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Top 10 Animated Shows From Nickelodeon

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Craig Butler Whether they feature a maniacal dog or an anthropomorphic sponge, these cartoons have a special quality all their own. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 animated shows from Nickelodeon. For this list, we’re choosing Nickelodeon shows based on a mix of their overall popularity, critical success and how memorable they are. Special thanks to our users jkellis, TVJUNK85, Moviemaster219, EpicJason2000, Nicholas Cisneros, Norris Vaughn, Moise Joassaint, Olivia Davis, Emmanuel Strong-Hall, Lucas Bradley, alfrink1c, Anthony Garcia, MrWarners14, Matthew Hankin, Jsmith94243, victor eduardo rico, Paul Hubler, Brian Silva, Drew Eckhart, starwarsman7201, Liza Davydzenkava, Sergio Dominguez, mac121mr0, Stacy Koopmann, Francis FNT, IDerob Learie and Noah Christian Cornelius for submitting this idea through our Suggest Tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest

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Script written by Craig Butler

Top 10 Animated Shows From Nickelodeon

Whether they feature a maniacal dog or an anthropomorphic sponge, these cartoons have a special quality all their own. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 animated shows from Nickelodeon.

For this list, we’re choosing Nickelodeon shows based on a mix of their overall popularity, critical success and how memorable they are.

#10: “Invader Zim” (2001-02; 2006)

A cult series originally aimed at young teens, “Invader Zim” concerns an alien warrior bent on dominating Earth. The problem is, Zim’s a bit inept; his own people sent him to Earth only to get him out of their hair. Things aren’t helped by the fact that Zim’s robot assistant, GIR (grr), is even more inept, and that an earthling named Dib is always around to interfere. “Invader Zim’s” humor is knowing yet silly, and its animation style is striking.

#9: “The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” (2002-06)

An 11-year-old boy genius with an oversized forehead, Jimmy Neutron is one of those geniuses whose inventions somehow never quite work out – much to the exasperation of all around him and the delight of his loyal viewers. In this TV spin-off to the 2001 computer-animated film, Jimmy’s the undisputed star, but the supporting cast – from dimwitted Sheen and lovably wimpy Carl to brainy rival Cindy and sassy Libby – are no slouches either. And no one could resist Goddard, Jimmy’s loyal dog – who also happens to be a robot.

#8: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2012-)

These unstoppable heroes in a half shell joined the Nickelodeon lineup in 2012 with a new series that shows they are still full of turtle power. This version features some nifty computer-generated animation, but it’s combined with matte painted backgrounds and other stylistic flourishes that give it a very cool look. The expert voice cast is simply aces, and the scripts keep tongue firmly in cheek while never skimping on the action. All in all, a perfect show to watch while chowing down on a pizza.

#7: “Doug” (1991-94)

Although “Doug” eventually landed on Disney, it spent its first three years as one of Nickelodeon’s finest series. In it, Doug Funnie, new arrival to the town of Bluffington, tells his life story in journal form. Doug’s adventures are the stuff of everyday life, easily relatable to anyone who has ever been bullied, felt nervous or wanted to impress a special someone. They’re gentle tales, but their warmth is laced with plenty of humor and occasional bite.

#6: “The Ren & Stimpy Show” (1991-95)

Take one very high-strung, very unstable Chihuahua. Mix with one amiable but incredibly stupid cat. Then step back and let the fireworks explode. That’s the basic formula behind “The Ren & Stimpy Show,” but what made it memorable was the zany imagination in the script and visuals. Reactions were outsized and memorable, the humor could be both sophisticated and gross, and the entire thing examined the world through a funhouse mirror: it was a wild and unforgettable rollercoaster that ultimately became a cult hit.

#5: “The Fairly OddParents” (2001-)

Creator Butch Hartman’s hyperactive brand of comedy pervades this long-running series. Stories revolve around Timmy Turner, a buck-toothed, impulsive and likable kid who just happens to have a couple of fairy godparents – Cosmo and Wanda – to make up for his well-meaning but dimwitted real parents. Timmy tends to make wishes before he really thinks, making each episode filled with chaotic fun. But even when Timmy’s wishes are reasonable, the lovably inane Cosmo finds a way to derail them.

#4: “Hey Arnold!” (1996-2004)

Idealistic Arnold is a bit of a dreamer and more than a bit of an optimist; he really wants to see any glass as half full. Looking at the bright side, Arnold helps people with their problems, confronts urban legends and generally helps others behave a little more the way they should – at least for a while. Even Helga, the school’s bully, can’t help loving Arnold – although she’d rather die than have him know her true feelings.

#3: “Rugrats” (1991-2004)

Who knew that a bunch of pre-verbal toddlers could be so much fun? The award-winning “Rugrats” explores the lives of a bunch of babies who learn something new about the world around them every day – but what they learn doesn’t necessarily match what grown-ups call reality. Adults may not be able to understand their baby talk, but fortunately viewers can – and thus are treated to witty dialogue that goes way over the grown-ups’ heads. A generation grew up with Tommy, Chuckie, and the rest – and will never forget them.

#2: “Avatar: The Last Airbender” (2005-08)

A visual blend of anime and traditional animation, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is an adventure series which packs plenty of humor in with its action. Set in a world in which four nations are at war, it stars Aang, a 12-year-old boy who has been frozen for 100 years. Upon thawing out, he realizes he is the chosen one who must unite the warring nations. The excellent sequel series, “The Legend of Korra,” follows Aang’s successor as she helps the tribes in the future.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“The Penguins of Madagascar” (2008-)

“Rocko's Modern Life” (1993-96)

“Danny Phantom” (2004-07)

“CatDog” (1998-2005)

“The Wild Thornberrys” (1998-2004)

#1: “SpongeBob SquarePants” (1999-)

One of the most popular animated series of all time, “SpongeBob SquarePants” is a pop icon – and with good reason. It has a goofy but endearing title character, a terrific supporting cast of characters, razor sharp writing and some truly insane comedic bits. Whether SpongeBob and his underwater buddies are exulting in the beauty of fun for its own sake, putting together a ragtag marching band or going into the chocolate business, “SpongeBob SquarePants” is about as close to perfect as a cartoon can get.

Agree with our choices? What other animated Nickelodeon shows deserve to be on this list? For more enthralling top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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