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Top Ten Tuesday: Best 90s Cartoons

One of the most popular 90s shows is making a comeback, as Nickelodeon ordered 26 episodes of the popular Rugrats series, which has been off the air since 2004. It remains to be seen whether a Rugrats relaunch works out, with the core audience from over 10-25 years ago unlikely to watch, but the baby-based show will look to recapture its magic with a new generation. Where does Rugrats rank among the best 90s cartoons?


10. The Fairly OddParents

The final spot on the countdown of the best 90s kids cartoons could have had a dozen other shows make the cut, including ArthurRocket Power, and Dexter’s Laboratory. Timmy Turner and Fairly OddParents get the nod because of its characters. There was Jorgen Von Strangle, Mr. Turner, Doug Dimmadome (Owner of the Dimmsdale Dimmadone), Trixie, and underrated villain Mr. Crocker.


9. Doug

Doug was an interesting series because it was a mixture of wacky and grounded. There were the multi-colored characters (blue, green, purple, you name it), with funny names (like the last name Funnie and “Skeeter”). But Doug was based around a normal kid with a normal family, making it relatable.


8. The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

This was a late-starting series compared to most of the others on this list, and it actually started with a film: Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. From there, the movie was popular enough that it became the Nickelodeon series The Adventures of Jimmmy Neutron: Boy Genius. The trio of Jimmy Neutron, Sheen Estevez, and Carl Wheezer was funny to watch.


7. Codename: Kids Next Door

Codename: Kids Next Door started even later than Jimmy Neutron (2002), but the pilot was made in 1998. However, it’s still considered a 90s kids’ series. Plenty of people have made treehouses in their day, and Kids Next Door had one you could only dream about. The ten-year-old characters in Kids Next Door would do whatever they could to get out of doing what they didn’t want to do, while remaining in their treehouse.


6. Hey Arnold!

Hey Arnold! was one of those shows that taught life lessons which children could easily pickup and hopefully grasp for use in their own lives. The city setting gives a good look at what life in the city can really be like, and there are some depressing moments throughout the show’s five seasons.


5. Rocko’s Modern Life

The main character of Rocko’s Modern Life, Rocko, was an anthropomorphic dog, who happened to have a loyal pet dog, Spunky. It’s a bit confusing if you think about it without watching the show, but it definitely worked well. O-Town, the fictional setting of the show, had stores, restaurants, and courthouses like a real city. There were some adult elements mixed in Rocko’s Modern Life, which caused some controversy at the time—but a sizable portion of the audience was adults. The “Modern Life” title was accurate, as the show gave some commentary on real-life things.


4. Courage the Cowardly Dog

Courage the Cowardly Dog also focused on a dog, but Courage could not talk—which was part of what made the show good, as Courage was forced to communicate with Muriel, Eustace, and the audience (breaking the fourth wall) with his expressions and emotions. As a kid, you think the things Courage was seeing were real. But unfortunately, Courage probably suffered from a form of paranoia.


3. Batman: The Animated Series

The argument can easily be made that Batman: The Animated Series belongs at number one on the list. The voice acting and the storylines in each episode are great, and it does one of the best characters of all-time justice. However, Batman: The Animated Series is only at number three because it went shorter than the top two 90s cartoons.


2. Rugrats

Rugrats is clearly one of the best 90s cartoons and is probably near the top of everyone’s list of personal favorites. When most shows were only going a few seasons, Rugrats had a then-unprecedented 13-year run. The babies were funny and had personality, and the oblivious adults were just as entertaining. And who can forget about Reptar?


1. SpongeBob SquarePants

It took a while, but SpongeBob SquarePants overtook Rugrats for the longest-running Nickelodeon show in 2012 and is still going. The sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea has so many amazing characters like Patrick Star, Mr. Krabbs, and Squidward Tentacles, and many of the episodes are unforgettable for those that watched as kids. Seasons 1, 2, and 3 were the best, but SpongeBob is still going strong for a reason.


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