You don't need to be a '90s kid to understand how the world of animation changed after the late '80s. As animation quality and techniques got better, so too did the quality of shows and characters. Channels like Nickelodeon and Disney Channel began in earnest to move away from live action and focus on cartoons. When Cartoon Network and WB appeared on the scene in 1992 and 1995, a massive influx of original and classic cartoons suddenly filled the airwaves. This era of '90s cartoons is remembered fondly by the thousands of millennials who grew up watching them. Enough time has passed that bringing back these beloved cartoons is not out of the question. Let's see which ten '90s cartoons would work best if rebooted today!
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A cartoon highlighting the microcosms and societal rules developed by a fourth-grade class during recess, Recess aired on ABC's One Saturday Morning block in 1997. The show proved hugely successful, following the adventures of six friends as they fought back from the tyranny of adults and teachers and navigated the complex social interactions of fourth-grade recess.
The show went on to debut a theatrical film and three direct-to-video film releases. Given how much has changed since the show ended in November 2001, it would be fascinating to see how the show tackles more modern problems. If kept to the spirit of the original, it would be an enlightening and entertaining revelation to see fourth graders navigate things like modern technology and politics.
9 Captain Planet And The Planeteers
Earth! Fire! Wind! Water! Heart! These elements combined create the heroic Captain Planet, defender of Earth and fighter of pollution. The series aired on TBS in 1992 and was eventually rebroadcast on Cartoon Network in the mid-'90s. The show taught young viewers about pollution and ways to help the environment and their fellow man. While a little cheesy, the show was filled with (appropriately) a lot of heart, and was dedicated to teaching kids how to help the environment.
There have been talks about rebooting the show for years, with various fan films pushed out in the meantime. Given the increased concern for climate change and the things society has learned since the show aired, now would be a perfect time to bring back the Planeteers.
8 Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
A show that was creepy as it was delightful, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters aired on Nickelodeon from 1992-1997. The show followed three young monsters (Krumm, Oblina, and Ickis) as they went through monster school, learning how to scare humans. Despite their odd or monstrous appearances, these monsters had emotions and problems, just like the rest of us. Oftentimes the lessons they learned in scaring were real-life lessons that could be taught to children watching the show. In this way, the show subverted its creepy and potentially scary premise.
A rebooted version of the show could easily take place a little after the three monsters have graduated monster school. Potentially they could find a world that isn't scared of monsters anymore, and they may need to go back to school or get additional training to scare a new generation of kids. There are several possibilities to bring the show back, and to add new and creepier monsters to add for the shows aesthetic.
7 The Ren & Stimpy Show
The original fever-dream-esque cartoon, The Ren & Stimpy Show aired on Nickelodeon in 1991, airing for five seasons. The show's off-beat and oftentimes dark humor separated it from other cartoons at the time, as did its unique and bizarre visual style. The series has gained a cult following over the years, and helped kickstart the career of Billy West (Futurama).
Given the cult following, there is no denying the demand for the show to return. Over the years, cartoons like Adventure Time have helped bring mature animated series into the public conscious, legitimizing and normalizing them. Given the variety of different outlets the show could air on, the time may be right to bring a little craziness back on the air.
Created by the duo responsible for Batman: The Animated Series, Freakazoid! aired on the WB in 1995. Freakazoid! centers on 17-year-old Dexter Douglas, who inadvertently triggers a computer bug that takes him inside the internet. As a result, he becomes Freakazoid, a somewhat insane but morally sound hero with a huge number of superpowers.
Technology has grown by leaps and bounds since the '90s. The addition of smartphones and improved technology could only result in more hijinks for Dexter/Freakazoid to get in to. In addition, the self-referential humor and zany style of the show has since become the norm for animated programs. Knowing the show, it could easily fit in on streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu, which would fuel back into the show's humor, guaranteed.
5 Courage The Cowardly Dog
Originally a part of Cartoon Network's What a Cartoon! 1996 showcase, Courage the Cowardly Dog aired on the channel fully in 1999. Courage's adventures often consisted of trying to save his elderly owners from supernatural elements on a farm in literal Nowhere. The show was both funny and creepy, with praise given to both the horror stories told and the visual humor incorporated to offset it.
Given the lack of a major storyline through the show, it would be considerably easier to reboot the show than more linear stories. There are very few horror-themed shows for children, and even fewer that are as beloved as Courage the Cowardly Dog. While he may be a stupid dog to his owner Eustace, now would be a great time for him to make a return to Cartoon Network.
4 Darkwing Duck
It's not dangerous to say that Darkwing Duck was extremely popular during its 1991-1992 run on ABC. Mild-mannered Drake Mallard by day, Darkwing Duck by night, the show was action-packed and consistently enjoyable. Though a common misconception has it as a spin-off of Ducktales, the shows are considered to be in separate universes.
Given the wild success of Disney's rebooted Ducktales series, it seems only natural to reboot this one as well. While the character himself has been seen on the reboot, no official plans have been made yet to reboot Darkwing Duck. Still, it is only a matter of time before Disney brings it back to air given the cult following the show has.
3 Pinky & The Brain
One can't speak (or even think) the title before the show's theme tune gets stuck in your head. Another wonderchild from the WB programming block, the show originally aired as a segment on Animaniacs. The segment proved immensely popular, earning it a separate spin-off show. The show dealt with two genetically mutated lab rats (an idiot named Pinky and a genius named Brain) who sought to take over the world. The humor and writing of the show were considered excellent, earning the show multiple Emmys and Annie Awards.
Voice actors for Pinky and Brain (Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche) have alluded to wanting a reboot of the show for a while now. While there are no official plans in the works quite yet, it would easily attract a massive audience. Since as Animaniacs is poised for a reboot in the coming years, it seems only natural for Pinky & The Brain to follow suit.
Stone by day, warriors by night, amazing cartoon regardless of when you watched it. Airing in 1994, the show was an almost instant hit due to its dark themes and well-rounded characters. Betrayed a thousand years ago, the Gargoyles awaken in 1990s New York to their home and clan destroyed. They now roam the streets of New York, protecting its citizens from supernatural dangers.
The show has maintained an avid and devoted fan base over the years. One such fan is Jordan Peele, who reportedly wants to bring back the show. Given Peele's success in rebooting The Twilight Zone, its success may bring hope to fans who have also waited what feels like a millennia to have the show back on the air.
1 Oh Yeah! Cartoons
We owe much to Oh Yeah! Cartoons. A Frederator-produced cartoon showcase airing on Nickelodeon in the late '90s, its goal was to introduce new cartoons and develop them into full series. It's Nickelodeon legacy includes The Fairly OddParents, Chalkzone, and My Life as a Teenage Robot. It helped launch the careers of Butch Hartman (Oddparents and Danny Phantom), Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane, and Star vs. the Forces of Evil's Dave Wasson.
While Frederator had produced a similar showcase for Cartoon Network, the cartoons on Oh Yeah! were truly extraordinary. Animators today have very few network opportunities to showcase their work in a safe, supportive environment. Bringing the show back would not only help Nickelodeon out of its current animation slump, but would help give voice to a new generation of story tellers.