The 90s were the best decade to grow up in. We had the best pop music, movies, best TV shows, and channels, and of course the best of 90’s cartoons.
It was the best decade because of cartoons like “The Simpson”, “Southpark” and many more. Of course, not all of those 90s cartoons aged well. But let’s focus on those cartoons you wish your kids watch today.
It is also safe to say we Millennials were the generation that gave the animated movie genre and the animes their second shot at becoming relevant and popular.
The best 90s cartoons shaped and changed our lives and we are here to reminisce and discuss them.
This piece will give you some of the best 90s cartoons. Totally unbiased as a Millennial, for you to enjoy or to find out what people used to like if you are interested.
The Simpsons (1989-present)
Creators: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon
Stars: Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Harry Shearer
The longest ever running tv show and animated series in American history. “The Simpsons” is certainly the best 90s cartoon. Not only because it is running for so long but also because our generation grew up watching it.
Who knew the satirical epitome of the working middle-class family could be so interesting and relatable to watch. This tv series filled with various conspiracy theories never goes out of relevancy and be the talk of the internet.
Among the hundreds of episodes to choose one that sums the series well is a difficult task. However, if I had to choose one, it would be the Episode called “Marge versus the Monorail”.
This episode uses all characters in all their glory with their unique humor style and satires of pop culture that only the Simpsons are great at doing.
Despite its release in 1989, The Simpsons is certainly the best 1990s cartoon.
The Family Guy (1999-present)
Creators: Seth MacFarlane, David Zuckerman
Stars: Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green |
An arguable rip off of The Simpsons. The family guy was able to gain its own audience and fans across the world due to the incredible voice-over actors and of Seth Macfarlane.
There are many factual similarities in both shows I say that as a neutral person. For example, the father of both families are quite similar in their behavior, and the mother of the families too.
Regardless of their similarities and the feud went on for literally decades. “Family Guy” is funny in its one uniquely dark way and one of the best 90’s cartoons.
Among the old cartoons that went crazy popular and broke all records. It is hard not to mention the family guy even though it is only a technical 90s cartoon but was popular throughout the 2000s.
Also, it is okay to like both of the shows. It’s like liking two different colors of ice-cream. They might taste different but at the end of the day, they both are ice-creams.
South Park (1997-present)
Creators: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Brian Graden
Stars: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Isaac Hayes
Another iconic 90s cartoon which was born in the late 90s and still runs. It is only the second longest-running scripted tv series after “The Simpsons”
From the first impressions, the shows might seem like each other. Meaning they all are sketch shows with heavy pop culture references and satirical expressions of the time period they represent.
South Park features adventures of fourth-grader ten years olds. But it is the humor that separates this show from the others.
It is also best known for driving social commentary to more of a pragmatic way with an open mind on present issues.
It is incredible how these shows were able to bring about some of the best lines of jokes ever to come out from prime time tv series. That is what probably makes these the best cartoons of the 90s.
Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)
Creators: Bob Kane, Eric Radomski, Bruce Timm
Stars: Kevin Conroy, Loren Lester, Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
Now that we got those mainstream popular ones out of the hand, it is time to dig deeper.
The Batman animated series stands as one of the 90’s cartoons. The plot, the writing, the music, honestly, pretty much everything is done perfectly.
Utilizing the dark character and the darker look at the series was accomplished so well it inspired Nolan himself who directed the Batman trilogy.
Obviously, there is no need to explain who he is and why he fights crime in the frightful Gotham City. The creators of the show were so dedicated to delivering the best cartoon ever made possible to its fans. That when they ran out of ideas after season three. They just decide to not continue rather than adapt to lower quality material.
Creators: Mark Edward Edens, Sidney Iwanter, Eric Lewald
Stars: Cedric Smith, Cathal J. Dodd, Lenore Zann
The best 90s cartoon that marvel produced apart from Spiderman which introduced, and at the same time gained many fans for the Marvel Universe. The first few seasons were incredibly written, with perfectly fitting voice-overs, and alluring soundtracks.
The series animation might seem a bit off quality for today’s audience. But remember that it was made in the 90s. But it was this series that stayed true to the comics for the most part.
That is why many of the comic book fans like the series better than some of the big-budget movies that were made in the 2000s.
X-men easily makes it to the best 90s cartoons list on its own merit. However, the success of the series caused many spin-offs to go around like the wolverine vs x-men, x-men adventures.
But the main thing it accomplished was that it probably prepared a whole new generation of fans for the upcoming movies.
Creators: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Stars: Christopher Daniel Barnes, Sara Ballantine, Edward Asner
I will tell you this. Gen Z and younger people, we as Millennials never loved Captain America more than Batman or Superman. Because we knew and loved DC characters more.
Another one of the best 90’s cartoons that captured the hearts and the minds of the kids of the 1990s, “Us”, is not surprisingly a DC Character. It is Spidey from Marvel.
It also introduced us to Marvel Comics. The writing of the show and its quality, and of storytelling, character development were so perfect and fit for its audience.
Years later, now when we grew up. Finding out that it was made under high pressure and huge restrictions, make us appreciate the series even more. Especially in an era where there were Batman and Superman.
Stars: Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Maurice LaMarche
This show about a Tasmanian devil might not have been as popular and watched all across like the Batman, so is any other 90s cartoon on our list.
However, this character was so popular when it appeared in Looney Tunes that it had its own spin off in the 90s.
During a time when animated features either a duck or a rabbit, coming up with a rare species like the tasmanian devil was a risky move that Warner Brothers took, I would say as the looney tunes were owned by them. However Wiki might disagree on that.
Taz-mania as an old cartoon both silly and wise, delivers both the funny and the emotional which is probably why the series ran for like 4 seasons. It is not too bad for a secondary character from another animation universe.
2 Stupid Dogs (1993-1995)
Creators: Donovan Cook, Mark Saraceni
Stars: Brad Garrett, Mark Schiff, Jess Harnell
It is by this time when the kids were getting the taste for stupid it might not be morally right or even legally, But since the movie was out, it must at least be legally okay, Right? 😕
If you were to watch this series it might not seem funny but watching it as a kid was like a unique experience and something that normalized being average and not special.
Although dogs were the most popular theme of animation back then and even now, it is one of the most popular animals to feature in animated movies or cartoons.
Despite the fact that it only ran for 2 seasons, it is one of the best 90s cartoons that was so funny and involved some stupidly good adventures.
It is definitely one of the best 90s cartoons.
Creators: Kate Boutilier, Eryk Casemiro, Monica Piper
Stars: Elizabeth Daily, Christine Cavanaugh, Nancy Cartwright
This 90s cartoon is about toddlers and their day to day life which they conceive as adventures.
It is simply the best 90s cartoon ever made that is for kids.
It was one of the first nicktoons that was presented by Nickelodeon and the truest 1990s cartoon that explained the period very well.
Even though it did not delve deeper into the lives of the parents it still showed enough for one to understand how parenting was back then.
Before the spongebob came along this was the longest running show on Nickelodeon. It still is one of the longest running TV series with 13 year run in total.
The success of the show can be also identified by how many spin-offs it produces, and Rugrats caused one successful spin-off based on the main character during the 2000s which was also loved by many of the fans of the series.
Dexter’s Laboratory (1995-2003)
Creators: Genndy Tartakovsky, Paul Rudish, Craig McCracken
Stars: Kath Soucie, Jeff Bennett, Christine Cavanaugh
This was like the cartoon network’s Rugrats in the sense that it made the network so popular and up to its competition in an area of Disney, Warner, and Fox domination of animated series.
Dexter’s lab also changed the careers of those who made it along with its success. Names like Seth Macfarlane behind Family Guy which we mentioned was also one of the best 90s cartoons.
Craig Mccracken who later made Powerpuff Girls which ended being one of the most popular cartoons of the 90s.
These are just some of the examples of the success story of both the series and the ones who created it.
I personally loved the idiosyncratic design and simpleness of the show while mixing it with deeper issues and contemporary phenomena of that time. That aspect is what gave the series its adult-ish feel, which meant the Dexters Lab was not made for kids only.
There are so many jokes and references you will only understand after watching it a second or third time or when you are much older, like the IDKSC from his sister.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987-1996)
Director: Steve Barron
Writers: Kevin Eastman (characters), Peter Laird (characters)
Stars: Judith Hoag, Elias Koteas, Josh Pais
I remember discussing the series with my friends and ending up in an argument when it comes to choosing the favorite character.
There is so much to say about the series that I actually got stunned like a surprised donkey without the ability to decide what to start with, I got memory-struck on thought alone.
If it never happens with you or never happened then you might not know how to appreciate something and love it so much that you would think choosing one character over the other would jeopardize your relationship with the one that is left as if they could hear you or see.
Despite my love and respect for other series, I think TMNT was the only animated series ever that I had my parents buy toys for.
This series was unquestionably the best 90s cartoon that human beings were able to make. We could literally put in a list of some of the best accomplishments of our species.
Pinky and the Brain (1995-1998)
Stars: Maurice LaMarche, Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille
Gee brain, what are we going to do tonight?
The same thing with you every night,
Try and take over the world!
Does it seem familiar to you? It should.
This is one of the best cartoon quotes that probably went more famous than the cartoon itself, it is not that the cartoon was not famous, it was, it is just that I actually only realized this popular quote was from this very animated series 😜
The funny series is about a scientist mouse and his stupid sidekick with whom he is trying to take over the world, and the turn of events that happen throughout the series is so good and funny that it is not possible to not laugh.
It is also not possible to not mention the voice-over acting excellence of Maurice La Marche, he has done some of the best work behind so many of the animated series. But the pinky and the brain must be his best.
Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers (1989-1990)
Stars: Peter Cullen, Tress MacNeille, Corey Burton
Chip and Dale might have only run for three seasons, but the effects and the impressions it had left for far more than three seasons.
Crime-fighting chipmunks faced their fair share of danger and adventure together with their friends. It is one of the aspects of the series that I loved.
It is no wonder the 90s were the best time for animation and movies. Because I could still watch Chip and Dale go on an adventure fighting criminals. It is probably one of the best written shows of the decade.
The Donald Duck universe which subsequently comes from the Mickey Mouse universe has a lot of interesting characters and movies that could be mentioned here. Heck, there could be a bunch of articles writing on them.
However, so far, we have suffice at Chip and Dale and their adventures.
Ren and Stimpy Show (1991-1995)
Creators: John Kricfalusi, Bob Camp, Jim Gomez
Stars: John Kricfalusi, Billy West, Harris Peet
Almost all the shows in this piece take a bit too far in terms of not being kid-friendly.
Ren and Stimpy show probably takes it even further in some instances.
An example of such an instant is when they go to skinny dipping, it is not something you would want your ten years to watch and think about. And there are many adult content inside, it is fun to watch it as an adult but not as a kid.
Although, this series is definitely one of the best 90s cartoons for its writing and plot, and the jokes used and how in design and visual effects.
The series ran for 5 seasons which can only speak highly of its success, despite its flaws.
Creator: Tom Ruegger
Stars: Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Tress MacNeille |
The old cartoons with Warner Brothers character facing trouble and adventures, and many other characters appearing in the series, but the main point of the series is the three siblings.
The show also features quite a bit of adult jokes and innuendo, which I am not sure if are good or not. But surely pushing the agenda of sexual desire, which is something that was not present back then. Perhaps the same with most kids, thus, making their efforts useless.
Watching it as an adult makes it even more fun and interesting, in fact all those years and I finally figured out what the “Good Night Everybody” meant.
Best cartoon of the 90s with the best innuendos and double entendres of its time.
Creators: Junichi Masuda, Ken Sugimori, Satoshi Tajiri
Stars: Veronica Taylor, Rachael Lillis, Eric Stuart
Boy wasn’t this a global hit?
The animated series of a popular video game came to the USA in around the time that anime was just starting to be popular, or the series caused it to be popular.
Either way, Pokemon biggest, and the most successful adaptation of a video game and one of a kind cultural phenomenon that is still relevant today. Undoubtedly the best 90s cartoon series that took over not only the US, but also the world by shock.
Earlier, I had mentioned that sometimes the success of the series can also be determined by how many sequels or spin-offs it releases. If we are to take that assumption to calculate the success of this series. The calculation metrics will not hold strong enough to identify how big Pokemon was.
Because there are a bunch of toys, video games, merchandise and series, you name it whatever could exist with a Pokemon Logo, it does!
King of The HIll (1997-2010)
Creators: Greg Daniels, Mike Judge
Stars: Mike Judge, Kathy Najimy, Pamela Adlon
Because the show was meant for adult audiences from the beginning, it was a very positive thing that they stayed politically neutral and away from all the corny jokes and sexual innuendos.
One of the funnest 90s cartoons that is watchable purely for its quality of jokes and writing. I say purely, because the show uses a careful and considerate but character driven approach for its comedy.
It manages to appeal to almost everyone, but the positivity comes from it being not overly careful or going way overboard like other shows. It does have offensive jokes and politically incorrect and stereotypical representation of characters.
The funniest part probably comes from jokes being centered around the characters, for example the time Hank went to the doctor who said he had no ass.
Now, if you have not watched the show it is not funny at all. But if you did, and know the character Hank, you also know he is embarrassed of having no butt, thus the mention of it, is ironic and funny to the viewer.
Perhaps it is a cheap butt joke, but one that works well with a character centralization.
I could go on and on for like a quite a while about the best 90s cartoons. However, wishing to save your time and mine, I will list a few more here as honorable mentions.
Gargoyles, Powerpuff Girls, Beavis and Butthead, Arthur, Spongebob Squarepants are all but the best examples of 90s funniest shows. While some of them might have come late in the 90s, they still have a huge influence for that decade.
I know, even though we as Millenials were the first generation to like anime, and animated series, you Gen Z love your animes probably more than anyone else.
I’d ask you to trust me on this, but hey, I would rather let you decide for yourself.