Here's a list of my top five favorite cartoon series of all time. Three of the five are still in active production, which is nice.
5. Dragon's Lair
An oldie but goody. I got to watch old episodes of this as a kid through betamax tapes. I liked how the show gave choices to the viewer, ala-Choose Your Own Adventure, as to what Dirk the Daring should do next. Then it would show the results of those choices, most of them leading to the demise of the lead characters. It also helped that I was into the whole Knights and Wizards thing as a kid, adding more spark to an already overactive imagination.
Very underrated show. I like how Simpsons creator Matt Groening combines sci-fi with humor. Some of the stories and ideas are actually quite good, covering many popular science fiction paradoxes and cliches. Although the series has been cancelled on TV, there are plans to create new episodes exclusively for DVD, and even its own movie.
3. Family Guy
I admit I hated this the first time I saw it. I thought it was trying too hard to be funny and cute. But lately Family Guy has grown on me and is one of the funniest shows on TV. My favorite character in this is the talking dog. He is easily the most articulate in the family, but at times goes back to doing dog things. I can't stand the obnoxious baby Stewie. The father lead character, Peter is obviously their version of Homer Simpson. They squeeze in an incredible amount of satire and jokes in each episode with plenty of sexual references and toilet humor. Well worth watching.
2. The Simpsons
The gold standard by which all primetime cartoons are measured against. The Simpsons seem to get better season after season. I like the Halloween episodes where they have elements of science fiction and horror, and where anything can happen. The characters, Homer, Bart, Flanders, Lisa & co. as well as the city of Springfield seem to have taken a life of its own. Decades from now we will be marvelling at the genius of this series.
1. South Park
The boys are #1! Matt and Trey try very hard to offend as many people as they can. They make fun of organized religion, hybrid car owners, hollywood, and every possible group they can piss off. I have a list of my favorite South Park episodes: the one where Cartman grows his own race of Sea Monkeys that worship him as a God, the Iraq war debate which devolves into an "I'm a little bit country, I'm a little bit rock n' roll" concert, Randy Marsh spoofing Rocky, the Scientology episode which caused Isaac 'Chef' Hayes to quit the series, and of course this season's 'The Return of Chef' where Chef turns into Darth Vader in the end. Every new episode of South Park is an event and the highlight of my week. We want more!!