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Remember those days quietly sitting in front of your television on a Saturday morning before your parents woke up? Time felt expansive, glorious and to yourself when watching ’90s cartoons. That is until your older sister demands to take the controller because she’s “the oldest”.
Those mornings heralded by the television became a moment of nostalgia for you. Back then, you would fiddle with the remote until the back had broken off and became sticky with tape. But that didn’t matter, you would still clutch onto that remote as you flicked through the channels to find your favourite show.
So, without ado, here are our favourite ’90s cartoons to watch on a Saturday morning:
Never did an insult hit so hard than being called Pinky. The duo first appeared on Animaniacs before getting their own spin-off show. Its adult humour and pop culture references herald this children’s show as one of the best in the nineties and loved by all the family.
Oh, how I longed to be Ashley Spinelli and yet, I was probably more like Gus. This show gave us an example of how any friendship group can have a mix in popularity. Recess glorified breaktimes and made me wish for a playground with the jungle gym they had. One lesson I will always take from this show is to never be like slimy Randall – no one likes a tattletale.
Another cartoon that was released later in the decade but still encapsulates that 90’s spirit. CatDog had a bonkers synopsis and is an excellent example of how cartoons can break the conventional. My mind still racks for answers as to how I accepted this show as a kid. The main character’s body made absolutely no sense.
Not just a show dedicated to nineties kids, Pingu ruled over two decades of children’s television. And, do you know what? I’d still watch Pingu today. Although the Pinguinese language was absolute non-sense, we always understood what was happening – and the humour transcended across the world.
Okay, who even knew the Scooby-Doo series we all loved was never actually released in the nineties? These timeless 40 episodes were constantly playing on the TV when growing up. I’m pretty sure I watched each episode at least ten times. Nevertheless, the shinier, new versions could never replicate the creepiness of haunted houses drawn in The Scooby-Doo Show’s 2D animation.
Hey Arnold! did not shy away from teaching us that every family have their problems. Although we may not have known it at the time, this ’90s cartoon taught us a lot about the difficulties of dealing with poverty, addiction and neglect. Arnold’s altruistic personality shows that we should be kind to everyone and try to help people for the better.
I know this show is only partly animated, but the detective work and perfected crayon drawings deserve a place on this list. I mean, how does that man draw so well on that little notepad – and where did he buy those fat crayons?
A legacy in any Nintendo fan’s childhood; this show brought to life our favourite games and made us all want to wear fingerless gloves. Let’s not forget the treasure of Pokemon The Movie 2000. By far, my Mum’s worst cinema experience that she will never let us forget. I still don’t know how she slept through that final heartwrenching scene.
Anyway, Pokemon‘s movie legacy lives on through bootlegged VHS tapes. We have often converted tapes to DVD that was a TV recording of Pokemon instead of precious memories.
An absolute BBC classic. No child brought up in the UK can genuinely say they didn’t watch Arthur. It was always on the primetime slots for children’s television. So it’s not at all surprising that episodes are still being made today, especially with that banging intro song written by Bob Marley’s son.
After putting Pinky and The Brain on this list, I could not forget to include Animaniacs. I cannot even comprehend how much influence Steven Spielberg has had on our generation. If it wasn’t for his infamous Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, or Saving Private Ryan, Speilberg also ruled over our favourite ’90’s cartoons. His studio was unstoppable with Animaniacs, Tiny Toon Adventures and Pinky and The Brain.
I am pretty sure my love for film noir began here. Batman‘s dark colour palette was created by using a black background and drawing with lighter colours. Its mature cinematography and unique style resonated with many of us as children. It was cool to have a show that included mature themes and violence – even if parents disagreed.
Could you imagine having a whole secret laboratory hidden in your bedroom? That would be the dream. The brother-sister rivalry really rang true in this series as I remember annoying my brother just as much as Dee-Dee annoyed Dexter.
This show always feels like a fever dream when I think back on it. And, for some reason, the episode where the class enter a human body has always stuck with me. What sort of school trip was that?!
A few superheroes turn up in this list, but none as niche as Bananaman. I always remember this as my sister’s favourite show – she has always had a love for satire, and it is great to see that even kid’s shows could rip into the superhero genre.
I know this only had a month in the nineties – but that still counts, right? Courage is definitely the reason why I love horror films now. This eery show of a dog dealing with creepy monsters coming to his elderly owner’s house brought delightful comedy moments and scared us witless.
DC are back at it again with Spider-Man. No other ’90s cartoon has brought us as many memes like this one. I would argue that the animated series had a more significant cultural impact than the later films.
Quintessentially British, The Adventures of Tintin took us on otherworldly adventures. This cartoon was one of the few that my parents would happily sit in the room and watch. Tintin has always felt like a cultural icon, and it was fun to watch the comic strip come alive in this series.
This mention goes out to everyone who watched VHS tapes at their grandparents. I always watched The Animals of Farthing Wood when I stayed at my Grandma’s on the weekend. It’s a melancholic memory, to say the least, because the storyline of this show is so devastatingly tragic.
I’m going to say it; Dragon Ball Z was the inspiration for many young boys wanting frosted tips. Forget Justin Timberlake and his spaghetti hair; the idea of having your hair looking it was on fire was the sure-fire way to get the girl. This anime cartoon series was an immense introduction to Japan’s animation for children and led me onto watching shows like Cowboy Bebop.
Ah, Rugrats. This show made me feel so mature because I was older than the characters in the show. It felt like I could laugh along with the adults – even though I was probably no more competent than those babies getting into trouble. Rugrats ruled my life when growing up. I loved the films and repeatedly played their Playstation games when not watching TV. So when Rugrats and The Wild Thornberries came together to make the film Rugrats Go Wild!, my mind was blown. I know the movie was played way too many times on repeat, but I loved watching it.
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