The 1990s were truly halcyon days for the animation world. Pre-internet, Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons were filled with every type of cartoon imaginable, and primetime TV also got into the act with more adult animated options.
Some of the first animated sitcoms started appearing on television in the 1960s. Those were the days of “The Flintstones” and later “The Jetsons,” both family comedies set in animated worlds. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, cartoon series continued to proliferate, offering child and adult aged viewers a variety of programming.
By the ‘90s, the launch of new channels and networks helped push along the animated heyday. Fox Kids launched in 1990; Cartoon Network started in 1992, Nickelodeon began producing its own content in the ‘90s; MTV got into the act, and Disney Animation Studios started creating new shows again. That's also before the anime boom of Japanese content that entered the U.S. market at the same time. The competition between the networks and broadcasters led to visually stunning, groundbreaking, and often censor-shaking animation that was often ahead of its time.
Stacker decided to dive back into this wonderfully wacky animated decade to see which shows had the most lasting impressions, have the biggest cult followings, and broke the molds in all the best ways. Using IMDB's user rating data, Stacker plotted the 50 best cartoons of the decade, with data updated April 5, 2019. To narrow it down, the shows had to have at least two years of runtime in the ‘90s, eliminating anything that began in 1999 or ended in 1990. Some of the shows like the various “Dragon Ball” series were consolidated for overall ratings and ties were broken by a minimum of 5,000 votes.
Prepare to laugh, get nostalgic, and relive what the ‘90s had to offer.