Ranking the ’90s Most Obscure Sci-Fi & Fantasy Cartoons
Ranking the ’90s Most Obscure Sci-Fi & Fantasy Cartoons

 

The ’90s are widely remembered as the last great era of Saturday morning cartoons. Legendary series like Darkwing DuckCaptain Planet and the Planeteers, and Gargoyles all aired during the decade, but there were plenty more sci-fi and fantasy cartoons that never quite caught on with audiences. For every success like Batman: The Animated Series, there were several more bizarre adventures with forgettable heroes that only lasted a handful of episodes. We’ve gone deep into our memory banks to unearth the following 31 animated series that debuted in the 1990s, and have ranked them from “least obscure” to “there’s no way that was ever a thing,” so get ready for lots of “extreme” premises and hard rock theme songs and see how many of these forgotten cartoons you can recall watching.

 

31. Street Sharks

 

A blatant ripoff of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this show has nonetheless managed to secure its own small but dedicated fanbase.

 

30. Mighty Ducks

 

Alien duck hockey players who fight crime? Disney used to be a lot weirder back in the day.

 

29. Double Dragon

 

Based on the classic video game, this show offered loads of martial arts action.

 

28. Mighty Max

 

Based on the toy line, which was a male-targeted version of Polly Pocket, this fun series saw the titular Max face off against various monsters in other dimensions.

 

27. The Bots Master

 

This French production featured 3D segments in every episode that could be watched using special glasses sold with tie-in toys. Uh, neat.

 

26. Biker Mice from Mars

 

Alien rodents from outer space who ride motorcycles. The ’90s were a wild time.

 

25. Extreme Ghostbusters

 

Everybody remembers the excellent ’80s cartoon, The Real Ghostbusters, but how about this more *extreme* version from the late ’90s featuring a new team led by Egon?

 

24. ReBoot

 

The first-ever fully computer animated series, with a plot that fit somewhere between Tron and The Matrix.

 

23. Highlander: The Animated Series

 

In addition to movies and a live action TV show, this franchise also churned out a soon-forgotten animated series.

 

22. Gravedale High

 

Rick Moranis starred as a human teacher at a school for monsters.

 

21. Toxic Crusaders

 

An animated spinoff of the 1984 R-rated cult film The Toxic Avenger, this series saw Toxie team up with other deformed heroes to battle environmental villains à la Captain Planet.

 

20. Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Wars

 

This bizarro show lasted less than three months back in ’91, but in that time it managed to wring out a killer theme song and a pretty gnarly toy line.

 

19. The Pirates of Dark Water

 

This show has gained more popularity in recent years than it ever experienced in the ’90s, probably because it’s without a doubt the best pirate cartoon ever made.

 

18. Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa

 

Talk about strange, these cowboys are actual cows… and they ride horses… and presumably herd cattle? This is all thanks to a meteor, apparently.

 

17. Cadillacs and Dinosaurs

 

Quick, what goes with dinosaurs? Uh, Cadillacs! And thus, a TV show was born.

 

16. SWAT Kats

 

Just a couple of feline masked vigilante mechanics who fight crime with their state of the art fighter jet.

 

15. Exosquad

 

This was actually a pretty solid show with a legit hard sci-fi plot about android humans rebelling against their creators and taking over mankind’s terraformed solar system colonies. Also, everyone fought with sweet exoskeletons.

 

14. Wild C.A.T.S.

 

I can only assume comic book artist Jim Lee set out to create the most ’90s superhero team ever with Wild C.A.T.S. He succeeded.

 

13. RoboCop: Alpha Commando

 

RoboCop was a huge hit back in 1987, so why not make a cartoon about him… in 1998. Not surprisingly, this series didn’t last long.

 

12. King Arthur and the Knights of Justice

 

This series basically turned King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table into superheroes, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

 

11. The Savage Dragon

 

Lots of ’90s cartoons were based on obscure comics, hoping to strike gold like Ninja Turtles. This one didn’t fare so well.

 

10. Mummies Alive!

 

Taking place in the modern day and featuring ancient mummies come back to life and empowered by Egyptian gods, this was one crazy (but awesome) trip.

 

9. Skeleton Warriors

 

Without being hyperbolic, I can easily say that this is the greatest TV theme song ever.

 

8. BattleTech

 

This short-lived series was a spinoff of the popular board game that got its start in the ’80s.

 

7. Bureau of Alien Detectors

 

The commonly used acronym for this Men In Black ripoff was B.A.D. That pretty much sums it up.

 

6. Conan and the Young Warriors

 

Conan the Barbarian and his kid sidekicks come to life in lackluster animation. It’s a shocker this only lasted 13 episodes.

 

5. Extreme Dinosaurs

 

This show is so obscure it was actually a spinoff of Street Sharks. For real.

 

4. Monster Force

 

It’s up to a group of teenagers to stop the classic Universal Monsters from taking over the world. Wait, isn’t this just The Monster Squad?

 

3. Skysurfer Strike Force

 

And the record for most exposition ever included in an intro goes to…

 

2. Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys

 

Chimps we sent into space became super smart and battle an alien who is half human/half black hole. Cool.

 

1. Xyber 9: New Dawn

 

Lasting just 10 episodes during its original run in 1999, this bizarre mashup of CGI and traditional animation never quite caught on with anyone, which is why it gets our nod for the most obscure sci-fi/fantasy cartoon to come out of the ’90s.

 

Image courtesy of DHX Media
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