Best Cartoon Network TV Shows of the 90s, Ranked

When talking about channels and TV productions that represented a turning point, one cannot help but think of Cartoon Network and its original 90s animated shows. With unparalleled creativity and a new point of view regarding animation, this network began broadcasting in October 1992 under Betty Cohen’s direction. Although Cartoon Network broke into a market where exclusive animation channels were not yet abundant, it is worth mentioning that Disney Channel and Nickelodeon already existed as very strong competitors with already established productions that were loved by the audience. This posed a particular difficulty for Cartoon Network to break into the market. Even still, boosted by the productions they acquired from Warner Bros., Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc.and MGM, and under the tagline “We talk toon here!”, Cartoon Network slowly began to break through and made its way into the households of fans around the world.

By 1993, the channel’s director made one of the most important decisions for the future of Cartoon Network: to start producing original shows. Thus, in November of that same year, they launched The Moxy Show, their first original production. Although this series did not do very well, it was the start of a long road to success for the network that would be further consolidated with the involvement of John Kricfalusi, the creator of Ren & Stimpy. Kricfalusi was hired by Cartoon Network to lead an animated shorts show called What a Cartoon! Show. This space served two purposes: it afforded new talented artists to take part in creating animated shorts, and it also allowed the channel to measure which characters the audience liked the most. From these shorts emerged some of their most famous series, such as Dexter’s Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girlsturning the channel into one of the strongest competitors in the children’s animation genre.

With Betty Cohen’s resignation in 2001, what many consider to be Cartoon Network’s golden era came to an end, even though her subsequent replacements tried to continue fostering the ideas that had made the channel such a hit. And although it continues to be one of the most successful children’s animation channels to this day, it cannot be denied that the audience, already grown up, still fondly remembers those first original shows of the network. Therefore, in this article, we will go over the best Cartoon Network shows of the 90s, ranked.


8/8 I Am Weasel

I Am Weasel wasn’t originally a show in itself, but rather a segment within Cow and Chicken. But due to the great success of its episodes and characters, it eventually got its long-awaited spin-off. Based on the nursery rhyme and singing game “Pop! Goes the Weasel,” this Cartoon Network show starred I Am Weasel and IR Baboon, two characters that couldn’t be any more different: while the weasel was intelligent, skillful and charming, the baboon came across as rude, envious and lacking both technical and social skills. Over the course of the episodes, the audience follows I Am Weasel on his adventures, witnessing how IR Baboon tries, though never succeeds, to ruin his plans.

Related: Best 90s Nickelodeon Cartoons, Ranked

7/8 Space Ghost Coast to Coast

This is one of those shows that one cherishes more as a grown-up. Space Ghost Coast to Coast is an animated talk show that aired from 1994 to 2004 and paved the way for what would later become Adult Swim. This show, which was the second original Cartoon Network production, featured several classic Hanna-Barbera characters and was led by Space Ghost, voiced by George Lowe, a retired superhero who, along with his enemies, Zorak and Moltar, decided to run a talk -show and interview celebrities. Some of the guests on the show were Jim Carrey, Matt Groening, and Ben Stiller, among many others.

6/8 Ed, Edd n Eddy

Ed, Edd n Eddy is an animated series released in 1999 that follows the adventures of three best friends from Peach Creek who tried to scam the neighborhood kids out of their money to buy jawbreakers, their favorite candy. But these friends were seen as the outcasts of the neighborhood, and their schemes generally didn’t work out at all. Featuring probably the most diverse cast of characters of any Cartoon Network production, Ed, Edd n Eddy is the longest-running series of the network, airing for six seasons over a ten-year period.

5/8 Johnny Bravo

Johnny Bravo exhibited the worst features that a character can have: he was annoying, self-centered and with an obvious obsession for conquering women. However, there was a charm to this character that managed to make the audience laugh and consolidate him as one of the most successful characters of the network. Johnny is a brawny young man known for his Elvis-inspired hairstyle and his dark glasses, whose routine consists mostly in trying to conquer all the women who steal his heart on a daily basis, though he usually fails, and ends up being stunned, beaten or rejected. Thanks to the humor and cultural references featured in Johnny Bravothe show became one of those programs enjoyed by both children and adults.

4/8 Dexter’s Laboratory

In appearance, Dexter is an ordinary boy who does ordinary things and lives with his family in a house like any other. However, Dexter is hiding a big secret: he is a genius kid who has the most advanced laboratory in the world — in his bedroom. There, the boy conducts the most innovative experiments and creations, though he has to spend most of his time preventing his annoying but lovable sister Dee Dee from ruining his projects. Dexter was the first What a Cartoon! Show character to get his own show, and he also was largely responsible for the network’s success. Dexter’s Laboratory ran from 1996 to 2003, and its clever humor made it, just like Johnny Bravoa production enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Related: Should Dexter’s Laboratory Be the Next Great Cartoon Reboot?

3/8 Cow and Chicken

Cow and Chicken is probably Cartoon Network’s weirdest show, a forerunner of every absurd production that would come along in time. With nonsensical characters and stories, this show managed to somehow fit the pieces together in a weird and absurd way that made it one of the network’s best shows. This program follows the adventures of a chicken and a cow, two biological siblings adopted by humans who spend most of their time trying to avoid the torments of the Red Guy. As many others, Cow and Chicken also grew out of the channel’s animated shorts. Thanks to its signature comedy, its jokes about the upper body of some characters and its constant fourth-wall breaking, the show became a smash hit, and by 2000 and 2001, earned two Emmy Award nominations.

2/8 The Powerpuff Girls

Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup are three kindergarten-aged girls with one special feature: they were accidentally created by Professor Utonium, and have powers. Thus, the girls spend their days facing the monsters and villains of Townsville over and over again. Its playful humor, lovable characters (including the villains), and the action scenes, among many other elements, made The Powerpuff Girls one of the channel’s biggest hits, airing from 1998 to 2005. As a matter of fact, it became such a beloved series, that by 2016, the show got a reboot that featured a redesign of the characters. Said reboot ran for three seasons, from 2016 to 2019.

1/8 Courage the Cowardly Dog

In a farmhouse in The Middle of Nowhere live Muriel and Eustace Bagge, an elderly couple who are haunted by monsters and creatures of all kinds on a daily basis. The only one in charge of standing between this couple and the monsters in order to save their lives is their small and fearful dog, Courage. Despite what his name suggests, this animal is scared of practically everything, yet he is capable of putting his fears aside for the sake of protecting the ones he loves, leading him to embark on some of the most terrifying and varied adventures. Courage the Cowardly Dog is ranked at the top of this list for its impressive incorporation of horror into the children’s genre, its refined sense of humor and the complexity of its characters, all of which earned it an Academy Award nomination.

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