Best Cartoon Network Originals of the 2010s, Ranked

The 2010s were one of the most influential decades for animation in the medium’s modern history. With CGI-animated feature films becoming the theatrical standard and more international animation easily coming in with the advent of streaming, cartoon shows have begun to cater to a larger, yet more discerning audience. The line had begun to blur between anime series being “kids only” or “adults only” shows as the creator boom of the 90s culminated in a decade where anime series were allowed to exist for good. in their own voice. . Creators were able to accumulate more artistic influence on their shows, akin to directors and writers who created not with a particular audience in mind, but to express their artistic style and tell their own story. Nowhere has this creator revolution been more prevalent than on Cartoon Network.

From bizarre family sitcoms to high-fantasy character dramas, here’s a list of the 10 best Cartoon Network Originals of the 2010s.

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10. The Amazing World of Gumball


The dazzling success of Cartoon Network Europe, Ben Bocquelet’s The Amazing World of Gumball is a mix of everything a cartoon can be. The series follows the mixed-species Waterson family as they manage to survive day to day in the surreal suburb of Elmore. On paper, the premise of a cartoon family sitcom is nothing short of new, but in execution, the misadventures of the Watersons and their uniquely animated neighbors explode into an amalgam of biting modern satire, d absurdity of Internet culture and mixed media frills that make the world truly amazing. bubble gum is a wiser series beyond its years and one of the most artistically ambitious series to come out of the network.


9. Claire

Picture via Cartoon Network

Serial, Clement lives square in the midst of compassionate observation Hi Arnold! and the wacky madness of Ed Edd and Eddy. Set in the fictional town of Aberdale, Arizona, each episode follows Clarence Wendle and his friends as they overcome the trials of early adolescence; building treehouses, sharing toys, dealing with bullies, it works! Again, the premise feels like a dozen other cartoons before it, but what defines Clement apart from the rest, there is its balance of grounded empathy and over-the-top exploits. contrary to Arnold Where Tourbillon, Clement is able to seriously address adolescent worldviews and employ a caricatural portrayal of childhood joys and sorrows in the same breath. Clement may look like another silly children’s cartoon, but beneath its often grotesque exterior lies a portrayal of all things youthful.

8. Symbionic Titan

sym-bionic titan

Sym-Bionic Titan embodies all of its creator Genndy Tartakovskyhis strengths as a director. Like he did in Emmy winner samurai jack, the short-lived series blends elements of ’70s expressionist cinema, traditional character animation principles, and diverse genre tropes to tell an epic and thrilling action-adventure story. The show follows a duo of alien refugees, accompanied by a super-intelligent robot, as they defend their new homeland against the evil forces that have decimated their home world. Blending the teen drama of John Hughes’ 80s classics with the spectacular hyper-violence of mecha-anime, Titan forms an identity that is familiar to him, but that is entirely his own.

7. Craig of the Creek

Picture via Cartoon Network

In the same spirit as Code name: Kids Next Door and Disney’s recreation, matt burnet and Ben Levinit is Craig of the Creek emulates the inner workings of backyard playtime through large-scale melodrama. The series follows the titular Craig (Phillip Solomon) and his friends Kelsey (Noel Wells) and JP (H. Michael Croner) as they explore the world of the Creek, a wooded neighborhood where the local community of preschoolers come together to form a society of utopian children. The show cleverly portrays the childhood experience as a heightened epic of warfare, territory, and hierarchy, transforming self-serving cliques into veritable factions and tribes. With a ska-infused rock soundtrack and overarching saga, Craig of the Creek takes the fun of pretending a step further and gives it playful dramatic weight.

6. OK KO! let’s be heroes

ok let's be heroes
Picture via Cartoon Network

Created by Ian Jones Quartey, OK KO! let’s be heroes is the network’s most overtly cartoonish show of the decade. During his tenure at Cartoon Network, Quartey’s early work as a storyboard artist can be described as charming and off-pattern, pushing for extreme facial expressions and lopsided poses that make the characters hilarious and unrecognizable. This approach is on full display in the high-octane adventures of the mall heroes who defend Lakewood Plaza Turbo from robotic villainy. As well as being a mindful blend of video game culture, anime, and classic cartoons, let’s be heroes encapsulates the spirit of wild expressionism that has made animated comedy distinct since the medium’s heyday.

5. We are bare bears

Picture via Cartoon Network

Based on the creator Daniel Changthe web comic of The Three Bare Bears, We bare bears follows the Grizz Bear Brothers (Eric Edelstein), Panda (Bobby Moynihan) and Ice Bear (Demetri Martin) as they navigate the tough streets of hip San Francisco to fit in alongside humanity. At first glance, the series may look like a typical fish-out-of-water story, snatching a family of forest creatures from the desert and into the concrete jungle of the city. However, the main source of conflict that drives each episode is not the culture shock of wild animals navigating the modern world, but the struggle of three strangers trying to find a home among potential friends. Bears are misfits not just because they are animals, but because they themselves are unabashed in a world that is difficult for them to fit in with. We bare bears is a delightfully comfortable parable of the trials and rewards one encounters on a journey to find friends.

4. Adventure Time

adventure time

By far one of the network’s most monumental successes, Neighborhood Pendletonit is adventure time single-handedly defined the scope of anime series for the decade at large. What began as the fantastically absurd adventures of Jake the Dog (John DiMaggio) and Finn the Human (Jeremy Shada) in the Land of Ooo over time has grown into a fully detailed universe and lore, featuring everything from demonic monarchs to nuclear wars and ancient deities. The series’ expansive setting and fluid narrative allowed itself to be told any type of story it wished to flesh out its colorful cast of likable characters and post-apocalyptic landscape, resulting in a series as ambitious as humble. adventure time captures all of what long-form animated storytelling is capable of and has become a new standard for the art of television animation.

3. Infinity Train

infinity train
Picture via Cartoon Network

The standard set by adventure time over a decade peaked in 2019 infinite train. Owen Denis‘ The anthology series tells four simultaneous stories aboard an otherworldly locomotive made up of an endless sea of ​​cars, each containing its own puzzling pocket dimension. Older than any other Cartoon Network Original (non-Adult Swim), the miniseries’ horror-tinged mystery plotlines and morally ambiguous characters create an air of dread and inescapable intrigue for young adult viewers. Through brilliant visual metaphors and character explorations, infinite train effectively illustrates the painful but rewarding process of self-improvement.

2. Regular show

regular show
Image via Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Comedy in animation is all about exaggeration. Whether it’s its expressions, drawings, or vocal performances, comic book comedy has the advantage of pushing every aspect onscreen for the benefit of the punchline. J. G. Quintelit is Regular show relies heavily on this principle to make each episode laugh. The series is a workplace sitcom surrounding a ragtag crew of landscapers as they work to preserve their local park. Most episodes feature Mordecai’s slacker duo (quintel) and Rigby (Guillaume Sallyers) as they are tasked with doing remedial work by their boss Benson (Sam Marin). Mordecai and Rigby’s efforts to complete the simplest of tasks usually result in doomsday consequences and bizarre villains. The show’s over-the-top comedy stems from the gradual escalation over the course of the episode that finds a premise as normal as setting up chairs for a party morphing into a war of pixelated video game titans. Regular show simulates post-college work experience and exaggerates it to hilariously exaggerated heights.

1. Steven Universe

Picture via Cartoon Network

Rebecca Sugarit is Steven Universe is a sprawling epic with a tender emotional core. The titular Steven, voiced by Zach Callison, is the half-human, half-gem member of the Crystal Gems, a rebel cell of warriors dedicated to protecting Earth from monsters and alien invaders. The series chronicles Steven’s coming of age and rise to leadership against the backdrop of an interstellar war. Which makes Steven Universe a modern classic of television animation is its emotional awareness and exploration of character. Across five seasons and the epilogue miniseries, the story of Steven and his friends champions the virtues of identity and compassion in the face of adversity. While the inclusion and representation of the LGBTQ community is unmistakable, the lessons learned from Steven’s struggles with family responsibility and personal worth are overwhelmingly universal.

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