Before I get into this, I want to make some things clear:

  1. This list is in no particular order. For the same reason my reviews don’t have a rating system of any kind, I just find it hard to label something as being “this high” on a scale. I always end up regretting my decision later, like I did with my first review back in 2007. So please assume all these shows are equally great in my eyes, but in their own special ways.
  2. I haven’t seen every new animated series out there. If I haven’t watched every domestic animated series that premiered in 2010, then there is no way I could have watched every single new series from Japanese, England, France, etc. That just isn’t happening. This is a list of what I deem to be the best shows I’ve seen this year.

Now let’s begin, shall we?

Adventure Time with Finn and Jake

One of the most hyped animated series to premiere this year, Pendelton Ward’s Adventure Time with Finn and Jake was greenlit by Cartoon Network from the ashes of Nickelodeon’s Random Cartoons! project. It was an act that I’m grateful the network did, because I can’t imagine the stories told in Adventure Time playing out in the same way on the more play-it-safe Nickelodeon. This is a truly surrealist show with a rubberhose art style that harkens back to the feel of old Fleischer Studios shorts: simple character designs and detailed backgrounds. You can really feel all the fun that the storyboard artists have in making this show, which makes even the weakest of episodes a wonderful experience. That said, it can safely be said that there has yet to be a truly bad episode, and I’m hoping it stays that way for the remainder of season two and throughout season three.

The Tatami Galaxy

I would tell you why The Tatami Galaxy, directed by Masaaki Yuasa, is one of my favorite new series of 2010, but I’m choosing to wait until January to reveal this information. Cheap cop-out, I know, but you guys can totally wait three weeks.

Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated

I haven’t been interested in Scooby-Doo for years, but the guys behind the 2003 Duck Dodgers series truly managed to recapture my interest once again, by more-or-less rebooting the entire thing and creating a more plot-heavy installment. Scooby Doo! Mystery Incoperated has a slightly angular design that I’m fond of, a good amount of character development on top of the base personalities that we’ve come to know and love over the past four decades, and an over-arching plotline: something that hasn’t been done since mid-80s with this franchise. The monsters they investigate may not be real, like in the DTV Scooby-Doo! Zombie Island, but that doesn’t prevent the writers from creating a good amount of suspense and intrigue at times.

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt

Possibly one of the most polarizing anime series to premiere this year, Gainax’s Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi) is filled both with beauty and raunchiness. There are a crap-load of visual styles employed, from the base style reminiscent of early 2000s American animation to the photorealism utilized in the season one finale, that will make your eyes scream in complete and utter joy. But these likely won’t distract your ears from the clearly-stated mission of the creators: be as vulgar and indecent as possible. With all the sex jokes, potty humour, and frequent cursing, this show never holds back, and I love it all the more for that. It is hard to pin-point the exact thing that made this a must-watch for me. The titular characters having worse morals than the villains? The slow emerging of an actual plot? All the “WHAT THE F***?” moments that they throw at you? The music? In any case, there isn’t a single episode that I haven’t laughed at, and I don’t think that will stop anytime soon. Here’s waiting for Season Two.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Lauren Faust is an amazing writer, working on shows such as The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. But the question is how well she fairs without husband Craig McCracken by her side. The answer? Pretty damn well. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is the best toyetic series I’ve watched since Transformers: Animated ended in May 2009. It is also one of the most intentionally funny toyetic shows I’ve ever watched. This show was bound to be visually charming, but the writing really catches my attention as being really top-notch. The characters are distinct, the morals (though predictable) aren’t stuffed down our throats, and the stories are in no way half-baked. You know right off the bat that actual effort was put into this, and that the people behind it weren’t just goofing off. Never going to watch this in public though, since I have a crappy rep as it is.

As with Sketch’s article the other day, if you guys have any suggestions for shows that premiered this year you think I should check out, such as High School of the Dead or Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, feel free to do so in the comments.

  1. Sketch says:

    Well I didn’t even think about 2010 shows from the land of the rising sun, guess that shows how much my interest in Japanese cartoons has dwindled or maybe it was just an oversight. Great picks and excellent write up.

  2. NeonSpaceman says:

    You made it sound as if Lauren Faust had to prove herself without Craig McCracken. IMO, it’s the other way around. Everything I loved about Foster’s lives on in Lauren’s vision of My Little Pony… meanwhile, the rest of the old crew slaves away at putrid garbage like Fish Hooks and Problem Solverz. Ugh. Yes, I’m bitter.

    Craig is a wildcard at this point — he needs to prove himself without his wife. Supposedly, his next project is over at Disney, which doesn’t make me feel very good considering they’re responsible for one of the aforementioned garbage shows.

  3. Kieran Pertnav says:

    Except I’m pretty sure Lauren didn’t join PPG until season 3.

    Anyways, great list. Where do you watch Panty and Stocking? I’d like to check it out?

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