What Was Your Favourite Children’s Cartoon?

What Was Your Favourite Children’s Cartoon?

I was chatting with a friend the other day about some of the wonderful cartoons the ABC used to air when I was growing up. It was at that point that someone reminded me just how grim The Animals of Farthing Wood actually was.

There’s a case to be made that Animals of Farthing Wood was a low-key educational tool for teaching children about death, and coping with loss, given how bloody grim the whole season was. Seriously, there are videos on YouTube of just the death scenes. Hell, there was a death scene in the first season where small animals were IMPALED ON THORN BUSHES.

Like … this is a kid’s show. How did the BBC get away with airing that? How was the ABC OK with that?

How did I manage to scrub that from my memory?

Still, it was a fascinating – but dark – series. And there were some other cracking cartoons from decades past:

Babar

How can you not love that theme song. Also, the cartoon itself was cute, but Jesus the book was messed up.

Tintin

A+ material for an animated series. The series also had the advantage of rounding out some of the original comics: Tintin in Tibet was vastly better done as an animated series than in the books, and the power of voiceover and backing music helped add more atmosphere to two-part series like Destination Moon.

Trap Door

I will open that trap door, and I will give Berk a hug at any opportunity. Also: Trap Door still has the cutest skull and spider on TV.

And of course anyone who grew up in the ’90s had some appreciation for the Cheez TV lineup: Digimon, Pokemon, and Dragon Ball Z. But what were your cartoons growing up?

Comments

  • Oh man! Talk about a nostalgia hit!
    Great picks Alex.
    Others for mine are:
    Widget
    Captain Planet
    Thundercats
    Voltron
    Darkwing Duck
    M.A.S.K
    Dino-Riders

      • Happy to report that SBS has Mysterious Cities of Gold on OnDemand occasionally and it still holds up pretty well. Although I have to admit I don’t remember it having aliens when I watched it as a kid.

  • Child of the 80’s. I loved me some Transformers, Robotech and He-Man.

    Plus whatever was on ABC of an afternoon. Danger Mouse, Count Duckula and Monkey Magic (not a cartoon i know).

    • That’s like the holy trinity of 80s cartoons. Robotech was a serialised drama back before regular TV caught on!

      I loved those as a kid. But the first one remember liking was Battle of the Planets! (That probably marks me as old)

    • I was born in the 70s but didn’t really watch a lot of TV until the 80s so those all ring a bell with me. I’d add Voltron, Starblazers and later TMNT too. And of course the classics – the Loony Toons, preferred the Bugs and Daffy ones, but they were all great.

  • Tekkaman
    Danger mouse
    Count duckula
    Dino riders
    Captain planet (always thought heart was under used as it was basically the ability to manipulate life)

  • The Visionaries. Such an underappreciated masterpiece from the golden era of cartoons.

    Transformers, Sharky & George, Captain Planet, M.A.S.K. and TNMT were also great.

    • Yes! Visionaries! It seems relatively little known but our VHS tapes of that were just as worn out as everything else.

      I was born in 84 so a lot what I loved most was repeats, but I loved He-Man, Transformers, Thundercats and of course Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (yes i’m a Pom).

  • I consumed a lot of 80s and 90s TV growing up but I think the days of Aggro’s Cartoon Connection and Cheez TV were the golden days. Special Mentions go to:
    – Samurai Pizza Cats
    – Widget
    – Denver the Last Dinosaur
    – Fat Albert
    – Alvin and the Chipmunks
    – Voltron
    – Astro Boy
    – Defenders of the Earth
    – Transformers
    – Super Mario Brothers Show
    – Trap Door
    – Count Duckula
    … Ok, I’m just gonna keep going so basically if it was animated it was probably something I liked.

    My favourite non-animated series though, aside from shows like Alex Mack, Read all about it and Hunter was a tie between Sooty and the T-Bag series.

  • Live action wise I can’t go past Spell Binder or Escape from Jupiter. And later in my life I enjoyed Blue Water High, and there was this one show that was dealing with a deep space colony voyage that completely escapes me. Had the same feel as Escape from Jupiter. *Edit* The Space Colony show was Silver Sun.

    Animated, well I watched about anything on ABC and Saturday Disney.
    – Tailspin
    – Gummi Bears
    – Doug
    – Hey Arnold
    – Original Duck Tales
    – Widget
    – Samurai Pizza Cats

    And a lot of others. Good times. I miss my childhood…more for the lack of responsibility than anything else. Adulting is hard

  • Looks like I’m the oldest here! And probably the most immature too! Here goes:

    Kimba the White Lion
    Gigantor
    Astro Boy
    Star Blazers
    Battle of the Planets
    Roger Ramjet
    Have to include them – Merry Melodies

    And that is why I am still a child… at heart anyway!

  • At my youngest, David the Gnome. But most memorable for me were Tekkaman Blade, Astro Boy, and The Mysterious Cities of Gold.
    But also, Fraggle Rock!

  • SilverHawks – basically ThunderCats in Space.

    And Kudos to all those mentioning Dino Riders! All my brother and I had was a promotional VHS of it (with Ads!) that we watched and re-watched until the tape wore out

  • Transformers, Voltron, Thundercats, Battletech (I wasn’t savvy enough to know about Macross etc, and Battletech was easily accessible on free-to-air)

        • Ah right. I thought it might be possible because there was the whole law suit business between FASA and the company who owned Macross on account of a few of the original battlemech designs being a little too similar to the ones in the anime.

          • Heh. I just ended up reading a lengthy reddit about how Harmony Gold (the company responsible for turning Macross into Robotech) locked up the US rights for the design such that even the original Japanese anime couldn’t release things into the English-speaking world.

            Good ole’ American lawyers.

  • I remember ABC having a lot of re-cut for western audiences Japanese cartoons and loving them.
    – Ulysses 31(although I think this was a french-japan co-production)
    – Star Blazers
    – Battle of the Planets

    Also:
    -Masters of the Universe
    -Voltron (both)

    Agh too many to think of!

  • To add to the list:

    Raggydolls
    Superted
    Banana Man
    Henry the Cat

    Like a lot of people here, I grew up watching a lot of ABC.

    Looking back on these shows makes me nostalgic for the time before television overload. Growing up in the late 80s, I grew to like whatever television was on, from Programs originally produced in the 60s to something that was first run. It helped shape my view on media and appreciate television from different decades. Very little television aimed at kids (or adults) is more than a few years old, I feel like it makes it harder for kids to sit through anything that doesn’t match today’s pacing. Okay, old man has now finished yelling at cloud.

  • Geez where to start…

    Samurai Pizza Cats
    Voltron
    Darkwing Duck
    Astro Boy
    Transformers
    Widget
    Angry Beavers
    Super Ted
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    M.A.S.K.
    Rugrats
    Looney Tunes
    Tiny Toons
    Duck Tales
    Thundercats
    He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
    Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers
    Duckula
    Danger Mouse
    Inspector Gadget
    Animaniacs

    And not a cartoon, but The Muppet Show was ace.

  • This list gon’ get looooong. Probably about 90% of the animated shows I watched between the ages of ‘as early as I can remember’ and maybe 10 years old.

    – Transformers (gen 2)
    – Beast Wars
    – Tintin
    – Gumby
    – Johnson and Friends (yes, not animated but I couldn’t not mention it)
    – Ducktales
    – Babar
    – The Animals of Farthing Wood
    – Inspector Gadget
    – Bananaman
    – SuperTed
    – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    – Fraggle Rock
    – Rescue Rangers
    – Gummi Bears
    – The Smurfs
    – Captain Planet
    – The Wind in the Willows
    – Alvin and the Chipmunks
    – Blinky Bill
    – Care Bears
    – The Berenstain Bears
    – The Muppets
    – Paddington Bear
    – Fireman Sam
    – Postman Pat
    – Charlie Chalk
    – Thomas the Tank Engine
    – Count Duckula
    – C.O.P.S
    – Bangers and Mash
    – McGee and Me
    – The Dreamstone
    – TaleSpin
    – Tom and Jerry
    – Rupert
    – Where’s Wally?
    – Darkwing Duck
    – Ren & Stimpy
    – The Simpsons (it’s amazing what you forget)
    – Super Mario World/Mario Bros (whatever it was actually called)
    – Animaniacs
    – Sonic the Hedgehog
    – Mr. Men and Little Miss
    – Widget

  • Great article.
    I remember watching an episode of Animals of Farthing Wood when one of the birds gets hungry and eats one of the smaller animal’s partner … that sh*t was brutal.

    Edit: I should mention that part wasn’t my favourite memory! It just stuck with me.

  • Kids TV in Australia during the 80s and 90s was amazing. We had the best of the US, Canada, the UK and French/Japanese co-productions dubbed in English. My favourite show that few seem to remember was an anime based The Wizard Of Oz –

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wonderful_Wizard_of_Oz_(1986_TV_series)

    Anyway here is my full list:

    Ahhh!! Real Monsters!
    Alias The Jester
    Animaniacs
    Astroboy
    Babar
    Banaman
    Bangers And Mash
    Batman The Animates Series
    Beetlejuice
    Biker Mice From Mars
    Blinky Bill
    Budgie The Little Helicopter
    Captain Planet
    Charlie Chalk
    Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers
    Chipmunks
    Conan The Adventurer
    C.O.P.S
    Danger Mouse
    David The Gnome
    Defenders of the Earth
    Dennis The Menace
    Denver The Last Dinosaur
    Dink The Little Dinosaur
    Dinosaucers
    Dinoriders
    Doug
    Duckula
    Ducktales
    Dragonflyz
    Fat Albert
    Foofur
    Freakazoid
    Funnybones
    Gargoyles
    Ghostbusters
    Gummi Bears
    He-Man
    Hey Arnold!
    Henry’s Cat
    Inspector Gadget
    Joshua Jones
    Mighty Max
    Mysterious Cities Of Gold
    My Pet Monster
    Orson And Olivia
    Pinky And The Brain
    Raggydolls
    Ratties
    Reboot
    Rocco’s Modern Life
    Roger Ramjet
    Rupert
    Samurai Pizza Cats
    The Snorks
    Spot
    Street Sharks
    Swat Kats
    Superted
    Talespin
    Teddy Ruxpin
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    The Adventures of the Little Koala
    The Animals Of Farthing Wood
    The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley
    The Critic
    The Family Ness
    The Smoggies
    The Smurfs
    The Trapdoor
    The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz
    Thundercats
    Tin Tin
    Toxic Crusaders
    Transformers
    Twins Of Destiny
    Vicky The Viking
    Widget
    Wind In The Willows
    Where’s Wally
    X-Men

    Those are just the animated shows. Reckon I watched too much TV as a kid?

    • Reckon I watched too much TV as a kid?

      Question is can one watch to much TV as a kid?

      I say ‘no‘.

      X-P

    • Did you also watch the show “Mot”? Just wondering considering you’ve seen so many of the same shows I’ve also watched as a kid 🙂

  • There was one series I remember watching as a kid which followed two older teens/young adults living as some of the last surviving humans in the ruins of some robot-ruled dystopia. The series followed their attempts to survive and journey to the central hub where the ‘master’ AI was located, so they could shut it down and free humanity from being hunted by the robots. Hyrbidization/cyborg loss of humanity was a theme – I think the male character had a robot arm or something.

    The end was a fucking downer in that the antagonist AI was actually some pampered brat kid in the control seat who thought the whole thing was a simulation, an RTS style game, and had been ushering humanity to its doom for funsies, because he was good at it.

    Fucking dark.

    Can’t for the life of me remember what it was called, though. This must’ve been mid-80s.

    • That was easily my favourite show. One of the best intros too, I was always so pumped when it started.
      It was a time of darkness, it was a world of fear, it was the age of Gargoyles. Stone by day warriors by night!

  • So many.
    Robotech
    Transformers
    He-Man
    She-Ra
    Silverhawks (Possibly the coolest opening)
    Battle of the planets
    Star Blazers
    Smurfs
    Gadjet
    Bananaman
    Cities of gold
    Ulyssee’s (If I spelt it correctly)
    Danger mouse
    Astroboy
    Watership Down (It’s sad af)
    Old Looney tunes are still the best
    Voltron
    Roger Ramjet (and his eagles,fighting for our freedom.Sing along with me!)
    Scooby doo
    Any one remember the show with Jimmy and his magic flute,with the witch?
    Also that trippy H.R Puffinstuff?Or is that the same show^^^^

  • No one said The Angry Beavers or Rocko’s Modern Life… They were my favourite 90’s nicktoons also Invader Zim.

    Round the Twist for the “teacher can’t be fucked teaching” nostalgia, The Ferals/ Feral TV.

    Anyone remember Freaky Stories?

  • Does anyone remember a cartoon with 3 robots with square heads, red, white and blue if I remember correctly. I’m not sure what channel it was on but was always on before the 6pm news. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of it and has been bugging me for years!!!

  • The lack of love for Spartacus and the Sun Beneath the Sea is troubling, even if only because it has an intro song the rivals Ulysses 31.

  • My little brother had a single Farthing Wood tape he watched on loop and I grew to hate it.

    For me
    Ghostbusters (both of them)
    TMNT
    He-Man
    Inspector Gadget
    Duckula
    Danger Mouse
    My Pet Monster

  • I was a weird kid, so If you’re reading this far, welcome to the deep end:

    The Pirates of Dark Water
    Fist of the North Star
    Daemon City Shujinku
    Swat Kats
    Roots Search
    Rhea Gall Force
    Wing Commander
    Any cartoon Tex Avery was involved with
    The Centurions (POWER EXTREME!)
    Rocko’s Modern Life (I like to think I’m the guy who got the reboot to happen, thanks to my interaction with Joe Murray a couple years back)

  • Are you kidding me?! Care Bears has to be my favourite cartoon that I watched since I was a child listening to my favourite Canadian voice actors like Bob Dermer. Actually my favourite Care Bears are Grumpy Bear, Champ Bear, Bright Heart Raccoon Tender Heart Bear, Noble Heart Horse, Secret Bear, Cosy Heart Penguin, Braveheart Lion, Cheer Bear, Hugs and Tugs, Grams Bear, Good Luck Bear, and Wish Bear.
    John Sebastian was really good at singing the Care Bears Countdown with the kids at the end of the Care Bears Family tv theme saying 5,4,3,2,1.
    My second favourite children’s show is Lift-Off not some Bump in the Night sort of thing but listening to some puppetry from the back sacks along with Mark Mitchell as Seymour Fish was fun too and listening to some stories with some added animation was fun too.

  • Kimba The White Lion
    Marine Boy
    Hercules
    Atom Ant
    Motor Mouse & Auto Cat
    Speed Racer
    Battle Of The Planets

  • This one is not known here in Australia (back in the day, we got a shit-ton of old anime in TV–later I’d learn that it was literally donated to the public TV channels of my country by Japan), but it’s kind of similar to what this Farthing Woods series seems to be.

    It was called Banner & Flappy (Bannertail in some other countries) and it was about a squirrel that was raised by a cat after he lost his family, then the cat forced him to go back to the wild once he was old enough. He was spoiled and behaved like a cat so the first half of the series was he pretty much learning to be a squirrel among the community that adopted him; then, it became a story about how his unique perspective actually helped the community and other animals of the forest in unexpected ways. Although it was light and fluffy most of the time, it had several heartbreaking and dark moments.

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