He Says: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: It was years before I actually found the original comic books, and I was horrified to discover how completely different they were from my accustomed afterschool viewing. TMNT wasn't just "must-see" viewing, it was "stand outside school, anxiously await one's parent, whine at them to drive quickly all the way home" viewing. My favorite turtle was Raphael, as the nominal outsider (he also had the cute iguana-mutant girlfriend in the cruise episode), but I'd concede that Donatello had his virtues. Leonardo was universally despised. The early episodes were pretty good, but the later seasons, when the TMNT universe had expanded to include Krang, Dimension X and a score of zoological monstrosities - those were brilliant.
She says: Talespin. Of all the Disney Afternoon cartoon shows, I was particularly obsessed with Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers (Gadget! for the love of god don't run an image search for her) and Talespin. As I got a little older I found my interest in the latter edging out the former. Talespin featured an unusually lush and well-conceived setting, a Depression-era South Pacific island world inhabited by airplane-flying anthropomorphized animals based loosely on Disney's 1967 version of the Jungle Book. In addition to stories of surprising depth and emotional resonance (for an afternoon cartoon), Talespin also featured a thinly-veiled stand-in for Stalinist Russia, a Stringer Bell-esque business tycoon, and air pirates. Yes, these are all wonderful things. What sold me on Talespin, however, was the eminently quotable, wonderfully louche air pirate captain Don Karnage.
Today in My Childhood is Ruined: The internets are full of naked Karnage fan-art.
Jared says: The arrival of the X-Men cartoon show pierced the goldfish-like, momentary existence of my childhood to become the first television that I ever remember anticipating. And it didn't disappoint (ok, the redshirt "Morph" in the first episode was annoying, but I got over it). The show's faithful interpretations of some of the best X-Men storylines far eclipsed the ponderous animation, sonorous voice-acting and achingly repetitive theme music. The show was a catalyst for my youthful imagination - just enough happened on-screen for me to fill in the blanks on my own (and later, with six friends on the playground. I never got to be Wolverine, dammit.).
Anne says: All that (minus the playground bit - I was in the 8th grade, after all, sniff sniff), and X-Men gave me something to talk about with boys, who had recently gone from "uninteresting" to "baffling but compelling," and it got me into comic books and Gambit is hot. Hot hot hot hot hot.