Top 10 Cartoons of the 1990s

Anyone who grew up in the 1990s was lucky enough to have been raised in an era of excellent and exciting cartoon shows. These programs ranged from superheroes, to madcap best friends, environmentalism, pocket monsters and the return of the Transformers to prominence with a CGI spectacular! Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our top 10 favorite cartoons from the 1990s.
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Top 10 Cartoons of the 1990s


Superheroes, pocket monsters, robots and stoners – the ‘90s were awesome! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our top 10 favorite cartoons from the 1990s.

#10 – “X-Men” (1992-1997)


Kicking off our list is the cartoon show with the theme music we still can’t get out of our heads! Released before these superheroes finally hit the mainstream, this critically acclaimed series focused on prejudice, while faithfully recreating characters from the comics retelling beloved storylines. As a result, it became the longest running Marvel comics cartoon series ever!

#9 – “Spider-Man” (1994-1998)


Accompanying “X-Men” on Fox was this Marvel superhero cartoon. With its bigger budget, “Spider-Man” introduced the notion of one major story arc per season to the cartoon world. True to its source material, it focused on the personal conflicts of Peter Parker, rather than mindless action or cornball humor. We’re gonna go out on a limb and say this is one of the best takes on our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man ever produced for the small screen.

#8 – “The Ren and Stimpy Show” (1991- 1998)


This stylized and frantic Nickelodeon series brought us lots of “happy happy joy joy.” The nonsensical adventures of a psychotic Chihuahua and his dimwitted cat friend generated controversy for their use of crude humor, sexual innuendo and violence – but of course, that secured the show a cult following. Ren and Stimpy even inspired the creation of other satirical cartoons aimed directly at adults.

#7 – “Beavis and Butthead” (1992-1997)


This MTV series merged animation with music videos in the form of a buddy comedy that starred two-rock loving, sex obsessed, socially awkward juvenile delinquents. Lacking supervision, brainpower and morals, they went on misadventures that involved watching TV and causing trouble. Few other cartoons managed to disguise criticism of society and youth culture with such hilarious vulgarity, while also unwittingly promoting dangerous behavior.

#6 – “Captain Planet and the Planeteers” (1990- 1993)


Let’s change gears entirely… Long before most of us even considered recycling, this groundbreaking cartoon made it cool to protect Mother Nature! With a superhero spin, the show focused on a handful of multicultural children empowered to defend Gaia, the Earth Spirit. With their power rings, they fought polluters voiced by a star-studded lineup and, if necessary, they summoned the titular hero. Just remember: “The power is yours!”

#5 – “Darkwing Duck” (1991-1992)


Following the success of “DuckTales,” Disney unleashed this memorable superhero parody. Drake Mallard was an ordinary suburban duck who lived with his daughter in St. Canard. Sorry did we say ordinary? We meant super! Darkwing Duck was a champion for justice, but was a hapless hero who regularly clashed with his courage. This made for a show that was funny, chock full o’ slapstick and filled with catchphrases!

#4 – “Pokemon” (1997-…)


Hot on the heels of Nintendo’s global video game phenomenon, this show became the first truly popular anime cartoon in America. Centered on a group of children who were trying to “catch ‘em all” and become master pocket trainers, the series always had a positive message – well, aside from the creature enslavement. And, it didn’t take long for the show to overcome the bad press surrounding their seizure-causing visuals.

#3 – “Beast Wars: Transformers” (1996-1999)


In the wake of “Reboot,” the first ever completely computer animated TV series, the Mainframe team used their technical and storytelling expertise to re-spark interest in the “Transformers” brand. Set several hundred years after the events of G1, this show took the battle to prehistoric Earth, where it focused on a tighter cast of characters, a gripping struggle, over-the-top action, humor, and the most heroic Transformer death ever.

#2 – “Batman: The Animated Series” (1992-1995)


While the ‘90s were full of superhero cartoons, there’s one that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Inspired by Tim Burton’s films, this “Batman” series was a mature and thoughtful take on the Dark Knight’s saga, the likes of which we wouldn’t see again until Christopher Nolan’s retelling. With a “Dark Deco” visual style, it strived towards adult-themed cinematic complexity, while also incorporating physical violence and the vocal talents of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill.

#1 – “The Simpsons” (1989-…)


Taking the top spot on our list is the award winning, influential, record-breaking cartoon sitcom about a middle-class family from Springfield, U.S.A.! While Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and all their friends technically made their TV debut in the late days of the ‘80s, “The Simpsons” is a landmark ‘90s show thanks to its beloved cast of characters, hilarious use of parody and satire and its lasting effect on popular culture.

Do you agree with our list, or are you going to terrorize us about it? Feel free to let us know in the comments section…we can take it! For more entertaining top 10 lists, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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