The 20 Best Saturday Morning Cartoons of All Time

The Best Saturday Morning Cartoons

It’s the end of an era, and the Saturday Morning Cartoon is officially dead. Our top 20 Saturday morning cartoons list continues with #10:

10. Captain N: The Game Master (NBC, 1989-1991)

Okay so this show wasn’t great but I always loved the possibilities it offered. Captain N: The Game Master tells the story of Kevin Keene, a California teenager who is sucked into his television and taken to another universe known as Videoland where according to an ancient prophecy, he must save Videoland from evil forces led by Mother Brain (from the floating world/fortress called Metroid).

Every week, Captain N would team with a bunch of the video game heroes to fight the forces of video game villains led by Mother Brain. The great thing about the show was that it was a mash-up of the popular Nintendo video games of the time, and the worlds and characters from all your favorite games would converge in the adventures each week. It was Wreck It Ralph before Wreck It Ralph. Again, the story-lines were not incredible but the show was entertaining and left your imagination running wild. I remember playing Captain N: The Game Master with my 9 year old friends in the backyard.

I’ve said this a number of times, but I wish Nintendo would produce a Captain N: The Game Master video game which would put you in the shoes (or sneakers?) of Captain N who must journey through classic NES, SNES and N64 video game levels with interesting twists and featuring unexpected characters and changes. I’ve always thought that could be really cool.

9. The Bugs Bunny Show (CBS, 1968-2000)

This show is a classic, featuring characters that most everyone has seen at some point. While the show started out in primetime, after two seasons The Bugs Bunny Show moved to Saturday mornings, where it remained in various formats for nearly four decades. The cartoons inspired countless animators and storytellers and the episodes are still entertaining 45 years later.

8. Doug (Nickelodeon, 1991-1996; ABC, 1996-2001)

Created by Jim Jinkins, Doug followed the early adolescent life of Doug Funnie (Voiced by the legend Billy West) and his experiences attending school in his new hometown of Bluffington. The stories were narrated by Doug through his journal entries. The series connected with many pre and early teen kids as it addressed a lot of relatable topics for the age range, including trying to fit in, bullying, and attempts to impress his class crush Patti Mayonnaise.

The Walt Disney Company purchased Jim Jinkins’ company Jumbo Pictures in 1996 and ordered new episodes of the show, released under the titles Brand Spanking New! Doug and Disney’s Doug in the late 1990’s. But it was the original series that connected with so many kids, including myself.

7. Darkwing Duck (Disney Channel, 1991; syndication, 1991-1992; ABC, 1991-1992)

Darkwing Duck originated as a storyline in Ducktales and was spun-off into its own series after the conclusion of the show. The series told the story of a anthropomorphic duck character who struggles to balance his craving for fame as the masked superhero Darkwing Duck and his efforts to be a good suburban father to his adopted daughter Gosalyn.

Darkwing Duck is a favorite among many Disney kids, but the original series ran for only a year and a half. The 91 episodes had a long life in syndication and the legacy of the series has inspired a comic book series from BOOM! Studios and even some recent throwback appearances from the costumed character in Disney theme parks.

6. X-Men (Fox, 1992-1997)

X-Men was my first animated superhero television series. I found comic books in the late 1980’s during what is known as the “speculator boom” of the comic book industry. X-men quickly became my favorite series and the X-Men animated series on Fox brought the issues to life in ways I had never before imagined. Nowadays we’re spoiled with how much great superhero and comic book movie adaptations we have on the big and small screens, but back in the early 90’s, Tim Burton’s Batman was mind blowing and nothing else really existed. I watched the old Adam West Batman tv series, and even the black and White Superman show, but those were both relics from the previous old school campy episodic era where X-Men offered more mythology.

I remember being particularly taken with the character Morph, which was introduced in the animated series. Seeing the character meet his fate on the show at the hands of the Sentinels blew my mind. Its not that I had not read comic books where characters were killed off, but it was a completely different thing seeing it happen in an animated series — for some reason it felt more real and tangible — it mattered.

We’re down to the final five, have your favorites been named yet? Find out which five animated series topped our list, after the jump.

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