The 25 Best Animated Series of the Decade

Find out where we rank ‘Rick and Morty,’ ‘Adventure Time,’ ‘Bob’s Burgers,’ and more!
Decade Animatedseries
By  · Published on December 8th, 2019

5. Bojack Horseman


On a list mostly populated with kids’ shows, BoJack Horseman stands out as being for adults with a capital A. Dealing with topics like depression, addiction, grief, and sexism, to name a few, the show really hits on a lot of the big bads (it hits on all the other big heavy topics, too, but I won’t list them all. If there’s a dark facet of the human condition, you can bet that BoJack’s got it). What’s really impressive, however, is it doesn’t touch on these subjects to make itself seem gritty or to set itself apart as the “dark” cartoon. It does it because it’s one of the finest studies of humanity ever made, with absolutely no regard for the fact that, at least on paper, it’s supposed to be about a horse. BoJack Horseman isn’t just one of the best cartoons out there. It’s also one of the finest things that television has yet to offer us, hands down. (Liz Baessler)

4. Adventure Time


We owe Adventure Time so much. Born out of a seven-minute short created by Pendleton Ward in 2007, the show was the training ground for a veritable generation of exceptional animated children’s shows, many of which are on this list. It’s even spawned a tiny little empire of articles here at Film School Rejects (okay, it’s an empire of two. But I’m its ruler.) But Adventure Time shouldn’t just be judged for the massive influence it’s had on television. It’s a wonder in its own right — starting as a great but undeniably light show for kids in 2010, it grew and evolved into one of the most emotionally satisfying, most richly populated series on tv, intended audience or rating be damned. Spanning nearly the entire decade, it came to a close in 2018 with a near-perfect finale that epitomized the bittersweet ecstasy of what it means for something good to come to an end. Now it’s slated to come back in 2020 on HBO Max, which is exciting, but there’s something very much of the 2010s about the show’s main run that can never be altered. Adventure Time changed my life. And if you ever talk to me for long enough, I’ll probably start telling you how it’ll change yours. (Liz Baessler)

3. Attack on Titan

Attack On Titan

Attack on Titan, based on the manga of the same name, is the defining anime of the decade. The series boasts some of the best animation and action scenes to grace a shounen anime, but what makes it king is its plot structure, which is so intricate that every action and scene has a purpose to the overall story of the series. For a series about humans trying to survive in a world populated by man-eating titans, the series has a lot of social commentary on our current society and the very nature of mankind. (Carl Broughton)

2. Steven Universe

Steven Universe

Steven Universe is a gem. (Hold applause till the end, please.) Created by Rebecca Sugar, the genius behind some of the very best Adventure Time episodes, Steven Universe is a beautiful show. Full of love, kindness, and music, it’s the kind of show you should be thrilled to find your kids watching. But like most of the “children’s” shows on this list, it manages to transcend the bounds of the “intended audience,” offering up a meticulously crafted and rich story that will sweep up viewers of any age. A coming of age story, it’s littered with clues from the start that something more is going on, and it encourages viewers to grow with Steven to discover it. Steven Universe is a gentle, lovely show, but it also confronts darkness head-on with courage and bitter, realistic acceptance well beyond its — and Steven’s — apparent years. (Liz Baessler)

1. The Amazing World of Gumball

The Amazing World Of Gumball

The Amazing World of Gumball was heavily debated between us when it came to its ranking, but thinking critically on the series compared to the rest of what this decade had to offer, no other animation is as daring, humorous, or as outright clever. But before we even get into that, let’s talk about the unique animation of The Amazing World of Gumball, which uses numerous animation styles blended together per season and episode. The series displays several different techniques to make the world and characters of The Amazing World of Gumball unlike anything you have ever seen, We are talking stop-motion, CGI, puppetry, live-action, and even the use of actual human hands to create the characters and backdrops the audience sees. The series features one-off episodes and continuity in each season that makes it easy to watch any of the episodes no matter your familiarity with the series order you watch them in. Most importantly the cleverness and willingness of the creators to comment on not just pop culture but relevant social issues make the series stand out, despite centering on a 12-year-old blue talking cat and his family. The Amazing World of Gumball will stand the test of time as not only this decade’s best-animated series but an animation that can be revisited numerous times no matter your age. (Carl Broughton)

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Central Florida based Film Critic striving to be the best. Fighting for the ten percent.