It’s the end of an era, and the Saturday Morning Cartoon is officially dead. So I thought now would be the perfect time to take a look back at the best Saturday Morning Cartoons. Hit the jump to find out the 20 best Saturday morning cartoons of all time, according to me. I have even included the opening credits song (whenever available) so that you can take a trip back in time to revisit the pop culture that owned the saturday mornings of our childhoods.
Disclaimer: Of course, like most lists, this is subjective. Not only is this list subjective, it is based within the source material of my childhood. The Saturday morning cartoon blocks began in the 1960s and lasted through the new millennium (with the last and final bow happening in 2014), but considering my childhood spanned the 1980s and 1990s, my list is heavily in those generations of programing. I’m sure those in the generation that followed me might list SpongeBob Square Pants, while those in the generation before mine might list DC Comics’ Super Friends. And I’m sure there will be other shows like Thundercats which many will agree could be represented, but didn’t make the list.
20. Camp Candy (NBC, 1989-1991; syndication, 1992)
This is one of those animated television shows that you might not remember until someone mentions it, but it was fun. The show was set in a summer camp run by John Candy. (Who voiced an animated version of himself; later syndicated broadcasts even featured live action segments featuring Candy.) The show came after Candy’s performance as Chet Ripley in The Great Outdoors and as Jack Chester in Summer Rental, both of which loosely inspired the series.
The show would usually begin with John Candy trying to show an outdoor skill to his summer campers, leading him to tell a tale which would be the episode’s story. One of the main antagonists was Rex DeForest III (gotta love that name), a man who is trying to demolish Camp Candy in order to build condominiums.
19. The Smurfs (NBC, 1981-1989)
Say what you will of the recent live-action/animated hybrid movies, but The Smurfs Hanna-Barbera Productions television show was a staple of Saturday morning cartoon block in the 1980s. Based on a Belgian comic, the cartoon series followed a colony of small blue creatures that live in mushroom-shaped houses in the forest in hiding from the evil wizard Gargamel, who along with his cat Azrael, wanted to capture the Smurfs to create a potion to turn base matter into gold.
18. Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (CBS, 1972-1984; syndication, 1984-1985)
Everyone loved Bill Cosby, and his animated series Fat Albert was unlike anything else on the Saturday morning cartoon block of the 1970s and 1980s. The show was created, produced, voiced, and hosted by the comedian, who appeared in live-action bookends. Stories were based on his memories of his childhood gang lead by Fat Albert (voiced by Cosby and known for his catchphrase “Hey hey hey!”). Each episode featured an educational lesson, making it one of the first Saturday morning cartoon shows to take this approach.
17. Bobby’s World (Fox, 1990-1998)
Created by comedian Howie Mandel (who also voiced the title character and his father Howard), the show followed the daily life of Bobby and his very overactive imagination. Mandel would also be featured in a live-action bookend describing how part of this week’s story was inspired by his own personal childhood. And rumor has it that Howie Mandel is trying to get a deal with a network to reboot the show for today’s kids. I hope it happens.
16. M.A.S.K. (USA Network, 1985-1986)
Sure it was a blatant toy commercial created by Kenner toys to take on Transformers and GI Joe, but it was pretty cool and the toys were even cooler. The show told the story of M.A.S.K. (\Mobile Armored Strike Kommand), a special task force of super-powered mask-wearing characters which employed high-tech transforming vehicles in an ongoing battle against the criminal organization V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem, again: love it!).