As promised, following last week’s non- animated and animated iconic female leads we have the male leads. All of us at Hook Towers have collaboratively put these lists together in response to The Guardian’s top 50 kids’ shows to binge over the summer.
There were so many to choose from and narrowing down each list was tough. Below we have the iconic animated male leads with the non-animated leads to follow tomorrow.
As always, we would love to know what you think… are there any swaps you would make?
1. Ben 10 (2005 – Present)
The original boy’s animated universe: a cracking theme tune, top powers and an ever expanding world that still merits further investigation. You haven’t lived until you’ve conducted focus groups with 7 year old boys acting out their favourite powers.
2. Charlie Brown (1965 – Present)
Any cartoon that lionizes a neurotic but lovable loser, and his relationship with his extrovert dog is alright by us. He has also most certainly withstood the test of time – first appearing in the Peanuts comic strip in 1950, debuting on TV in 1965, and most recently appearing in the film It’s the Small Things Charlie Brown 2022.
3. Dexter’s Laboratory (1996-2003)
A boy genius scientists with an Eastern European accent, in a cartoon that spoofs GI Joe and Charlie’s Angels, and also has a cool theme tune … who didn’t want a concealed laboratory in their bedroom!? Even if your annoying sibling, who constantly breaks into the lab, and inadvertently foils all of your experiments.
4. Phineas and Ferb (2007- present)
The New York Times said Phineas and Ferb was ‘family guy with an espionage subplot and a dose of magical realism’ – it’s so much better than Family Guy (remember South Park’s pastiche of Family Guy), and it has a recurring platypus, with an arch nemesis – a side plot that seems worthy of series on its own.
5. He Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983-1985)
I am Adam, Prince of Eternia repeating this mantra, coupled with this writer’s desire to have a body like Richard Fairbrass (from the band Right Said Fred) sewed the seeds of suspicion in my mother’s mind from a young age – the visceral pleasure given by He-Man and Battlecat was worth every maternal concern.
6. Fairly Odd Parents (2001-2017)
Timmy Turner’s amalgam of magic, music and wishes makes him a stellar lead character to allow escapism and day-dreaming. Who doesn’t want their everyday problems solved by magical fairies disguised as pet fish.
7. Steven Universe (2013-2019)
Steven Universe and his focus on using love and kindness to defeat everyday monsters sounds saccharine but it covers mature themes (it’s a LGBTQ+ standard bearer), has big laughs and banging tracks. There’s a reason it’s won so many awards.
The original Pokemon master! Given Pokemon is the world’s highest grossing ever media franchise that alone is saying something. The brand spearheaded the global success of anime, and spans more than just TV; it’s video games, movies, merchandising – all centered around Ash Ketchum and his collection of Pokemon. Little boys everywhere don’t just like Ash, they want to be him.
9. Johnny Bravo (1997 – 2004)
Early days Johnny Bravo worked as a Hipster 101 lodestone – smart, cool animation, catchphrases, pastiche, and big moments (remember him going on a date with an anthropomorphic horse)
10. Uncle Grandpa (2013 – 2017)
A bit of an out-there choice but there is not a brighter, madder character in the animation-sphere than Lederhosen clad, pizza befriending, rainbow farting, tiger riding Uncle Grandpa.