Let’s take a trip back to the ’90s, because who doesn’t like to think back on that great decade? One way to do that is by ranking the best cartoons of the ’90s. There were plenty of choices, but we think we got the list down to the best ones — a list that won’t make all of you send us death threats.
Before we get started, we decided that to make this list you had to have debuted between 1990 and 1999 (sorry, “The Simpsons”) and you had to be a show for kids or at least aimed at kids. So, sorry if you don’t see “South Park” on the list. We know that’s a great show.
Check out our list and sound off on the comments. And once again, please don’t send us death threats; it’s only cartoons, people.
26. “Ed, Edd, n Eddy” (1999)
We’ll kick it off with a Canadian-American show that followed three preteens doing everything they could to make money. While it debuted towards the end of the ’90s, it still remains one of the most underrated animated series made.
25. “CatDog” (1998)
This series perfectly showed the stereotypical personalities of cats and dogs: cats being stuck-up assholes, and dogs being dumb goofballs. Regardless, the conjoined brothers made it work, and it made for one bizarre, but great show.
24. “Cow and Chicken” (1997)
Speaking of bizarre, “Cow and Chicken” followed two siblings that found themselves in odd adventures. While a cow standing up right and showing off her udder served as a distraction, the show was still able to touch on topics such as anxiety, which helps put it at number 24 on this list.
23. “Courage the Cowardly Dog “(1999)
From cows and chickens to cowardly dogs, “Courage the Cowardly Dog” was an underrated series that while dark, still offered up fresh, original story lines.
22. “Aaahh!!! Real Monsters” (1994)
Odd, imaginative and gross is probably the best way to describe a show about monsters that feed on garbage and scare people.
21. “Johnny Bravo” (1997)
While we are all thankful that a rumored live-action film starring The Rock as Johnny Bravo has never come to fruition, we are thankful for this show about a guy with an ego as big as his hair. Although, he never seems to have success with the ladies, he did with viewers as it remains one of the more memorable animated series.
20. “The Angry Beavers” (1997)
Here are more animal siblings — this time they are beavers, and they are brothers. Seems like a simple enough concept, a concept that lasted four seasons, and while it sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, “The Angry Beavers” is still remembered to be one of the most clever animated shows of the ’90s.
19. “Pokemon” (1997)
Some may be a bit shocked that “Pokemon” isn’t in the top 10 at least, but that doesn’t mean this show didn’t have an impact; it still does. Everyone remembers the theme song, and to this day “Pokemon” remains one of the most popular franchises ever.
18. “The Powerpuff Girls” (1998)
This one has already been rebooted, but it was the original series that really had an impact. From its use of pop culture references, to its frenetic pace, to its solid use of satire, “The Powerpuff Girls” is worthy of spot number 18.
17. “Dexter’s Laboratory” (1996)
The completely opposite personalities of Dexter and his sister were entertaining enough, but the science fiction and quick-wit humor thrown in made this show whole. They don’t make them like this anymore.
16. “Bobby’s World” (1990)
Before Howie Mandel began to annoy us all, he was actually responsible for one of the best animated shows of the ’90s. “Bobby’s World” allowed the viewer to witness the big imagination of Bobby. The show lasted for eight seasons until it wrapped up in 1998.
15. “Spider-man: The Animated Series” (1994)
While not as fantastic as the Batman animated series, “Spider-man: The Animated Series” was no slouch, as its great villains, story lines and humor made this a fan favorite. Spider-man has done pretty well for himself since then.
14. “Gargoyles” (1994)
A memorable, more darker series than what we’ve discussed so far, “Gargoyles” was one of the best- made animated shows of the ’90s. These weren’t a bunch of silly story lines thrown on a wall, these were smart, intricate plots that could be enjoyed by adults as well.
13. “Pinky and the Brain” (1995)
“The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try and take over the world.” Everyone knows that line, and where it’s from. Everyone.
12. “Darkwing Duck” (1991)
People lost their minds this year when a reboot was thought to be in the works (only to later find out it was actually a comic book in the works), but that just goes to show you how popular and beloved this show continues to be.
11. “The Magic School Bus” (1994)
Ms. Frizzle didn’t care to put her students in danger, she did it in the name of knowledge and education. We all wanted a teacher like her. Instead we found ourselves learning about fractions while they were driving around someone’s intestines.
10. “Arthur” (1996)
A show about an aardvark and his day-to-day troubles has lasted for 20 seasons. Read that again. That wasn’t done by luck; it’s the second-longest running animated series, and it continues to be followed by kids and adults alike. An easy pick to kick off our top 10.
9. “X-Men” (1992)
Lasting for five seasons, and plucking story lines from the comics, “X-Men” is one of the comic book shows that served as a launching pad for future comic book shows. The show was a massive hit and helped make X-Men more popular.
8. “The Ren & Stimpy Show” (1991)
Way before “CatDog” there was another cat and dog tandem on an animated show: Ren and Stimpy. And this one is a classic. Plenty of sexual innuendo, violence and adult humor in this one to make this an adult favorite as well. And just like X-Men was a launching pad for other comic book shows, “Ren and Stimpy” was a launching pad for more crude animated shows.
7. “Animaniacs” (1993)
This one has surged in popularity recently, as new fans continue to discover this gem. “Pinky and the Brain” first appeared on “Animaniacs,” but it’s Yakko, Wakko and Dot that continue to be far and away the most popular characters from the show. You can now catch every single episode on Netflix.
6. “Recess” (1997)
For six seasons, six fourth-graders tackled daily school and life, while remaining close friends even while being extremely different from each other. Like “Animaniacs,” “Recess” has gotten more and more popular recently.
5. “Batman: The Animated Series” (1992)
From the school yard to the best comic animated show of the ’90s, and arguably one of the best animated shows made, “Batman: The Animated Series” only ran until 1995, but it definitely left its mark, receiving praise from critics and fans everywhere. Check the perfectly done opening theme here to get the “Batman v Superman” bad taste out of your mouth.
4. “Hey Arnold!” (1996)
Raised by his grandparents in the city, viewers got to witness Arnold try his best to deal with the ups and downs of life, all with the help of his friends. “Hey Arnold!” got five seasons, and dealt with mature themes during its run. A TV movie is reportedly being made, and will focus on the whereabouts of Arnold’s folks.
3. “Rocko’s Modern Life” (1993)
At number three is a show that focused on an Australian wallaby trying to adjust to American living. “Rocko’s Modern Life” was crude, absurd, surreal, and while it was on a children’s network, there were tons of sexual innuendos that we only realized after watching it as adults. From the perfect opening theme song to watching Rocco deal with the real world, this show was a…hoot!
2. “Rugrats” (1991)
A series about a bunch of toddlers dealing with life shouldn’t really be a recipe for success, but “Rugrats” proved to be a massive success and more, airing for nine seasons, spawning three films, getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and rumor has it it may be returning with another film in the near future.
1. “Doug” (1991)
My man Doug tackled anxiety, bullying, self-esteem, and tried to get with his crush, Patti Mayonnaise, all while wearing a green sweater vest. That takes balls. While it wrapped up more than 15 years ago, “Doug” is still widely popular, and it continues to still influence us even as we age. You can also still catch Doug’s alter-ego Quailman at this year’s Halloween party (probably). And all that is enough to make this the number one cartoon of the ’90s.
Tell us what you think number one should be. Bonus points if you don’t wish death upon us for not having the same list you do.