7 Cartoons All ’80s and ’90s Kids Will Know
Before #peakTV, we only had so many shows and channels to watch, even if you were lucky enough to have cable. Whether you watched these series before school, after class, or on Saturday mornings, Tubi TV has plenty of your favorites, all in one place.
These shows are streaming free on Tubi TV, so you can go back to being as carefree as you were as a kid. (“What’s a subscription fee?”) You’re welcome.
1. Inspector Gadget (1983–1986)
We’re sorry for getting this song stuck in your head because it will be there for weeks. Join Gadget, Penny, and Brain as they use Gadget’s variety of, umm, gadgets to fight Doctor Claw. If the hero’s voice sounds familiar, that’s because it’s Get Smart’s Don Adams. Doctor Claw is voiced by Frank Welker, aka Fred Jones in Scooby-Doo and Megatron in Transformers.
2. My Little Pony (1984–1987)
Before bronies, there was the original My Little Pony. Journey to Ponyland for this show based on the toys that we all had and wanted more of. (“But, Mom, Baby Moondancer is totally different than Baby Cotton Candy!”) Gusty, Baby Heart Throb, Baby Cuddles, Posey, Truly, Honeysuckle, and Surf Rider were all voiced by Nancy Cartwright, most famous for playing Bart on the still-going ’80 show The Simpsons.
3. The Transformers (1984–1987)
Sorry, young kids who only know the Michael Bay movies, there’s no Mark Wahlberg or Shia LaBeouf here. The billion-dollar film franchise got started with this essential cartoon about robots in disguise, which was in turn based on the coolest toys by Hasbro. Led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), the good guys Autobots battle bad guys Decepticons with Megatron (Welker again) at their head. If you kept your Jetfire in the box, it could be worth $20,000 today (whomp whomp).
4. G.I. Joe (1985–1986)
How did this only run two seasons?! Another TV show based on a Hasbro toy line, G.I. Joe featured plenty of patriotic action and ended each episode with a P.S.A. that told us, “Knowing is half the battle.” For reasons that the above gif hints at, I was not allowed to watch this show (thanks, Mom), but I liked sneaking it at my cousins’ house.
5. My Pet Monster (1987)
Not quite as successful as the rest of the shows on this list, My Pet Monster was another cartoon based on a toy. This toy wasn’t made of (entirely) plastic, however; it was a furry stuffed animal (monster?) with orange handcuffs you could wear and break just like this animated creature.
6. Tales from the Cryptkeeper (1993–1994, 1999)
Based on HBO’s Tales from the Crypt, this animated series featured all of that adult-oriented show’s fun, but none of its blood and guts. Also, the cartoon Cryptkeeper was far less creepy than his live-action counterpart (I still have nightmares). The first two seasons aired on ABC in 1993 and 1994, and fans had to wait till 1999 for the third and final season on CBS.
7. Bump in the Night (1994–1995)
Wholly original and delightfully weird, this stop-motion series aired on ABC. Mr. Bumpy (Jim Cummings, who voiced basically every cartoon you love) lives under the bed, while his friend Squishington (Rob Paulsen, voice of Yakko Warner, Pinky, and more) lives in the toilet tank. They’re joined by doll Molly Coddle (SNL vet Gail Matthius) in their oddball adventures.
Did we miss your favorite show? Let us know in the comments.