90s cartoons

The 1990s were full of amazing cartoons thanks to the expansion of original programing on cable channels like Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel and Cartoon Network.

It was a new era of creativity that took animated programing away from the previous Hanna-Barbera style that had dominated for decades.  As a result, many of the cartoons produced in the 90s are masterpieces that have stood the test of time. 

Here are just a few of the best cartoons from the 90s

The PowerPuff Girls

This watershed cartoon, about three pint-sized superheroes, helped bring Cartoon Network to prominence and introduced the world to creator Craig McCracken. 

The PowerPuff Girls defined the Girl Power era and even though it featured female leads it appealed to both sexes (and their parents!)

And let’s be honest every trio of friends has a Bubbles, a Blossom, and a Buttercup. 

Animaniacs

This funny and totally bonkers show that was set on the Warner Bros. studio lot was a joint venture between Warner Bros. and Steven Spielberg. 

Animaniacs featured the crazy adventures of Yakko, Wakko and Dot and was filled with great original music, clever writing and lots of jokes that were more for the grown-ups being forced to watch with their kids. 

But the high energy physical comedy was still a homerun with the kids so everybody was happy!

Rugrats

A 90s classic, Rugrats follows the adorable adventures of one year old Tommy Pickles and his helium voiced toddler friends Chucki, Phil and Lil. 

The show ran for 13 years and was a hit not only because of its quirky animation style but because of its mix of fun and emotional storylines. 

The kids on Rugrats were hands down the most influential infants of the 90s providing some of TV’s most relevant commentary on day to day life. And it should be noted that Rugrats was a pretty progressive cartoon for its time with its racially diverse families and female breadwinners.

Doug

This cartoon follows imaginative 11-year-old Doug Funnie as he navigates middle school with his friend Skeeter (short for Mosquito) and tries to impress his crush Patti Mayonnaise.

Doug was one of the original Nicktoons and later moved to ABC when Disney acquired the rights.   

The simple but poignant cartoon got what it was like to be a kid in the 90s and lets face it, nobody rocked a sweater vest like Doug. 

Hey Arnold!

The crown jewel of the mid-’90s Nicktoons, Hey Arnold! followed the adventures of an improbably sweet kid with a football-shaped head living in a city that was an amalgamation of Seattle, Portland, and Brooklyn.

The series wasn’t an immediate hit but overtime gained a huge fan base that appreciated that the cartoon didn’t talk down to kids or invalidate their everyday conflict and disappointments.  And here’s some trivia for you.  Hey Arnold! started off as a Claymation series on Peewee’s Playhouse in the 80s!

For more great stories from the 90s, check out my podcast “History of the 90s.” It is available on ApplePodcasts, Spotify, Google Play and anywhere else you stream audio. You can also listen at http://www.curiouscast.ca

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