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Best 90s Nickelodeon Cartoons, Ranked

Some things in life are undeniable, and one of those things is that the children that grew up during the 90s enjoyed great productions of both TV series and cartoons. Productions that, beyond their special effects or animation quality, were entertaining, had a strong message, and told stories that entertained the audience. The shows you grow up with undoubtedly leave their mark, not only on you, but also on all those who shared your generation. Indeed, during the 90s, there were numerous productions aimed exclusively at younger audiences on children’s channels. One of these channels was Nickelodeon, which, with its bright orange logo, mesmerized children and brought them to the screen with its characteristic and well-remembered shows and characters, that even today are still a source of nostalgia.

Due to some of these shows’ success, many production companies over the years have decided to bring back to life these projects that were kept under lock and key in our memories. This was the case with Netflix when it released Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling in 2018, or recently when the Paramount+ platform made a reboot of the Rugrats series. To update these classics, producers alter the story a bit, in some cases altering characters and giving them new plots, spin-offs, locations and stories to tell. With these reboots they call upon our feelings and memories of childhood afternoons watching TV with family or friends. In this article, we take a look at the best 90s Nickelodeon cartoons.

Related: SpongeBob SquarePants Spinoff The Patrick Show is Happening at Nickelodeon

6 Rocko’s Modern Life

rockos modern life

This cartoon created in 1993 by Joe Murray follows the wanderings of Rocko, an Australian wallaby who decides to emigrate to the United States. He is a rather clumsy animal, yet big-hearted, who often finds himself involved in all sorts of odd and bizarre situations, all of which are extremely amusing for young audiences. Surrounded by some equally striking supporting characters such as Heffer, Filburt, Ed and Bev Bighead and his adorable puppy Spunky, Rocko spends most of his time trying to get out of all sorts of problems that come his way in his new American life.

Rocko’s Modern Life is, in a sense, a cartoon that inherits many characteristics of The Ren & Stimpy Show, adapting to that type of humor and animation style with all kinds of totally unthinkable details. Due to these features, it worked well for both young and adults to enjoy. And due to the audience’s fond memory of this adorable wallaby, in 2018 Netflix released a special called Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling, a 45-minute production gifting the audience with a new adventure of Rocko and his friends.

5 Aaahh!!! Real Monsters

aahh real monsters

Aaahh!!! Real Monsters features the adventures of three rather atypical characters: little monsters Ickis, Oblina and Krumm, students at a special school in New York City, which is located under a dumpster and specializes in scaring humans. Scary Ickis resembles a violet rabbit and has the ability to increase in size, just like his renowned father, famous Slickis.The studious Oblina comes from a wealthy family and is considered by the director to be one of his best students. She can change her appearance to provoke nightmares. Finally, there is Krumm, hairy and orange, with pestilent armpits and a pair of eyeballs outside his body that he usually carries in his hands. Mischievous, with hardly any sense of seriousness and no fear at all, this comedy’s main characters filled the afternoons of many children in the 90s with their crazy stories. Created by Gábor Csupó and Peter Gaffney, this production premiered in October 1994 and was broadcast until 1997 with a total of 52 episodes.

4 The Ren & Stimpy Show

ren and stimpy

In 1991, Nickelodeon launched The Ren & Stimpy Show, created by John Kricfalusi, one of the most popular animations of the 90s that had the peculiarity of appealing to both children and adults, for its grotesque and extravagant humor. The series featured Ren, a very unbalanced Chihuahua, and Stimpy, a good and silly cat. Together they live through hilarious and totally surreal adventures.

This animation has been one of Nickelodeon’s most revolutionary, to the point that it had to be censored in 1995 due to its humor and constant satire of American society, which made many people uncomfortable. Over the years during which it aired, it premiered five seasons and fifty-one episodes. The series’ staff did not want to create an educational series, which annoyed Nickelodeon and led the parents of the audience to criticize the series. As a result, some segments of the show were modified to exclude violent and suggestive scenes and unwanted references. Years later, the cartoon reappeared on MTV, but this time with an adult version. Despite censorship and negative reviews, John Kricfalusi is still considered to be the father of irreverent animation and a major influence on subsequent cartoons.

Related: Old TV Shows From the 90s That Could Never Air Today

3 SpongeBob SquarePants


This 1999 animated series by animator, cartoonist and marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg recounts the adventures of a sea sponge and his friends. SpongeBob lives in a pineapple under the sea, in the imaginary town of Bikini Bottom. His best friends are Gary, his pet snail, Patrick, a friendly starfish, and Sandy, a clever squirrel who adapted her clothes and house to live underwater. SpongeBob makes a living at Krusty Krab, along with his co-worker and neighbor, the sophisticated Squidward Tentacles who is often irritated by SpongeBob’s friendliness and unconventional way of living. This little sponge has no logical way of acting in everyday situations, and his good intentions and eagerness for doing good often create quite a few problems.

SpongeBob SquarePants is Nickelodeon’s longest-running series, with thirteen seasons running to date, and has won a number of awards, including Annie Awards, Golden Reel Awards, Emmy Awards, Kids’ Choice Awards and BAFTA Children’s Awards. Its unspeakable success spurred the producers to release three movies featuring the characters, a Broadway musical based on the series, and spin-off Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years, a prequel that tells the story of Bob and his friends’ childhood.

2 Rugrats


Tommy, Chuckie, Angelica and twins Phil and Lil star in Rugrats, one of Nickelodeon’s longest-running series. This American animated series, created in 1989 by Arlene Klasky and her husband Gábor Csupó together with Paul Germain, recounts the story of these little kids and their adventures, with themes and concepts that were quite advanced for that time. It portrays the activities of everyday life through the eyes of the little ones. The adventures of the imaginative protagonists are already worthy of a marathon, but in addition to that, there is also a brilliant cast of supporting characters and the most advanced stories: feminist mothers, broad ethnic representation, and cultural and gender diversity. This cartoon went down in history for having one of Nickelodeon’s best villains: moody Angelica. To its nine seasons were added several movies: The Rugrats Movie (1998), Rugrats in Paris: The Movie (2000) and Rugrats Go Wild (2003), a crossover with The Wild Thornberrys. In May 2021 Paramount+ premiered a reboot of Rugrats, the success of which resulted in a renewal for a second season.

1 Hey Arnold!

hey arnold

Hey Arnold! tops the list for being a perfect cartoon from any point of view: it features memorable and highly distinctive characters, great animation and fascinating stories whose narrative runs through a wide variety of genres, ranging from comedy to horror. This animated fiction, created by Craig Bartlett, premiered in October 1996, and due to its charismatic main character, inspired by a clay figure created by Bartlett himself, it immediately aroused the interest of thousands of boys and girls.

Arnold is a 9-year-old boy who lives with his grandparents in Hillwood City, a large fictional city located in Washington, mixing elements of New York, Seattle and even London. In addition to being optimistic and always willing to help anyone in need, he has a distinctive football-shaped head.This is how Helga, his classmate, refers to him, a girl who despite showing her hatred for him, is completely in love with Arnold. Throughout the show’s five seasons and hundreds of episodes, Arnold and his friends spend their days having hilarious adventures (and others not so much) while learning about values and lessons with the help of Hillwood City’s adults.

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