Woodyman counts down his Top 10 Favorite Mature Cartoons.
Editor's Note: As an animation buff I must say this is a nice list Woodyman.
Top 10 Mature Cartoons
Woodyman here with a brand new list.
After I released the short story about Rocket-Powered Dinosaurs vs. evil Robo-Eskimos and my List of 17.5 Games last week I promised y’all something a bit more substantial, and a bit more serious, so that’s what I’m here to bring you today.
I’ve always loved cartoons ever since I was a little kid. I remember waking up early every Saturday and Sunday and just spending hours with my eyes glued to the TV set. I’ve always enjoyed the cartoons that I don’t hear many people talk about nowadays, such as Creepy Crawlers, Mummies Alive, and Street Sharks. As I grew up, the cartoons around me did not, so I eventually began to grow out of cartoons.
However, it was around this time that more mature cartoons became popular once again. Now mature cartoons have been around for a while. The earliest one I remember seeing was a drug and sex filled cartoon movie called Fritz the Cat, but the genre has been around for a while.
It was around the early to late 90s that the genre came back in full force and it hasn’t left since then. I love these cartoons because they make me feel like a kid and a grown-up all at once. Therefore, I decided to count down my favorite mature cartoons for all y’all today. The catch is, I’m excluding cartoons from Seth MacFarlane, Matt Groening, Mike Judge and Matt Parker/Trey Stone! That means no Simpsons, Futurama, Family Guy, Beavis and Butthead, South Park etc…
Before we begin here is some music and rules!
Tonight Alive – Little Lion Man
The Sex Pistols – My Way
Joey Ramone – What a Wonderful World
-This list will exclude cartoons from Mike Judge, Matt Groening, Matt Parker/Trey Stone, and Seth MacFarlane
-This is my personal list.
-If you don't like the list that's fine. Just don't be a douche. It’s my personal list, yours will obviously be different.
-There might be some spoilers.
I just couldn’t cut this list down to just 10 entries so here’s an honorable mention.
HM.) Clerks: The Animated Series
Yes, I just couldn’t exclude Clerks the Animated Series. The original Clerks movie directed by Kevin Smith is one of my favorite films of all time. So when I found out that they were making a Clerks cartoon I was ecstatic! Now you may not have heard of Clerks The Animated Series and there’s a good reason for that. Only two episodes were ever broadcasted on ABC. It wasn’t until years later that the entire 6 episode season was shown on both Comedy Central and Adult Swim. There was talk of an animated movie based on the cartoon, but that never saw the light of day and probably never will. Despite there being only six episodes, this was a hilarious cartoon that needs more attention and praise. Most the original actors return to reprise their roles in the animated series including Brian O’Halloran as Dante, Jeff Anderson as Randal, Jason Mewes as Jay, and Kevin Smith as Silent Bob. They even got Alec Baldwin to do the voice for Leonardo Leonardo. Also for all you Tara Strong obsessed fans; she was in the show too.
The show itself was great because it essentially consisted of Kevin Smith doing whatever the hell he wanted to do with the Clerks characters. The show followed Dante and Randal and their adventures in the Quick Stop. In the first episode we’re introduced to Leonardo Leonardo an eccentric billionaire who serves as the show’s antagonist as he opens the Quicker Stop right next door to the Quick Stop. Besides that the show was just random and hilarious. The second show ever was a clip show to the first episode. As you can see above, the show switched to an anime style at one point. Even the episode titles were random, as this was the title for episode 5, "Dante and Randal and Jay and Silent Bob and a Bunch of New Characters and Lando, Take Part in a Whole Bunch of Movie Parodies Including But Not Exclusive To, The Bad News Bears, The Last Starfighter, Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom, Plus a High School Reunion" It was a great show and deserves this honorable mention.
10.) Code Monkeys
Code Monkeys might be another animated show that you never heard of, but you definitely should, especially if you’re into video games. Of course you’re into video games, you’re reading this on a gaming website! The show is about a fake video game company called GameaVision and the show is set in the 80s so everything in the show is 8-bit. It’s presented like a cartoon mixed with an NES or early arcade video game. The show lasted for two seasons on G4 but ultimately wasn’t picked up for a third. Luckily it’s on DVD and Netflix.
The show was about two video game programmers named Dave and Jerry, who work for the fictional video game company GameaVision. The company was bought out by excentric Texan billionaire Big T. Larrity. Mr. Larrity doesn’t know a thing about video games, except that they’re supposed to make him a lot of money. He’s violent, ill-tempered, and bigoted just like all rich Texans (kidding). In addition to these characters we have Black Steve, the violent company accountant who hates white people, Todd, the obese and creepy fantasy video game designer, and Clarence the gay audio designer who has the ability to use “gay magic”. There are plenty more, but I don’t wanna bore you. The show makes numerous video game references and will be enjoyed by any gamer but specifically gamers who grew up in the 80s and early 90s.
Now just a warning, you’re going to see a lot of cartoons from Adult Swim on this list, and that’s mainly because Adult Swim just shows a lot mature cartoons. Superjail! Is one such toon and it’s pretty damn insane. The show has been on for two seasons on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block and is scheduled for a third season at the end of this month. The show is a bloody mess, each episode usually ending in the massacre of hundreds of people. The animated scenes of death are so well done and chaotic, it takes multiple viewings just to bring it all in.
Superjail! is a cartoon about a very unusual prison and the people who work there. Superjail! is a prison inside of a volcano, which is inside of another volcano. In the jail, the warden performs various experiments on the inmates usually in the guise of getting more money for the jail, or just for his own personal amusement. The show focused mainly on The Warden during the first season and showed that he had almost complete control over the prison, even with the ability to bend time and space. The second season developed more of a cohesive narrative. Besides the Warden we have a manly female head guard named Alice, a security robot named Jailbot, and the uptight, nervous accountant named Jared. A typical episode of Superjail! consisted of The Warden coming up with some stupid idea for the inmates, the idea ultimately fails, a ton of people die, and the chaos rises until the show just ends. Nothing is resolved, and the status quo is returned by the start of the next episode.
I told you there’d be a lot of Adult Swim programs on this list. Metalocalypse is a cartoon created by Brendon Small (who you may remember from the cartoon, “Home Movies”) about a heavy metal band. The show has been going on for four seasons now, and is one of Adult Swim’s most popular programs. This is especially true for males between the ages of 18-24. The show’s music is created by Small along a few others. The music that the cartoon’s fake band has created is so popular that they have released two albums with a third on the way, and even go on tour.
Metalocalypse starts with the premise, what if a heavy metal band were as popular as The Beatles? Metalocalypse stars the fictional band, Dethklok. The band consists of lead spinger Nathan Explosion, lead guitarist Skwisgaar Skwigel (Taller than a tree), rhythm guitarist Toki Wartooth (Not a bumble bee), bassist William Murderface (Murderface, Murderface) and finally Pickles the Drummer (oodily doo ding dong doodily doodily doo). This band is the most popular in the entire world and by the end of the 2nd season they are the 7th largest world economy ever. Any product or person that Dethklok endorses becomes the most popular and all others are wedged out. Because of this, Dethklok is able to get away with having their own standing army, their shenanigans, and they are able to put on amazing metal concerts where nearly the entire audience dies without too much repercussions. The band members themselves don’t care about this, often showing disregard or downright hatred of their fans. Their popularity also attracts the attention of an evil group of men called The Tribunal, and led by Mr. Salacia. The Tribunal try their best to preserve the status quo, and to hinder Dethklok anyway they can. I just love this show, the only thing I don’t get sometimes are the scenes with The Tribunal. Otherwise, Metalocalypse is a show that pays tribute to and mocks the brutal nature of heavy metal. It shows us the inner workings of a heavy metal band, the price of fame, the celebrity obsessed culture, and it shows all this while giving us some amazing music. Seriously, in my opinion the two best things about this show are the scenes when the band is just interacting with one another, and the concert scenes where Dethklok sings and everyone dies. Just like in Superjail!, Metalocalypse seems to just get as chaotic as they can, before just cutting to credits and just ending the episode, and that’s what makes the show so good.
7.) The Venture Bros.
Another Adult Swim cartoon? Shock!
I know, I know… I’m horrible.
Venture Bros is one of my favorite animated show, and it’s tough to put them in the #7 spot, but there are just so many more shows I like more. The Venture Bros. has been on Adult Swim since 2003 and for many people it’s their favorite mature cartoon. For good reason too! The show comes from the creative minds from The Tick! cartoon and Sheep in the Big City. They originally brought the idea to Comedy Central but were turned down. They were picked up by Cartoon Network but were worried about the show being toned down (unaware of the Adult Swim programming block). It was on Adult Swim that The Venture Bros. aired for 4 seasons and are scheduled to make a 5th and 6th.
The show itself pays homage to Jonny Quest quite frequently but is its own entity. The show revolves around the Venture family. You have Dr. “Rusty” Venture who is an emotionally crippled super-genius- scientist and is based on what Jonny Quest would be like if he grew up. Then you have Hank and Dean Venture, two well-meaning but ultimately idiotic brothers who try to solve crimes in a similar fashion to the Hardy Boys. Then you have their bodyguard Brock Samson, based on Race Bannon. Who is later replaced by reformed pedophile Sgt. Hatred. The show follows the family as they are persued and hunted a guild of supervillains. The most famous or infamous of these supervillains is The Monarch. The Monarch is a butterfly-themed supervillain assigned to harass and attack the Venture family but fails often to his own incompetence or to Brock Samson’s ruthless killing. The Monarch is joined by his lovely, but deep voiced companion Doctor Girlfriend and a league of butterfly costumes henchmen. This show is fantastic because it is drawn in the traditional animated style (not digitally), the numerous reference, and the humor. This show has me cracking up just from its sheer obsurdity.
6.) Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law
You could say that Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law is the granddaddy of Adult Swim cartoons, and you’d be correct… kinda. The pilot episode for this show ran in the year 2000, a full year before the Adult Swim block started. Now you’d think a show about a law firm wouldn’t be interesting, but that is where you’re wrong. Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law ran for 4 seasons, 39 episodes, and even had its own video game in which you solve crimes as a lawyer… kinda like the Ace Attorney series.
Now, I don’t wanna go into too much detail here because I’m actually reviewing this cartoon in more detail with a fellow g1 as you read this so I’ll make this section brief. The show revolves around the Seben and Seben law firm, and our protagonist Harvey Birdman. You may remember this character from the 60s cartoon Birdman and the Galaxy Trio… in fact you might recognize all of the characters in this show, and that’s because they are almost all from older 60s and 70s Hanna-Barbera cartoons. The show usually has some Hanna-Barbera character coming into trouble with the law Speed Buggy running from the cops, Fred Flinstone believes he’s in the Mafia, or Shaggy and Scooby-Doo get into trouble for smoking pot. Then the characters go to Harvey Birdman, and he “takes the case!” The rest of the episode involves Harvey interacting with his clients, and his rival prosecutors who are all former supervillains. As I said I don’t wanna get into too many details, but this is a great show and even features the voice acting of Stephen Colbert. Watch it!
5.) The Ricky Gervais Show
Now The Ricky Gervais Show is probably one of the most unique titles you’re going to see on this list. There are no crazy scenes of murder, it’s not on Adult Swim, and it’s British! The Ricky Gervais Show started out as an audio podcast of all things. It starred Ricky Gervais (from The Office, Night at the Museum, and Life’s Too Short), Stephen Merchant (from Extras, The Steve Show, and Portal 2), and Karl Pilkington (renowned author, and actor from Derek and An Idiot Abroad). The show ran for three seasons on HBO and E4 (whatever that is), but unfortunately wasn’t picked up for a fourth.
This news saddens me, because The Ricky Gervais Show was one of the funniest shows on television. Very few shows actually make me laugh out loud, but the Ricky Gervais show is one of them. As I said above, the cartoon started out as an audio podcast but then the audio was synced up with animation, and The Ricky Gervaise Show (cartoon) was born. While it’s called The Ricky Gervais Show, the series is all about Karl Pilkington. Karl, whom Ricky describes as a “round-headed buffoon” has a different way of viewing the world than most people. Each episode mainly consists of Karl talking about a particular subject or event, and then Ricky and Steve try to understand his train of thought, and then friendly mock him… He started a diary, and compared himself to Anne Frank saying he had a lot of stuff going on, and was on vacation, so why not start a diary. Some memorable diary entries include Karl’s refusal to wash his hands, an idea for a wristwatch that counts down until you die, and a cat licking his own testicles. The interactions between Steve, Ricky, and Karl are what make the show. Despite all the name-calling and harsh words, you can tell that these three are close friends, and enjoy banking on Karl’s “uniqueness”.
4.) Ugly Americans
What’s this? Another non-Adult Swim cartoon? SORCERY!!!
We actually have only one more Adult Swim cartoon on this list! Which one is it? Which position is it in? You’ll hafta read to find out. Ugly Americans is a cartoon that ran for two seasons, and while I’m not sure if there are any talks of a third season, this show deserves it. It even spawned its own game on PSN and XBLA. The show has a very unique animation style that creeps out the viewer and leaves me entertained and disturbed all at once… and I love every moment of it.
What if New York City (NYC ) was full of monsters and mythical creatures? Wait… isn’t that how NYC really is anyway? While that is true, Ugly Americans takes its definition of monsters a bit more literally as NYC is actually inhabited by demons, zombie, koala bears, worm monsters, werewolves, and plenty more. The show stars a social worker named Mark Lilly, who’s too nice for his own good, especially in the big apple. Mark is a social worker who works for the department of immigration. This means that he works with some of these creepy creature to get them acclimated to the big city, so that they can become citizens. Now I could love this show because I’m a native NYer, or I could love this show because it’s such a unique premise that’s executed brilliantly. I love the premise of the show because it allows the writers to just go crazy. You have man-birds that can only say “Suck my balls.”, a zombie cult, and trees having sex.
3.) Sealab 2021
Yus! Here it is… the last Adult Swim cartoon on this list… I promise… maybe.
Nevertheless, Sealab 2021 is a fantastic show. It’s similar to Harvey Birdman as the pilot was released before the Adult Swim program block came into existence. The show lasted for 4 seasons, 52 episodes, and was hilarious. Many people including myself feel that the show wasn’t as good once Harry Goz the voice of Captain Murphy died, but that’s beside the point.
To explain why I like this is nearly impossible. I guess the main reason is that it’s the first Adult Swim program that I’ve ever watched. It renewed my interest in cartoons, so it has nostalgia going for it but there is soooooo… much more. Sealab 2021 is based on the short-lived environmental cartoon from 1972. The original show was about a group of scientists who live in an underwater laboratory and protect the environment. Then the creators of Sealab 2021 saw the show and watched to make an adult comedy show based around it. At first they took the original show and just added their own dialogue, but when that idea tested poorly they instead combined animation from the original show with their own animation so that they could make the characters do whatever they wanted. The title of the show itself is supposed to mean that it has been one year since the original show and the crew has been underwater for one year. Therefore the premise of the show is that it’s been one year since the crew descended beneath the water, and they’ve all gone completely batshit crazy. The best thing about the show is the characters themselves. My favorite is Captain Murphy who reminds me a lot of Leslie Nielsen combined with Phil Ken Seben from Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law. He is the leader of the Sealab but often is the one causing havoc and putting everyone at risk. When his voice actor died, the show said he went off to fight in The Great Spice War, and was never seen again.
Archer is a cartoon displayed only on FX. In fact I think it’s the only cartoon shown on FX. Nevertheless, it’s second favorite of all time. Archer was conceived in a bar where the show’s creator saw a beautiful woman and thought a spy would have a perfect line to say to her, and thus Archer was born. The show has been around for 3 seasons and a 4th is on the way sometime in the future. The time period in which the show takes place is often up for debate, because there will be a Soviet Union and Dane Cook reference in the same episode, but that doesn’t matter.
What if James Bond was a complete douchebag? You got Sterling Archer. Sterling Archer whose codename is Duchess is the world’s most dangerous spy. He’s a secret agent for the ISIS agency. Despite all this, Archer doesn’t really care about being a secret agent. It’s alluded to many times that the only reason Archer is a secret agent is because his mother owns and operates ISIS. Archer has also gone on record saying that being a spy would be great if it didn’t have to be a secret. He’s extremely narcissistic, and boasts that he’s the world’s greatest spy any chance he can get. This often gets Archer into trouble, but he doesn’t care, he only wants to party, drink, and have sex with beautiful women. When Archer gets in trouble it’s usually up to the competent ISIS agents such as Lana Kane, and Ray Gillette. I love this show so much. The main reason is that growing up I enjoyed the classic James Bond movies and watched them with my family all the time. I own every PS2 James Bond game, and gobble up all James Bond media I can get. I can name all of the James Bonds ever, and have read several James Bond novels… You can say I’m a bit obsessed. Archer is the perfect show because it pays homage to, and mocks the spy and James Bond culture.
1.) Bob’s Burgers
That’s right gamers, Bob’s Burgers is my favorite mature cartoon of all time.
The show aired on Fox on January 9, 2011 and has been on the air ever since. Currently there are 22 episodes spread out across 2 seasons. A third season is scheduled to air on September, 30 2012… yeah, in just 10 days I get to see more Bob’s Burgers. It had the highest rated series premiere of the season. The show airs on Fox (which specializes in “family comedy”) but also fills the void of workplace comedies ever since King of the Hill ended.
When the show was in pre-production it looked much different than the final product. The show had a cruder animation style, the family had larger noses, and the oldest girl Tina was actually a boy named Daniel. The Belcher family themselves were originally going to be cannibals who cooked humans into burgers.
The final product was much different. The head honchos REALLY didn’t like the cannibal idea so instead they scrapped that and just made it more of a family comedy. However, the pilot episode made fun of the show’s original premise by having a rumor float around among the town that the Belchers put human flesh into burgers. This was a complete lie, but it was a homage to the shows original idea. My favorite character has to be the youngest girl Louise who is hilarious but also the smartest in the family. She is known to mess with the minds of people she thinks are stupid, including the school counselor.
When you think of mature cartoons, the ones that always come to your mind are Beavis and Butthead, Family Guy, South Park, and The Simpsons. These shows have the lasting power to span several generations. I believe that Bob’s Burgers has that lasting ability and be around for a very long time, and I can’t wait to watch it.
Okay, g1s that’s the end of my list.
Coming soon are a bunch of Halloween themed lists, a few reviews/lists that various g1s request I do, and coming soon…. A Demo Review of Resident Evil 6.
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