If you were a kid in the 1990s you inevitably spent hours in front of the TV after school, on weekend and during school holidays watching awesome cartoons. But the question is: which cartoons that premiered in the '90s were the most awesome?
Why it's awesome: It brought to life the potentially embarrassing fantasy adventures of Pokemaniacs all over the world. Everyone that ever wanted to show someone their "pokemans" (as they were dubbed by fuddy-duddies who didn't get the craze) finally got to see them on a bigger screen, in glorious animated action. It is almost as addictive as the games.
19. Dragon Ball Z (1989 - 1996)
(It counts as a '90s cartoon because it didn't come to the West till the mid-'90s.)
Why it's awesome: Riding on the back of an immensely popular manga and preceding anime series, Dragon Ball Z stepped things up a notch (by over 9000 notches, in fact). Drawing on the Chinese folk novel Journey to the West (which we Westerners know better as Monkey) the series had an exhaustive storyline and over-the-top battle scenes like nothing before it.
18. The Powerpuff Girls (1998 - 2005)
Why it's awesome: This show was one of the first to ring-in what would become Cartoon Network's distinctive style of animation. So, that's neat. More importantly it featured three adorable little chicklets with mighty ability, doing majorly gratuitous and unnecessary violence on evil. At least that's what the censors thought (we thought it was rad).
17. The Tick (1994 - 1996)
Why it's awesome: Satirical superhero antics for the masses? Excellent. There aren't many superhero series where the leading man in blue would yell "SPOOOOOON!" as he leapt into battle against a villain named Chairface. The Tick now has a cult following worthy of its awesome status.
16. Samurai Pizza Cats (1990 - 1991)
Why it's awesome: Who do you call when you want some pepperoni? Walking talking samurai cats who run a pizzeria, that's who. If you've not seen the show, imagine Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with samurai cats, and imbued with the zaniness that only Japanese animation seems to capture so neatly. Oh, they're also robots — and did we mention that the English version is actually a hilariously dubbed parody of the Japanese release? Nice.
15. Gargoyles (1994 - 1997)
Why it's awesome: Disney's take on a cartoon bent towards an older audience, and they pulled it off well. It featured enough tricky situations, melodrama and actual character development to actually keep you pulled into what was going on — and want to see the next episode. Plus it was about, like, cursed stone statues that came to life. Awesome.
14. Captain Planet & The Planeteers (1990 - 1996)
Why it's awesome: The power is yours! This show drilled the importance of safekeeping the environment into minds of an entire generation. Almost everyone who watched it still remembers the theme song. Plus, it featured a wide set of star spangled voices from Whoopi Goldberg to Meg Ryan and Tim Curry.
13. The Angry Beavers (1997 - 2001)
Why it's awesome: Daggett and Norbert two young angry, angry beavers who left home to make it on their own out in the forest. What's not like about that? Also, one of their best friends is a tree-stump. An inanimate, supposedly sentient, fun-loving tree-stump. Named Stump. Brilliant
.12. Freakazoid! (1995 - 1997)
Why it's awesome: A computer virus downloads the internet into a 16-year-old geek, turning him into a whoppingly powerful superhero. That's pretty awesome. Demonstrating amazing foresight, the creators (same crew as Animaniacs) understood what having all of the interwebs in one brain would do to someone, and made Freakzoid a bit ADHD and entirely crazy. Major lulz ensue.
11. Real Monsters (1994 - 1997)
Why it's awesome: We finally got to find out what monsters do when they're not hiding under beds or in our closets — they attended school to learn how to scare us. Think Harry Potter with monstrous characters that came in an imaginative set of shapes, with a great set of frightening abilities.
10. Sailor Moon (1994 - 1995)
Why it's awesome: This tale of fighting evil by moonlight and winning love by daylight was one of the most popular anime series to catch on in the Western world. Among the talking cats, nautical-styled school uniforms and planet-rescuing magical girls were stories heavily influenced by recognisable mythology. It's like a rom-com-fantasy-action series all packed into one.
9. Rocko's Modern Life (1993 - 1996)
Why it's awesome: Innuendo. It would've sailed right over the heads of most younger viewers, but the show is packed with concealed references to adult matters and social commentary. Children can't be expected to understand what's going on when Heffer, the male cow, is milked — but we bet you do.
8. Rugrats (1991 - 2004)
Why it's awesome: It's like a better-than-average soap with a comedic bent. Except it's a cartoon, and the majority of the characters you relate to are... babies. Rugrats managed to forge that connection between viewer and character, partly because babies do such adorable things — and partly because you were a baby once too.
7. Ren and Stimpy (1991 - 1996)
Why it's awesome: Another Nickelodeon success entrenched deeply in madness. The show featured everything from toilet humour to bouts of homicidal insanity — and was intentionally not in the least bit educational. Ren & Stimpy also gave us the joys that are Log and Don't Whizz On The Electric Fence. If you don't know what those are, you're missing out.
6. The Adventures of Tintin (1991 - 1992)
Why it's awesome: The single best mystery solving, globetrotting cartoon animated series outside of... no, it's still the best. Just about every storyline was split into two episodes, allowing for cliff-hangers and suspense. If you were looking to learn a bit about the world, and reading wasn't for you, this was a winner.
5. X-Men (1992 - 1997)
Why it's awesome: The most faithful X-Men adaptation (from comic to screen) to this day. It featured (almost) all of the franchise's best characters, and did not shy away from representing and tackling real life issues such as intolerance and racism. Oh, and there was a bit of Spider-man crossover. Awesome.
4. SpongeBob SquarePants (1999 – )
Why it's awesome: He lives in a pineapple under the sea, and he's absolutely insane. But definitely crazy in an awesomely funny way. SpongeBob's cohorts and compatriots are (mostly) a little less off-the-rocker than the Sponge himself but pretty much all of them are adored by children (and stoners) worldwide.
3. Tiny Toon Adventures (1990 - 1995)
Why it's awesome: The premise is "the next generation of Looney Tunes characters". You're sold already, aren't you? Also, they're kids — attending "Looniversity" where they're taught to be funny by... the original cast of Looney Tunes. Among the pop culture references and overwhelming cuteness, much awesome lurked.
2. Batman: The Animated Series (1992 - 1995)
Why it's awesome: Batman is already awesome, but this cartoon portrayal combined some of the best interpretations to produce a highly acclaimed vision of the Batman universe. The creators drew on Tim Burton's movies, Frank Miller's comic and imagined a dark, mature, visually engaging series that still stands up as a companion piece to Christopher Nolan's rebooted film franchise.
1. Animaniacs (1993 - 1998)
Why it's awesome: An animated skit show from Steven Spielberg featuring just the right amount of hilarity and violence? Of course it's awesome. The array of bizarre characters, settings and humour? Still awesome. Birthplace of Pinky & The Brain? That's why this is number one.