Cartoon Network Is Turning 25, So We Ranked Its 25 Best Original Series

On Oct. 1, 1992 — nearly 25 years to this very day — something extraordinary occurred.

I’m talking, of course, about the birth of Cartoon Network, television’s first provider of round-the-clock animation. And what better way to help the network get through its quarter-life crisis than by arbitrarily judging which of its original creations best stand the test of time?

Before we dive in, I want you to know where I’m coming from. As a child, I basically had three parents: a mother, a father and Cartoon Network. I was four years old when the channel premiered, so by the time it started cranking out original programming a few years later, you bet I was watching. (And if you think a six-year-old can’t appreciate the subtle nuances of Cow and Chicken, you’re sorely mistaken, my friend.) The kicker? I still watch Cartoon Network, probably just as much, to this very day.

While some ’90s kids wax poetic about their favorite NickToons (“Dude, remember Doug?!”), my favorites have always been a bit more… checkered. I’d also like to say that I’ve done countless rankings on TVLine over the years. Couples, villains, moments — you name it, I’ve ranked it. But like a similar choice once made by a gal named Sophie, this proved to be my biggest challenge by far, and I’m already dreading doing it again in 25 years for the network’s 50th anniversary.

Now for a few disclaimers:

* Only shows made specifically by Cartoon Network were considered for this list. Acquired series, like the Canadian-born Total Drama franchise or the DC-produced Teen Titans shows, are ineligible.

* Don’t expect to see any Adult Swim shows here, either. (That’s a list all its own.) My list does, however, include two shows that began on Cartoon Network before migrating to Adult Swim.

* Most importantly, this list is but one man’s opinion, so don’t get all huffy if your favorite show lands in the bottom four. I did my best to consider every show equally, including hits from every decade.

With all of this in mind, browse my list of the 25 best original Cartoon Network series — you can click here for direct access — then drop a comment below: Which shows top your list?

GET MORE: Commentary, Photo Gallery