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Top 10 Best Cartoons You Forgot Existed

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
It’s hard to keep track of decades of animated series, but today we’re paying tribute to these overlooked classics. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down the top 10 best cartoons you forgot existed. For this list, we’re taking a look at outstanding animated programs that sadly fell through the cracks after they aired their final episodes, and are overdue for a comeback. Most of these ended some time ago, and probably haven’t crossed your mind in a while– but they were awesome nonetheless.
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It’s hard to keep track of decades of animated series, but today we’re paying tribute to these overlooked classics. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down the top 10 best cartoons you forgot existed.

For this list, we’re taking a look at outstanding animated programs that sadly fell through the cracks after they aired their final episodes, and are overdue for a comeback. Most of these ended some time ago, and probably haven’t crossed your mind in a while– but they were awesome nonetheless.

#10: “The Weekenders” (2000-04)

This Toon Disney classic was all about the fun of living for the weekend. Our four favorite seventh graders, Tino, Lor, Carver, and Tish, took on Bahia Bay from Monday to Friday as they powered through school and dealt with everything that comes along with being in junior high, while getting into all sorts of crazy adventures come Saturday. Viewers were entertained at all times, whether it was watching these friends hit up always-changing pizza joint, the arcade, or a museum that gives away interesting free samples. Despite its positive reviews and ratings, it was cancelled after 4 seasons, but it’s definitely worth re-discovering– especially to pump you up for the weekend!

#9: “Braceface” (2001-04)

You may have forgotten this animated show, but we’ve gotta ask: how could you forget the perpetually unlucky Sharon Spitz? The brace-faced junior high school student experienced the ups and downs– well, mostly downs– of being a teenage girl, regularly getting herself caught in embarrassing situations. Along with her pals Maria, Connor, Alden and Brock, she would often go up against queen bee Nina Harper, but thankfully her friends always had her back. It may have only lasted for three seasons, but it was funny and relatable, and with Alicia Silverstone serving as both executive producer and the voice of Sharon, we wish this often-forgotten show had never left us.

#8: “Dino-Riders” (1988)

How do you make dinosaurs more awesome than they already are? You equip them with futuristic artillery, team them up with aliens, and place them in the middle of a war, duh! Considering the “Star Wars” meets “Jurassic Park” premise, it’s peculiar that “Dino-Riders” only lasted 14 episodes. While it primarily existed to sell toys, this cartoon really epitomized every imaginative little kid’s dream by not only including dinosaurs, but also spaceships, lasers, and time travel too. Heck, it even had Frank Welker doing his Dr. Claw voice as the villainous Krulos!

#7: “Biker Mice from Mars” (1993-96)

One thing you might have noticed about late 80’s and early 90’s cartoons: a lot of them sounded like 50’s B-movies targeted at kids. One of the most notable examples was “Biker Mice From Mars”– just try to say that title out loud without giggling a little. Although the idea of biker mice Martians named Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie may seem like a random combination, these elements went together better than crackers and cheese. With self-aware humor, creative characters, and colorful action, this sci-fi action cartoon knew exactly how to appease the Saturday morning crowd.

#6: “Samurai Pizza Cats” (1990)

It might sound like a “Ninja Turtles” rip-off, but “Samurai Pizza Cats” was actually an English adaptation of an anime series. Reworked with new dialog for its US release, the show played out like the most ludicrous anime ever meets “Animaniacs.” It never stopped to take a breather as pop-culture references and rapid-talking characters zoomed by every second. Just watching one episode made you feel like you were on a sugar high, making “Samurai Pizza Cats” the perfect show to go with a bowl of unhealthy cereal.

#5: “Darkwing Duck” (1991-95)

“Darkwing Duck” essentially took all the adventure, wit, and imagination of “DuckTales” and put them in a superhero setting. What distinguished the cartoon from all the other comedic superhero shows at the time was its title character, who managed to be lovable despite being an egomaniac. The self-centered Darkwing maintained a strong moral center through his plucky daughter Gosalyn, bumbling sidekick Launchpad, and on-again, off-again girlfriend Morgana in a never-ending pursuit to take on the incredibly inventive villains that plague the city of St. Canard.

#4: “ReBoot” (1994-2001)

Believe it or not, kids, there was a time when CGI-animation was considered innovative. “ReBoot” was the first television series to be completely rendered through computers and it put the technology to great use. This high-tech show had all the thrills of a video game, with delightful characters and a unique world of its own. Although some of the animation might be dated by today’s standards, “ReBoot” remains a significant stepping-stone between “Tron” and the CGI renaissance started by “Toy Story.” While "Reboot" did receive a spinoff in 2018 in Netflix's "ReBoot: The Guardian Code", it has less in common with the original show than peanut butter has with pickles. Now can we please get a REAL “ReBoot” reboot already?

#3: “Samurai Jack” (2001-04)

Live-action or animated, this four-time Emmy award-winning series was one of the most cinematic television series ever produced. Unlike some action cartoons that relied heavily on exposition and dialog, “Samurai Jack” told a slew of diverse stories through a dazzling fusion of choreography, atmosphere, and animation. Creator Genndy Tartakovsky had hoped to bring Jack and Aku’s ongoing battle to a conclusion with a feature film, but it never came into fruition. Fortunately, after fans had spent over a decade hoping for a “Samurai Jack” movie, comic, or TV revival, their beloved samurai got his final curtain call when Adult Swim ordered a long-overdue fifth season.

#2: “Shadow Raiders” [aka “War Planets”] (1998-99)

A spiritual successor of sorts to “ReBoot,” this CGI sci-fi series takes place in a solar system known as the Cluster. When the dreaded Beast Planet rises into power, the feuding worlds of Fire, Rock, Bone, and Ice join forces to save the galaxy they all call home. With an original mythology and strong connection to nature, “Shadow Raiders” is a surprisingly adult series about the importance of unity. The show is so much more than either of its titles would lead you to believe, and even though it was based on the Trendmasters toy line, it stood on its own as an original, innovative, and well-executed series.

Before we look back on our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Stunt Dawgs” (1992-93)
- “Jonny Quest” (1964-65)
- “The Raccoons” (1985-92)
- “Aaahh!!! Real Monsters” (1994-97)
- "The Critic" (1994-95; 2000-01)

#1: “Gargoyles” (1994-97)

If ever there was an animated series that deserved a wider audience, it was “Gargoyles.” That’s not to say the show hasn’t found a dedicated cult following over the years, but it’s never quite achieved the same status as other cartoons produced by Disney. Creator Greg Weisman truly assembled a breathtaking epic, however, employing stunning animation, a dark tone, sophisticated themes, complex characters, a well-developed plot, and influences from classic literature. If you never caught the show when it aired, drop everything and go check out the show– it’s an experience you won’t forget anytime soon! Jordan Peele has expressed interest in adapting the property for the big screen, so at least there's something to look forward to!
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