As I was flipping through TV channels recently, I spotted what constitutes as a cartoon these days. I watched a little bit of it thinking, “Kids these days have no idea what a good cartoon is”, before switching from TV to YouTube.
This got me reminiscing about all those cartoons from my childhood that I just couldn’t get enough of. So, I made an extensive list of all the cartoons from the 90s I could remember, watched a bunch of clips online, lost my mind a bit, and created an awesome list of the 10 best (in my opinion). Therefore, lets take a stroll down memory lane.
10. Mighty Max (1993-1994)
Right now, you’re probably saying, “What the hell is Mighty Max?!” To be quite honest, I had totally forgotten about this gem of a cartoon.
Mighty Max is about a boy named Max (duh), that mysteriously receives a magical cap which can teleport him anywhere on Earth. He teams up with Virgil, a fowl from the lost continent of Lemuria, and Norman, a seemingly unstoppable warrior. Virgil is Max’s teacher and the one who can find the portals for the cap. Norman is Max’s protector.
Max learns he is the chosen one, prophesied to stop the evil Skullmaster (voiced by the one and only Tim Curry).
2 Seasons, 40 Episodes
9. Mummies Alive! (1997)
What a cool cartoon! Reincarnation, Mummies, and Egyptian Gods. What’s not to like? This one starts in ancient Egypt, as the evil Scarab kills the Pharaoh’s son Prince Rapses, to become immortal. Scarab is locked away until he escapes in modern times.
Scarab must find the reincarnation of Prince Rapses, to become immortal (apparently, the first time didn’t make him fully immortal). He finds the reincarnation in San Francisco, within a boy named Presley. Just as he is about to take Presley, four mummies (and a mummified pet cat) appear to be Presley’s bodyguards.
Presley and the mummies go on to fight Scarab and many of the ancient Egyptian gods that are summoned to the modern world, to protect everyone. “Let’s kick Tut!”
1 Season, 42 Episodes
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8. Histeria! (1998-2000)
What surprises me, is that not that many people seem to remember this cartoon. Histeria! was unique in the way that it was an educational cartoon, that taught about history in a fun way. The characters would preform skits and songs about history and historical figures.
Because Histeria! was a product of Warner Bros., there would sometimes be guest appearances from other WB cartoons like Bugs Bunny or the Animaniacs. I loved this quirky cartoon, but this might be just because I’m a nerd for history.
1 Season, 52 Episodes
7. Recess (1997-2001)
Ah… recess. As a kid, recess was the pinacle of every kids day. It would make sense then that a cartoon about recess should be successful, and it was.
Recess focused on six main characters that were friends, but also had a lot of other memorable minor characters as well, that would create the playground environment. Of the six main characters we had: the popular kid, the athlete, a tough girl, a bigger kid, the nerdy girl, and kid from a military family.
Each episode would focus on a story centered around one of the six main characters, which would be about personal growth, through the other main characters or the minor characters.
6 Seasons, 127 Episodes, 4 Movies
6. Aladdin ( 1994-1995)
Aladdin the cartoon series was based off of what happens after the second Disney movie, The Return of Jafar. Aladdin and gang go on adventures, all in the name of protecting Agrabah.
As much as I liked the original cast of characters, I think that its the villains of the series that makes this cartoon so great. There were so many completely different individuals, each with a good backstory. Mozenrath, the sorcerer ruler of the Land of the Black Sand, who wanted to capture Genie. Mirage, an evil cat woman that could spread fear. Chaos, who was some kind of cat god. The list goes on and on.
Every episode stayed true the characters and atmosphere of the movies, which gave them more depth.
3 Seasons, 86 Episodes
5. Exosquad (1993-1994)
Exosquad takes place in the future, 2119 – 2121. Humans have mastered space flight, colonized Venus and Mars, and are exploring nearby space. Humanity has a space-based military called Exofleet. They must protect humanity from the Neosapians, an artificial humanoid race that used to be slaves to humans, and the Pirate Clans, criminals that have been exiled to the outer planets.
What was so great about this cartoon, other than the fact that it was war in outer space (awesome), was that anything could happen. No character was truly safe from dying, operations took planning – not just jump into action, and even winning didn’t always mean winning.
The story-line was incredible, and I for one wish that they would make a reboot of this cartoon.
2 Seasons, 52 Episodes
4. Darkwing Duck (1991-1992)
” When there’s trouble, call DW. Let’s get dangerous.” Come on, how can you not like a cartoon of a noir crime fighting duck?
Darkwing Duck fights crime and zany super-villains with his sidekick Launchpad McQuack (yes, the same one from Ducktales). During the day, DW’s secret identity is Drake Mallard, average citizen and father to the adopted Gosalyn.
It is a wonderful kid friendly parody of Batman, from the main character to the majority of the main villains. Some of the most memorable villains include: Negaduck – DW’s evil doppelganger, Bushroot – half duck/half plant, Megavolt – a rat that controls electricity, and Quackerjack – an insane toy making duck.
3 Seasons, 91 Episodes
3. Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)
This is a dark gritty cartoon like no else. This cartoon can be compared to the live action movies as just as good, or even sometimes better. Did you know that it won 4 Emmys? That’s crazy! TV Guide ranked it the 7th greatest cartoon of all time.
Batman was always such a treat to watch, as each episode was complex and detailed, while still easy to follow. I love how even though it was a cartoon, it never really treated itself, or its fans, as a cartoon. It was serious stuff, with serious action.
Many people already knew that the Joker is voiced by Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), but did you know that it was originally suppose to be voiced by Tim Curry? However, Tim’s voice made the character too scary. Imagine that.
2 Seasons, 85 Episodes
2. X-Men (1992-1997)
This one was tough. I debated whether or not to put this as the #1 cartoon of my childhood. I was a bit obsessed, as I owned X-Men shirts, toys, games, and hats. Fun fact: I once won a contest from Fox Kids, where I received the complete first season on VHS. That was a good day.
X-Men was amazing! It was comic books come to life. I made sure to be ready every Saturday morning for my fix of X-Men. Even the introduction music got me pumped. Some of my favorite villains included: Omega Red, Apocalypse, the Juggernaut, and Mister Sinister.
5 Seasons, 76 Episodes
1. Gargoyles (1994-1997)
This cartoon is about a group of gargoyles that have been turned to stone in medieval times, and are brought back to life in the 90s. First, it was about ajusting to the modern world, with flashbacks to before they were stone. Then it became a series of amazing connected stories with myths and legends, such as King Arthur and Macbeth.
I enjoyed everything about Gargoyles, from start to finish. Each episode was connected and continued from the last episode, making this less of a cartoon and more of a mini-series. It was filled with magic, myths, and great characters.
So those were what I considered to be the best of the best. It was not an easy task, to whittle down all the cartoons from my past into ranking order. I hope that this list brings back wonderful memories for you, as it did for me. Did I miss any that you thought deserved to be here?
Notable Mentions: Pinky and the Brain; TaleSpin; Ducktales; Courage the Cowardly Dog; The Tick; Daria.
Kara Skinner from Maine on July 03, 2017:
I loved Recess! It's still one of my favorite cartoons.