10 Kids Cartoons That Should Have Been Hits But Had Impossible Competition

There is a long-running trend in Hollywood in which networks cancel certain shows seemingly prematurely despite positive reviews from fans, and cartoons are in no way an exception. For years, fans have lamented the loss of some of their favorite shows like Teen Titans or the slightly less popular Gargoylesmuch to the dismay of networks who are more interested in ratings than making quality content.

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Countless cartoons have been lost to time thanks to the success of rival shows, only to be reintroduced to audiences through streaming years later. The streaming industry has reminded many fans why they loved some of these cartoons in the first place, and has subsequently made fans wonder why exactly their favorite shows never reached their full potential.

10 Invader Zim Took Over Our Hearts & Our TV Screens

Invader Zim is a zany 2000s Nicktoon that follows a young alien by the name of Zim as he attempts to conquer Earth while simultaneously having to assimilate into Earth society. Invader Zim introduced audiences to many iconic characters, the most recognizable being Zim’s dog-suit-wearing robot companion, GIR.

Despite the show’s popularity among fans and groundbreaking animation style, it just couldn’t keep up with the likes of Fairly Odd Parents and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. However, considering Zim was brought back in 2019 for his first-ever feature film, Invader Zim might just be making a major comeback sometime soon.

9 Jenny Was Probably The Most Human Character On My Life As A Teenage Robot

Created by Rob Renzetti in 2003, My Life as a Teenage Robot tells the story of Jenny. As the show’s title implies, she is a teenage robot trying to fit in at high school in addition to saving her town from wacky sci-fi villains every week.

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With its art deco-inspired animation and colorful cast of characters, My Life as a Teenage Robot had all the makings of a cartoon classic. However, when Nickelodeon powerhouses like Avatar: The Last Airbender graced the small screen towards the show’s end, audiences turned their attention elsewhere and Jenny and her friends fell into cartoon obscurity.

8 Sym-Bionic Titan Could Have Been The 21st Century’s Voltron

Much like Invader Zim and My Life as a Teenage Robot, Sym Bionic Titan sees two alien teenagers, Ilana and Lance, along with their robotic companion, Octus, attempting to blend in on Earth after their home planet was plunged into war. The short-run Cartoon Network show follows a similar premise to shows like Power Rangers and, most recognizably, the ’80s classic Voltronseeing as the main trio form the titular mecha Sym-Bionic Titan when joining forces.

Despite its creative premise reminiscent of cartoons of old, Sym Bionic Titan was released around the same time as another, more popular CN show, Generator Rex. Unfortunately, it didn’t receive the same critical reception.

7 Danny Phantom Went Ghost After Its Run Was Cut Short

Danny Phantom was the successor to Butch Hartman’s magnum opus, Fairly Odd Parentsand follows young Danny Fenton as he fights off spectral baddies after becoming half-ghost himself. The gothic answer to Spiderman, Danny Phantom has become a cult classic since its cancellation in 2006.

When Nickelodeon saw that the show wasn’t bringing in the ratings Hartman had promised, especially compared to the exponentially more popular Fairly Odd Parents, network executives decided it was time to cancel the show. However, in recent years, fans have expressed that they would have rather seen the latter go instead.

6 There Will Never Be Another Show Like Code Lyoko

Created by Thomas Romain and Tania Palumbo, Code Lyoko was a French cartoon brought to Cartoon Network in 2004. It follows a group of four teenagers who stumble upon a digital parallel universe and are tasked with saving both the digital and physical worlds from a malevolent AI known as XANA

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Though the show was a hit in its home country, American viewers found themselves more interested in shows like 2003’s Teen Titans. Code Lyoko never reached the same level of popularity in the States as it did in France.

5 Young Justice Tried To Do What Teen Titans Did & Failed

The 2010 DC animated show Young Justice was meant to replace Teen Titans ace Cartoon Network’s primary teen superhero show, and for a time it was successful in doing so. However, it never caught on the same way its predecessor had in the early 2000s.

Following a team of young superheroes mentored by the Justice League, known simply as “the Team,” Young Justice explores themes of young adulthood, morality, and personal responsibility. Although Teen Titans sought to do the same, the former struggled to live up to the standards set by the latter.

4 Even Tim Curry Couldn’t Save The Wild Thornberrys From Obscurity

Nickelodeon’s The Wild Thornberries told the story of a young girl, Eliza Thornberry, played by Lacey Chabert, who has the unique ability to speak to animals. The show follows Eliza as she travels alongside her wilderness explorer father, played by the legendary Tim Curry, and the rest of her family on their global wildlife adventures.

Following its 1998 premiere, The Wild Thornberries was praised for having taught kids the importance of respecting other cultures and showing empathy to animals. However, the show found much less success in the new millennia as shows like SpongeBob SquarePants grew in popularity.

3 Some Parents Believed Rocket Power Was Too Dangerous For Their Kids

Rocket Power was created in 1999 by Arlene Klasky and Gábor Csupó. Rocket Power is centered around a group of young friends in California obsessed with all things extreme sports.

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The show offered a fresh take on Nickelodeon’s signature “group of kids just getting into trouble” premise and ventured to teach children that compassion and friendship were more important than winning, even when you’re good at something. Despite its original and creative premise, which later went on to inspire shows such as Disney XD’s Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil, Rocket Power couldn’t garner the same ratings as other slice-of-life hits like Hey Arnold!

2 As Told By Ginger Tried To Be Original & Viewers Weren’t Having It

2000’s As Told by Ginger revolves around middle schooler Ginger Foutley as she goes through junior high facing the typical issues of a girl her age. This slice-of-life cartoon, with its eccentric animation style and simple premise, was a quintessential early 2000s teen story.

However, as shows like Zoey 101 and the Rugrats spin off, All Grown Up fought for dominance as Nickelodeon’s major teen comedy, As Told by Ginger was unfortunately left in the dust.

1 Fans Just Didn’t Seem To Get Behind My Gym Partner’s A Monkey

My Gym Partner’s a Monkey is a short-lived Cartoon Network show that follows the adventures of human Adam Lyon as he traverses his all-animal middle school with his newly found friend, Jake Spidermonkey, who is, unsurprisingly, a monkey.

It’s no secret that the show’s premise was one unseen by Cartoon Network, or any other network for that matter, at the time of its premiere. However, no matter how original its story was, or star-studded its cast was, which included voice-acting legends Tom Kenny and Phil Lamarr, My Gym Partner’s a Monkey was gradually overshadowed by another show featuring a human child living among non-human creatures, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.

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