5 - Phineas and Ferb

The show that restored my faith in animated series by Disney, it's an awesome show, no doubt. It has taken that formulaic route a la Pokémon and most pre-school shows, but that's forgiven just because the crew knows how to make great television.

+ Great dialogue

+ Outstanding music

+ Quirky artstyle

+ Plots range from simple to complex while remaining gripping and interesting

+/- Humor is bipolar: when it shines, it shines, but when it fails, it falls flat on its face and hard (just like Avatar: The Last Airbender)

- As mentioned above, it's gotten formulaic to the point where you can watch a new episode and know the outcome right from the beginning

- The pace of the show feels inappropriate in some places; some scenes will just happen way too quickly

- Characters themselves have gotten stale, but hopefully this is being addressed

4 - The Amazing World of Gumball

To be honest, I was very skeptical at first. When I gave it the benefit of the doubt, I saw a show that has a chance to be something amazing, as the title implies. This is without a doubt one of Cartoon Network's flagship series and one of their finest in a long while.

+ Dialogue is exceptional

+ Voice work is very nice; I adore the casting choices that were made

+ One of the best art designs I've seen; a mish-mash of multiple mediums (8-bit, claymation, flash, live-action, hand-drawn, blah blah blah) that actually works

+ One of the two shows to really capture the essence of a modern day family (along with Modern Family)

+ Thought has been put into the humor; I enjoy how it slips a surprising amount of shock value underneath the radar

+ Characters that you grow to love or love to hate

- The characters, to be fair, lean on the generic side, but the twists in their personalities help to a degree

- A little too reliant on stock plots; 50% of the plots I've already seen

- The humor is sadistic at times; a lot of the stories are centered around Gumball's misfortune, which I find unacceptable

3 - Regular Show

I might get flacked for this, but I enjoy this show. It's off-the-wall, it's ambitious and it's laid back. One of Cartoon Network's three leading surreal humor animated shows (the others being Gumball and Adventure Time) and definitely a breath of fresh air from CN's previous track record of garbage (CN Real, anyone? That was the most idiotic thing to ever come out from them, on par with Problem Solverz)

+ For a surrealist show, the lead characters, Mordecai and Rigby, are relatable, which is always nice

+ The sky is the limit when it comes to the humor, and it isn't overly reliant on visual jokes either

+ Absolutely nice voice acting (seriously, I'd turn into a girl for a day just for J.G Quintel; we also can't forget Mark Hamill, who I believe should guest star on FiM)

+ Music selection and original score are great (Pat Benatar's Hit Me With Your Best Shot? Instant Win)

+ Plots used are diverse

+ The show's pacing is good; it never feels like it's going too fast or too slow

- The art style might work for others, but it looks rough around the edges to me

- An overkill of toilet humor

- Some gags are just overused; Margaret's boyfriends come to mind

2 - Adventure Time

No, I am not a fan of it because it's a meme. This is the show that put Cartoon Network back on the right track, and has set the example for the above two shows. Another flagship from the channel and one heck of a show.

+ Casting is sooooo good; having a child actor (Jeremy Shada) play the child protagonist, always brilliant, and Mr. John DiMaggio as the sidekick equals instant watch (for me at least)

+ I love the art so much; it's vibrant and colorful, it's turned on its head multiple times and it's done so in a great way

+ With great casting comes great voice work

+ Decently paced

+ Like Regular Show above, anything goes with the humor

+ Plot varies so much that most episodes will keep different tastes appeased

+ On par with PnF and FiM when it comes to music

- Some voices just don't seem fitting (i.e. Tree Trunks and Lumpy Space Princess)

- Resolution of many episodes are non-existent

- Lyrics of most of AT's songs are too simple, like Nickelodeon sitcom simple

1 - My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Without a shadow of a doubt, without any trace of regret, I dove into the show wondering what the buzz was about, why many people like it and what makes it so good. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic sets the bar for modern day cartoons and brings back fervent memories of classic cartoons of yore (praise be to you, Golden and Renaissance eras of animation, for you will always have a special place in my heart). No, just like Adventure Time, I am not a brony because of the memes. I am a brony because it is an amazingly charming show. This is the finest example on how to properly use a license of a currently-existing Intellectual Property, how to properly reboot a franchise with a very rocky reputation and how to reach towards an extremely wide demographic. Praise be to you, Lauren Faust, and here's to a potential Emmy Award for the show.

+ Art is incredible, tied with Gumball

+ Amazing voice acting (I'm a sucker for Tara Strong)

+ Characterization is wonderful; the mane six are some of the most organic characters I've seen in a long time, more organic than most fictional characters right now, including and especially those from those heinous Disney and Nick sitcoms (Good Luck Charlie is an exception, though; that show is the only one to be praised as a television show), and at the same time, the show manages to turn these characters around in a fun and clever way (Lesson Zero was one of Twilight's highlights)

+ Pop culture references are an absolute plus

+ The show lets you absorb the morals in a way that isn't shoved down your throat, which reminds me of Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends

+ Individual plots are gripping

+ While the humor is simple, it's still well-thought

+ It's tied with Phineas and Ferb for excellent music composition (This Day Aria, Winter Wrap Up, B.B.B.F.F, Smile, they all blew me away)

+/- The brony fanbase is one of the largest, most dedicated, most influential and most surprising communities I've seen in a while, all in a positive way; sadly, there are those who give it a bad name

+/- It's an unavoidable internet element, and we know of the internet's pros and cons; the show sadly is not exempt from the latter, but actually more prone to it sometimes (the clopfics, the grimdarks, the obnoxious Rainbow Dash fans, the rule 34)

- The fact that the show is under a license hinders it in what it can be; it's mostly restricted into being a moral-constructing show

- Some plots are predictable and have been explored already, with a handful of them feeling like they've been rushed out the door

That being said, I don't consider Friendship is Magic to be the definitive all-time best animated series because really there isn't. And it'd be very difficult to make a comparison like that because there are others just as good or even better than FiM.

So that's it. The best of the best, coming from an animation afficionado and long-time follower. What do you consider are last year's cream of the crop, the finest of them all? Lemme know, because I'm among a majority who's always interested in good animation and would like to hear from other cartoon afficionados out there.

Peace out.

R Martin 10:01, April 25, 2012 (UTC)