Top 10 Most Underappreciated Kids Cartoons Ever

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Top 10 Most Underappreciated Kids Cartoons Ever

VOICE OVER: Tom Aglio WRITTEN BY: Beca Dalimonte
These fantastic kids cartoons should receive a lot more love than they get! For this list, we'll be looking at animated children's shows that haven't received all of the praise they deserve. Our countdown includes “Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends” (2004-09), “American Dragon: Jake Long” (2005-07), “Freakazoid!” (1995-97), “Braceface” (2001-06), and more!
Transcript
These fantastic kids cartoons should receive a lot more love than they get! For this list, we’ll be looking at animated children’s shows that haven’t received all of the praise they deserve. Our countdown includes “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” (2004-09), “American Dragon: Jake Long” (2005-07), “Freakazoid!” (1995-97), “Braceface” (2001-06), and more! Which of these do you love? Did we miss any? Tell us in the comments!

#10: “American Dragon: Jake Long” (2005-07)


Although Jake Long appears to be a normal Chinese-American boy living in Manhattan, he is actually part dragon - a secret he tries to keep from his classmates, especially his crush, Rose. He trains as his dragon alter ego “the American Dragon” with his Grandpa Luong Lao Shi and his dog Fu Dog, in order to protect the magical creatures living in his city. The show largely fell into obscurity in recent years, but is notable for its striking style, diverse cast, and a 2005 crossover with “Lilo & Stitch: The Series.” The show’s second season also featured a theme song sung by Disney Channel stars The Jonas Brothers.

#9: “Chowder” (2007-10)


Something’s always cookin’ on “Chowder,” a colorful cartoon about a young apprentice learning to cook under the watchful eye of Chef Mung Daal. The show’s simplistic premise often gives way to absurdist, and occasionally even fourth wall breaking, humor wherein the motley crew of cooks are faced with, among other things, lonely monsters, murder mysteries, or impromptu car washes. Its unique sense of humor is often matched with a variety of different animation styles, with puppetry and stop motion sequences occasionally being inserted into the show’s 2D world. All of these elements make “Chowder” stand out against other shows of the same ilk, and create an undeniably enjoyable experience for both its young target audience and an older demographic of animation lovers.

#8: “Braceface” (2001-06)


Being a teenager is hard enough, but Sharon Spitz has an added hurdle to her middle and high school woes - braces. And not just any braces. Sharon’s braces seem to cause trouble wherever she goes, discharging electricity and connecting her to wireless communication devices at random. This awkward teenage tale is fronted by none other than Alicia Silverstone, best known for her role as Cher in another teen-focused comedy, “Clueless.” “Braceface” is often overshadowed in cartoon discussions by exciting titles like “Kim Possible” and “Danny Phantom,” but is notable for its frank depiction of the trials and tribulations of teenagehood from a female perspective. Sharon even grows older as the series progresses, moving through middle school and into high school.

#7: “My Life as a Teenage Robot” (2003-09)


Jenny longs to be a normal teenage girl who goes to school and hangs out with friends. The only problem? She’s a robot, built by her mother to be Earth’s protector. Although on the surface the show can seem like an unrealistic, action-packed sci-fi, on an episode-to-episode basis it’s clear that the real heart of the show is Jenny’s struggle to fit in with normal society. This relatable theme earned the show a small but passionate fanbase, with some even reading the show as a transgender allegory. The show’s creator, Rob Renzetti, has denied that this subtext was intentional, but welcomes the theory nonetheless - giving the show new life in the modern age. Truly a show ahead of its time!

#6: “Fillmore!” (2002-04)


Police procedurals are a popular subgenre, with shows like “CSI,” “NCIS,” and “Law & Order” lasting for many, many seasons. A lot of these shows are made with adults in mind, featuring grisly crimes and live action characters. But “Fillmore!” provides the fun and mystery of the police procedural in a way that’s palatable to a child audience. As a parody of a beloved genre, “Fillmore!” attracted both a young and old audience during its initial run, and even gained a small cult following in the years following its release. Unfortunately the smartly written show remains underappreciated largely due to a lack of access - as it is not currently streaming on any official site.

#5: “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” (2004-09)


Many kids have imaginary friends growing up, but few of those friends follow their kids into adulthood. “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” imagines a world where all of those conjured companions find refuge at the titular home once they’ve been abandoned by their creators. Mac, a human boy, frequently visits the home in order to stay connected with his own imaginary friend, Bloo, against his mother’s wishes. In addition to being a fun and creative episodic series, the show also represents a desire to hold onto childhood and the whimsy and imagination that comes with it. These themes are frequently represented through the show’s world-building and the backstories given to members of its large ensemble cast - depth not usually afforded to lighthearted kids shows.

#4: “Static Shock” (2000-04)


“Static Shock” was the first of its kind in children’s animation, as it had the first African American title character to carry an animated superhero series. Although merchandise for the show struggled to sell, the series was praised by critics for the way it tackled social issues. Entertainment Weekly described the handling of these issues as “easily digestible,” but never sugarcoated, and lauded the show for specifically naming the character’s ancestral home as Ghana rather than generically showing him to be from Africa as a whole. The show was eventually canceled, but had a legacy and reach beyond its own run - with one of its creators going on to help diversify the cast of the DC animated universe’s Justice League.

#3: “ChalkZone” (2002-09)


What if everything you had ever drawn on a chalkboard was alive in an alternate universe behind that chalkboard? This is the premise proposed by “ChalkZone,” a show about a young boy named Rudy who finds a magical box of chalk that allows him to create portals to another world. The show’s chalk world has a unique visual style, true to its name, that nicely contrasts with the “real world” characters, Rudy and Penny. Each episode of the series also ends with one minute music videos featuring original songs relevant to the preceding events. Occasionally these songs even feature well-known names such as Jeff Bennett, the voice of Johnny Bravo and Jim Cummings, known for his work as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger.

#2: “Freakazoid!” (1995-97)


Animated superhero shows have always been a dime a dozen, with a show really having to set itself apart to make a name for itself. Thankfully, “Freakazoid!” does just that, being a slapstick parody of the genre. Executive produced by none other than Steven Spielberg, the show featured a whacky teenage hero as its protagonist, and equally eccentric villains for him to fight against. Similarly to “Animaniacs,” “Freakazoid!” often featured fourth wall breaks and pop culture references that made it just as fun for adults as it was for their kids. In spite of its appeal, the show was sadly canceled before its time, never achieving the cult status of fellow superhero satire “The Tick.”

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Dave the Barbarian” (2004-05)


Dave & His Two Sisters Are Tasked with Defending Their Kingdom While Their Parents Are Away

“Pepper Ann” (1997-2000)


Pepper Ann Makes It Through Middle School One Day at a Time with Help from Her Friends, Mother, & Imagination

“Sabrina: The Animated Series” (1999-2001)


Sabrina Got Animated in This Cartoon Prequel to “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”

“6teen” (2004-10)


Six Friends, All Sixteen, Work & Hang Out at the Galleria Mall

“The Spectacular Spider-Man” (2008-09)


“The Spectacular Spider-Man” Gives a Mature Take on the Beloved Teen Web-Slinger

#1: “The Mighty B!” (2008-11)


Actress and comedian Amy Poehler is probably best known for her role as Leslie Knope in the NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation”. But before she was filling pits and making parks, Poehler was lending her voice to a much younger strong-willed woman. Bessie is only nine and three quarters years old, but is determined to collect all the badges in her Honeybee scout troop and become “The Mighty B.” No matter the lengths it will take her to get there! The show stands out from other female-centric children's shows by never delving into boy trouble, rainbows, or unicorns. Bessie was an eccentric “weird girl” - and critics loved her for it! The show even received a Daytime Emmy Award for Achievement in Animation in 2009.
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