In this installment, we're going to take a look at all the nostalgic animated cartoons from the 1990's. Saddle up all of you 90's kids, this one is sure to bring back your childhood memories! As a spoiler alert, Spongebob Squarepants, Futurama and Family Guy will not be appearing on this list. Though all debuted in 1999; they won't be appearing due to the fact they didn't gain popularity until the 2000's.
“Do’h!” Who can forget that iconic slogan heard literally across the world on millions of television sets? The Simpsons was created in 1989 by Matt Groening, Sam Simon and James L. Brooks, after garnering attention from a short on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987, though the show didn’t pick up speed until the early 1990’s. The Simpsons is a satirical depiction of the middle class American life, boasting a townful of iconic characters, special guests and celebrity voice overs. Easy to relate too, many viewers found themselves tuning in time and time again. The Simpsons nets the number one spot on our list for many reasons, among those are the 1 Golden Globe, 141 award wins and 230 nomnations and is the longest running American cartoon in history, period. The Simpsons currently has had more than 570 episodes, pushing the envelope of 30 seasons, and released a for theater film, “The Simpsons Movie”, which has 8 award wins and 28 total nominations alone. The Simpsons holds more award wins alone than the other 9 shows on this list combined. For this reason alone, they deserve to be #1 on our list.
Batman: The Animated Series
Developers Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski brought DC comics “Dark Knight” to animated life in 1992 until its end in 1995. Consisting of 2 seasons, 85 episodes and 3 feature films considered canon to the series, released in 1993, 1998 and 2003 respectively, Batman: The Animated Series was also voted the 2nd best animated television show of all time by Wizard Magazine and garnered 1 Primetime Emmy Award. The cartoon version of Batman created many orinigal villains, most notably Harley Quinn, whom has grown immensely popular since she first appeared on September 11th, 1992 in the episode “Joker’s Favor.” The shows writers also took creative liberty and re-imagined origins and concepts for many of the popular villains; most recognized being that of “Mr. Freeze”, “Clayface” and the iconic black and white suit of “Two-Face.” Critics and fans alike shower the series with praise for a multitude of reasons, including Kevin Conroy giving both Bruce Wayne and Batman seperate voices.
Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny, are the four main child stars in South Park, created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and is easily considered to be the most controversial cartoon to appear our list. Being as famous as it is infamous, with many of its episodes banned in different countries across the globe for various reasons, South Park is also one of the most successful and easily recognizable cartoons in history. It is also only one of two shows on our list that is still airing new episodes. South park first debuted in August of 1997 after one of Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s animated shorts went viral in 1995. Consistently earning high ratings among any basic cable television program, as well as earning rank as one of Comedy Central’s highest rated shows to date, South Park can also boast that they’ve never skipped a year since they’ve debuted, something that Family Guy cannot brag about. South Park has been nominated and won a plethora of awards too many to list, spawned video games, a full featured film titled “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut”, and has even featured YouTube’s very own bro-fisting, Pewdiepie. Love it or hate it, you can’t deny its impact in cartoon and real life society.
“One thousand years ago, superstition and the sword ruled. It was a time of darkness. It was a world of fear. It was the age of gargoyles. Stone by day, warriors by night, we were betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect–frozen in stone by a magic spell for a thousand years. Now here in Manhattan, the spell is broken, and we live again! We are defenders of the night. We are Gargoyles!” The introduction, performed by Keith David, also voiced Goliath, one of the main characters in this animated Disney cartoon. First appearing on October 24th of 1994 and going solid until its final episode on February 15th, 1997, Gargoyles recieved 11 nominations and 1 Annie Award. Gargoyles recieved much critical acclaim durings its 78 episode, 3 season run for breaking away from the “norm” of the cartoon mold. It was praised for its dark, Shakespearean tone and complex story lines and even for the creation of such melodramatic characters such as main antagonist David Xanatos, amongst many others. Due to a cult following, and a great demand for a continuation of the story, Slave Labor Graphics picked up and continued the official storyline in comic book form from 2006 to 2009. Sadly they were unable to continue production due to Disney increasing the licensing fees.
Beavis and Butthead
Creator and lead writer Mike Judge spawned these two highly interesting co-stars of the cult classic show in the animated short “Frog Baseball” in 1992 for the “Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation”, which aired on MTV’s Liquid Television. The title series aired from March 8th of 1993 to November 28th, 1997, boasting 8 seasons and 222 episodes. The series also developed a feature length film “Beavis and Butt-head Do America” in 1996, and the show was shortly revived for 3 months in 2011. Netting just 5 award nominations total and 0 wins, we put this in our top 10 as it changed the dynamics of what cartoons would and have become to date. Beavis and Butthead would also spin-off the show Daria, and also laid ground work for the successful cartoon, King of the Hill. The cultural impression the show left can still be heard from time to time in many forms, from “I am Cornholio, I need TP for my bunghole!“, “FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!“, “Diarrhea cha-cha-cha!” and “I notice you have braces.. I have braces, too.”
X-Men: The Animated Series
This American adaption of the ever popular X-Men comic books debuted October 31st, 1992 and ran until March of 1997 on Fox Network. Being both a commercial success and critically acclaimed, this show as well as Batman: The Animated Series, laid the ground work for the launch of nemerous other comic book related shows during the 1990’s. Creators Mark Edward Edens, Sidney Iwanter and Eric Lewald, as well as the many writers of the show, were praised for translating storylines from comic to cartoon in a well adapted manner. Though no awards were given, the show peaked on Saturday morning ratings and has been ranked as the 13th greatest animated show of all time in IGNs’ Top 100 list, as well as the 3rd highest for a comic adapted show on their list. Piggy backing on the success of the show, Marvel Comics released “X-Men Adventures”, a comic book rendetion of the show. The roster of mutants is considered by most, to be the best ensemble of X-Men to date.
“HELLO NURSE!“, was one of the many catch phrases used by The Warner Brothers Yakko, Wakko and sometimes their sister Dot, in the American cartoon Animaniacs, created by Tom Ruegger. Modeled and inspired by old Chuck Jones and Tex Avery styled cartoons, this witty and slapstick fueled variety show featured many “mini-sodes” which traditionally featured dozens of original characters. From pop culture references to educational shorts, Animaniacs offered viewers something the entire family could enjoy. During the 5 years it originally ran, from 1993 to 1998, the show garnered great critical acclaim. This is evident by the vast amount of awards and nominations it recieved, 10 wins with 24 nominations throughout its 99 episode, 5 season and one film stretch. Even more recognition of its ability to capture a diverse and wide audience is the fact TV Guide included them in their “60 Greatest TV Cartoons of All Time.”
Spider-Man: The Animated Series
Spider-Man: The Animated Series was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1994, based on the Marvel Comics character and his alter ego, Peter Parker. Spanning 65 episodes in 5 seasons, Spider-Man picks up after Peter Parker was bitten and had already gained his powers. The show has Spider-Man team up with many of Marvel’s other heroes, from Captain America and the X-Men, to the vigalante known as the Punisher, while also pitting him against many of his most popular villains, from the menacing Green Goblin and the Sinister Six to lord of orginized crime himself, the Kingpin. In this animated series, Spider-Man would fight the struggles of an average everyday life as well as his super powered adversaries. The show came to an end after just 4 short years on Fox Kids.
This animated series made for Nickelodeon and created by Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó and Paul Germain follows a group of babies and toddlers, primarily the core group of four, Tommy, Chuckie, Phil and Lil and occasionally Angelica. Rugrats was created in 1990 and would run all the way to 2006 with 172 episodes, over 9 seasons, and its very own film trilogy. Rugrats brought in an astounding 20 awards over its 16 year run with 27 additional nominations. The longest running of Nickelodeon cartoons of its time, it wasn’t until Spongebob Squarepants aired its 173rd episode in 2012 that it was dethroned, 6 years after Rugrats final episode.
“DEEDEE! GET OUT OF MY LABORATORY!” A phrase commonly screamed from the shows title character Dexter, at his whimsical and quirky sister Deedee; usually after an “OH, what’s this button do?” Dexter’s Laboratory was created in 1996 for Cartoon Network by Genndy Tartakovsky for the networks Cartoon Cartoons, a block of original animated shows. The story usually follows the boy-genius Dexter in his many adventures with science and his struggle to keep his sister Deedee out of his secret laboratory. The show aired between 1996 and 2003, running through 78 episodes, 4 seasons and 1 feature length film, “Ego Trip”. During this run, the series received 2 Annie Awards with 15 more nominations and was also nominated for 4 Primetime Emmys. With its rapid growth and popularity, it quickly became one of Cartoon Network’s most successful and popular original series.