Last week I did a listing of the coolest cartoons that hit our screens in the glorious 1980s (which you can read here) but there was a whole lot of awesome in the following decade as well.
Enough blabbing from me – here’s my Top 20 Toons from the 1990s:
#20 2 Stupid Dogs (1993-1995)
Boy were these dogs stupid. And their crazy shenanigans made for a few laughs. I really liked that guy who would shout “but it’s wrong!”
#19 Rocko’s Modern Life (1993-1996)
Poor Rocko the wallaby never could catch a break. As a child the bright world and crazy characters was fun. But it is worth going back to for all the adult humour and satire they slipped in as well.
#18 The Critic (1994-1995)
One of the few cartoons on this list geared towards adults rather than children ‘The Critic’ is quite the treat. Jon Lovitz does a bang up job as New York film critic Jay Sherman and the movie spoofs are hilarious.
#17 The Powerpuff Girls (1998-2005)
With sugar, spice, everything nice and chemical X the PPG were quite the phenomenon back in the 90s. A nice mix of action, strange foes like the verbose monkey genius Mojo Jojo, and a helping of silly humour it was always great to have the day saved thanks to The Powerpuff Girls. And in case you were wondering, the tough tomboy Buttercup was the best of the three.
#16 Captain Planet and the Planeteers (1990-1992)
Earth! Fire! Wind! Water! Heart! Go Planet! You do not get more 90s than ‘Captain Planet and the Planeteers’. This group of ethnically diverse teenagers and their eco superhero faced off against villains like piggish Hoggish Greedly (Ed Asner), rat-like Verminous Skumm (Jeff Goldblum), the aptly named Looten Plunder and the hot Dr Blight (voiced by Meg Ryan for one season). Grand adventures and strong environmental messages the reminder from Captain Planet is as important then as it was now – “The Power is Yours!”
#15 TaleSpin (1990-1991)
At the dawn of the 90s we were given this Disney gem. ‘TaleSpin’ reimagines characters from The Jungle Book including Baloo the Bear as an anthropomorphic bush pilot. Together with businesswoman bear Rebecca Cunningham and orphan and former pirate Kit Cloudkitter Baloo had his fair share of fun adventures.
#14 Rugrats (1991-1994/1996-2004)
This hugely popular show ran for 13 years and had three movies (The Rugrats Movie, Rugrats in Paris and Rugrats Go Wild). Tommy, Chuckie, Phil and Lil, Angelica and the rest were so adorable as they transformed the most ordinary things and experiences into wondrous adventures.
#13 Superman (1996-2000)
The Man of Steel never looked better than in these action-packed adventures. Lots of great villains and stellar voice work ‘Superman’ was required viewing on a Saturday morning. It is not higher on this list as it was not all that memorable.
#12 Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron (1993-1995)
Two super cool cats fighting crime with a super cool jet ‘Swat Kats’ was an overload of awesomeness. Chance “T-Bone” Furlong and Jake “Razor” Clawson were great leads and their missions were adrenaline-powered fun. It is being revived via Kickstarter so look out for more radical episodes.
#11 Pinky and the Brain (1995-1998)
You know the theme song don’t you? One is a genius, the other’s insane. I still use the line “the same thing we do every night – try to take over the world” in random conversations. A mixture of slapstick and high satire ‘Pinky and the Brain’ is among the best of the pantheon of toons.
#10 Dexter’s Laboratory (2001-2003)
Why does this little geniys kid from the US have a European accent? How is he able to hide a massive laboratory from his parents? Forget all that stuff – Dexter’s Lab is wild, kooky and lots of fun. One of the most popular from Cartoon Network and ace cartoonist Genndy Tartakovsky I cannot imagine the 90s without Dexter.
#9 Courage the Cowardly Dog (1999-2002)
Not the most popular toon on the list I have a big soft spot for this odd little comedy gem. Some great characters and kooky creatures I really enjoyed the adventures of the brave Courage, sweet Muriel and, most of all, grouchy Eustace.
#8 Doug (1991-1994/1996-1999)
I really loved me some Doug back in the day. That catchy little humming tune and the grand surprise theme have stuck with me to this day. Bursting with charm, personality and memorable characters you gotta love Doug.
#7 Tiny Toon Adventures (1990-1995)
They’re tiny, they’re toony, they’re all a little loony, and in this cartoony they’re invading your TV! These younger versions of beloved Looney Tunes characters were quite the hit back in the day. With such great characters gut busting humour ensued every episode. And boy did animal lover Elmyra give me the creeps.
#6 Darkwing Duck (1991-1992)
In one year Disney packed in a whopping 91 episodes in this epic toon and ‘Ducktales’. Sure it borrowed a bit from Batman but DW is no rip-off. He had his own gadgets, super smart daughter, goofy pilot and eclectic rogue’s gallery. The best part was his random silly threats to villains like “I am the fungus that gets on your bread!” or “I am the Chinese food you forgot in your fridge!” When they said “let’s get dangerous” we responded “yes please”.
#5 Futarama (1999-2003/2010-2013)
This sci fi sitcom from ‘The Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening and critical darling just sneaks into the list. Like ‘The Critic’ this was geared towards adults and became a critical and fan darling. Superb characters like dumb Fry, strong cyclops Leela and alcoholic Bender were always a frequently a great time. ‘Futurama’ brought the laughs, especially when taking pokes at history, pop culture and science fiction. Kiss my shiny metal butt indeed.
#4 Spider-Man (1994-1998)
This series was a comic book lover’s dream! It featured a rockin’ remix of the Spider-Man theme song, great looking animation, most of Spidey’s rogues gallery and even guest spots from other Marvel characters like Iron Man, the X-Men, Blade and Punisher. Ready or not this was a fantastic toon!
#3 Daria (1997-2002)
Remember when MTV made shows like ‘Daria’? What happened MTV?
Anywho, never before had we seen a character like the intelligent, misanthropic and super sarcastic Daria Morgendorffer and I doubt we will see her like again. High school, pop culture, history – nothing was safe from her acerbic wit. Daria, her crazy family, cool friends and odd collection of classmates and teachers gave us some of the best animated television ever.
#2 X-Men (1992-1997)
From the opening theme you knew that you were in for some sweet comic book action. This cartoon captured the spirit of the legendary Marvel property and delivered beautiful action, deep narrative and spot on characterisations. Imagine every week watching characters like Wolverine, Rogue, Storm and Gambit fighting against evil mutants and other assorted baddies. Yes, it as 12 flavours of awesome sauce.
We even got versions of classic X-Men stories like “Days of Future Past” and “The Dark Phoenix Saga” that put the films in the shadow. Take a bow “X-Men”. Take a bow.
#1 Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)
The television landscape was shaken to its core and cartoons would never be the same after “Batman: The Animated Series” hit our tv screens. This was a dark, noir cartoon with deeply complex characters and themes. And this was for kids! Boy did this blow our young minds.
And the legendary voice work of Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Mark Hamill and the Joker? Get out of town and shut the front door! Absolutely fantastic. This is one of the best adaptations of the iconic DC character and his world in any format including films. It is beloved to this day by legions of fans and still holds up perfectly. Batman is the king of 90s toondom.
With so much awesome 90s toons did I miss out one of favorites? Or do you have another toon that you think should be number one? Feel free to comment below.
For my list of the Top 20 cartoons from the 1980s you can click here. And for more nostalgia bomb lists you can check redmangoreviews for new posts Monday to Saturday or follow me on Twitter @suprememango012 for updates. Got your back like a chiropractor. l8rs