Adam 12

11am - 4pm

September 2, 2001: Adult Swim launches on Cartoon Network. Twenty years on, we’re looking back at two decades of the craziest, most cutting-edge TV ever made.

  • Home Movies, 2001-2004

    Home Movies has the distinction of being the very first show to air on Adult Swim when the nightly programming block launched on Cartoon Network at 10 p.m. on September 2, 2001. Rescued from UPN, the show is centered around grade-schooler Brendon Small and his friends making the titular home movies. It’s Coack McGuirk, though, who’s the real star of the show.

  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast, 2001-2004

    Space Ghost Coast to Coast originally aired on Cartoon Network in the ’90s, but was revived for Adult Swim. Repurposing old characters from ’60s cartoons and fashioning them into a twisted late night talk show is still one of the greatest feats in television history.

  • The Brak Show, 2001-2003; 2007

    Such was the power and influence of Space Ghost that it inspired a spinoff: The Brak Show. Brak, the lovable, simple-minded villain, sure loved to sing.

  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force, 2001-2015

    The stand-out show of the early years of Adult Swim was without question Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Following the surreal adventures of Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad as they navigated life with their neighbor Carl and constant meddling from the Mooninites and others became an obsession for me. Speaking of the Mooninites, remember this?

  • Sealab 2021, 2001-2005

    Another masterful reworking of old cartoon footage, Sealab 2021 turned the Sealab’s Captain Murphy into an insane lunatic and his crew into…well, take a look for yourself, as the Captain transforms the emergency beacon into a pirate radio station.

  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, 2001-2007; 2018

    Are you seeing the theme here? The early era of Adult Swim had the concept on lock: take old Hanna-Barbera characters, reanimate them, and make them as problematic and entertaining as possible. Harvey Birdman had the extra added bonus of putting other beloved cartoon characters “on trial.”

  • The Venture Bros., 2003-2018

    The Venture Bros. has the distinction of having one of the longest runs on the Adult Swim block–15 years–despite only having 7 seasons of episodes. The 15-minute “Best Of” I’ve shared below provides a solid (and NSFW) introduction to the Ventures.

  • The Boondocks, 2005-2014

    Adapted from the Aaron McGruder’s award-winning comic strip, The Boondocks is satire at its finest. American culture–black and white–is served up and skewered on the regular by The Freemans. The show will be rebooted next year, so Mojo put together a Top 10 Funnest Moments that does a good job of capturing the vibe of the show.

  • Squidbillies, 2005-present

    To be honest, I never really “got” Squidbillies. I mean, I “get it,” it’s just not my favorite. But with a sixteen-year run still going strong, I’m clearly in the minority on this one.

  • Robot Chicken, 2005-present

    Even if you’ve never sat down to watch Robot Chicken on Adult Swim, you’ve seen Robot Chicken. It debuted the same year as YouTube, and the stop-motion sketches are tailor-made for the video sharing platform. Especially the ones that spoof pop-culture (a.k.a. most of them).

  • Metalocalypse, 2006-2013

    The greatest animated program to ever parody heavy metal? You could say that about Metalocalypse. William Murderface, Skwisgaar Skwigelf, Nathan Explosion, Pickles, and Toki Wartooth became so popular that their fictional band, Dethklok, have actually released albums and toured (with real-life members, of course).

  • Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! 2006-2010; 2017

    The gold standard of Adult Swim programming, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! has gone on not only to create an entire universe of programming both inside and outside of the Adult Swim sphere, but to inspire a generation’s worth of comedy and comedy creators. I could write 3000 words on how much I love this show and how important it is, but instead I’ll just introduce you to Spagett.

  • Assy McGee

    Assy McGee is an ass with legs that is a police detective that talks like Sylvester Stallone. That’s it, that’s the premise.

  • Childrens Hospital, 2010-2016

    A hilarious parody of medical dramas, Rob Corddry and his parade of stars (Megan Mullally, Henry Winkler) cram a lot of laughs into the short-form programming Adult Swim became famous for. Childrens Hospital might be a Top 5 all-time AS show for me. It’s definitely Top 10.

  • Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule, 2010-present

    Remember what I said about Tim and Eric earlier? They’re the ones who gave us Dr. Steve Brule. Brule started as a send-up of local TV news doctors, but actor John C. Reilly made Dr. Steve larger than life, so much so that he has his own dang show. Bringo!

  • Off The Air, 2011-present

    For the last decade, Off The Air has been the dumping ground for Adult Swim programming without reason or explanation. This is the show that gave us “Too Many Cooks.”

  • The Eric Andre Show, 2012-present

    Imagine a late-night talk show where the host opens every night by trashing his set, constantly clashes with his sidekick, torments his guests, and produces “man-on-the-street” segments that could potentially get them arrested. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s The Eric Andre Show.

  • Mike Tyson Mysteries, 2014-2020

    Imagine Scooby-Doo, but it’s Mike Tyson driving the Mystery Machine. And solving the mysteries. And voicing his own character. With an alcoholic talking pigeon as a sidekick.

  • Joe Pera Talks With You, 2018-present

    I can’t find the words to describe how much I love Joe Pera and how good watching his show makes me feel. It’s like nothing else in the history of Adult Swim and the moment I’ve highlighted below will fill you with delight.

  • Rick and Morty, 2013-present

    Rick and Morty leads the pack of the modern-day slate of Adult Swim programs, and for good reason: the show is hilarious and has a mass-appeal that a lot of other AS shows lack.