Saturday, August 15, 2015

Recently it was said that we are in a golden age of cartoons. The last great age of cartoons to me was in the early to mid 1990's. We had such wonderful cartoons as : Animaniacs, X-Men, Gargoyles, Batman :The Animated Series, Rugrats, Rocko's Modern Life are just a few of them you could name. While I won't say whether cartoons are better now or then, I am going to make my picks for the best current cartoons on the air right now. (the criteria being that it has to have to be currently showing new episodes or will in the future. So for example, Legend of Korra would definitely be on this list and very high too but since it ended last year I can't include it.) In the future I will be doing a all-time greatest cartoons list but for now here is my Top 10 Best cartoons on television right now!

10. Regular Show

- Zany would be a excellent way to describe this show. A show about two friends Mordecai, a blue jay and Rigby, a raccoon and their lives and all the characters they interact with.  I admit to not having seen all the episodes but the ones I have, I've enjoyed. The show does miss sometimes with it silliness but it is better to miss wildly sometimes and succeed other times then to be normal and boring all the time.

9. Adventure Time

- About to start it's 7th season, Adventure Time is one of the longest-running cartoons on this list and in television today.  While not quite at the level of it's earlier seasons, A.Time is still able to deliver some terrific episodes. A example of this is "Jermaine" - a story about brothers but also about letting go of the past so you can focus on the present. Other episodes focus on parenthood and the joys and fears of being a parent through Jake, " The Diary" a wonderful soap opera-ish story and "The Comet" a tremendous season finale.

8.American Dad

-To say Family Guy is a mess is a understatement and The Cleveland Show was cancelled just as it was hitting it's peak but American Dad remains Seth McFarlane's best show out there today. Boosted by funny characters like Roger the Alien and Stan Smith and the rest of his family. The show is able to have heartfelt moments in the midst of some of the strangest and wildest episodes you could imagine. (Example : In one episode Hayley's husband Jeff returns from outer space while in another Stan shrinks his family so they can live in a miniature toy town)

7. Archer

-This was a unique season of Archer overall as we got to see Sterling Archer as a father as the team got back to basics. It was a fun season as we got to see the show continue to be hilarious while tackling important real issues like "what do you do when you become a parent and you are nowhere near ready for it?" Also the writing on the show remains top-notch with quick fire insults and some of the best catchphrases and innuendos any show could write.

6. Star Wars : Rebels

-To make a cartoon from a legendary movie series is difficult. To blend in new characters with some of the main characters from the movies is even harder. Rebels accomplished both remarkably well. Combining new characters  like Ezra Bringer ,Kanan Jarrus and Ahsoka Tano (who was in previous Star Wars cartoons) with guest appearances by Yoda, Darth Vader , Lando Calrissian  and C-3po/R2-D2.  The best thing about the show too is it is fun to watch, tons of enjoyable action with a little bit of wit. After all, isn't that what we want from Star Wars : fun? Thankfully the show delivers that and more with great stories.

5.Bojack Horseman

- The second season of this popular show was much better than it's first as each of the characters got to see growth however big or little it was. The show matures into a comedy that blends the wackiness of multiple human and animal characters interacting with the dark drama this show features.  We got to see Bojack have a little fame to only see it all crash down again. Yet even with that , there was still hope that things would get a little better each day.

Other supporting characters had great moments like Diana's crisis of trying to find purpose and figuring out what her purpose is, Mr.Peanutbutter and Diane's marriage woes but also shows why the make a good couple and  Princess Carolyn finally standing up fro herself at the end of the season. "Hank After Dark" is a tremendous episode of Bojack that touches on the Cosby story in it's own way as Diane calls out the celebrity and we see the public reaction.  One other thing to credit the show with is how it blends so many cameos from different celebrities without taking away from the main focus of the cast.  Hopefully season 3 will continue not only the brillant mix of humor/drama but also expand these characters even more.

4.Bob's Burgers
- Season 5 brought us back into the lives of the Belcher family and it was a welcomed joy. Bob and Linda continue to be shockingly one of the best couples on tv as Bob continues to be a sloppy mess who cares about his place while Linda remains loyal and loving to her husband and family as she got more to do this season.  As for the children, Tina and Louise remain great especially highlighted in "Hawk and Chick" a nice episode that highlights the closeness of Louise to her father. Another fantastic episode is "Tina Tailor Soldier Spy" which highlights Tina and her ability to own the way she lives her life and the way she believes in herself no matter how outlandish it seems and Louise's love of her big sister.

3. Gravity Falls

- Season 2 of Gravity Falls did a great job of not only fixing up certain problems from season 1 but also adding even more depth and mystery to the show which was highlighted by one of the best episodes of the year "Not What He Seems" and the equally great " A Tale of Two Stans" . In these episodes we find out the origins of Stan and his big secret which introduces the real Stanford Pines to the Falls Universe.  The flashback story of how Stan and his brother broke apart and what happened to him is one of the best origin stories I have seen in any cartoon. Also highlighted through the season and these episodes is Dipper and Mabel's bond as siblings and their trust in their Uncle Grunkle Stan. Dipper's trust in Stan has been broken while Mabel worries that her and Dipper will end up hating each other when they get older like Stan and his brother were outstanding plot points highlighted by great vocal work by Jason Ritter and Kristen Schaal.

Alex Hirsch (besides being the creator also does the voice of Grunkle Stan) has created a quirky , strange yet heartwarming world here. What started out as a monster of the week show has now become about family and the main things that unite and break apart them.

2.Rick and Morty

- There have been 3 episodes of season 2 that has aired so far. This is not hyperbole when I say that the show is better as it has ever been. In just this season we have had great laughs to scenes where the tears start flowing and can't stop. In the latest episode , Rick had reunited with his ex , Unity (a organism that assimilates organisms and whole planets). They bring out the worst in each other yet when Unity leaves Rick and Rick goes back to Earth and contemplates committing suicide, you can't help but feel sympathy for Rick even though he had been a great A ass almost the entire episode.(Also the music at the end of the episode is so so good. The show always does a wonderful choice of music) A lot of this character-building is credited to the creators of the show Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon.

Each episode this season has shown off the things that makes this show great whether it be emotional moments like Morty playing the game "Roy" where he lives the life of a man who gets cancer and is able to overcome it to imaginary brilliant scenes like when Rick, Morty and Summer  mess with the time stream and cause over 24 parallel streams all shown on the screen at once to a bunch of Jerry's in one room trying to figure out how to set up a tv. We have had great lessons in episodes such as Morty learning that what you think might be the right thing to do, will end up causing repercussions in the form of a ton of death and destruction. The best part is that we still have seven episodes to go and the show has gotten better each episode. I can't wait to see what new things, creatures Dan and Justin will show us from their minds. I have no doubt it will be some of the most wild, imaginative, insane and brilliant things that will have been seen on any cartoon  show.

1. Steven Universe

- Steven Universe is the rare show that is made for all ages. Children can enjoy the humor and the wonderful visuals and fusions. Adults can enjoy the show as it brings up many adult topics through it's stories. Some examples being : Gender-neutrality in "Alone Together", Lost Love and Jealousy (Rose's Scabbard), Fear of something happening to someone you love and/or care about ( Full Disclosure), And consent and non-consent in the form of fusioning and the aftermath of that (Cry for Help, Keystone Motel) These episodes and more show what Steven and the Crystal Gems (Pearl, Garnet and Amethyst) go through and in some cases cause. Especially in the case of Garnet who is one of the best characters on television. Garnet, a fusion of non-binary lovers Ruby and Sapphire, has shown that you can show LGBT characters in a cartoon universe in a positive and beautiful manner.

Other terrific episodes have shown how Steven's father Greg met his mother Rose Quartz in flashbacks (Story for Steven and We Need to Talk),  Dealing with Broken Friendships (Maximum Capacity) and so many more. I have talked more about the show here : but the quality of the show has improved from where it started at. The show continues to be the best cartoon on television today.

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