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Today in 1906, the first ever animated film recorded on standard picture film was released and it was named Humorous Phases of Funny Faces. It ran for three minutes long, and it was a silent short created by British-American film pioneer J. Stuart Blackton.

The series of scenes depicted a dog jumping through a hoop and a man playing with a hat. The film begins with the artist’s hands onscreen to begin drawing the characters, before it is completed, the characters begin to move without the artist present. It is generally regarded as the first animated film using cut-out animation and stop-motion photography. The first traditionally animated movie belongs to the French 1908 film Fantasmagorie.

The world of animation has gained even more popularity since its’ inception in 1906. The industry has also become far more advanced than the initial cartoon designs you see above. There are cartoons specifically designed for children, the growing trendiness of adult animations is not stopping anytime soon, and anime-styled cartoons, which are specific to Japanese animated works, have become a mainstay in animation.

In honor of cartoon-lovers across the globe, we have compiled a list of animated series that have transformed and transcended animated history throughout the years. Here’s a list of the top, longest-running animated series to date.

1. The Simpsons


The Simpsons began in 1987 as a cartoon short on the Tracy Ullman Show, a variety program on the Fox Broadcasting Company. It eventually expanded to half an hour and debuted as a Christmas special on December 17, 1989, and then began airing regularly in January 1990.

The Simpsons is the longest-running American sitcom and American scripted primetime TV series.  A classic! 

2. Looney Tunes


With 39 years of content, the Looney Tunes ended its historic television run with 1,041 original episodes aired. While the series originally aired its episodes in front of movies, it eventually made the jump to television with newer episodes being made to introduce a new generation to the world of Looney Tunes. 

The series regularly featured an ensemble cast of well-known animated characters including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig. The series is now a massive media franchise and one of Warner Brothers’ most successful franchises. Most recently, fans of the franchise are gearing up for the new Space Jam starring Lebron James. 

3. Crusader Rabbit


Crusader Rabbit basically invented the genre of animated television. As you previously read, animated cartoons certainly existed before, but they were initially made to exclusively premiere before films.  

Crusader Rabbit was the first to be made specifically for television. The series premiered in August 1950 and centered on Crusader Rabbit and his sidekick Ragland T. Tiger as they went on adventures. Each episode was four minutes long and by the time the series ended, Crusader Rabbit had aired 455 episodes. Pretty good for the pioneer of animated television shows.


4. Family Guy


 Family Guy aired its’ 375th episode on December 6, 2020. The series is currently in its nineteenth season and has been renewed through its twenty-first season. The series centers on the Griffin family who regularly finds themselves dealing with issues in comedic and outlandish ways. Similar to The Simpsons, the show tends to include real-life political and social banter. 

The series was once canceled by Fox before being brought back because of its popularity acquired through DVD sales. 

5. South Park


South Park is definitely an adult-animated series known for its’ outlandish takes on real events. This clip for example is extremely out-of-pocket, and critics often question whether South Park takes it too far. However, the series has been providing entertaining content for years and it has been influential to pop culture. 

The series has twenty-three t, it might seem like 308 episodes is a bit low for the Comedy Central adult animated series South ParkAnd yet that number is accurate given the shows shorter seasons which average between 10 and 14 episodes a season.

Though South Park centers on four children characters, it is not a children’s animated show. What makes each episode of South Park interesting is the fact that when a season is airing, each episode is written in a week and usually comments on what is going on in the world in some way.

6. American Dad


American Dad began broadcasting on Fox in 2005 and has stayed there until 2014 before the network cancelled the series. The writers, adamant about finding a new home for the adult animated series, found the series’ new home on TBS where the series continues to air today. 

With both channels combined, American Dad has been on the air for 299 episodes. The series focuses on Stan Smith, a homeland security CIA agent who is trying to juggle his job with his rambunctious family.

7. Teen Titans Go!


Cartoon Network previously debuted an animated series centered around Teen Titans and later rebooted the series with a new animation style in 2013. Teen Titans Go! premiered on Cartoon Network in April 2013 and is currently in its sixth season. There are 296 aired episodes of  296 aired Teen Titans Go!, and it is one of Cartoon Network’s longest-running shows in terms of episode count.

8. Adventure Time

The show just celebrated 11 years yesterday (April 5). Adventure Time started as a short produced for Nickelodeon’s Nicktoons, which went viral on the Internet. After reaching the masses, Cartoon Network greenly the show for a full-length series and the rest resulted in 11 years of adventure. Adventure Time aired from April 2010 until September 2018 spanning ten seasons and 283 episodes. 

The series centers around Finn and his adoptive brother Jake who are tasked with fighting evil in the Land of Ooo.


9. SpongeBob Squarepants


SpongeBob SquarePants is undeniably one of the most influential animated children series of all time. The children’s animated series first debuted on Nickelodeon in 1999 and it is currently in its thirteenth season. The series is based on its title character who lives in a pineapple under the sea, also known as, Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob works as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab.  

SpongeBob SquarePants has been on the air for so long, fans of the show have watched the animation style transform with technology similar to some of the other long-standing adult-animated shows like The Simpsons and South Park.  

The series has over 286 episodes to date and is currently Nickelodeon’s longest-running series. A true childhood classic that has withstood the test of time. 

10. Regular Show


Regular Show debuted to Cartoon Network in September 2010. The animated children’s series follows two best friends Mordecai, a blue jay, and Rigby, a raccoon, as they go about their lives and try to solve simple problems in over-the-top ways.

Regular Show ended its eight-season run in January 2017 with a total of 261 episodes aired on Cartoon Network.