Steve Martin with his banjo on "The Muppet Show"

Best kids TV shows of all time

May 31, 2021

Best kids TV shows of all time

Since the days of "Howdy Doody," children have been drawn to their television sets to watch shows made especially for them. While grown-ups get into medical dramas and courtroom hijinks, kids just want to watch characters they love dealing with hilarious problems while learning important lessons in the process. Kids' TV is a genre all its own, with brighter colors, smaller stories, and an element of silliness rarely found during primetime.

From animated sponges to a boy named Beaver, the best children's television shows of all time have long served as surrogates for best friends for kids all over the world. Stacker organized them into a list of the 100 best programs to ever grace the small screen, ranked according to IMDb user ranking based on English-language shows that have at least 5,000 user votes each. In the case of a tie, the higher number of votes secured the higher slot on the list.

Keep reading to discover which '80s alien puppet made it onto the list, and how many times the Caped Crusader landed in the top five.

#100. Jackie Chan Adventures

- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Years on the air: 2000–2005

Jackie Chan became one of the biggest movie stars in the world as part of the "Rush Hour" franchise and capitalized on his fame with this animated series about a fictional version of himself: an amateur archaeologist fighting a criminal organization over powerful ancient relics. The TV series spawned a spinoff line of books and comic books, as well as a video game.

#99. ALF

- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Years on the air: 1986–1990

ALF stands for alien life form, and referred to a furry cat-eating alien named Gordon from the planet Melmac who lived in a family's garage. The show ran for more than 100 episodes, and became a pop-culture phenomenon with its own cartoon spinoff, a Marvel comic book, and appearances in other TV shows like "Matlock," "Blossom," and "Hollywood Squares."

#98. Rugrats

- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Years on the air: 1991–2006

Another early '90s Nicktoons classic, "Rugrats" is about a group of babies who get into way more adventures and have much more to say than most infants in the world. Nancy Cartwright is best-known as the voice of Bart Simpson, but she also provided the voice of Chuckie Finster.

#97. Ed, Edd n Eddy

- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Years on the air: 1999–2008

For 10 years, the story of three friends named different versions of "Ed," who all live in a cul-de-sac together, graced Cartoon Network. The trio came up with crazy schemes to make money so they could afford their beloved jawbreakers. The series ended in 2009 with a 90-minute made-for-TV movie called "Ed, Edd, 'n Eddy's Big Picture Show."

#96. Everybody Hates Chris

- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Years on the air: 2005–2009

Based on the teenage experiences of comedian Chris Rock, "Everybody Hates Chris" was a 30-minute sitcom intended for modern-day teenagers. Den of Geek critic Louisa Mellor summed up the show's strength perfectly, saying "It was sharply written, very funny and didn't shy away from serious topics of race and class, like so many feel-good nostalgic comedies." In March 2021, the CW announced a reboot of the show, bringing back Chris and his family in an animated series.

#95. Wacky Races

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Years on the air: 1968–1970

Each week on "Wacky Races," 11 cartoon racers—a conglomeration of existing Hanna-Barbera characters—drew up to a starting line in their various automobiles and raced off at the sound of the gun, desperate to be this episode's winner. And each week, Dick Dastardly and his sidekick Muttley employed various ineffectual methods of cheating. Though only 17 episodes of the show exist, it was a major hit with kids in the late '60s thanks to its fast pace and colorful animation.

#94. Xiaolin Showdown

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Years on the air: 2003–2006

Set in a world where martial arts battles are commonplace, this animated Kids' Warner Bros. series follows a young Xiaolin monk and his friends as they try to collect artifacts before their nemesis finds them. Prolific voice artist Tom Kenny, best-known as the voice of SpongeBob Squarepants, plays multiple characters in the series including Raimundo Pedrosa.

#93. Leave It to Beaver

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Years on the air: 1957–1963

For 234 episodes, American audiences followed the lives of the Cleaver family, a typical American nuclear family with two boys, including one known as "The Beaver." Told from the The Beaver's point of view, it was one of the earliest sitcoms to focus on kids' problems. An enduring favorite of the early days of TV, "Leave It to Beaver" earned a spot on Time Magazine's list of the best TV shows in history.

#92. All That

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Years on the air: 1994–2019

This kid's answer to "Saturday Night Live" was a SNICK sketch show that launched the careers of Kenan Thompson, Nick Cannon, and Amanda Bynes. During its 10-season, 175-episode run, it spun off five TV shows and a movie ("Good Burger").

#91. Freakazoid!

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Years on the air: 1995–1997

"Freakazoid!" lived up to his name as a total freak who also happens to be a superhero. Weird is the name of the game in this animated series about an oddball high school-aged hero in Washington D.C. He gets his powers from a computer bug, gaining all of the information on the internet, as well as super-strength and agility. The show only made it for 24 episodes before its cancellation, but has since maintained a loyal audience.

#90. The Looney Tunes Show

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Years on the air: 2011–2014

Based on the beloved characters created in 1930, this modern reboot pairs Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck as roommates living in Los Angeles along with a rotating cast of Looney Tunes favorites like Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, and Yosemite Sam. The cast features Bob Bergen as Porky Pig and Kristen Wiig as Lola Bunny, with both performers earning nominations for Primetime Emmys.

#89. Adventures of the Gummi Bears

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Years on the air: 1985–1991

Not the most conventional approach to a kids' TV concept, "Adventures of the Gummi Bears" is about an animated tribe of human-like bears who live in medieval times and acquire the ability to jump and bounce away from danger thanks to a magical potion called gummiberry juice. It was one of Disney Television Animation's very first projects. Think of it as a tame version of "Game of Thrones" meets "The Berenstain Bears."

#88. Tiny Toon Adventures

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Years on the air: 1990–1995

They're tiny, they're toon-y, they're all a little looney, or so said the theme song. This early '90s cartoon series took the already kid-friendly characters of the Looney Tunes universe and gave them younger, cooler cartoon family members. In the show, all of the younger Tiny Toons attend Acme Looniversity together, where they study with the more established Looney Tunes while learning how to toon. Steven Spielberg was an executive producer on the show that ran for nearly 100 episodes and earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Animated Program.

#87. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Years on the air: 1983–1985

Armed with just a sword, a loincloth, and a pair of boots, He-Man is the most powerful man in the universe. In "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe," he battles bony nemesis Skeletor on the planet Eternia. It was the first TV show based exclusively on a toy.

#86. Dinosaurs

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Years on the air: 1991–1994

From the mind of Jim Henson, "Dinosaurs" was a sitcom about a family of dinosaurs, set in a hybrid version of prehistoric days and modern times. The show lasted four seasons with dinosaur puppets and voice-overs. In a very non-family-friendly ending, the series' finale had the Sinclair family of dinosaurs entering an ice age, about to experience their own extinction.

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#85. Bewitched

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Years on the air: 1964–1972

When a witch falls in love with a regular guy, she vows to live life as a normal housewife. That's the premise of the ultra-popular "Bewitched" series, a fantasy sitcom that appealed to the whole family. The show lasted for eight seasons and the show's star, Elizabeth Montgomery, was nominated for four Golden Globes for her performance as Samantha.

#84. Batman

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Years on the air: 1966–1968

Comic book favorite Batman jumped to the small screen in 1966 with a bright, cartoonish, live-action show. As Adam West's Batman fought The Joker, The Penguin, and Catwoman, comic book-style "POWs" and "ZAPs" spiraled onto the screen. The experience was akin to watching a comic book come to life. The series immediately inspired a film, "Batman: The Movie," and has since inspired multiple animated series and several different groups of films.

#83. The Flintstones

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Years on the air: 1960–1966

Meet "The Flintstones," they're a prehistoric family from the town of Bedrock who are best friends with their neighbors in this fictionalized version of the Stone Age. The world of the show closely resembles American suburbia in the 1960s superimposed on the days of dinosaurs. The show was the first animated sitcom to air in network primetime (Friday nights at 8:30 p.m.) and spawned multiple TV spinoffs, films, and a popular line of children's vitamins.

#82. Pokémon

- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Years on the air: 1997–present

Starting as a video game, Pokémom—a portmanteau for the Japanese words that translate to "pocket monsters"—has evolved into a media monster of its own, spanning TV shows, films, books, and many forms of games. The Japanese anime cartoon series is about the adventures of a boy trying to collect as many Pokémon as possible.

#81. The Real Ghostbusters

- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Years on the air: 1986–1991

The movie version of "Ghostbusters" was a huge hit when it debuted in 1984, inspiring this successful cartoon spinoff. The plot follows a group of paranormal hunters try to get rid of supernatural beings in and around New York City with the help of a ghost mascot named Slimer. The voice cast featured actor and future late-night host Arsenio Hall as well as comedian Dave Coulier ("Full House").

#80. TaleSpin

- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Years on the air: 1990–1991

This short-lived series was based on characters from Disney's "The Jungle Book" movie, transporting them to a fictional land where Baloo the bear operates a bush pilot service sometime in the 1930s. The animated series was so successful that it launched three video games.

#79. Even Stevens

- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Years on the air: 2000–2003

Shia LaBeouf first found fame as Louis Stevens in this live-action Disney Channel sitcom about a family in Sacramento with a doofy little brother. LaBeouf won an Emmy for his role and went on to be a major movie star in big-budget film franchises.

#78. Darkwing Duck

- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Years on the air: 1991–1992

"Darkwing Duck" was a Disney superhero cartoon about a normal, everyday suburban duck who transforms into not-so-great superhero Darkwing Duck. He's like Batman, but without the skills. Nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program, the cartoon adventure lasted for 91 episodes over three seasons.

#77. The Penguins of Madagascar

- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Years on the air: 2008–2015

DreamWorks Animation scored a huge hit with its Madagascar film franchise, and "The Penguins of Madagascar" was a TV spinoff meant to capitalize on that success. The show is about the lives of Madagascar penguins living in New York's Central Park Zoo. Fans loved it so much that the TV show inspired a 2014 film adaptation by the same name.

#76. The Pink Panther Show

- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Years on the air: 1969–2011

Based on the successful "Pink Panther" movies starring Peter Sellers, this series—comprised of a number of different animated shorts—ran on NBC and ABC for more than a decade. In 1975, "The Pink Panther Show" was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Children's Series.

#75. Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers

- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Years on the air: 1988–1990

Chipmunk pals Chip and Dale had long been a part of Disney's cartoon character canon, but this 1988 animated series put them in the spotlight as detectives who take on cases too small for the real police to handle. Chip serves as a sort of Indiana Jones and Dale is a chipmunk version of Magnum P.I.

#74. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Years on the air: 2010–2020

The much-loved 1980s toy series came back as an animated show in 2010 and earned a huge following of both girls and grown-up men known as "Bronies." The show tracks the adventures of pony friends studying the magic of friendship in Ponyville.

#73. Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends

- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Years on the air: 2004–2009

In a world where imaginary friends are real, a boy is forced to send his imaginary pal to an orphanage designed for less-than-tangible friends. Created by Craig McCracken, who also created "The Powerpuff Girls," the show won six Emmys during its run.

#72. Hey Arnold!

- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Years on the air: 1996–2004

Arnold is a fourth-grader who lives in a big-city boarding house with his grandparents and a cast of diverse characters. "Hey Arnold!" stars Dan Castellaneta as Arnold's grandfather, but he's best-known as the voice of Homer Simpson. In 2017, 13 years after the TV series ended, a film was released: "Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie."

#71. Goosebumps

- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Years on the air: 1995–1998

Based on R.L. Stine's young adult horror novels, the "Goosebumps" TV series told eerily creepy stories in an anthology format without recurring characters or settings. Airing in both Canada and the United States, the show had a 74-episode run over four seasons.

#70. The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy

- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Years on the air: 2001–2007

Another early 2000s Cartoon Network hit, "The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy" is an animated series about two kids who make trouble for their good pal, the Grim Reaper. It's a dark premise, but a popular one with a Primetime Emmy to boot. The show also launched three made-for-TV movies.

#69. Drake & Josh

- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Years on the air: 2004–2007

Two completely opposite teenagers become stepbrothers in this traditional Nickelodeon sitcom. The show was nominated for Favorite TV Show at the Kids' Choice Awards four times, and won the award twice.

#68. Duck Dodgers

- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Years on the air: 2003–2005

"Duck Dodgers" is a cartoon sci-fi spinoff of the Looney Tunes universe with Daffy Duck as a space hero and other Looney Tunes playing futuristic versions of themselves. It's based on a 1953 cartoon of the same name where Daffy fights Marvin the Martian.

#67. The New Tom & Jerry Show

- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Years on the air: 1975–1977

"Tom & Jerry" first aired in 1940 as a series of short cartoon films about a cat constantly harassing a mouse, and won multiple Oscars in the process. The 1975 reboot flipped the script, portraying Tom and Jerry as best friends going on adventures together around the world. The show aired on ABC as a Saturday morning cartoon in seven-minute segments.

#66. The Magic School Bus

- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Years on the air: 1994–1997

"The Magic School Bus" started out as a popular book series about an elementary school class that goes on amazing trips to impossible places, thanks to their magic school bus. The animated TV adaptation follows the same format with actress and comedian Lily Tomlin voicing the loudly attired teacher Ms. Frizzle. The show lasted for four seasons and was revived by Netflix in 2017 as "The Magic School Bus Rides Again."

#65. The Tick

- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Years on the air: 1994–1997

In this send-up of superhero stories, The Tick is a superhero who passes his tryout at the National Super Institute and gets assigned to guard the city. It's a tongue-in-cheek show featuring a former accountant as a sidekick and villains like Breadmaster and El Seed. The show spawned two different live-action sequels, including a series on Amazon Prime.

#64. The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack

- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Years on the air: 2008–2010

Try to follow along, if possible: Flapjack is a boy who's been raised by a talking whale and now spends his time in a harbor with a sea captain looking for a magical island made of candy. For three seasons, this quest played out on Cartoon Network in 11-minute increments. In 2009, "The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack" won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation.

#63. The Munsters

- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Years on the air: 1964–1966

Not to be confused with "The Addams Family," "The Munsters" was a 1960s sitcom about a family of monsters dealing with the same problems normal humans face. The family included a Frankenstein-esque father, a vampire mother, and a half-vampire, half-werewolf son. Seventy black-and-white episodes were produced, and the show was nominated in 1965 for a Best TV Series Golden Globe.

#62. Recess

- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Years on the air: 1997–2001

In a heady concept for its target audience of school children, "Recess" focused on six fourth-graders during recess. There, the students of Third Street Elementary School have set up their own society with a form of government, unwritten rules, and squabbles that mirror those of the adult world. The show carried on for 127 episodes on three different networks, and spawned four TV movies.

#61. Teen Titans

- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Years on the air: 2003–2006

Based on a DC Comics series of the same name, "Teen Titans" was one of Cartoon Network's most successful shows in the early '00s. Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy made up the group of teenage superheroes who fight evil from their headquarters, Titan Tower, and keep the nearby Jump City safe from crime. Praised for its character development, serious storylines, and wise-cracking humor, the show concluded with a TV movie titled "Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo."

#60. A Series of Unfortunate Events

- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Years on the air: 2017–2019

What started as a kids' book series spanning 13 novels inspired a 2004 film. In 2017, the film was turned into a Netflix series. The story has remained the same throughout, with a trio of orphaned siblings placed in the care of their evil Uncle Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris), who's determined to get his hands on the family fortune.

#59. Fraggle Rock

- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Years on the air: 1983–1987

Jim Henson's "Fraggle Rock" premiered on HBO in the U.S. and shared the world of an underground population of puppets known as Fraggles as they lived in caves with other non-human beings, like the always-building Doozers. The show was turned into a Saturday morning cartoon series on NBC in 1987, but the ratings weren't strong enough to support it beyond 13 episodes.

#58. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Years on the air: 2018–2020

A reboot of a 1985 Filmation series of the same name, "She-Ra and the Princess of Power" was a Netflix original about a young girl who works to rebuild the shattered Princess Alliance in order to save her planet, Etheria, from the evil Horde. Critics praised the series for its nuanced look at good and evil, centering of queer love and identity, and diverse cast of characters.

#57. We Bare Bears

- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Years on the air: 2014–2019

In "We Bare Bears," three bear brothers—a panda, a polar bear, and a grizzly—do their absolute best to fit into human society in San Francisco with varying degrees of success. The voice cast features a who's-who of the alternative comedy world, with Demetri Martin, Charlyne Yi, and Patton Oswalt lending their voices to various characters.

#56. Thundercats

- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Years on the air: 1985–1989

Muscled, anthropomorphized cat aliens are the center of the "Thundercats" animated series as they fight evil on Earth. The franchise was rebooted in 2011, but it was quickly canceled.

#55. Rocko's Modern Life

- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Years on the air: 1993–1996

Rocko is an anthropomorphic wallaby trying to make his way in the world as he adjusts to American life. His best friend is an excitable steer, his other best friend is a neurotic turtle and somehow, he also has a poorly behaved pet dog. "Rocko's Modern Life" was one of the earliest original cartoons on Nickelodeon and lasted for four seasons.

#54. Animaniacs

- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Years on the air: 1993–1998

A spinoff of "Tiny Toon Adventures," "Animaniacs" is a zany cartoon anthology series starring the two fictional Warner Brothers and their Warner sister Dot as the lead characters. Multiple smaller cartoons were involved in the show, including "Pinky & The Brain."

#53. Pinky and the Brain

- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Years on the air: 1995–1998

Originally a segment on "Animaniacs," these scheming mice were so popular that they expanded to their own show where they did the same thing they do every day: Try to take over the world. As genetically engineered lab mice, Brain comes up with the plans and Pinky doesn't do much of anything besides get in the way. The show ran for four seasons and earned multiple award nominations at the Daytime Emmy Awards and Annies.

#52. Scooby Doo, Where Are You!

- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Years on the air: 1969–1970

With its impact on pop culture, it's hard to believe that the first iteration of the Scooby-Doo franchise only lasted for a little more than a year. In the cartoon series, a group of inquisitive teenagers set out to solve crimes and catch bad guys along with their goofy Great Dane. The show launched a media empire with films, TV shows, clothing, and merchandise coming out regularly over the five-plus decades since its original release.

#51. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Years on the air: 1987–1996

Originally a comic book, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became a bona fide phenomenon as pizza-eating turtles who live in the subway and fight the Foot Clan, led by the evil Shredder. The TV series brought the comic to life as the turtles battled evil and gave way to three more animated series, a live-action series, and five feature films. The mutated turtle-bros have now been a staple of pop culture for more than 30 years.

#50. Dexter's Laboratory

- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Years on the air: 1996–2003

One of Cartoon Network's earliest hits, "Dexter's Laboratory" is about a kid genius who has a secret laboratory in his basement where he works on inventions and tries to keep his annoying younger sister away. The first run of the show aired for more than 50 episodes until 1998, then came back from the TV graveyard in 2001 for two more seasons and 26 episodes. The show proved so successful that a number of video games and books were produced for eager fans.

#49. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated

- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Years on the air: 2010–2013

While the "Scooby-Doo" of 1969 familiarized audiences with the characters, the Scooby snack-crunching crew of "Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated" was pure nostalgia for fans when it premiered in 2010. In this, the 11th incarnation of the show, the gang switches gears a bit with a serialized format and an almost satirical tone towards the previous versions of the show. Shaggy is voiced by Matthew Lillard, who also played the character in the live-action films of the early 2000s.

#48. The Road Runner Show

- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Years on the air: 1966–1973

The beeping bird got its moment in the spotlight with this Looney Tunes anthology show. It featured three cartoons per episode, almost all of them previously existing works. The first cartoon of the show was a Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote short, followed by a Sylvester and Tweety Bird pairing, and the final act was another character from the Warners Bros. Looney Tunes squad.

#47. DreamWorks Dragons

- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Years on the air: 2012–2014

Dreamworks' "How to Train Your Dragon" was a surprise hit movie that led to this CGI TV spinoff set in the same world, as the dragon Hiccup makes peace between the dragons and Vikings on the island of Berk. Notably, the celebrity voice cast of the film (America Ferrera, Jay Baruchel, T.J. Miller) all reprise their roles in the TV show.

#46. Star vs. the Forces of Evil

- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Years on the air: 2015–2019

"Star vs. the Forces of Evil" is about a magical princess from another dimension who comes to Earth as a foreign exchange student to battle the forces of evil and protect her powerful wand. It stands as the first Disney XD series created by a woman.

#45. The Transformers

- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Years on the air: 1984–present

In one of the most successful cartoon-toy crossovers of all time, "The Transformers" burst onto TV sets in 1984 and sent transforming toys flying off shelves. The show follows a group of aliens that appear as both trucks and robots, depending on the form they've chosen to take, and fight for the good of mankind as an evil alien tries to plunder the Earth's resources. The series turned into a huge media franchise with numerous feature films, other TV shows, and decades of toys for generations of fans.

#44. Phineas and Ferb

- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Years on the air: 2007–2015

"Phineas and Ferb" is an inventive animated musical comedy show about two stepbrothers, one American and one British, who embark on crazy, large-scale projects over their summer vacation while their pet platypus works as a spy. The show ran for 222 episodes and was nominated for multiple Emmys over the course of the series.

#43. Malcolm in the Middle

- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Years on the air: 2000–2006

"Malcolm in the Middle" was a sitcom on Fox featuring Frankie Muniz as a young genius growing up in a family of relative idiots. Nominated for a slew of Emmys and Golden Globes, the series also featured Bryan Cranston as a goofy dad before he changed gears to play a very different type of dad in "Breaking Bad."

#42. Beast Wars: Transformers

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 1996–1999

Battling Maximals and Predacons, descendants of Autobots and Decepticons, crash land on a random planet and must find a way to return home despite their ongoing war in "Beast Wars: Transformers." The computer-animated series is credited with reviving the franchise and was praised for having darker and more detailed storylines than those that appeared in earlier "Transformers" properties. Additionally, despite looking quite dated to today's viewer, the series' visuals won an Emmy Award in 1998 for Outstanding Achievement in Animation.

#41. Sesame Street

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 1969–present

"Sesame Street" is the longest-running children's television show in history, because the concept is simple: kids and puppets living together in harmony on a friendly street in the city. Big Bird, Elmo, and the rest of the "Sesame Street" gang have become household names over the years in dozens of countries around the world. While the show aired on PBS for decades, it moved to HBO in 2020.

#40. Superman: The Animated Series

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 1996–2000

This iteration of the Superman franchise went a little darker and rawer than previous versions. It was created as a companion piece for the very successful "Batman: The Animated Series" and the two shows played back-to-back to form a full hour of television. This "Superman" follows the traditional plot of mild-mannered Clark Kent turning into the Man of Steel to defend Earth.

#39. Gargoyles

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 1994–1996

They turn to stone during the day, but at night these creatures made of rock come to life to protect New York City. Nearly 80 "Gargoyles" episodes aired during its two seasons, and the voice cast featured a surprising number of actors who also appeared on various "Star Trek" shows.

#38. Batman Beyond

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 1999–2001

A continuation of several earlier Batman series, "Batman Beyond" chronicles the adventures of a new, teenage Batman who assumes the role under the tutelage of an elderly Bruce Wayne. Premiering to mixed reviews, the show went on to gain a cult following and won acclaim for its darker themes and storylines that included sci-fi and cyberpunk elements.

#37. DuckTales

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 1987–1990

A wealthy duck and his three grandnephews go on wild and crazy adventures, which occasionally involve swimming through a pool of gold coins. The characters first appeared together in a 1952 comic book called "Uncle Scrooge." In "DuckTales," the family members are on the perpetual hunt for treasure. The popular series inspired several movies and another iteration of the show itself, which launched in 2017 on the Disney Channel and aired for three seasons.

#36. Boy Meets World

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Years on the air: 1993–2000

ABC's "TGIF" lineup included this coming-of-age story for seven seasons. "Boy Meets World" centered on a middle-schooler named Cory (Ben Savage), who tries to figure out the world around him with his best friend Shawn (Rider Strong) and crush Topanga (Danielle Fishel). The show was revived in 2014 for three seasons on the Disney Channel and caught up with Cory and Topanga as grown-ups with children.

#35. Bill Nye, the Science Guy

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 1993–1998

Bill Nye took Mr. Wizard's established model of science education and brought it to another level with "Bill Nye, the Science Guy." With more production value and an emphasis on fun, the show introduced kids to science experiments and concepts in an easily digestible format. The series ran for five seasons on PBS and picked up 23 Emmy nominations.

#34. TRON: Uprising

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2012–2013

With an impressive cast featuring big movie stars and Paul Reubens (aka. Pee Wee Herman), "TRON: Uprising" bridges the gap between the original 1982 "TRON" movie and its "TRON: Legacy" sequel from 2010. The animated sci-fi show stars Elijah Wood as a young program joining Tron in his fight against The Grid. With only 19 episodes, the Disney XD series was short-lived but still made an impact.

#33. Get Smart

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 1965–1970

"Get Smart" put a spin on the cool spy stories of the time like James Bond and added a sarcastic, slapstick element to make this hilarious secret agent sitcom starring Don Adams as the bumbling Maxwell Smart. Legendary comedy writer-director Mel Brooks co-created the series with Buck Henry.

#32. Shaun the Sheep

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2007–2020

Shaun is the leader of his flock of sheep, but instead of blending in with the wooly group, he's constantly leading them into adventures and, occasionally, disasters. "Shaun the Sheep" is a spinoff of Britain's "Wallace & Gromit" series, and employs the same stop-motion animation techniques. The characters have proven so successful that movies, games, and theatrical shows have all been developed in response, as well as a TV spinoff called "Timmy Time" about a lamb who loves the spotlight.

#31. Are You Afraid of the Dark?

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 1990–2000

This SNICK series took the burgeoning young adult interest in scary stories ("Goosebumps," Christopher Pike novels, etc.) and turned it into TV gold with a horror anthology series aimed at kids. Each episode featured a different scary short film, all told under the guise of friends trying to scare each other around a campfire as part of the "Midnight Society."

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#30. The Amazing World of Gumball

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2011–2019

Gumball is a 12-year-old boy in the form of a blue cat. His best friend is his adopted brother—a goldfish named Darwin—and they live with their family in the fictional town of Elmore. Perhaps the most amazing part of "The Amazing World of Gumball" is that it mixes a lot of different styles of animation, from stop-motion to CGI to traditional 2-D, and beyond. The project was the first production of Cartoon Network Studios Europe.

#29. Steven Universe

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 2013–2020

The first Cartoon Network show created by a woman, "Steven Universe" is a coming-of-age story about a boy living with alien warriors who protect the planet from being attacked. The show's five-season run inspired a limited series called "Steven Universe Future" that functioned as an epilogue for the series.

#28. Courage the Cowardly Dog

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 1999–2002

A pink dog and an elderly couple encounter paranormal creatures in this outlandish animated comedy. Courage has to constantly get over his own fears to keep himself and his owners safe. The series aired on Cartoon Network for 52 episodes.

#27. SpongeBob SquarePants

- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Years on the air: 1999–present

One of the biggest modern-day cartoon successes, "SpongeBob SquarePants" is the highest-rated series to ever air on Nickelodeon and has raked in more than $13 billion in merchandising revenue alone. Not bad for an animated comedy about a sea sponge that lives in an upside-down pineapple under the sea. The show has spawned multiple movies and its own Broadway musical.

#26. Life With Louie

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 1994–1998

Comedian Louie Anderson got the cartoon treatment in this animated series about his fictionalized big-family upbringing in Wisconsin (the comedian is actually from Minnesota) While the first two episodes aired during primetime on Fox, the subsequent episodes aired on Fox Kids.

#25. The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 2010–2012

While the first live-action Avengers movie was a giant success in 2012, this animated Avengers TV show won fans even earlier in 2010. The plot revolves around 75 of the most dangerous criminals on Earth all escaping from prison. The superteam of superheroes has to round them up and figure out how they were freed.

#24. The Adventures of Tintin

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 1991–1992

Belgium's most popular cartoon character first appeared in 1929 and this 1991 animated TV series stayed true to the original stories about a young Belgian reporter called Tintin and his dog Snowy as they get tied up in a series of mysteries and adventures. The show aired all over the world, with HBO serving as its American home.

#23. Invader ZIM

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 2001–2006

With only 27 episodes produced, this short-lived Nickelodeon series still managed to capture its share of fans. "Invader ZIM" refers to the lead character, Zim, an alien sent to Earth to infiltrate human society and blend in as best he can. Zim's nemesis in the show is a human boy who wants to expose Zim as an alien.

#22. The Wonder Years

- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Years on the air: 1988–1993

Fred Savage starred as Kevin Arnold, a kid trying to make sense of suburban life in the late '60s and early '70s with an earnestness that matches the era. The 30-minute comedic drama was told from the point-of-view of Kevin as an adult looking back on the stories of his childhood through voiceover. The show ran in primetime for 115 episodes on ABC and earned a number of Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

#21. Julie and the Phantoms

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 2020–present

Disney Legend Kenny Ortega is the mastermind behind "Julie and the Phantoms," a Netflix series about a young girl who becomes the lead vocalist for a band of ghosts. The series' catchy musical numbers, throwback '00s fashions, and "Scooby-Doo" style hijinks are perfectly balanced by more nuanced storylines about grief, coming out, and self-acceptance.

#20. The Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes Comedy Hour

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 1985–1986

Almost like a greatest hits of "Looney Tunes," this Saturday morning cartoon series took the best existing cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the gang, and strung them together into a loose anthology. While this particular version aired from 1985 to 1986, it's really just another package of a show that had been running on Saturday mornings through much of the second half of the 20th century.

#19. The Dragon Prince

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 2018–present

After an attempt is made on their lives, two princes team up with an elven assassin in an effort to bring an end to the 1,000-year war between humans and magical creatures. "The Dragon Prince" is the creation of Aaron Ehasz, the head writer of "Avatar: The Last Airbender", and Justin Richmond, director of the "Uncharted" series. The show earned critical praise for portraying good and evil as more than just black and white, and for the ways it challenges children's views of the world.

#18. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 2019

"The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" is a prequel to the 1982 Jim Henson film "The Dark Crystal." Set in the land of Thra, the show followed three Gelfling who set out to unite their clans in a rebellion that would save them all from the Skeksis and the Darkening. Despite the massive amount of praise it garnered and its Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program, the series was canceled after just one season.

#17. The Muppet Show

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 1976–1981

Who would have thought a crew of wise-cracking puppets would become so important in the world? The answer is Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets. "The Muppet Show" put Henson's puppet creations like Kermit and Miss Piggy on full display in a variety show format with comedic sketches, musical performances, and celebrity cameos that ranged from Bob Hope to Paul Simon. The series aired during primetime for five seasons and notched four Emmys.

#16. Spider-Man: The Animated Series

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 1994–1998

There have been nearly a dozen Spider-Man television shows based on the Marvel comic about a teenager bitten by a radioactive spider that gives him the powers of a spider. This version ran for five seasons in the mid-'90s, and featured a number of crossovers with comic book storylines.

#15. Regular Show

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 2009–2017

Things get pretty crazy in Cartoon Network's "Regular Show," a surreal animated series about a bluejay and a raccoon who work as groundskeepers in a local park. Through its eight-season, 261-episode tenure, the show received six Primetime Emmy nominations and found victory in 2012 as Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program.

#14. X-Men: The Animated Series

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 1992–1997

Marvel got into the television game with this animated television version of its hit "X-Men" comic books. The show followed the comic books' lead in exploring the lives of mutants who fight evil. The series lasted for 76 episodes and helped usher in the golden age of Marvel media with ultra-popular movie franchises based on the X-Men titles.

#13. The Legend of Korra

- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Years on the air: 2012–2014

"The Legend of Korra" began as an outgrowth of the very popular "Avatar: The Last Airbender" series (#1 on this list). It functions as a sequel, with the avatar's successor, Korra, trying to adjust to a fast-modernizing world that's both physically and spiritually challenging. The show aired for 52 episodes on Nickelodeon, with each season separated as its own "book," like the original.

#12. Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2016–2018

"Trollhunters" is from the mind of director Guillermo Del Toro. The Netflix series tracks an ordinary kid who finds an amulet that enables him to become a troll-hunter, charged with keeping the world safe from trolls.

#11. The New Batman Adventures

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
-  Years on the air: 1997–1999

By 1997, the Batman franchise had already been through a whole cycle of films and a much-loved animated series. This follow-up to "Batman: The Animated Series" focused less on the Caped Crusader and more on the side characters of Gotham, including a new Robin, Batgirl, and Nightwing, who emerged out of the previous Robin. The series aired in tandem with a new version of Superman to form "The New Batman/Superman Adventures."

#10. Justice League

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2001–2004

Comic book powerhouse DC scored another big television hit with "Justice League," a superteam of DC heroes including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and more. Each episode found the superheroes facing off with different villains. Ironically, Michael Rosenbaum provided the voice of The Flash in the animated show at the same time he played DC villain Lex Luthor in the live-action show "Smallville."

#9. Samurai Jack

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 2001–2017

Genndy Tartakovsky, the creative mind behind "Dexter's Laboratory," also brought us "Samurai Jack," a Cartoon Network series about a Japanese samurai who is thrown into an alternative future by his wizard-enemy Aku and must fight his way back to his own time before Aku takes over permanently. The series won several Emmy and Annie awards.

#8. Mr. Bean

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Years on the air: 1990–1995

This British show starred Rowan Atkinson as the mostly silent "Mr. Bean," a persnickety man with a love for his teddy bear who was constantly getting himself into hilarious situations that required outsized solutions to incredibly simple problems. Due to the BBC's limited air schedule, the show put out just 15 episodes over the course of five years.

#7. Hilda

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Years on the air: 2018–2020

Hayao Miyazaki, the director and animator of visually stunning films like "Spirited Away" and "My Neighbor Totoro," was responsible for bringing the Scandinavian-inspired world of "Hilda" to life. The gentle, hygge series is about a strong-willed young girl who has just moved into a new neighborhood and is learning about her strengths, weaknesses, and perspective. Based on a series of graphic novels by Luke Peterson, the show only ran for two seasons, but die-hard fans have plenty of additional material to tuck into in the form of his books.

#6. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Years on the air: 1968–2001

When you think of classic children's TV shows, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" almost always tops the list. A half-hour educational program hosted by the eponymous minister-turned-TV personality Mr. Rogers, the show taught generations of children about friendship, kindness, self-love, acceptance, empathy, and how to tie their shoes. It's difficult to overstate the significance and influence of the program.

#5. Young Justice

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Years on the air: 2010–present

"Young Justice" focuses on the teenage and young adult members of the DC Comics superhero community, namely the many sidekicks of the better-known heroes. Throughout its run, the series has bounced from network to network but has been carried by the same showrunners, which has allowed it to maintain a sense of continuity and an evenness of tone.

#4. Adventure Time

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Years on the air: 2010–2018

It's not the easiest plot to understand, but "Adventure Time" follows a boy-hero named Finn and his best friend, a shape-shifting dog named Jake, as they venture through the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo. Much has been made of the show's appeal to an adult audience.

#3. Gravity Falls

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Years on the air: 2012–2016

When twins are sent to live with their grandfather in the strange and spooky town of Gravity Falls, odd things happen every day. That's the premise of "Gravity Falls," starring the voices of well-known actors Jason Ritter, Kristen Schaal, and Linda Cardellini.

#2. Batman: The Animated Series

- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Years on the air: 1992–1995

Gotham's Dark Knight had already earned a strong following from his comic book days and Tim Burton's cinematic adaptations, but this television series premiered in 1992 and raised the profile of Batman even higher with a dark animated series. Winner of the 1993 PrimeTime Emmy for Outstanding Animated Series, this version set a new standard for what the Batman franchise could be with a moodier tone that ultimately influenced Christopher Nolan's 2005 "Batman Begins" reboot.

#1. Avatar: The Last Airbender

- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- Years on the air: 2005–2008

"Avatar: The Last Airbender" is an animated Nickelodeon show set in an alternate world where people can manipulate the elements. A 12-year-old named Aang and his friends are tasked with bringing peace to the world by ending the Fire Lord's century-long war. While the series was quite successful with 61 episodes over three seasons, the live-action adaptation, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, was universally panned.

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