15 Masterpiece Cartoons That Never Got the Recognition They Deserved

The list is a combination of my personal opinions, as well other related lists on this topic that came before. I do use the previous lists to do my research but my own opinions do factor in.

1. Loonatics Unleashed: There was some controversy with this series in the preplanning stages, but once it came together it found its happy medium. It was still based on Looney Tunes, but combined it with futuristic science fiction. In the year 2772, a meteor strikes the planet Acmetropolis, but rather than destroy the planet, the meteor throws the planet off it axes and crashes into a waterfront on the planet. Afterwards, supernatural energies are released, giving some of the citizens super abilities. A team of heroes is soon assembled and their all descendant of Looney Tunes characters we know and love. The team consists of Ace Bunny, Lexi Bunny, Slam Tasmanian, Tech E. Coyote, and Rev Runner. I will let you figure out who their based on. In spite of the team quarks that were picked up from their predecessors (especially Danger Duck), the Loonatics are good at eventually working together and defending Acmetropolis from the forces of evil.

2. Space Ghost: Coast to Coast: I find this odd because I found this one to be on several different lists regarding great cartoon shows that did not get recognition. The was the very first show to be produced by the company that would eventually become known as Williams Street Productions and would be the in house production arm of Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” block. The birth of what is now called Williams Street began by taking Hanna-Barbara’s science fiction hero of the early 1960’s transforming him from your morally straight Saturday morning super space hero, into a self-absorbed vanity filled would be late night talker. It worked and he found an audience, and it was really funny. Even his arch enemies (who were forced to work with the Ghost) could mouth off puns and jokes as well. I think it gets its recognition, but maybe it’s because I did like this show, and never forgot it; or maybe it just had a great run.

3. The Tick (1994 Series): With the thirdtelevision adaptation currently on Amazon Video, it has been easier to forget the original TV adaption which appeared in animated form and aired on Fox Kids from 1994-96. The title character already had a cult following since his debut in the comics in 1986. This series would help get the Tick more popularity in the world of geekdom, even if the Power Rangers did outshine this all around good guy. The show was also good at not only mocking superheroes but also mocked the whole morality preaching that many kids shows did for so long. Without this cartoon, you might not have the current Amazon series to enjoy.

4. The Critic: This show follows the personal life of movie critic Jay Sherman, and mocked the popular Gene Siskel/Roger Ebert movie review show. As with Siskel and Ebert, Sherman is an elitist and stubborn and cold to people. He was very blunt if he truly hates a movie however. The series only lasted for only 33 episodes, and that included a third season that premiered in the year 2000. Five years after Fox canceled it. Before Fox “The Critic” aired on ABC.

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 series): While the current TMNT series barrows more from the 1987 series. The 2003 adaption that was co-produced by 4Kids Entertainment is closer to the original comic book adaptation. It is not all played for laughs in this version and their arch enemy Shredder plays for keeps and does not tolerate failure one bit. You may not die, but you really could lose an eye or maybe a hand or foot. This series would end in 2009 with a series finale that has this version team up with their previous incarnations of themselves (aka the original comic book and 1987 TV series adaptations). Would not mind another story like that one in the future. How about that Nickelodeon? Are you in?

6. Duckman: This one has appeared on every list I managed to bring up on this subject. I admit to not watching this series but it seems to have a loyal audience in spite of being somewhat forgotten. The title character is a self-hating duck (voiced by Seinfield’s Jason Alexander) who works as a private detective (or private dick for short and yes it’s a double entendre) in LA, while juggling his work with his family life. This cartoon is hands down adults only. It just gets outshined by the more popular South Park which was meant to be an “adults only” cartoon show as well.

7. Napoleon Dynamite: The reviews were mixed just as the live action movie from 2004 were. I felt that the animated series had potential to play on the lead character’s geekdom and life in rural Preston, Idaho with the added surrealism that can be done in an animated cartoon. Six episodes later, the show was canceled and “Bob’s Burgers” prevailed. Oh well.

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