Countdown: Top 10 Cartoons of the '90s

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Thinking about the '90s is refreshing, not just because of the nostalgia it brings, but more about the feeling. I am a fan of cartoons, and thinking of them brings back a mixture of emotions, good feelings of the good old days—the days when we would compete with our parents for the remote control.

Do you remember the feeling of watching the small colored TV (some black and white)? The way we used to position the antenna to the right angle so that the channels don’t get jammed!

People who enjoyed their childhood in the'90s, myself included, look back fondly and admit that there are no more good cartoons these days. I am not saying that the cartoons of these days are terrible, but for people who came of age in the '90s would mildly disagree. Animated cartoons started gaining popularity in the mid '90s and early 2000s – the advent of the Saturday morning cartoons. The '90s cartoons were parked with artistic content and captivating screenwriting.

Enjoy the nostalgic tour on the GZone time machine, as I count down the top 10 best cartoons of my childhood.

#10. Freakazoid! (1995 - 1997)
This American animated TV series created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini was a classic. Though it ran for only two years, it is one of my all-time favorites. It ran on Kid's WB until it was canceled due to "poor ratings"! They managed to air one complete season and some parts of season 2. It featured a madcap superhero called Freakazoid. It was a unique and thought-provoking cartoon that offered non-stop laughs for all ages.

The geeky 16-year-old Dexter Douglas would turn into a manic superhero, Freakazoid! With his Freakalair, a mute butler called Ingmar, with superpowers. He would fight a group of offbeat villains like The lobe, Cave Man, Cobra Queen, and Longhorn. With the aid of his mates Sergeant Mike Cosgrove and Steph, he wildly fights the evil. This was a cartoon ahead of its time and uniquely enjoyable for kids. Despite being my favorite, you can't deny it had a unique fan base.

#9. Cow and Chicken (1997 - 1999)
The Cow and Chicken was a funny animated comedy created by David Feiss for Cartoon Network in 1997. It was one of Cartoon's network's first original cartoons. The plot revolves around the misfortunes of two bizarre biological siblings Cow Steer and her naive 11-year-old brother Chicken Steer (voiced by Charlie Adler). They are often trapped in escape with their enemy Red Guy who masks himself with various personalities to try to trick them.

The show ran for four seasons with 52 episodes; it was part of the Cartoon Cartoon series. The theme song of this show described everything about the show "Mama had a chicken, mama had a cow, dad was proud; he didn't care how!"

The plot was great for kids, as it sparks imagination from children. When I was young, we used to come up with scenarios and do role plays. The bizarreness of the show made it fantastic; the ideas of a Cow and Chicken being siblings was just out of this world! This may not auger well with kids today.

#8. Powerpuff Girls (1998 – 2005)
The series revolves around the lives of three kindergarten-aged girls with a range of superpowers; The pink Blossom, blue Bubbles, and green Buttercup. It is an entertaining show of the girls using their abilities to protect their city from villains and giant monsters.

My favorite character was Blossom. In the show, an accident occurs in the lab when professor Utoinum makes a mistake in mixing the chemicals. The mistakes turs out to be a positive thing, because it created the girls who help to conquer evil in their town.

The girls, who were a product of Utomium's Chemical X, have superpowers that include flying. In the series, the girls and the professor are friends with the mayor of Townsville, who hates Mojo Jojo, an evil monkey head. After the intervention of the Powerpuff girls, Mojojo usually bows down and admits his crime. The show was empowering to the girl child back then because it showed that girls could also defend themselves and save the world. The girls never seek the help of men to help them fight evil. This was a good moral take away from the show.

#7 Beavis and Butthead (1992-1997)
Before SouthPark, Family Guy, The Boondocks, and Rick and Morty, there was only one adult cartoon that had witty, outrageous humor and satire that is relevant even now; the show was Beavis and Butthead. Check out our detailed review of the show here

The show was parked with some witty, subtle commentaries that revolved around the two characters Beavis and Butthead, who would sit, watch MTV videos, eat nachos, and laugh incessantly. This was a true reflection of the kids back in the '90s. I loved the show because it had some morals, it brought out the adverse effects of watching too much TV.

The show still cracks me even now. And it did not have racism them, which was a good thing. Since the show was aired on MTV, there was very little censorship; the character could say whatever they wanted. This made the show appear so real to the viewers and connected well with the teenagers and adults.

The commentary on the videos was a creative thing they did. But that is understandable because MTV's primary business is music.

#6. Dexter's Lab (1995 - 2003)
Dexter's Laboratory (Dexter's Lab), created by Genndy Tartakovsky, ranks among the most creative shows by Cartoon Network. It was part of the Cartoon Cartoon series. It features Dexter, a genius boy and an inventor who runs a hidden lab at home. Not even the parents are aware of its existence. He's seen to be in constant struggle with his elder sister Dee Dee, who still finds a way to get into Dexter's lab and accidentally messes his experiments. In the show, Dexter competes with another nerdy boy and neighbor called Mandark.

The success of the show led to the release of the full-length movie called Dexter's ego trip in 1999. This show received criticism and praise in equal measures but still managed to be Cartoons Network's most successful show. However, this did not last long, as the quality started declining towards the end of the show, which led to its cancellation due to a fall in ratings.

Nonetheless, Dexter's Lab was among my favorite, thanks to its creative scriptwriters, soundtrack, and well-voiced characters. It was the first show to get its own series amongst 5000 shows that were pitched in the "What a Cartoon! Show". And did i mention how i love the soundtracks?!

#5. Animaniacs (1993 - 1998)
In the world where modern cartoons are getting better, people still remember the '90s fondly. Some great shows premiered then like the Ren and Stimpy Show, Hey Arnold and the Powerpuff girls, and Animaniacs.

To me, Animaniacs was the greatest of them all, created by Tom Ruegger and produced by Steven Spielberg (Academy Award-wining director) for Fox Kids, a product of the Fox Broadcasting Company. It had a variety of characters but focused on three siblings Yakko Wakko and Dot. They are usually held captive and escape from the prison.

In the show, Pinky and Brain were my favorite extras, who sadly were dropped from the show when it moved to WB Entertainment. The Hippos were upsetting, but that was part of the plot. One more thing I loved about Animaniacs was the many songs that varied from catchy to educational. Some of my favorites were Yakko's world, Wakko's America, and the president's song. This show was popular in the '90s and is still well-loved today.

#4. What A Cartoon! (1995 - 1997)
Check out's detailed review of the "What a Cartoon! Show” here. This was a Cartoon Cartoon show. It is like the mother of all cartoons. You may ask, what Cartoon? No easy way to answer this, there were so many cartoons in this show.

The show was created by Fred Seibert, then-president of Hanna-Barbera Productions. His idea was to let the individual creators pitch their cartoons. If the show were popular, it would be picked and be part of the series. Over 5,000 shows were pitched, but only 48 made it to become a series.

It is hard to single out which specific Cartoon was the best, as they varied mainly in style, plot, and storyline. But among my favorites were Gravity Falls, Uncle Grandpa, Bee and PuppyCat, Mountain Fort Awesome, Secret, Bravest Warriors, Regular Show, Adventure time, Fanboy and Chum Chum, The Mighty B!, Nite Fite, My life as a Teenage Robot, The Fairly OddParents, Codename: Kids Next Door, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy and Samurai Jack.

The beauty of this show is that it had a little something for everybody, thanks to the variety!

#3. CatDog (1998 - 2005)
This is one show that has received a fair amount of bashing on the internet. Peter Hannan created the CatDog for Nickelodeon. It featured the life of conjoined twin brothers of different species; one is a Cat, and the other half is a Dog.

Despite the bashing on the internet, the show ran for over seven years, airing 68 episodes in Four seasons. It is a twisted Nicktoon show of the ‘90s, hilarious and extremely creative. It was considered among the world’s weirdest animated series!

Surprisingly, I loved the show despite the hate it received. I watched it again from an Adult’s perspective, but I still liked it save for some few scenes that the kids of today may not get the jokes and the emotions intended by Peter Hannan.

I would say that this show was meant for children, who don’t ask critical questions like how did CatDog go to pee?! The character design was just creative and literally out of this world! That is what made it unique, and the adventures the CatDog experienced were well scripted to fit the character’s design.

#2. Courage The Cowardly Dog (1999 - 2002)
My second favorite show. Check out the detailed review here. The story revolved around a pink dog that was afraid of everything, every darn thing, but he found a way of dealing with the fear. It was adopted by an old lady (Muriel) and an old man (Eustance).

It was an entertaining and refreshing show, especially for us the ‘90s kids. Courage would be seen fighting monsters, demons, zombies, aliens, and other weird creatures. The plot and storyline were just engaging, as it guts your emotions completely. In the show, Muriel Loves Courage while Eustance hates him so much. The character design was also on point, the old lady Muriel would be seen wearing big glasses, but when she is not wearing them, she becomes deaf! In one of the shows, she said, “You know I can’t hear without my glasses” I just love the sense of humor in this show!

#1. Ed, Edd n Eddy (1999 - 2009)
This is my number one all-time favorite show. Check out my detailed review here. The show is centered on three adolescent boys who are figuring out about their life as a teenager. They have almost the same name, which was a creative punch on the show that made the show famous back in the ‘90s. They are often seen trying to cheat to make money. In the process of the heist, their different personalities affect their plans.

The show has good morals for the kids because it brings out the element of people being different, and how you can work together to achieve a common goal. One is portrayed as being dumb, one is smart, and the other one is utterly selfish!

They are often seen trying to impress the girls who usually end up in a mess. Another interesting twist in Ed, Edd n Eddy, is when they for their fun-filled summer vacations, tree houses, and their usual chase for girls.

Final Thoughts

The ‘90s were packed with classic cartoons that left kids and adults alike at the edge of their seats. We had to wait a week between each season, and we had to battle between Classic good vs. evil with humor, those cartoons were just awesome.
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