Was there anything better than waking up as a kid on the weekend and enjoying cereal while watching your favorite cartoons? I wish I could return to those simpler times when I didn’t have a care in the world. Looking at some of these cartoons has brought a serious case of nostalgia. These are some of the best Saturday morning cartoons of the 80s and 90s, in no particular order.
1. Inspector Gadget
If there is a mystery to be solved, Inspector Gadget is the man you want on the case. Half man, half robot, Gadget has a knack for getting into trouble with his dim-witted antics. Luckily, he is equipped with high gadgets that he can transform with his signature catchphrase, “Go-Go Gadget.” Along with his niece Penny and her dog Brian, the trio finds a way to thwart the plans of evil villain Dr. Claw.
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Four mutated teenagers morphed into half-man, half-turtle ninja warriors roaming the sewers and fighting the vicious criminal shredder. Trained by their mentor, Splinter, the four turtles and their wild personalities rid the city of evil while chowing down on pizza and creating some of the best catchphrases in a generation. Donatello, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael will have you saying, “Cowabunga, Dude!”
3. The Smurfs
Smurfs are these lovable blue creatures living inside mushrooms in a magical forest. These smurfs are just trying to live a peaceful life, yet they have to overcome the evil sorcerer Gargamel, his crony Scruple, and a mangy cat named Azrael. Smurf-like hi-jinks ensue as they gather around to foil the evil sorcerer’s plans. Originally a cartoon in the sixties, it was so well received they re-made it for the 80s.
The Autobots and the Decepticons square off machines that morph into fighting robots ready for battle. Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots, tries to end Megatron and the sinister Decepticons. The cartoon spun off a range of toys and a movie franchise in the 2000s.
Look at life behind the eyes of a group of toddlers as they explore the world around them. Led by Tommy Pickles, a baby in a diaper who is wise beyond his years, he tackles missions and daily adventures with his mild-mannered, often scared best friend Chucky and the twins Phil and Lil. Everything is a quest for young Tommy, and his main enemy is usually his sister Angelica, but he always shows courage and bravery while doing so.
6. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
He-man is the most powerful man alive in the universe of Eternia. He-Man uses his Sword of Power to get his superpowers and fight the bad guy Skeletor. Together with his trusted Battle Cat and sidekicks Teela and Orko, He-Man defends the Grayskull Castle and keeps the world right in Eternia.
7. Tiny Toon Adventures
There is a new generation of classic cartoon characters: the Tiny Toons. Watch a hipper, younger generation of your classic characters. We have Buster Bunny, Babs Bunny, Plucky Duck, and Hamton J. Pig as they run around their town of Acme Acres and attend Acme Looniversity to learn how to become Looney Toons. Wacky hijinks and laughs are bound to happen with these crazy toons.
8. g.i. Joe
The terrorist organization of COBRA is trying to attack the United States. Luckily, there is a highly skilled set of soldiers to defeat them. G.I. Joe taught kids about bravery and courage while telling detailed storylines of military action. The episodes always ended with a public service announcement because “Knowing is half the battle.”
Follow the adventures of Doug Funnie, a boy trying to navigate his way through high school in the fictional town of Bluffton. With his best friend Skeeter and his dog Porkchop, he attempts to overcome the school bully Roger Klotz and win over his crush, Patti Mayonaise. The show brings to life the trials of being a teenager trying to find their place in a light-hearted, funny cartoon.
A cartoon variety show followed the lives of siblings Yakko, Wacko, and Dot as they lived in the Warner Bros tower on the Warner Bros lot. Alone on the lot, they get into crazy predicaments with other members of the lot and some famous people as well. Mix in some hilarious pop culture references, and you are in for some zany antics with this trio.
For some reason, the 80s and 90s were big on half-human, half-something else. Thundercats featured a morph of Cat humans, led by Lion-O, who defended their planet from sorcerers and evil mutants. These Thundercats used the mystical weapon called the “Sword of Omens” to rid their world of evil and teach kids about loyalty and justice.
12. Bobby’s World
Bobby Generic is an overly imaginative little boy who daydreams and gets into trouble. His daily imagination usually involves taking sayings too literally, like traffic jams and being mashed up cars spread on toast. The world is unique, but you’ll get a new perspective when you see it through Bobby’s eyes.
13. X-Men, the Animated Series
Before the major X-Men movies were made in the 2000s, we had the animated series to fall in love with. A group of mutants team up to fight evil mutants and find their way into the human world. This series brought characters such as Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Magneto, and Gambit from the classic comic books to life.
14. The Real Ghostbusters
Piggybacking off the film version’s success, the studios also put out a cartoon of the Ghostbusters. Follow along with the crew as they attempt to rid New York City of all the mysterious ghosts and entities. Along with their trusty sidekick Slimmer, the crew had a new adventure every week as they dealt with these spooky ghosts.
15. The Care Bears
These cute, colorful bears aimed to teach kids how to care for and support each other. Each one portrayed a different emotion and offered advice for different situations. Implementing the Care Bear Stare, they overcame bad guys who would try to steal their joy. I think the world could use some Care Bears sometimes.
16. Batman, the Animated Series
Not as dark as the movies, this caped crusader is geared toward a younger audience. It followed Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, Batman, as he battled the criminal underground of Gotham City. Robin and Batgirl appear as sidekicks, trying to overcome the criminal masterminds living in their city.
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