Cartoons have been around for ages but there was something about 90’s cartoons that hit the spot. In many ways, it was the golden age of cartoons with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman, Animaniacs, and many more. However, with all the great cartoons at the time, many went unnoticed and forgotten. Here are the 25 90’s Cartoons You May Remember.
Rocko's Modern Life
Rocko’s Modern Life was perhaps one of Nickelodeon’s edgier cartoons at the time. Airing between 1993 to 1996, it featured various animals living in the same neighborhood, dealing with their mundane life. When the show canceled, a big portion of the same team went on to create a much more popular cartoon: SpongeBob SquarePants.
Kids with cable TV (and parents nice enough to let them watch MTV) may remember the cartoon, Daria, a cartoon about a cynical and antisocial teenager with a whole lot of angst. For the rest of us, Daria was too out of reach and easily forgotten.
Because of its darker tone and complex stories, Gargoyles was loved by a very specific group of kids but didn’t really fly with many others. However, it had a lot of similarities to the much more popular Batman: The Animated Series.
Based on the movie of the same name, Beetlejuice was mostly a big hit, airing for four seasons, but it was also one of those cartoons parents felt uneasy about for its dark and gruesome themes.
Remember in the 90’s, when Warner Bros. decided to make a bunch of spin-offs from Looney Tunes? For some reason, it seemed like a smart idea to give a non-verbal character like the Tasmanian Devil a spin-off, and behold, we got Taz-Mania. Thankfully, it only lasted one season but somehow kept showing up in re-runs.
Lists Going Viral Right Now
Back in the 90’s, Spielberg got into slapping his name on cartoons like the Animaniacs. Freakazoid was another similar venture with The WB, but unlike the Animaniacs, it didn’t do so well in the ratings and only lasted two seasons.
Geared primarily for adults, The Critic, starring John Lovitz, was an unfunny, obnoxious failure that only made it to two seasons with generally poor ratings and mixed reviews. Or as The Critic would say, “It stinks!”
Back before Toy Story made its debut, kids in the 90’s witnessed really poor attempts to make CGI cartoons, and ReBoot was one of them. Despite its poor quality and its concept ripped straight out of Tron, it was overall ahead of the curve and gained a fair amount of popularity.
Let’s be frank, Pepper Ann was essentially Disney’s attempt at making a girl version of Doug, a nerdy, socially awkward, and totally lovable character. And who can blame them? Doug was pretty amazing.
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show
With the immense popularity of the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Mario Bros., it only made sense to develop a cartoon for kids, right? Unfortunately for everyone, the Super Mario Bros. Super Show was pretty awful, mixing live action Mario characters with occasional cartoons and no real purpose besides selling more video games to kids.
The Mighty Ducks
It’s hard to know what exactly Disney was thinking when they took a movie about kids that play hockey into a cartoon about humanoid ducks that fight evil aliens from outer space. Clearly, their foolish scheme didn’t work as the show flopped and only had one season.
Mighty Max is a part of that grand tradition of toy makers developing cartoons in order to sell more toys. In this case, Mighty Max came from the Polly Pocket line of toys. About a pre-teen boy that gets a magical hat that can help him teleport between dimensions, Mighty Max fights off evil monsters right before bed time.
Space Ghost: Coast to Coast
Space Ghost: Coast to Coast was another cartoon intended for adults airing in 1994 on the Cartoon Network, but as a spoof, using the original artwork of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon of the 60’s. Later, it moved to late night television on Adult Swim.
James Bond Jr.
The story for James Bond Jr. is simple. The nephew of James Bond wants to be just like his uncle, so he becomes a spy, too, and saves the free world, minus all the boozing and womanizing. It had a decent run but came and went fast enough for people to forget about it.
The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police
The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police was a buddy-cop cartoon for kids. While it received rave reviews and won a Gemini Award for Best Animated Series, it was canceled after only one season.
King Arthur and the Knights of Justice
Released in 1992, King Arthur and the Knights of Justice aired very early in the morning. So, 90’s kids that got up super early before school probably saw this at one point. It was about a football team that teleported in time as King Arthur and his Knights. Out of all the Arthurian legend adaptations, this has to be one of the most ridiculous.
Based loosely on Egyptian mythology, Mummies, Alive! is about a 12-year old boy awakening four ancient mummies from the dead. Together they’re tasked with fighting an evil sorcerer mummy. You know, normal kid stuff.
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes was a cartoon based on the cheesy movie from the 1970’s, though most 90’s kids wouldn’t know that. Quickly canceled after one season, Fox Kids continued to air the old episodes for reasons that are beyond anyone’s understanding.
Captain Simian & The Space Monkeys
Captain Simian & The Space Monkeys was about a NASA test monkey found by aliens that think he’s Earth’s dominant species. They proceed to give him intelligence and weapons to fight an evil space lord. Does anyone really remember this show?
Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars
If you haven’t noticed the trend yet, the formula for a kids cartoon includes humanoid animals, space ships, and an evil dark lord. With Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars, it’s no different and probably why it was quickly forgotten.
Airing in 1992, Dog City is about a canine private eye that goes toe-to-toe with the local mobster. Sticking with Jim Henson’s style, it mixed puppetry and cartoons into one episode. It’s likely no one really remembers this one.
If an American 90’s kid says they remember this, then probably they’re lying. That because Toad Patrol originally aired in Canada in the 90’s. It featured a group of Toadlets fighting against evil snakes and other woodland creatures. Despite its original appeal to little kids, it found a greater following with young adults for its deeper themes. It later showed up on Toon Disney in the early 2000’s.
Biker Mice from Mars
Airing in 1993, and executive produced by Stan Lee, Biker Mice from Mars is about, you guessed it, mice that escape their war-torn planet, come to Earth, and help to fight off the very evil that destroyed their own planet. So, basically Transformers but with mice.
Widget the World Watcher
What better way to teach kids about Earth’s environment and conservation than through a purple alien? That was the idea anyway when Widget aired in 1990. It had a good run but didn’t really inspire kids like the other environmentalist alien, Captain Planet.
David the Gnome
Who actually remembers this? Originally airing in the US in 1987, David the Gnome was heavily syndicated in the 90’s especially on Nick Jr. If a 90’s kids watched this, they were likely a toddler and wouldn’t remember it anyway.
If you enjoyed this list, check out 25 Cases of Backwards Cartoon Logic.
Photo: 25. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 24. mtv (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 23. wikimedia commons (public domain), 22. Disney via beetlejuice.wikia.com (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 21. Warner Bros. (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 20. Warner Bros. (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 19. Columbia Pictures (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 18. Alliance Communications (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available) , 17. Disney (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 16. Nintendo (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 15. Disney (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 14. Guy H via flickr, CC BY 2.0 (cropped), 13. Surian Soosay via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 12. Toho Scope via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, 11. 20th Century Fox (Fair Use: (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 10. Image Entertainment (Fair Use: (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 9. DiC Entertainment (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 8.Toho Scope via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, 7. Hallmark Entertainment (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 6. Sunbow Productions (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 5. Jim Henson Productions (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 4. Edward Sarsons Productions (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 3. Genesis Entertainment (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available), 2. Mark Anderson via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 1. Nickelodeon (Fair Use: identification purposes only; no free images available)