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13 of the best cartoon shows we watched as kids

By / 05.07.13
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Best Cartoons 80s 90s List

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjaTkPYzK00" target="_blank">YouTube/Warner Bros.</a>


As a kid, what better way was there than to unwind than by getting completely absorbed in one of our favorite cartoons? Since we already went over a ton of the best Nickelodeon shows here, let's skip those (though we love them) and talk about some of the other greatest cartoon shows we watched as kids. What was your favorite?

Photo credit: YouTube/Warner Bros.

Wind, fire, water, earth, heart! It's hard to hear anything about the elements without thinking back to the much beloved Captain Planet, which cleverly taught us about the environment through the use of greater superhero adventures.

This could have easily been an unnecessary retread of the flawless Looney Tunes, but instead, focused on the adventures of young versions of our favorite Looney Tunes characters as they attended Acme Looniversity was always funny and entertaining.

Saturday mornings watching Bobby's World will always hold a special place in our heart. The great mid-west cartoon family (Generic? JEN-A-RICK!), the amusing live action segments with Howie Mandel and of course, Bobby’s incredible imagination delivered pure entertainment.

The action-packed ThunderCats was colorful, exciting and made us all want to yell out "ThunderCats Ho!" with our ThunderCats action figures, in our ThunderCats underwear on top of our ThunderCats sheet-covered beds.

Though Gargoyles was short-lived, it managed to produce an impressive 78 episodes during its three-season tenure. While gargoyles are typically imagined as evil creatures, these ones were betrayed outcasts just trying to adjust to New York City life. Unique and memorable, there weren’t a lot of other kid’s shows that introduced Shakespearean characters and plot lines and medieval Scottish history into their shows.

This was clearly a cartoon for adults, but suitable enough to show kids because they didn't really get it anyway. Sexual innuendo, that obese Godfather pigeon, hilarious voice acting and zany joke after zany joke made this one of our favorites.

ReBoot wasn't technically a cartoon, but we can't not include it, right? By today's standards, the CGI is very plain looking, but as the first show of its kind back then, it was colorful, smooth and beautiful-looking, making it a sheer joy to watch as the exciting stories of intra-mainframe computer adventure and warfare unfolded.

I'm already LOL'ing. The Tick was over-the-top, overbearing, over-confident and over-massed, making him sort of an invulnerable, child-like idiot. And we loved him for it. And who can forget all the hilarious recurring characters such as the Sewer Urchin, Captain Liberty, Chair Face, American Maid and our favorite pudgy moth, Arthur?

It was confusing as a kid to see the Ghostbusters teamed up with Slimer as their mascot and then to see the movies when we were old enough and see that Slimer was actually not their friend. Oh well, I'll always remember Ecto-Cooler fondly, regardless of Slimer's stance on ghost-busting. The only thing that could have made this show better was if the original actors provided the character's voices.

Nothing is cooler than mutants. As kids, we wanted to be a mutant (namely Wolverine) and as adults, well, that hasn't really changed. The ever-intense face-offs between Professor X and Magneto, Rogue's deadly touch, Gambit's exploding cards, Wolverine calling everyone except for Jean Grey "Bub," enormous 50-foot Sentinels and more made this one of our absolute favorites.

YES. This Burton-esque series was a hell of a lot more adult-oriented than superhero cartoons had ever been. It depicted plenty of knuckle-crunching combat as well as explosions and gunfire, even though there were never any life-threatening consequences for the bad guys. The spot-on voice-acting (this is where Mark Hamill got his start as The Joker), huge roster of baddies, great plots and thrilling action made this the perfect weekday afternoon escape.

A true Saturday morning favorite, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a cast of memorable characters, both regular and recurring, awesome combat scenes, great catch-phrases and they even managed to get us in the mood for pizza more than we always were. Fun fact: did you know that there were 10 seasons of TMNT, and a total of 193 episodes? G'damn!

The syndication of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons (with exception of the truly racist ones that are forbidden and buried away in some secret vault somewhere - called the Internet) was a true blessing. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Tweety Bird, Sylvester, Speedy Gonzalez, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote and Yosemite Sam will forever be hailed as some of the best, funniest and most timeless cartoon characters of all time.

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TAGSAnimaniacsArbitrary RankingsBatman: The Animated Seriesbest 80s cartoonsbest 90s cartoonsbest cartoons listbest kids cartoonsBobby's WorldCaptain PlanetfeaturedGargoyleslist of cartoonsListsLooney TunesrebootTeenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesThe Real GhostbustersThe TickThunder CatsTiny Toon AdventuresTiny ToonsTMNTX-Men: The Animated Series
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