The 20 Best Cartoon Network Shows Of All Time, Ranked

From classics like 'The Powerpuff Girls,' to forgotten gems like 'Class of 3000,' we've ranked Cartoon Network's 20 best shows of all time.


Saturday mornings with a bowl of cereal and Cartoon Network on blast remains a top-tier moment of life no matter your age. While the network’s golden heyday may be past us, it still helms a slew of shows that have made their own significant mark in recent years (one of them even holds the #1 spot on this list). 

So whether you still flock to the classics like Dexter’s Laboratory or welcome newer shows like Steven Universe with open arms, we’ve sifted through Cartoon Network’s catalog to round up its best shows, past to present. From 1996 all the way to 2023, here are Cartoon Network’s 20 best shows ranked. 

20. Cow and Chicken

Years Aired: 1997–1999
Starring: Charlie Adler, Candi Milo, Dee Bradley Baker 
How to Watch: Cow and Chicken is available to watch on Prime Video and Apple TV+.  

With an opening theme song that rings one of the most memorable introductions to any Cartoon Network show, Cow and Chicken is by far the weirdest series on this list. The show follows two surprisingly biological siblings, Cow and Chicken, anthropomorphic animals who somehow were born from two human parents. Their dad was proud, he never asked how, and maybe he should have. The pair get up to wild adventures, often entangled with the Red Guy (a.k.a. the not-so PG version of the Devil), and go about their day exactly how you’d imagine any two humanoid animals would. The show is a Cartoon Network classic, even treading into “this episode makes a lot more sense as an adult” type beats. And it makes for an incredibly weird, yet tastefully nostalgic rewatch. —Yasmeen Hamadeh  

19. ​​Mike, Lu, & Og

Years Aired: 1999–2001
Starring: Nika Futterman, Nancy Cartwright, Dee Bradley Baker
How to Watch: Mike, Lu, & Og is streaming on Apple TV+

This one’s a real throwback. One of the last shows to be made under Cartoon Network’s Cartoon Cartoons banner, Mike, Lu & Og follows the adventures of its eponymous trio as they get up to hilarious hijinks on a remote island. Mike’s a foreign exchange student from Manhattan eager to learn the island’s customs. While Lu is the island’s self-appointed princess, meanwhile Og is a genius eager to sink his teeth into his next invention. The show is the perfect example of pure vibes and peak nostalgia, with an incredibly memorable theme song you just might remember if you decide to rewatch it. And it’s a great lesson in Cartoon Network history. While the animation is “old,” Mike, Lu & Og is still an incredibly fun and bingeable watch. —Yasmeen Hamadeh 

18. Evil Con Carne

Years Aired: 2001–2004
Starring: Phil LaMarr, Grey DeLisle, Armin Shimerman, Frank Welker 
How to Watch: Evil Con Carne is available to watch on Prime Video

A long-forgotten gem from Cartoon Network, Evil Con Carne follows the not-so malevolent adventures of an evil billionaire who, after a serious accident, lives through a purple circus bear that holds his last remaining organs—his brain and stomach. It’s a wild premise, but what do you expect from a show that exists in the same universe as The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy (there are even some crossover episodes). Evil Con Carne may have gotten cut too soon, but the show’s two seasons boast the early 2000s’ nostalgia and hilarious hijinks you’d want from an OG Cartoon Network show. And if you think you might not remember it, watch a couple of episodes, and the memories will come flooding back. —Yasmeen Hamadeh 

17. Class of 3000

Years Aired: 2006–2008
Starring: André 3000, Small Fire, Tom Kenny, Jennifer Hale, Crystal Scales, Phil LaMarr
How to Watch: Class of 3000 is streaming on Apple TV+

Cartoon Network’s unsung masterpiece that deserved so much more, Class of 3000 follows the day-to-day life of gifted students at Atlanta’s Westley School for the Performing Arts. Helmed and created by the incredible André 3000 (yes, thee André), the show’s told through the lens of music teacher Sunny Bridges (voiced by André) as he tries to rally up his students for lessons on music and inspiration. The show’s soundtrack, with some songs even produced by André, is unmatched, and its animation was ahead of its time. Class of 3000 beautifully tributes Atlanta’s music scene, and is a lesson in its own right on animation’s ability to tell stories often overlooked by other genres. We’re still waiting for the reboot. —Yasmeen Hamadeh  

16. Johnny Bravo

Years Aired: 1997–2004
Starring: Jeff Bennett, Brenda Vaccaro, Mae Whitman, Tom Kenny, Larry Drake 
How to Watch: Johnny Bravo is streaming on Prime Video and Apple TV+

The origin of all himbos, Johnny Bravo is everyone’s favorite sunglass-wearing, muscle-flexing, Elvis-impersonating king. Another absolute Cartoon Network classic, Johnny Bravo follows the failed attempts of its eponymous lead as he coasts his way through life trying to swoon one woman at a time. Accompanied by his mom, Bunny “Momma” Bravo, and his friendly neighbor Little Suzy, Johnny gets up to hilarious hijinks as he goes out of his way to pine after Aron City’s bombshell bachelorettes, only to find that he truly loves himself more than anyone at the end of the day. Oozing confidence and a perfectly pointed pompadour, Johnny Bravo is one of Cartoon Network’s most iconic characters to this day. —Yasmeen Hamadeh 

15. Ben 10

Years Aired: 2005–2008
Starring: Tara Strong, Meagan Smith, Paul Eiding, Dee Bradley Baker
How to Watch: Ben 10 is streaming on Max.  

The coolest kid to ever do it, 10-year-old Ben lived a life we all probably dreamt of growing up. After a mysterious watch gets latched onto him, Ben finds himself bestowed with the ability to turn into different aliens and uses his new superpowers to save the day. From fire bending to speed that’d put the Flash to shame, Ben has it all. And unlike his other colleagues in the “mysterious object gave me superpowers” department, Ben holds several powers matched to each alien type he can turn into—easily outranking Spider-Man and the likes with a single click of his Omnitrix. The original show went on to amass several spinoffs including Ben 10: Alien Force, Ultimate Alien, Omniverse, and even a 2016 reboot, but the OG show still holds the closest place to our hearts. —Yasmeen Hamadeh 

14. The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy

Years Aired: 2001–2007
Starring: Grey DeLisle, Richard Steven Horvitz, Greg Eagles, Vanessa Marshall
How to Watch: The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy is streaming on Max

Part of why making this list was so difficult was the sheer amount of great shows Cartoon Network had to offer in the early 2000s—and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy is no exception. The show probably rests in many people’s top 10, and while it may not have made the cut in this one, that doesn’t negate just how good it actually is. After winning over a limbo match that permanently put the Grim Reaper under their servitude, Billy and Mandy get up to wild hijinks with their new pal, trekking to the underworld and beyond. Sure the premise of this show is really weird (and obtusely dark) in hindsight, but Billy and Mandy still offers up hilarious episodes, memorable characters, and a slew of “blink and you’ll miss it” one-liners you’ll only really appreciate as an adult. —Yasmeen Hamadeh 

13. Ed, Edd n Eddy

Years Aired: 1999–2008
Starring: Matt Hill, Samuel Khouth, Tony Sampson
How to Watch: Ed, Edd n Eddy is streaming on Max

When it comes to childhood TV friends, very few groups are as tight-knit—and absolutely insane—as the trio in Ed, Edd n Eddy. The series, which made its debut in 1999, mixed together its unique blend of humor, relatable characters, and visually exciting animation style to emerge as one of the greatest shows on Cartoon Network. 

The story follows the titular characters: Ed, the lovably clueless one; Edd (Double D), the intelligent and organized friend; and Eddy, the schemer with a penchant for get-rich-quick schemes. The chemistry among these characters, along with their neighbors in the heart of suburbia, is a comedic goldmine, providing a diverse range of humor that appeals to a broad audience. It’s a timeless series, one that children of all ages can not only relate to, but revel in, as it explores themes of adventure, growing up, and, ultimately, enduring friendship. —Jacob Kramer

12. Total Drama

Years Aired: 2007–2023
Starring: Christian Potenza, Clé Bennett, Scott McCord, Megan Fahlenbock, Rachel Wilson, Drew Nelson 
How to Watch: Total Drama is streaming on Netflix

A hilarious spoof of reality TV shows like Survivor, Total Drama sees a group of teenagers compete in a survival of the fittest competition where backstabbing, elimination, and love triangles run amok on par with over-the-top hijinks. The show was such a success in its initial release with Total Drama Island in 2007 that it inspired several spinoffs, including Total Drama Action, World Tour, and the recently revamped rendition of the show in 2023. The challenges in the show are so outrageous and the lore behind its host, Chris McLean, is worthy of its own rabbit hole. Plus, watching this show weekly as a kid and treating it as if it were actually reality TV was a top-notch experience I wish everyone had had. While not all seasons of Total Drama are made equal, the show still packs on the punches, and we all have our favorite characters we’re still hoping will win one of the competitions soon. Gwen and Duncan deserved so much more. —Yasmeen Hamadeh 

11. Regular Show

Years Aired: 2010–2017
Starring: J.G. Quintel, William Salyers, Sam Marin, Mark Hamill
How to Watch: Regular Show is streaming on Hulu and Max

One of Cartoon Network’s more adult-oriented shows, Regular Show follows the trippy misadventures of Mordecai and Rigby, an anthropomorphic bluejay and raccoon, respectively, who are the best of friends. The two twentysomethings work at a local park as groundskeepers and try to avoid work by any means necessary, which often involves a supernatural mishap or two. With equally hilarious side characters through Skips, Muscle Man, and Hi Five Ghost, the show lends into a TV-PG V rating, which serves as a ground for more adult jokes and innuendos. Regular Show is a series you can enjoy at any time of day, at any age (even more than a kid would), and has swiftly become one of Cartoon Network’s most iconic shows for its durability. —Yasmeen Hamadeh 

10. Dexter’s Laboratory

Years Aired: 1996–2003
Starring: Christine Cavanaugh, Candi Milo, Allison Moore, Kat Cressida, Kath Soucie, Jeff Bennett, Eddie Deezen
How to Watch: Dexter’s Laboratory is streaming on Prime Video and Apple TV+.  

An absolute Cartoon Network classic, Dexter’s Laboratory follows the ingenious adventures of a boy prodigy who owns the coolest secret lab in his bedroom. Often challenged by his curious sister, Dee Dee, and his nemesis, Mandark, Dexter rises to the occasion each time with new gadgets and quips that usually have a broken string or two. Dexter’s Laboratory comfortably rests in Cartoon Network’s hall of fame, and is packed with some of the studio’s most iconic episodes and one-liners we all still remember (and quote) to this day. From Dee Dee’s call to action—“Oooh what does this button do”—to Mandark’s timeless laugh, there are one too many iconic moments to count from Dexter’s Laboratory. And it always makes for a great rewatch. —Yasmeen Hamadeh 

9. The Powerpuff Girls

Years Aired: 1998–2005
Starring: Cathy Cavadini, Tara Strong, E.G. Daily, Tom Kane
How to Watch: The Powerpuff Girls is streaming on Max

While there’s been a slew of recent reboots for The Powerpuff Girls, nothing comes remotely close to the original show. Made up of sugar, spice, everything nice, and a wee bit of Chemical X, Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles are sister superheroes protecting the city of Townsville from wayward monsters and more notorious supervillains like Mojo Jojo. Every aspect of The Powerpuff Girls has become its own fixture in pop-culture iconography, from the girls themselves to the show’s many iconic villains who we can all still list by name to this day. It’s action-packed. It’s timeless. And it’s a show that’ll always comfortably rest in Cartoon Network’s hall of fame, remaining one of its most profitable IPs well over a decade later. —Yasmeen Hamadeh 

8. Teen Titans

Years Aired: 2003–2006
Starring: Hynden Walch, Greg Cipes, Scott Menville
How to Watch: Teen Titans is streaming on Max

Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe existed, the superhero genre for kids was dominated by only a handful of projects. And Teen Titans, the OG series of course, was chief among them. It had a commanding run from 2003 to 2006, introducing the eclectic group of Robin, Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and Cyborg to the masses, and cementing its title as one of the greatest shows ever on Cartoon Network. 

One of the series’ standout features was its exceptional character development. Though it featured five strong characters, the writers made sure to delve deep into the complexities of their lives to explore themes of friendship, identity, and the struggle between personal desires and collective responsibility. The characters were magnetic, and it was one of those shows where you could truly pick between all of the leads for your “favorite” hero. The show was so popular that it even inspired a later spinoff (which we won’t talk about here). But its enduring popularity, along with its ability to resonate with audiences both young and old, serves only as a testament to the show’s iconic impact and legacy in the history of Cartoon Network. —Jacob Kramer

7. Steven Universe

Years Aired: 2013–2019
Starring: Zach Callison, Estelle, Michaela Dietz, Deedee Magno Hall
How to Watch: Steven Universe is streaming on Hulu

Steven Universe is a great example of animation’s ability to transcend barriers and be a genre for all ages. A coming-of-age story, the show follows Steven, a young boy who lives amongst Crystal Gems in Beach City. The Gems are essentially mineral-based magical entities who each possess their own superpowers based off the stones within them. There’s Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl, Steven’s mentors who guide him in discovering his true powers as a half-Gem. Together, the foursome protect Beach City from other magical foes and get up to an adventure that’s as entertaining as it is incredibly heartfelt. The show has been lauded for its LGBTQ+ representation, world-building, and even soundtrack, positing some of Cartoon Network’s most important (and only) queer characters with a killer fantasy story to boot. If you ever think you’re too old for cartoons, Steven Universe is a seminal example of how the genre will always captivate regardless of age. —Yasmeen Hamadeh 

6. Over the Garden Wall

Years Aired: 2014 
Starring: Elijah Wood, Collin Dean, Melanie Lynskey, Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry, Jack Jones, Samuel Ramey
How to Watch: Over the Garden Wall is streaming on Hulu

Over the Garden Wall is without a doubt Cartoon Network’s unsung masterpiece. Helmed by a surprisingly star-studded cast, the show follows two half-brothers, Wirt and Greg, as they make their way through a forest called the Unknown after getting lost. To help with their adventure, the boys have the companionship of a bluebird called Beatrice who’s also trying to undo a curse placed on her and her family. Over the Garden Wall is the perfect cozy, autumnal watch and boasts stunning animation as well as an emotionally loaded story with a finale that will have you tumbling down a Reddit rabbit hole. There aren’t enough words I can say that speak to just how incredible this show is. It’s beautiful. It’s heartfelt. And its curious creatures and magical unknown will leave such an irrevocable handprint on your heart. —Yasmeen Hamadeh

5. Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends

Years Aired: 2004–2009 
Starring: Sean Marquette, Keith Ferguson, Phil LaMarr, Tom Kenny, Candi Milo, Grey DeLisle 
How to Watch: Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends is streaming on Apple TV+

You didn’t have a childhood if you didn’t dream of going to Foster’s. The six-season show followed the mischievous misadventures of an 8-year-old boy named Mac and his imaginary friend Bloo, as they hilariously tumbled their way through the day-to-day life at an orphanage for imaginary friends. Regularly joined by their pals Wilt, Eduardo, and Coco, the fivesome coasted through mayhem you can only dream of getting up to as a kid, and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends still holds up as an adult. The show is hilarious and often sneaks in wittier jokes only more mature audiences can truly appreciate, and it helms some of Cartoon Network’s most memorable episodes and characters. How could any of us forget Cheese? —Yasmeen Hamadeh 

4. Courage the Cowardly Dog

Years Aired: 1999–2002 
Starring: Marty Grabstein, Thea White, Peter Fernandez
How to Watch: Courage the Cowardly Dog is streaming on Prime Video

Dogs are man’s best friend, and this old adage rings true with Courage the Cowardly Dog. A show that was way too scary, but way too good to look away for children ended up becoming one of the most iconic series to ever grace Cartoon Network. And that’s all thanks to the show’s incredible writing, imaginative world, and its array of unforgettable characters.

Courage the Cowardly Dog is the perfect combination of heart and horror, a rare feat that few other animated children shows were able to successfully achieve. Through visits from the supernatural (plus other bizarre entities), Courage’s quirky relationship with Muriel and Eustace, and the drama that ensued from these two worlds colliding, the show was an absolute treat to watch. The series’ willingness to explore unconventional themes, and its ability to elicit genuine emotions from its audience, remains a testament to Cartoon Network's commitment to pushing the boundaries of animated storytelling. —Jacob Kramer

3. Samurai Jack

Years Aired: 2001–2017 
Starring: Phil LaMarr, Mako, Kevin Michael Richardson
How to Watch: Samurai Jack is streaming on Max.

There are classics. Then there are timeless classics. And Samurai Jack is absolutely one of them. Created by Genndy Tartakovsky, the series follows the journey of its titular samurai as he finds himself displaced in time and forced to navigate a dystopian future where he must defeat the shape-shifting demon Aku.

At the heart of Samurai Jack is its visual mastery. The animation style blends minimalistic design with dynamic action sequences, making it a visually incredible series to binge as a kid. The show is also a masterclass in innovative storytelling, relying on atmospheric visuals and evocative soundscapes to tell its story instead of solely dialogue. Without going too deep into the woods with an overly analyzed take on the animated children series, just know this show is an absolute banger and must-watch if you’re into samurais unleashing havoc on their enemies. —Jacob Kramer

2. Codename: Kids Next Door

Years Aired: 2002–2008
Starring: Benjamin Diskin, Lauren Tom, Dee Bradley Baker, Cree Summer 
How to Watch: Kids Next Door is streaming on Max

One of the greatest shows to ever do it, Codename: Kids Next Door is by far one of Cartoon Network’s most creative outputs to this day. The show follows five secret operatives who work in an espionage-type organization that protects kids against anything adult, from broccoli to flossing. Through their many missions, KND’s main fivesome get up to a wild roller coaster of mayhem that entails anything between stealing jackpots of candy on Halloween to fighting against their nemeses, the Delightful Children from Down the Lane. Each episode is a masterpiece, and we don’t mean it lightly when we say this show was game changing to watch as a kid. You honestly didn’t have a childhood if you weren’t dreaming up of going on adventures with the gang, and we’re all still waiting to get our KND recruiting letter to this day. —Yasmeen Hamadeh 

1. Adventure Time

Years Aired: 2010–2018
Starring: Jeremy Shada, John DiMaggio, Hynden Walch, Tom Kenny, Olivia Olson
How to Watch: Adventure Time is streaming on Hulu and Max

The fun never ends in Adventure Time. By far one of Cartoon Network’s most successful series—even inspiring several spinoffs, theme parks, and more—the show follows the adventures of Finn and Jake, a human and magical dog, respectively, that live in the Land of Ooo. From battles with the Ice King to afternoons in Princess Bubblegum’s laboratory, Finn and Jake get up to a roller coaster of mayhem that’s widely entertaining and at times surprisingly heartfelt. The show recognizes an audience that’s growing alongside it and gradually delves into more serious themes on found family, love, and even death with each season. It also boasts incredible world-building and lore on how the Land of Ooo came to be, why Finn’s the only human there, and what that reflects back to us on our own humanity. So come along with Finn and Jake for an everlasting adventure across many distant lands—you’ll be crying buckets by the series finale. —Yasmeen Hamadeh

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