Samurai Jack is one of the most compelling, original, and artistically adventurous shows ever made. Tartakovsky evokes Tarantino in his ability to draw from multiple works in pop culture (samurai films, film noir, spaghetti westerns, graphic novels, etc) and fuse it with his own imagination and craft to create a show that can pour out episodes that look and feel different (but not jarringly so). Beautiful art direction and fight choreography is matched by a spare, introspective tone, right down to the novelistic pacing of an episode and lack of dialogue. This is not a show for those who revel in superfluous dialogue ( and the dialogue that is there is often funny and always entertaining). Tartakovsky understands the benefits of silences, of letting images or scenes speak for themselves. He'll then augment certain sounds in an episode (like in the masterwork, "3 blind Archers") making Samurai Jack an aural as well as visual treat. More than any other show, Samurai Jack opened me up to the cinematic potential of television. This show moves from funny, to dark, to epic and tragic, then back again without missing a beat.
Mandatory episodes: 3 Blind Archers, Tale of X9, Seasons of Death, Jack and the assassins.