Development" meets James Bond. It's an adventure comedy about an alcoholic man-child, who just so happens to be the world's most dangerous secret agent, and his equally deranged co-workers which include, but are not limited to; a sex addict accountant, a sadistic pyromaniac ditz, a bare-knuckle boxing Human Resource manager, a sassy black woman with abnormally large hands, the main-character's narcissistic mother, and a mad nazi scientist. Hilarious, ultra quotable, and great source material for secret agent role-playing.
- Megas XLR: I DIG GIANT ROBOTS. YOU DIG GIANT ROBOTS. CHICKS DIG GIANT ROBOTS. That's all you really need to know. Big robots and funny shit. It's also the Orkiest show ever made, the Gork to Gurren Lagann's Mork.
- Rick and Morty: /tg/: the series. A comedy about an alcoholic mad scientist's adventures with his wimpy grandson. Has a instantly recognizable blend of fart humor and soul-crushing Nietzschean/Lovecraftian philosophy. Manages to pack a good amount of emotional punches with enough fun adventures and sci-fi/pop culture references to keep even the most stoic entertained. The third season is forever skub after the showrunner decided to replace the original writers with an all female team; speculated reasons range from "muh diversity" to "because I felt like it" but everyone agrees that it's just not the same. Reddit loves this series for the lolrandom bullshit and ebin pop culture references, so mention it on 4chan at your own peril, but it's still got some neato ideas for Genius: The Transgression campaigns.
- The Venture Bros. An absurd parody of Jonny Quest, 60's animated shows, comic books, and pretty much every action franchise ever. Episodes primarily theme around failure (so great for 4chan) and absurd comedy. Can be hilarious but like Austin Powers, it's hard to appreciate the comedy of it unless you've seen the source material.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Considered by many to be the gold standard for animated shows in the 00'es and one of the best Western-made narrative shows. It has garnered many a fan for their funny characters, deep story lines, character development and Asian-but-not-weeaboo flavor. The sequel series, Legend of Korra, is rather skubtastic and regarded as only good for Rule 34 by much of /co/ and /aco/ (right down to be in their sticky).
- Conan the Adventurer: A surprisingly good cartoon from the early 90s based off of, what else? Conan the Barbarian. Probably best known for its rocking opening theme (WARRIOR WITHOUT FEAR!), but it's surprisingly mineable for Dungeons & Dragons and has a lot of actual novel lore scattered through the kid-friendly stuff.
- Delta State: All Psyker Party: The Series. Four flat-mates are trying to both figure out their life after suffering from amnesia and in the same time prevent the invasion of body-stealing Rifters from another dimension. While it sounds like nothing in particular, it packs a punch and easily hooks you up with interesting universe and very relatable characters - the series was a successful attempt to deliver something like seinen for Western animation, so it's not for kids, but also avoids all the problems of your typical "adult animation".
- Dungeons & Dragons: An absolute classic, worth watching even for the sake of the status alone. While the series still shows a lot of potential, most of it was wasted on too short episodes made on shoe-string budget. Being partially entangled into the Satanic Panic didn't help either. Still, worth watching. Just bring beer and friends. And a notepad for oldschool ideas. Sadly never got a proper canon ending. Is incredibly popular in Brazil, too.
- Jumanji: Like a lot of successful and semi-successful films, Jumanji ended up with a follow-up cartoon. Pretty much what you'd want to see if Alan had stayed in Jumanji and Peter and Judy went on adventures with him. While the art style is (intentionally) weird, the episodes are amazingly mineable for campaigns and world-building ideas. Also featured many references to other works, but with a fun twist.
- Love, Death & Robots: An animated anthology series that's all over the place, from comedy to cosmic horror and from pure skub for easy clickbait to genuinely good content, but remains very minable. Shorts "Suits", Sucker of Souls", "Lucky 13", "Good Hunting" and especially "Beyond the Aquila Rift" and "The Secret War" are very much approved.
- The New Adventures of Ocean Girl: An Australian animated series, predominately aimed at teenage girls, but coming in a package with a complex world full of original races. Good world-building and bunch of interesting plot hooks and easy-to-reuse plot twists.
- Omer and the Starchild: A French animated series. A truly rich world-building mixed with a lot of New Age imagery and surprisingly dark story for a kids show. The series follows adventures of Dan, the titular Starchild, in his quest to free "Twelve Wizards" and unite them against the evil Morkhan.
- Papyrus: An animated adaptation of Franco-Belgian comics. An epic tale of a young fisherman tangled into the conflict between Egyptian gods, tasked with the mission of freeing Horus and putting end to the reign of Seth... regardless if Papyrus himself wants to or not being a plaything of gods.
Old Stuff & Remakes
- He-Man/She-Ra: The original 80s Sword & Sorcery cartoons of choice, He-Man is about a cosmically-empowered barbarian hero who has to juggle his daily life as the foppish Prince Adam and his muscle-bound alter-ego whilst defending Castle Greyskull from the forces of Skeletor, an evil wizard who seeks to claim the castle and the cosmic powers it holds to rule the universe. It's 80s fucking bullshit to the extreme, but if you can embrace the cheese and get past the memetically limited animation, it's actually good, clean, turn-your-brain-off fun, with plenty of ideas to mine for a more S&S or old-school Science Fantasy setting. "She-Ra" is literally "He-Man for girls", with Prince Adam's twin sister Adora using the twin to He-Man's sword of power to turn into a super-powered Amazon warrior, leading a resistance on the magical world of Etheria against the Horde, an invading army of space monsters and robots.
- An early 90s remake tried to rebrand He-Man (since it was also one of the forerunners of "cartoons as toy commercials" in the 80s) and failed flat. Mostly forgotten, since it dropped everything unique about the setting, replacing it with generic science fiction.
- A 2001 remake of He-Man attempted to create a more serious, focused, action-orientated and generally less goofy take on the show. It worked, but sadly it died after two seasons due to a lack of an audience. Dig it up and enjoy it if you can.
- A 2017 "remake" called She-Ra and the Princesses of Power...exists. Whilst it technically has a better plot and animation than its predecessor, it is also much more rooted in post-2010s culture memes, so view at your own risk. Lesbians every-fucking-where...
- Jonny Quest: The adventure series from Hanna-Barbera, notable originally for being first "realistic" cartoon to be made and having amounts of violence and brutality - for a show ostentiably aimed at very young kids - that makes moral watchdogs twitch to this day. For those same reasons, it is also never-ending source of pulp ideas and weird science plots. Even if you never saw it, there is a high chance you can recognise the characters and hum the main theme, regardless of nationality. Comes in three distinctive flavours, all three very much approved:
- The original series from the 60s, titled simply Jonny Quest.
- 80s revival series, The New Adventures of Jonny Quest, which came with animation bump, updated the setting and made if far more kid-friendly, without losing the adventuring vibe
- 90s Cartoon Network sponsored remake, Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, which finally realised the series mostly watched by teen boys could benefit from having a teen-aged main character.
- Thundarr the Barbarian: Hanna-Barbera's Science Fantasy series set in the far future of post-apoc ruins of the United States. It's a collection of everything popular in early 80s: fantasy, post-apo, buff barbarians, Chewbacca look-alikes,
titsprincesses, light sabers and cheese. Copious amounts of cheese. If you ever wanted to run pulp megadungeon, look no further for inspiration. Aged far better than most 80s cartoons, since it wasn't intended as being a 20 minute long toy commercial.
- Thundercats: Regarded by /tg/ as "Dangerously Furry: the Cartoon". A Science Fantasy series revolving around a group of survivors from the destroyed world of Thundera crashlanding on the apocalyptic ruins of a far-future Earth and trying to rebuild their civilization, whilst battling mutants, monsters, magic and the ancient mummy-lich-thing called "Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living". Essentally He-Man, but more focus on action than on goofy comedy. Like He-Man, it also got a darker, edgier, more serious 2011 remake that fell through because
nobody watched it everyone was turned away by the tone shiftCartoon Network wanted to replace it with Lego Ninjago.
- Then it had yet another - an unapproved - remake with even worse reception, the late 2010s "Thundercats Roar", which doubles down on just about everything awful in cartoons. It aired early 2020 and fortunately for us, and unfortunately for the schmucks who thought greenlighting this was a good idea, it only lasted one season. Given that COVID would force kids to stay indoors, and thus with easy access to television, that is quite the accomplishment.
Unapproved, But Mineable
Any cartoons that have /tg/-worthy subject matter, but it's not like fa/tg/uys opinions really matter anyway.
- BattleTech: Yes, BattleTech had a cartoon series. It talks about a Adam Steiner and the 1st Somerset Strikers. It, wasn't that good. Its production value was lackluster and being forced into the animation age ghetto did not help. Its notable for its early use of transiting between traditional cel-animation and computer-generated imaging. While not godawful it was at best a slightly above average saturday morning cartoon that's inappropriate to it's subject manner. What's even more notable is that the show exists in the BattleTech universe. You read that right, this cartoon that depicts BattleTech actually exists in the BattleTech universe. Can give inspiration on how the actions of a party can be distorted or changed to fit a different narrative.
- Hazbin Hotel: Cartoon Network-tier Slaaneshii stuff, man. A grimdark musical dramedy about the princess of hell (who acts like a typical Disney princess) and her girlfriend opening a hotel where demons are reformed in the hope that they will be able to checkout into Heaven, so that Hell won't be forced to go through regular population purges anymore. Their first test subject is drug addicted spider demon porn star. A mysterious and extremely powerful demon known as The Radio Demon, who is convinced that demons are irredeemable so their plan is impossible, offers to help so that he can enjoy watching them fail.
- Helluva Boss: a spin-off of Hazbin Hotel. A low ranking demon manages to steal access to the mortal world from a powerful demon lord (who lets him keep it in exchange for sexual favors), and forms a company that demons pay to assassinate humans who wronged them in life. More comedy focused than Hazbin Hotel.
- Regular Show: A weird show that appeared on Cartoon Network with a really crappy final season. Still, quirky characters, more than a few /tg/ worthy references, and a few decent jokes with lol random stuff all over the place make it decent enough if you need something to play while you paint that Gaunt Swarm.
- Sonic the Hedgehog AKA Sonic SatAM: A animated adaption of Sonic the Hedgehog. Well regarded by fans as something of a cult classic. Do be warned it is full of 90's cheese, it was a Saturday morning cartoon meant to make money off of a cartoon character after all. One special note is Jim Cummings in one of the better depictions of Dr. Robotnik. Also features one of the better depictions of nature vs industrialization, less green Aesop and more freedom from slavery. Mineable for concepts and a villain. Possibly even watched by the God-Emperor of Mankind. The Archie comic is also of note since it does technically continue the story, though do be warned of Ken Penders. He is considered the Matt Ward of the Sonic Fandom.
- Steven Universe: A fairly sub average show with some surprisingly interesting world-building that is held back by its atrocious writing. Thousands of years ago, a caste-based race of mineral-based "Crystal Gems" with holographic bodies dominated the galaxy. A small band of Gems refused to let this continue, rebelling against their masters and shattering their empire at great cost to both sides. Now, a small cadre of Gems remains on the planet Earth, protecting humanity from the monsters their civil war left behind and raising the rebel leader's "son". Unfortunately, he's kind of a fuckup, and he's going to have to learn how to use his powers fast because the Gem empire is coming back for round two. Surprisingly mineable for campaign and adventure ideas when it decides to stop being hollow slice of life and gets its ass in gear. Warning: prolonged viewing
maywill cause SAN loss.
- Tigtone: Similar to Adventure Time but even more insane and a lot more bloody. The surreal adventures of a murderhobo named Tigtone who is obsessed with completing quests, writing about his quests in his journal, and shouting his own name. Takes place in a world that runs on a mixture of video game and dream logic. Has a unique animation style created with realistic paintings brought to life with motion capture to look deliberately uncanny like a poorly animated video game but also strangely beautiful.