The 25 Greatest Animated Series Ever: Cast your vote for the best! My pick: 'Futurama'


Image Credit: Fox

Today, brings you our list of the 25 Greatest Animated TV Series Ever. In an effort to keep things democratic, we’re asking you — the devoted TV viewer — to decide which show on that list is the No. 1 cartoon ever ever ever. So far this week, we’ve covered two of the great feuds in Animated TV history: the never-ending Simpsons/Family Guy debate (essentially the Beatles/Elvis of primetime cartoons) and the arguably more interesting Simpsons/South Park dichotomy (which is more like Beatles/Rolling Stones, although maybe Emerson/Thoreau would be more appropriate.) But if I were to cast my vote for my personal favorite animated series ever, it wouldn’t be for any of those titans. Because I’m a Futurama guy, through and through.

To continue the music metaphor, saying that you like Futurama more than The Simpsons is kind of like insisting that the Clash were better than the Beatles: Even if you’re right, you can’t help but sound like a shrill hipster. Most people gave up on Futurama soon after its debut, and Fox shuttled it all around the schedule; by the time the show reached its fourth and (apparently) final season, episodes were being aired sporadically, with the series finale airing in the doldrums of August.

You can’t blame Fox, though. Futurama was a deeply strange show. And, unlike The Simpsons, it wasn’t tethered to any kind of recognizable sitcom reality. Futurama was nominally a workplace show, but since that workplace sent its characters spinning off into the far corners of the universe, each episode was really a geeked-out feast for the brain. The show also had a ton of heart — building the Fry/Leela flirtation into the rare will-they-or-won’t-they romance that didn’t get more annoying with time.

To me, the main divide between Futurama and The Simpsons was simple: Simpsons was an instant pop culture sensation and a massive success, while the first run of Futurama has the desperate soul of a show that feels like cancellation is right around the corner. Fear is often a great motivator for sitcoms — witness Arrested Development and the early seasons of The Office and 30 Rock — and it led Futurama to explore every nook and cranny of its cartoon universe. I’m a bit more lukewarm on the new Comedy Central Futurama run, but the new incarnation of the show still knocks it out of the park — as in last season’s mind-bending “The Late Philip J. Fry,” which was somehow utterly romantic and incredibly dark and weird.

So that’s my choice. What’s your pick for the Greatest Animated Series Ever, readers? Go check out our gallery right now. Vote early! Don’t vote often, or we’ll throw you into Robot Hell!

Read more:
‘Family Guy’ vs. ‘The Simpsons,’ Part 2: Is ‘South Park’ better than both of them?
‘The Simpsons’ vs. ‘Family Guy’: Which is better?
EW Photo gallery: Best Animated Series Ever

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

Comments (64 total) Add your comment
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  • lostfanboy16

    I agree with you. I love Futurama.

    • jank

      I would agree with Futurama

      followed by

      “Freakazoid” – criminally nderrated

      • jank

        also “Batman The Animated Series” from FOX back in the 90s

        “Batman Beyond” was pretty decent too

    • ajmalzx

      Futurama owns everything.


  • K

    HBO’s Spawn

  • JLC

    I think it also depends on a show’s longevity. Futurama didn’t hang around long enough to wear out its welcome. Had The Simpsons been canceled after, say, its 8th season, I think people would be talking about it as one of the greatest series of all time, period. I do love Futurama, though.

  • Bobby’s Robot

    I love Futurama too. But The Simpsons is the standard for which all other animated comedies are compared.

  • Steve-O

    King of the Hill was great.
    Even though it’s not cool to like it anymore I still enjoy Family Guy.

    • Laurie

      King of the HIll is the best 4-eva!

  • AKP

    Glad I’m not the only one who unabashedly loves this show. The point about it not being around long enough to become stale is a good one, though, so it has that advantage over the Simpsons. I would still probably pick the Simpsons as the best animated series ever, even though it’s been lacking for several years.

  • LOL

    SOUTH PARK is # 1.

    • Matt

      Amen Brotha!!!!

  • kiana

    family guy

    • Matt

      Nah Family Guy is too Preachy

  • Lincoln M.

    Batman – The Animated Series and Knights Of The Zodiac a.k.a Saint Seiya.

  • Cameron

    RUGRATS! Out of all these shows, it’s the only one that went longer than a decade with more than 1 film (3 in case your wondering). More importantly, even more than Spongebob, it was a series that inspired all the kids that watched it because it was about growing up. It was about love, friendship, and how to tackle life as a kid, and see it with a creative imagination. My imagination was sparked as a kid by Rugrats, and I’m proud to say I am a writer today thanks to that imagination spark. It was a show that was always there, through good times and bad. Although it is rare to see on television now a days, but for those of us that remember it, Rugrats was a series that just made life that much sweeter. Although the competition is good, RUGRATS is the clear choice in my heart.

  • mikeman

    if humans are still around in 500 years, kids will learn about the simpsons.

  • Manda

    Avatar: The Last Airbender. You wouldn’t know it from the live-action movie but the TV show was fun, poignant, layered, and maintains a fanbase of people of all ages.

    • Mark

      One season of Mighty Orbots…the first transformers

  • Brian K

    Archer. With Futurama second.

    • Bendreaux

      Amen to Archer. I also liked King of the Hill.

  • sean

    Batman the animated series

  • MB

    American Dad

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