I've found myself spending way too much time at work talking about vintage cartoons with this guy and it's lead to me thinking about all the cartoons that have influenced me the most over the years. No, as much as I love 'em, you won't find Ren & Stimpy, Beavis and Butt-head or even The Simpsons on this list. This list's all about those cartoon series of yesteryear that were action-packed with after-school awesomeness.
10. Battle of the Planets (a.k.a. G-Force: Guardians of Space)
This was the first series I can remember watching and simply being in awe. I was about 6 years-old when I saw this and I vowed never to watch Sesame Street again.
9. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Here's a little factoid that I totally know just off the cuff. He-Man is actually half Earthling, have Eternian. His mother was a human astronaut who crash landed on Eternia.
8. Speed Racer
Thank goodness for Nick at Nite. They brought this oldie-but-goodie back right at the age for me to still find it both ironic and awesome.
This is the odd ball of the bunch, but you can't deny the greatness of Wakko's constant Ringo Starr impression, Yakko's incredible Nations of the World song and don't forget—this is the show that brought the world Pink and the Brain, Narf!
I discovered Robotech at far too young of an age and I knew it even at that time... and that's one of the reasons I loved it. It was one of my first real brushes with a pure anime-style and its more mature themes made me feel super smart and cool at such a young age.
5. Voltron: Defender of the Universe
Before a single Power Ranger ever danced across a screen, there was Voltron. Now, I'm not talking about the crazy vehilce-based version. I'm talking about the straight up robeast-shreading mega-droid made up of freaking robo-lions. Let's go Voltron Force!
4. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
When the ultimate action figure finally got its own afternoon cartoon, you better believe I was all in. But let's just set a few things straight: Destro > Cobra Commander, Lady Jay > Scarlett and of course Snake Eyes > Storm Shadow.
Transformers were the perfect TV show/toy combination. These things were awesome. It's like a Hot Wheel that becomes an action figure?! Gobots were essentially the same thing and came out about the same time, but it was the Transformers cartoon with its epic characters, stellar theme song and unforgettable transforming sound effect that set it apart.
Thundercats probably has the craziest premise of any action cartoon ever. I'm mean, just read the show's plot on its Wikipedia page. It sounds like it should be a horrendous show. But I loved it. I dunno if it was the fact that Cheetara was the hottest cartoon babe of her time or that Mumm-Ra is still the most evil cartoon villain ever, but even though this show produced my most dreaded nickname (Snarf!), I full-on recorded episodes on audio cassettes before we got a VCR!
1. Batman: The Animated Series
After Tim Burton's and before Christopher Nolan's the WB released a fantastic, animated version of Batman that's still my fave. It was dark, epic and has to date one of the best Batmobiles ever. When I envision Batman, this is the first version I go to in my mind's eye. Not to mention it reintroduced Mark Hamill again as a cultural icon—voicing an amazing Joker. And that's not an easy task coming from the guy known for kissing his sister and whining the fateful line: "But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!"