8 of the Most Popular Nicktoons of All Time
Thirty-one years, almost five dozen titles, watched by generations of kids. All of them United under the banner of an iconic, orange splat. They’re not just cartoons, they’re Nicktoons, and they’ve changed television.
Under this collective banner meant to set them apart from the competition, Nickelodeon’s created some of TV’s greatest animated series. From being one boy with ten sisters to a ghostly teen hero, Nicktoons come in all shapes and sizes. While most have their fans, the cream of the crop remains talked about long after they’ve ended. And some Nicktoons hasn’t ended!
Rugrats Was One of the First & Longest Lasting Nicktoons
One of the first three Nicktoons, Rugrats had the distinction of being one of its longest-running. This simple cartoon about the world through the eyes of babies struck a chord with viewers. While the parent’s competence left much to be desired, it reminded kids of how amazing the world can be with the power of imagination. Little wonder why Rugrats had several movies, video games, spin-off series, and a reboot.
Rocko’s Modern Life Laid the Groundwork for Modern Cartoons
Rocko got compared a lot to the equally surreal and satirical Ren & Stimpy during its time on the air. In the grand scheme of things, though, Rocko proved to have the greater impact on Nick and animation. Almost everyone who worked on Rocko has gone on to have great success in the entertainment industry. Some of the noteworthy alumni include voice acting superstar Tom Kenny, the co-creators of Phineas and Ferb, and the man who would create Nickelodeon’s flagship Nicktoon…
Jimmy Neutron Lives on Through Memes
For a show based on a film, Jimmy Neutron did pretty well for itself on Nickelodeon. This retro-based sci-fi comedy about the titular boy super-genius was pretty hilarious and garnered a lot of popularity during its initial run. However, it wasn’t until the birth of social media years later that the show reached new levels of popularity. These days, one can find memes of Hugh Neutron and Carl Wheezer anywhere they look! #HughNation
The Fairly Oddparents Was a Big Hit…Until it Wasn’t
How the mighty have fallen. At its peak, this show about a boy with fairy godparents was one of Nickelodeon’s flagship titles. Then, somewhere along the lines, it lost the heart that made it, so fun to watch, leading to an unceremonious exit, stage left for the show. Then there’s the fact that Viacom launched a live-action sequel series that made old fans cringe. At least there are always the good memories, though.
Invader Zim Was the Hit that Nick Didn’t Know What to Do With
There are missed opportunities, and then there’s what Nick did to Invader Zim. This dark Nicktoon about an inept alien invader got axed for low ratings and high budget costs. However, fans have since proved Nickelodeon wrong, with Zim becoming a cult classic. Had it premiered a decade later, it might stand alongside shows like Gravity Falls and Rick and Morty in terms of success. While Nick did give it a follow-up comic book and film on Netflix, fans will always wonder what could’ve been.
Hey Arnold Had One of the Most Diverse Casts in a Kid’s Cartoon
Hey Arnold might not have been one of the silliest Nicktoons or the flashiest. However, what it lacked in pizzazz, it made up for in substance. The show had one of the most diverse casts ever found in a kid’s cartoon, featuring people from multiple ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition, the show wasn’t afraid to tackle serious issues such as bullying, addiction, and familial neglect. With the way the world is now, another Hey Arnold would be gladly welcomed.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the GOAT’s
Calling Avatar: the Last Airbender legendary would almost be a disservice to it. From the moment it premiered in February 2005, Avatar didn’t become one of the most popular Nicktoons. Instead, it became one of the most popular animated series in history. When Netflix added it back to the service in May 2020, it remained the most popular show on the platform for two months. Fans young and old have spoken: Avatar is one of Nick’s greatest creations, and it’s still churning out new material.
SpongeBob Sits Atop the Mountain
Absorbent, yellow, porous, and famous is he. SpongeBob SquarePants is the undisputed king of the Nicktoons jungle and will likely stay there for years to come. Whether that’s good or bad is up for debate in light of Stephen Hillenburg’s passing. However, the sheer amount of memes and fan content is proof that Spongebob can be a cultural icon for generations to come. After all, when was the last time fans asked NFL to do a tribute to the cartoon’s creator at the Super Bowl?