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Top 100 Cartoons from the 2000s: A Nostalgic Look Back

Cartoons from the 2000s hold a special place in the hearts of many who grew up during that era. You might remember rushing home from school to catch the latest episode of your favorite animated series.

This decade was significant for animation, with a diverse range of cartoons that pushed the boundaries of storytelling and artistry.

Shows like “My Life As A Teenage Robot” offered unique perspectives and captivated audiences with their distinctive visual styles and progressive themes.

The 2000s were a turning point for Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Disney Channel, as these platforms delivered some of the most memorable and impactful cartoons.

Whether you preferred the educational adventures in “Cyberchase” or the quirky humor of “Angela Anaconda,” there was something for everyone.

The cartoons from this period were characterized by their clever writing, cultural relevance, and ability to tackle complex emotions, making them enjoyable for children and adults alike.

Top 100 Cartoons of the 2000s

From the continuation of beloved classics to the introduction of groundbreaking new series, the 2000s were a vibrant time for animated storytelling. This list celebrates the top 100 cartoons of the decade, each showcasing unique art styles, memorable characters, and stories that resonated with viewers, leaving a lasting impact on animation.


  1. Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008)
  2. Teen Titans (2003-2006)
  3. Samurai Jack (2001-2017)
  4. Ben 10 (2005-2008)
  5. Danny Phantom (2004-2007)
  6. Totally Spies! (2001-2008)
  7. X-Men: Evolution (2000-2003)
  8. Justice League (2001-2004)
  9. Codename: Kids Next Door (2002-2008)
  10. The Batman (2004-2008)


  1. SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-present)
  2. The Fairly OddParents (2001-2017)
  3. The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy (2001-2008)
  4. Ed, Edd n Eddy (1999-2009)
  5. Courage the Cowardly Dog (1999-2002)
  6. Invader Zim (2001-2006)
  7. Duck Dodgers (2003-2005)
  8. Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends (2004-2009)
  9. Camp Lazlo (2005-2008)
  10. My Gym Partner’s a Monkey (2005-2008)


  1. Winx Club (2004-present)
  2. W.I.T.C.H. (2004-2006)
  3. Danny Phantom (2004-2007)
  4. American Dragon: Jake Long (2005-2007)
  5. The Life and Times of Juniper Lee (2005-2007)
  6. Dave the Barbarian (2004-2005)
  7. Jackie Chan Adventures (2000-2005)
  8. Static Shock (2000-2004)
  9. Grim & Evil (2001-2002)
  10. Martin Mystery (2003-2006)

Animated Sitcoms

  1. Family Guy (1999-present)
  2. The Simpsons (1989-present)
  3. South Park (1997-present)
  4. King of the Hill (1997-2010)
  5. Futurama (1999-2003)
  6. Baby Blues (2000-2002)
  7. Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law (2000-2007)
  8. The Oblongs (2001-2002)
  9. Clerks: The Animated Series (2000)
  10. The PJs (1999-2001)


  1. Dora the Explorer (2000-2019)
  2. Blue’s Clues (1996-2006)
  3. Little Bill (1999-2004)
  4. Bob the Builder (1998-2012)
  5. Oswald (2001-2003)
  6. Caillou (1997-2010)
  7. Clifford the Big Red Dog (2000-2003)
  8. JoJo’s Circus (2003-2007)
  9. Stanley (2001-2004)
  10. Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends (2004-2008)


  1. Pokémon (1997-present)
  2. Yu-Gi-Oh! (2000-2004)
  3. Dragon Ball Z (1989-2003)
  4. Naruto (2002-2007)
  5. Fullmetal Alchemist (2003-2004)
  6. Sailor Moon (1992-1997)
  7. Cowboy Bebop (1998-1999)
  8. Rurouni Kenshin (1996-1998)
  9. Cardcaptor Sakura (1998-2000)
  10. Digimon Adventure (1999-2000)

Classic Cartoons

  1. Tom and Jerry (1940-present)
  2. Looney Tunes (1930-1969)
  3. Scooby-Doo (1969-present)
  4. The Flintstones (1960-1966)
  5. The Jetsons (1962-1963)
  6. Yogi Bear (1958-1962)
  7. Jonny Quest (1964-1965)
  8. The Pink Panther (1964-1980)
  9. Rocky and Bullwinkle (1959-1964)
  10. Popeye (1933-1957)

Animated Movies

  1. Shrek (2001)
  2. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
  3. Finding Nemo (2003)
  4. The Incredibles (2004)
  5. Cars (2006)
  6. Happy Feet (2006)
  7. Ratatouille (2007)
  8. WALL-E (2008)
  9. Kung Fu Panda (2008)
  10. Up (2009)

Adult Animation

  1. Family Guy (1999-present)
  2. South Park (1997-present)
  3. Futurama (1999-2003)
  4. King of the Hill (1997-2010)
  5. Beavis and Butt-Head (1993-2011)
  6. Aqua Teen Hunger Force (2000-2015)
  7. Robot Chicken (2005-present)
  8. Metalocalypse (2006-2013)
  9. The Boondocks (2005-2014)
  10. Archer (2009-present)

Foreign Animation

  1. Totally Spies! (France) (2001-2008)
  2. Code Lyoko (France) (2003-2007)
  3. Hamtaro (Japan) (2000-2006)
  4. Calimero (Italy/Japan) (1972-1975)
  5. Hello Kitty (Japan) (2004-2009)
  6. Huntik: Secrets & Seekers (Italy) (2009-2012)
  7. Oban Star-Racers (France/Japan) (2006)
  8. Pucca (South Korea) (2006-2008)
  9. Spliced (Canada) (2009-2010)
  10. Wakfu (France) (2008-2013)

The Golden Age of Cartoons

The turn of the millennium marked a period often celebrated for its groundbreaking and memorable animated series.

During this era, 2000s cartoons resonated with audiences, becoming a cherished part of your childhood and pop culture.

Cultural Impact of 2000s Cartoons

2000s cartoons had a significant influence, shaping your perspectives and conversations. Shows like The Powerpuff Girls and Phineas and Ferb weren’t just entertaining but also offered unique insights into themes like family values, friendship, and creativity. You might recall quoting lines or emulating characters from these shows, a testament to their cultural imprint.

  • Cartoon Network fan favorites: Ranging from action-packed to the whimsically absurd, they often broke new ground in storytelling and animation styles.
  • Nickelodeon and Disney Channel hits: These networks produced series that defined childhoods, balancing humor, heart, and life lessons for their young audiences.

Defining Cartoons of the 2000s

Several 2000s cartoons stand out for their creative artistry and compelling narratives. Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends (2004-2009) enchanted viewers with its vibrant visuals and poignant take on companionship. The mystery and martial arts in Jackie Chan Adventures (2000-2005) brought a mix of genres that captivated your attention.

  • Standout series: Codename: Kids Next Door (2002-2008) underscored themes of teamwork and justice, while Chowder (2007-2010) offered delightful absurdism and culinary adventures.
  • Not just cartoons: These animated series also fostered essential conversations about the role of animation in television and beyond, with thoughtful narrative arcs that respected the intelligence of their young viewers.

Your nostalgia for these iconic series speaks volumes about their lasting impact, and many continue to influence modern animated works.

Key Networks and Shows

In this dive into the nostalgic world of 2000s animation, you’ll revisit the pioneering networks and their shows that shaped a generation. From Cartoon Network’s quirky hits to Nickelodeon’s adventurous tales and Disney Channel’s unique charm, each played a pivotal role in the golden era of cartoons.

Cartoon Network Classics

Cartoon Network truly stood out in the 2000s with a bevy of shows that blended humor, adventure, and at times, mature themes. Highlights include:

  • The Powerpuff Girls: Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup became household names as they saved Townsville from villains big and small.
  • Total Drama: A clever satire paid homage to reality TV tropes with a competitive spirit. Glimpse this show’s impact through Ranker’s best Cartoon Network shows list.

Nickelodeon’s Iconic Cartoons

Nickelodeon’s roster was defined by creativity and humor, with these chart-toppers:

  • SpongeBob SquarePants: The show about a sea sponge and his nautical pals became a pop culture phenomenon.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: This animated epic was celebrated for its storytelling and introduced Western audiences to anime-inspired art.

Disney Channel’s Animated Successes

Disney Channel carved its niche with a mix of comedy and heartwarming narratives, featuring:

  • Kim Possible: Follow the adventures of a cheerleader by day and a secret agent by night.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The series continued the story from the film, focusing on the bond between a girl and her blue alien ‘dog’.

Through these networks and their shows, you’ve witnessed the creativity and range that define the era’s beloved cartoons.

Themes and Representation

In the colorful era of 2000s cartoons, you witnessed how the themes and representation in animation evolved, showcasing a broader range of characters and complex plots that often mirrored your own challenges and fantasies.

Superheroes and Fantasy

The 2000s brought you thrilling action-adventure through a blend of superhero tales and rich fantasy worlds. Shows like ‘Kim Possible’ combined high school life with crime-fighting, highlighting the dual lives that many superheroes lead. Not only did you get to see your favorite characters save the day, but they also dealt with the fears and life lessons that come with growing up.

  • Superheroes: Learning the balance between power and responsibility.
  • Fantasy: Exploring magical realms while addressing real-world issues.

School Life and Growing Up

Cartoons focused on school life and teenagers tackled themes of friendship, first loves, and the social hierarchies that often define your high school years. Series like ‘The Fairly OddParents’ and ‘6Teen,’ despite their comedic tones, help you navigate the complexities of teenage life.

  • School Settings: A backdrop for personal growth and discovery.
  • Everyday Struggles: Facing the challenges of adolescence with humor.

Science Fiction and Advanced Technology

Your fascination with the future and technology was fuelled by cartoons that delved into science fiction and advanced technology. The adventures set in space or virtual worlds like ‘Cyberchase’ not only entertained you but also educated you about topics like math and science.

  • Science Fiction: A genre that pushed the boundaries of your imagination.
  • Virtual Worlds: Spaces where action and education intersected seamlessly.

Characters and Role Models

In the landscape of 2000s cartoons, you’ll find an array of characters ranging from strong female leads to complex villains. These figures often served as role models, providing lessons on bravery, friendship, and overcoming adversity.

Female Protagonists

The 2000s gifted us with female protagonists who were more than just side characters; they were central to inspiring a whole generation.

Kim Possible is a name that you probably remember fondly; a teen spy who balanced saving the world with everyday high school drama. Her resourcefulness and wit made her a standout character. On the other hand, Braceface’s Sharon Spitz, a preteen navigating adolescence, showed you the day-to-day challenges of growing up.

Team Dynamics and Friendships

Teamwork played a huge role in the 2000s cartoons, often highlighting the value of friendship and collaboration. Kim Possible wouldn’t have achieved half of her feats without her trusty sidekick, Ron Stoppable, and his naked mole-rat, Rufus.

Similarly, My Life as a Teenage Robot showcased Jenny, a robot girl, as she formed friendships that transcended her artificial nature, teaching you the importance of accepting one’s identity.

Villains and Antiheroes

Every hero needs a villain, and the 2000s weren’t short of memorable ones. These characters often embodied complex anti-hero traits that blurred the lines between good and evil.

The X-Men series introduced you to nuanced characters like Jean Grey and Rogue, who straddled these lines with their powers and personal struggles. While they weren’t outright villains, their stories allowed you to explore themes of isolation and self-control.

By looking at these characters through the lens of role models, you can appreciate the depth and diversity that 2000s cartoons offered.

Whether through identifying with the relatable struggles of a preteen girl or learning the value of collaboration, these animations left a lasting impression on their audience.

Technical Evolution in Animation

In the 2000s, you witnessed a remarkable transformation in how cartoons were brought to life, thanks to innovative techniques in animation and the rising influence of anime on Western productions.

Advancements in Animation Techniques

The 2000s saw a significant leap in animation technology. Shows like “Danny Phantom” utilized digital ink and paint allowing for more vibrant color palettes and cleaner lines than traditional cel animation.

The decade also introduced you to 3D computer-generated imagery (CGI), which brought a new level of depth and realism to cartoons, creating a more immersive experience for viewers.

  • Motion Capture: Utilized in CGI to create fluid, realistic movements.
  • Digital Compositing: Blending multiple layers for a rich, complex scene.

The Influence of Anime on Western Cartoons

During this era, anime’s detailed art style and storytelling depth strongly impacted Western cartoons. “Samurai Jack,” known for its cinematic techniques and minimalist dialogue, echoed the visual storytelling prowess prevalent in anime. Here’s how anime elements were assimilated:

  • Artistic Styles: Adopted sharper lines and more dynamic visuals.
  • Narrative Depth: Embraced overarching plots with character development.

You saw cartoons evolve from simple gags to intricate narratives with deeper character arcs, partly inspired by the emotional and graphical intricacy of anime.

Merchandising and Legacy

Cartoons from the 2000s not only captured your imagination on the screen but also made a significant impact through merchandising and their enduring presence in pop culture. From action figures to video games, these animated series expanded their universes beyond television, creating a lasting legacy.

From Screen to Toy Shelf

Your favorite shows, like Ben 10, transitioned from the screen directly to your toy shelf.

The central device of the show, the Omnitrix, became a sought-after toy, allowing you to imagine transforming into different aliens just like the protagonist, Ben Tennyson. Similarly, Teen Titans action figures let you reenact the adventures of Robin, Starfire, and the team right in your own room.

ShowNotable Merchandise
Ben 10Omnitrix replica, Action Figures
Teen TitansCharacter Figures, Playsets

Cartoons and Video Game Crossovers

The gaming world embraced cartoons like The Fairly OddParents and Teen Titans, bringing the characters and their worlds into an interactive format. You could play as Timmy Turner, striving to overcome challenges with a flick of your virtual magic wand, or join the ranks of the Teen Titans to battle iconic villains in various video game titles.

  • The Fairly OddParents: Video games across multiple platforms.
  • Teen Titans: Several games adapting the animated TV series.

Continuations and Reboots

Long after their original runs, shows such as Codename: Kids Next Door and Teen Titans have experienced continuations and reboots, reflecting their lasting popularity. You might find yourself revisiting the original series or enjoying the new iterations that introduce these beloved characters to a new audience.

  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Rumors of a reboot in recent years.
  • Teen Titans: Followed by “Teen Titans Go!” which brought a new comedic twist to the characters.

Pop Culture and Fandoms

In the 2000s, pop culture was significantly shaped by the vibrant fan communities and the emergence of social media as a platform for discussions. Shows like Family Guy and Justice League were not just TV programs, but a playground for fandoms to flourish, through various forms of engagement and online interactions.

Fan Activities and Conventions

You’ve probably seen or even participated in the many fan activities that pay homage to your favorite cartoons. Star Wars: Clone Wars, for instance, inspired fans to dress up as their cherished characters, igniting the popular trend of cosplay. Enthusiasts gather annually at conventions like Comic-Con, where they can immerse themselves in everything from exclusive panels to Rick and Morty themed merchandise booths. Here are a few common fan activities:

  • Cosplay: Dressing up as characters from shows like Justice League.
  • Fan Art: Creating and sharing artwork inspired by shows such as Family Guy.
  • Fanfiction: Writing alternative stories for the worlds and characters you love.

Internet Communities and Social Media Impact

The advent of the internet and social media has provided an unparalleled platform for you to join the conversation about your favorite 2000s cartoons like Justice League and Family Guy. Forums, fan pages, and hashtags on platforms such as Twitter and Reddit have allowed Rick and Morty followers or Star Wars: Clone Wars aficionados to connect across the USA and the world.

Here’s a quick look at the impact:

  • Online Forums: Dedicated spaces for episode discussions and theory crafting.
  • Fan Pages: Facebook and Instagram pages where you can follow for daily content on shows like Justice League.
  • Hashtags: Viral tweets, memes, and discussions tagged with, for example, #FamilyGuyMoments.