These 15 Saturday Morning Cartoons Will Get You Feeling Nostalgic | marketrealtime.com


Film and television animation is still a hugely popular medium, but it was in the 1960s that Saturday morning cartoon blocks first appeared. Few things were sweeter for youngsters in the late-20th-Century than waking up bright and early on weekend mornings, and consuming a big bountiful bowl of breakfast cereal while lounging in front of the television still in your jammies. Children were entertained by television with programs about criminal fighters, talking animals, small blue creatures, and other animated phenomena. Every Saturday morning, from approximately eight until noon, when school wasn’t a problem and it was time to unwind, each generation had its own favorite cartoons that they had to watch.


Entertainment enthusiasts would argue that today’s youngsters are overlooking one of the mainstays of growing up, but the truth is: kids no longer have to wake up in the early morning hours to view a certain block of programming once every week. Because of rules enacted on children’s programming (as outlined by Variety) requiring educational content, the growth of technology, the creation and abundance of video games, and the dominance of streaming services, Saturday morning cartoons are now a thing of the past. Put on your pajamas, get a big bowl of cereal, and start watching these Saturday morning cartoons that will make you nostalgic for your younger years.

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15 Tom and Jerry Kids

Tom and Jerry Kids by Turner Entertainment
Turner Entertainment

This is a favorite rendition of the well-known cat and mouse cartoon, though there are many more out there. It was filled with imaginative chases and silly cartoon violence. Tom and Jerry Kids is superior to the Tom and Jerry Show from 1975, in which the natural enemies were bafflingly made to be friends, or the awkward animation of The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show from the early-080s. It’s simply Tom the cat and Jerry the mouse showing the youngsters how absurd conflict is. Tom and Jerry Kids aired on Fox from 1990 to 1994.

14 The Bugs Bunny Show

The Bugs Bunny Show by Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Almost everyone at some point has seen The Bugs Bunny Show characters from this iconic program. The Bugs Bunny Show began in primetime, but relocated to Saturday mornings after only two seasons, where it continued in various guises for almost four decades. Numerous animators and storytellers were inspired by the cartoons, and even now, many years later, people still like watching the episodes. The Bugs Bunny Show aired on CBS from 1968 to 2000.

13 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TMNT by Group W Productions Eyemark Entertainment
Group W Productions/Eyemark Entertainment

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would be the ideal franchise to create if you were looking to appeal to dudes of all ages. The four skateboarding turtles are literally living in a sewer with their bearded rat sensei, who is feeding them as much pizza as they can handle. Yes, after the turtles invaded the world of merchandise (school bags and cuddly toys), it became a touch overdone, but there was a time when Saturday mornings wouldn’t have been worth it without the reptiles with their charming names. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aired on CBS from 1987 to 1996.

12 Voltron: Defender of the Universe

Voltron by NBCUniversal Television Distribution
NBCUniversal Television Distribution

Voltron: Defender of the Universe was one of those Saturday morning cartoon programs that wasn’t the greatest. It was successful because of its toy line, which contained awesome action figures of the characters. The Japanese anime television series Beast King GoLion served as the inspiration for the first season’s Lion Force Voltron, while the unrelated Japanese anime television series Armored Fleet Dairugger XV served as the inspiration for the second season’s Vehicle Voltron. The U.S. version of the program centered on a group of five young pilots who were in charge of five robot lions that, when assembled, became Voltron, a massive robot fighter. Voltron: Defender of the Universe was in syndication from 1984 to 1985.

11 DuckTales

Duck Tales by Buena Vista Television
Buena Vista Television

The experiences of Scrooge McDuck and his three grandnephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, who were left with Scrooge after their Uncle Donald Duck enlisted in the Navy, were chronicled in the Disney animated series Duck Tales. McDuck’s money or his lucky dime would be sought for by evil villains in the episodes. Everyone also adored Scrooge McDuck’s money box, which was so full of gold coins that he could jump in and swim through it almost like a huge pool. Duck Tales, which ran from 1987 to 1990, was rerun on ABC from 1996 to 1999. The 1990 animated feature film DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp and a 2017 television series relaunch with David Tennant as Scrooge’s voice were both inspired by the series.

Related: What the Phineas and Ferb Revival Means For Other Nostalgic Disney Channel Cartoons

10 Darkwing Duck

Darkwing Duck by Buena Vista Television
Buena Vista Television

Following the conclusion of Ducktales, the Darkwing Duck narrative was developed into a stand-alone series. The cartoon followed an anthropomorphic duck character who must combine his desire for glory as the mask-wearing superhero Darkwing Duck with his attempts to be a loving-urbanized parent to his adoptive daughter Gosalyn. Darkwing Duck originally aired on Disney Channel in 1991, got syndication, and moved to ABC, where it aired from 1991 to 1992.

9 Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog by DIC Entertainment
DIC Entertainment

Oddly enough, in the early-90s, two distinct cartoons with a Sonic theme were broadcast simultaneously: The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog. Our hearts belong to Sonic the Hedgehog, lovingly dubbed Sonic SatAM, because it aired on Saturday mornings and maintained a darker atmosphere in contrast to the well-known video games. Even if it immediately qualifies as a classic since Steve Urkel (Jaleel White) provided the voice for Sonic, the point is further emphasized by the excellent visuals and unexpectedly good character-building. From 1993 to 1994, Sonic the Hedgehog was broadcast on ABC.

8 He-Man and Masters of the Universe

He-man by Group W Productions
Group W Productions

The toy line Masters of the Universe by Mattel served as the inspiration for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. The show is set on the magical, mythical, and fantastical planet of Eternia. The most powerful man in the universe, He-Man, is created whenever Prince Adam raises the Sword of Power and declares, “By the Power of Grayskull!” he is given amazing secret powers. He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword is the feature-length theatrical film that served as the premiere for the show’s spinoff series She-Ra: Princess of Power. The initial run of He-man and the Masters of the Universe ran in syndication from 1983 to 1985. Reruns remained in syndication until 1988 when the USA network bought the rights and broadcast the series from 1988 to 1990.

7 ThunderCats

Thundercats by Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Warner Bros. Television Distribution

One of the most interesting Saturday morning offerings was ThunderCats. The titular characters of the Rankin-Bass children’s classic animated series, Lion-O, Cheetara, Panthro, Tygra, WilyKit, and WilyKat, followed a gang of cat-like humanoid aliens on the planet Third Earth. In essence, ThunderCats fulfilled the long-standing childhood ideal of playing the part of a giant cat, which the program effectively catered to. ThunderCats spawned two reboots that continued the original storyline. From 1997 through 2002, Cartoon Network aired a rerun of Thundercats, which first ran in syndication from 1985 to 1989.

6 The Smurfs

The Smurfs by Hanna-Barbera Productions
Hanna-Barbera Productions

No matter what you may think of the latest hybrid Smurfs films — which are being delayed, per DeadlineThe Smurfs is a must-see. In the 80s, the Saturday morning cartoon block featured a lot of episodes of the Hanna-Barbera Productions television series. Based on a Belgian comic called Les Schtroumpfs by artist Peyo, the animated series follows a group of little blue creatures that hide in the woodland in mushroom-shaped homes from the evil wizard Gargamel and his cat Azrael, who seek to kidnap the Smurfs, so they may make a potion that would convert ordinary stuff into gold. NBC broadcast The Smurfs from 1981 until 1989.

Related: Nickelodeon: The Dark Theories Behind Your Favorite 90s Shows, Explained

5 Animaniacs

Spielberg's Animaniacs Is Getting a Two-Season Reboot on Hulu
Warner Bros. Animation

After a long first season, Animaniacs, which debuted as an afternoon weekday program, switched to Saturday mornings. It included a big cast divided into various segments. The Warners, three brothers known as Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, were prominently displayed. These 1930s cartoon characters were imprisoned in the Warner Bros. water tower on the Burbank studio property until the 90s, when they managed to escape. Pinky and the Brain, two genetically modified laboratory mice that repeatedly and vainly try to rule the world, were the subject of another well-liked recurring section. From 1993 to 1995, Animaniacs aired on Fox; from 1995 to 1999, it moved to The WB.

4 The Jetsons

Jetsons and WWE Team-Up in Robo-Wrestlemania Trailer

The Jetsons, a television series created by Hanna-Barbera Productions, depicts the daily activities of a family living in a satirical depiction of the century in the future, complete with aliens, holograms, and fantastical technologies. The program was initially shown during prime time on ABC from 1962 to 1963, but due to low viewership, it was officially canceled after its first season. After that, ABC moved the series to Saturday mornings broadcasting it in syndication as reruns. They would eventually create new episodes between 1985 and 1987. The Jetsons continued to show on Saturday mornings for the next 20 years, with following runs on CBS and NBC in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. In 2021, MeTV purchased broadcasting rights and began airing reruns of The Jetsons again. The Jetsons is fantastic, which is why networks continue to feature the series time and time again.

3 Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers

Chronicle Creator Max Landis to Write Power Rangers Movie?

There are only a few things more iconic than the Power Rangers. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is the first installment of the Power Rangers franchise, and it along with a huge selection of toys, action figures, and other items became a pop-cultural hit in the 1990s. The source material comes from similar Japanese television programs which served as the inspiration for Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. In the program, a tight-knit group of kids in a fictional Californian town dress up as a superhero team and prepare to face any threats. Their main concern is Rita Repulsa, a space evil who was unintentionally set loose by astronauts after being imprisoned by the wise Zordon for a very long time. The teenagers are enlisted by Zordon to assist in Rita’s re-capture, but along the way, they become the heroes of Earth. From 1993 through 1995, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers aired on Fox. At the time of this writing, the Power Rangers television series is still airing episodes, after several reboots.

2 Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
Taft Broadcasting 

One of the most enduring symbols of children’s television is Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!. Four youngsters (Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy) and a cowardly dog named Scooby-Doo were followed on television in the Hanna-Barbera series as they drove in the Mystery Machine van, which would frequently conveniently break down or make a pit stop at an odd perhaps haunted place. The members of Mystery Inc. offered their assistance in order to try to solve the weekly spooky mystery. The series went on to inspire movies, more television shows, children’s toys, merchandise, and more. Scooby-Doo even had a crossover with the live-action paranormal hunting series, Supernatural. Surprisingly enough, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! aired on CBS for only a short time, from 1969-1970.

1 Captain Planet and the Planeteers

Captain Planet by Turner Program Services
Turner Program Services

Captain Planet and the Planeteers is an animated environmentalist superhero television series that taught about and campaigns for ecology. The villains in the show are voiced by a variety of well-known actors, including Richard Gere, Ed Asner, Meg Ryan, Dean Stockwell, and John Ratzenberger. Within the series, Gaia, the spirit of the Earth gifts five teenagers with rings connected to the elements (Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart) that could summon a superhero, Captain Planet, using the tagline “The power is yours!” who saved the world from the terrible destruction plaguing the world. The New Adventures of Captain Planet (a sequel series), video games, and a charity all sprang out of the original show. Captain Planet and the Planeteers broadcast on TBS and in syndication from 1990 to 1992.



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