Most popular cartoons from the 2000s include Kim Possible, The Fairly OddParents, 6Teen, Braceface, Teacher’s Pet, and Fillmore!
The 2000s stirs fond memories of the unique fashion trends, music, and television shows that defined the decade.
This ten-year span also claims some of the most innovative and unforgettable animated series as its own, including “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” “Ben 10,” “Teen Titans,” “Samurai Jack,” “The Fairly Odd Parents,” “Kim Possible,” “Phineas and Ferb,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Danny Phantom,” and “The Spectacular Spider-Man.”
The burgeoning influence of Japanese manga and anime, alongside well-crafted cartoon characters, intriguingly complex anti-heroes, and extraordinary plotlines, helped these cartoons distinguish themselves from their predecessors.
However, the rise of streaming services and the decline of traditional cable television has impacted the industry, including the once-popular Disney Channel.
Golden Era – 2000s Cartoons
Oh, the 2000s. The decade of boy bands, baggy jeans, and bizarre pop culture. But let’s not forget the most important part: 2000s cartoons. Animated shows dominated the TV landscape, bringing many cartoon characters and stories into our lives.
Some of the most popular shows from this era, like Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Fairly Odd Parents, are now available to stream on Netflix.
43Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends (2004–2009)
Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends centers on the charming duo Mac and his imaginary friend Bloo. When Mac’s mother urges him to abandon his imaginary friend, they find a sanctuary in a house teeming with imaginary pals.
Mac can visit Bloo, safe from adoption fears, as they dive into exciting escapades in each episode. Its emotive portrayal of Mac’s growing pains contributes to its status as a top 2000s cartoon.
42Baby Looney Tunes
Baby Looney Tunes is an animated television series showcasing some beloved characters from the classic Looney Tunes franchise as infants. Produced by Warner Bros., the show aired from 2001 to 2006, predominantly on Cartoon Network and Kids’ WB.
Being a part of the early 2000s cartoons, “Baby Looney Tunes” was among a wave of shows that adapted classic characters into child or baby versions. This trend can be seen in other series such as “Muppet Babies” and “Tom and Jerry Kids.”
41Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Aqua Teen Hunger Force is an adult animated television series aired on Cartoon Network’s late-night programming block, Adult Swim. Created by Dave Willis and Matt Maiellaro, the show debuted in 2000 and became one of the most distinctive and surreal series of its time.
40Bob the Builder
Bob the Builder is a beloved children’s cartoon series by Keith Chapman. It first premiered in the United Kingdom in 1998 and quickly became a worldwide phenomenon. The show has been translated into numerous languages and broadcast in many countries, making it a staple of preschool programming.
The series follows the adventures of Bob, a friendly and skilled builder, and his team of anthropomorphic construction vehicles and equipment. Together, they take on various building projects and solve problems, often with the recurring catchphrase, “Can we fix it? Yes, we can!”
39The Koala Brothers (2003–2007)
From the land Down Under came “The Koala Brothers,” a delightful Australian animated series that graced the world of 2000s cartoons. Premiering in 2003 and running until 2007, this heartwarming show followed the adventures of Frank and Buster, two koala brothers with a mission to help their friends in the animal community.
Set in the Australian Outback, the show centered around the brothers’ daily lives and attempts to solve problems and assist their neighbors.
38Jackie Chan Adventures (2000-2005)
Jackie Chan Adventures creatively portrays the iconic actor Jackie Chan’s existence, drawing audiences into a universe where talismans charged with the powers of the Chinese Zodiac play a central role. The unique animation aesthetics and engaging characters contributed to its widespread acclaim during the airing.
37The Powerpuff Girls
When it comes to quintessential 2000s kid cartoons, “The Powerpuff Girls” is a name that immediately springs to mind. Although it debuted in the late ’90s, the show’s influence extended well into the 2000s, delivering a unique blend of action, humor, and charm that appealed to audiences of all ages.
36Chowder (2007 – 2010)
Chowder, a young aspiring chef and a unique blend of a cat, bear, and rabbit, often lands in humorous situations because of his lack of impulse control.
His constant hunger drives him to devour customers’ meals, and his ability to regurgitate items transforms his stomach into a storage unit. However, rather than aging well, Chowder’s character’s sexist humor and inappropriate content make it more suitable as an adult cartoon than a children’s show.
35Codename: Kids Next Door (2002 – 2008)
No list of top 2000s cartoon shows is complete without Codename: Kids Next Door. This series features five kids, Numbuh 1 through 5, trained by the Kids Next Door to protect childhood against adulthood.
They operate from a surprisingly spacious high-tech treehouse in Sector V. Usually, agents retire at 13, but exceptional ones join the Teens Next Door to spy on villainous teens.
34Phineas And Ferb (2007–2015)
Phineas and Ferb artfully used formulaic gags and self-aware comedy, with each episode showcasing their grand inventions and adventures. Candace, their sister, constantly tried to expose their shenanigans.
The show also featured engaging music and their pet platypus, Perry, outwitting the charming villain, Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Treating its young audience respectfully and offering immense rewatchability, it ranks among the best 2000s cartoons.
33Fairly Odd Parents
Fairly OddParents, another classic from Nickelodeon, hit the screens in March 2001 and entertained audiences until July 2017 throughout 10 seasons.
Intriguingly, it is Nickelodeon’s second-longest animated series, falling just behind “SpongeBob.” The series grew out of shorts aired between 1998 and 2001 on Nickelodeon’s animation showcase, “Oh Yeah! Cartoons.”
32House Of Mouse (2001–2003)
House of Mouse was an ingenious concept among early 2000s cartoons that brought together Disney’s most beloved characters under one roof.
Debuting in 2001 and running until 2003, the show was set in a nightclub owned by Mickey Mouse and operated by various other classic Disney characters. It provided a unique narrative framework for showcasing a variety of classic Disney cartoons, both old and new.
31Total Drama (2007 – 2014)
The Total Drama revival and its multiple spin-offs prove it as a standout 2000s Cartoon Network show. This Survivor-style cartoon satirizes reality TV, featuring teenagers vying to avoid elimination. Contestants form alliances, engage in battles, and betray each other, reflecting the mature themes of reality TV.
30The Grim Adventures Of Billy and Mandy (2001–2007)
In The Grim Adventures of Billy And Mandy, two kids win a limbo game, binding the Grim Reaper as their forever friend and sparking endless hijinks.
The show’s bizarre nature and the contrast between the sharp Mandy, naive Billy, and laid-back Grim make it a top 2000s cartoon. As one of Cartoon Network’s first ventures into dark humor, it never loses focus on its young audience.
29My Life As A Teenage Robot (2003-2009)
Teenage Robot, formally known as “My Life as a Teenage Robot,” is an American animated superhero science fantasy television series created by Rob Renzetti for Nickelodeon.
The era was largely overshadowed by the sheer popularity of “SpongeBob,” the last mega-hit from the ’90s. Consequently, regardless of quality, many other good cartoons of the 2000s were overlooked. One prime example of these underappreciated Nicktoons was “My Life as a Teenage Robot.”
28Duck Dodgers (2003–2005)
In Duck Dodgers, beloved Looney Tunes characters traverse the distant future. Daffy Duck’s protagonist awakens from an accidental three-century freeze, reprising a 1953 cartoon premise.
Iconic characters are frequently featured, including a Predator-like Wile E. Coyote and Yosemite Sam as K’chutha Sa’am. With abundant pop culture references, Duck Dodgers remains a top 2000s cartoon for adults today.
27X-Men: Evolution (2000–2003)
X-Men: Evolution, a successful animated version of the Marvel Comics franchise, stands out as it portrays fan-favorite characters’ teenage experiences.
Featuring Wolverine, Jean Grey, Storm, and Professor X, the show explores their struggles with powers and new mutants. With less violence and a notable ending speech from Professor X, it’s an ideal 2000s cartoon for young superhero enthusiasts.
26Danny Phantom: A Spectacularly Spooky Early 2000s Cartoon
In early 2000s cartoons, “Danny Phantom” was an offering that truly stood out. This show follows the life of Danny Fenton, a teenage boy who, after an accident in his parents’ ghost-hunting lab, gains the ability to transform into a powerful ghost.
Balancing his teenage life and ghostly alter-ego, he fought to protect his town from evil spirits. The show was a unique mix of supernatural adventure and teenage drama, offering a refreshing take on the coming-of-age narrative and earning a special place in the annals of 2000s kid cartoons.
25Fillmore! (2002 – 2004)
Despite often being undervalued, Disney’s Fillmore holds a special place in the hearts of its dedicated followers. The narrative is centered around the 12-year-old Cornelius Fillmore, a safety patrol recruit formerly accused of chalk theft.
Fillmore presents a humorous twist on classic 1970s police dramas, enthralling both children and adults alike with its exceptional voice performances and captivating storyline. Even though it was short-lived, airing just 26 episodes, the show made a considerable impression, sparking talks of a potential film to offer a fitting finale.
24CatDog (1998 – 2005)
Premiering in the late ’90s and running well into the 2000s, “CatDog” is a uniquely imaginative addition to early 2000s cartoons. The show is centered around its titular characters, Cat and Dog – conjoined siblings with polar opposite personalities and interests.
The sophisticated and somewhat uptight half cat often clashes with Dog, his fun-loving, naive counterpart. Their shared body and differing desires lead to countless hilarious and often chaotic situations.
23What’s New, Scooby Doo?
The Scooby-Doo franchise, including memorable feature-length films like “Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase” and “Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island,” remains a fixture in 2000s kids’ memories.
The series “What’s New, Scooby-Doo?” ran from Sept. 14, 2002, to July 21, 2006. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation for Kids’ WB, the series follows Scooby-Doo and his friends – Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy – as they unravel mysteries in various locales.
22Totally Spies – 2001
Totally Spies! is an animated television series created by Vincent Chalvon-Demersay and David Michel and primarily produced by the French company Marathon Media and co-produced with Canadian company Image Entertainment Corporation.
The series aired in France in 2001 and premiered in the US in 2002. Although it was not directly a Cartoon Network production, it did air on Cartoon Network and its sister channel Boomerang in the United States, among other networks worldwide.
21Adventures of Billy Mandy
The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy is an American animated television series aired on Cartoon Network from 2003 to 2008. The show was created by Maxwell Atoms and is known for its dark humor, unique characters, and outlandish situations.
The series centers on two children: Billy, a slow-witted and naive boy, and Mandy, a cynical and intelligent girl. They become best friends with the Grim Reaper, often called “Grim,” after winning a limbo game to save Billy’s pet hamster.
20Marvelous Misadventures – 2008 – 2010
The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack is an American animated television series created by Thurop Van Orman for Cartoon Network. The show premiered in 2008 and ran until 2010.
The series is set in a fictional locale, Stormalong Harbor, and follows a young boy named Flapjack, who was raised by a whale named Bubbie. Flapjack is an enthusiastic, adventure-loving boy who dreams of becoming a great adventurer.
19Courage the Cowardly Dog
Courage, the Cowardly Dog is an American animated horror comedy television series created by John R. Dilworth for Cartoon Network. The show ran from 1999 to 2002, known for its dark, surreal humor and atmosphere.
The series revolves around a small pink dog named Courage, who lives with an elderly couple, Muriel and Eustace Bagge, in the middle of Nowhere, Kansas.
18The Emperor’s New School – 2006
The Emperor’s New School is an American animated television series aired on the Disney Channel from 2006 to 2008. It’s a spin-off of the 2000 Disney film “The Emperor’s New Groove,” featuring the film’s principal characters and some new ones.
17Invader Zim (2001–2006)
Invader Zim, a sci-fi dark comedy series, features the grouchy yet endearing alien Zim and his faulty robot sidekick, GIR. Zim, sent to conquer humanity from planet Irk, comedically fails, especially when his classmate Dib interferes.
Their humorous fights and the obliviousness of those around them lead to hilarious scenes. Despite an abrupt ending, its unique and progressive nature cements Invader Zim as a top 2000s cartoon.
16Ed, Edd n Eddy (1998 – 2009)
Regarding early cartoons from the 2000s, “Ed, Edd n Eddy” is an unforgettable standout. The show centers around three young boys, all with the name of Ed, but wildly different personalities.
Big Ed is the dim-witted yet good-natured workhorse, Double D (Edd) is the intelligent and overly polite neat freak, and Eddy is the self-proclaimed leader, always scheming to make a quick buck, usually from their fellow neighborhood kids.
15Wolverine And The X-Men (2008–2009)
Wolverine and the X-Men delve into darker themes, exploring Professor X’s struggles to unite the team. After a dispute between Wolverine and Rogue, the team disbands, leaving Wolverine and Beast to reassemble the group.
Some X-Men, like Jean Grey, turn evil, while others, like Storm, eagerly return to prevent the government’s capture of mutants. Revealing key origins and presenting the team anew is a top 2000s cartoon.
14American Dad!: Life in Cartoons of the 2000s
“American Dad!” emerged as a popular animated sitcom for a slightly more mature audience. The series offered a comedic look at American suburban life through the eyes of Stan Smith, a CIA agent, and his quirky family, which included a sardonic alien and a talking goldfish.
The show’s sharp satire, eccentric characters, and outrageous scenarios made it a unique addition to the lineup of cartoons in the 2000s, proving that animation wasn’t just for kids.
13Samurai Jack (2001 – 2017)
In the rich tapestry of 2000s cartoons, “Samurai Jack” is a truly innovative masterpiece. This critically acclaimed animated series, which ran from 2001 to 2017, combined stunning visual storytelling with layered narratives to create an unforgettable viewing experience.
Conceived by Genndy Tartakovsky, the creator of “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “Samurai Jack” follows the titular character, a samurai cast into the future by the shape-shifting demon Aku.
12Spongebob Squarepants (1999–Present)
While technically debuting in the late ’90s, “SpongeBob SquarePants” truly made its indelible mark in the landscape of 2000s cartoons. Set in the whimsical underwater city of Bikini Bottom, the show follows the daily adventures and misadventures of its title character, SpongeBob, an enthusiastic and endlessly optimistic sea sponge.
With its iconic characters, including SpongeBob’s best friend Patrick Star, grumpy neighbor Squidward Tentacles, and miserly boss Mr. Krabs, the show quickly found its place in popular culture. Its blend of slapstick humor, memorable catchphrases, and occasionally surreal storylines made it a standout among early 2000s cartoons.
11Teen Titans (2003–2006)
Cartoon Network, renowned for its daring programming, struck gold with Teen Titans, a mature, structured tale for young audiences. Like other top 2000s cartoons, it utilized long-form storytelling, spotlighting a different DC superhero each season.
It uniquely blended American humor with Japanese-style animation and depicted mature teenage characters, maintaining levity even with Raven’s inclusion.
10Megas XLR (2004–2005)
Megas XLR, an underrated 2000s kids’ cartoon, features mechanic Coop and his friend Jamie who discover a future mecha robot, Megas.
They unexpectedly become Earth’s defenders against the Glorft. Celebrated as a clever parody of the mecha genre, Megas XLR is an action-packed, humorous homage to classic mecha anime.
9The Venture Bros. (2003 – 2018)
Making its debut in 2000s cartoons, “The Venture Bros.” emerged as a distinct, memorable series that struck a chord with viewers. Launched in 2003, this animated series turned the conventional adventure cartoon genre on its head, blending elements of action, drama, and comedy with a hefty dose of satire and parody.
8Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003–2005)
Star Wars: Clone Wars, not to be mixed up with the newer The Clone Wars, was one of the initial animated series delving into the titular war between clone troopers and droid armies. Situated after Attack of the Clones, it scrutinizes the war’s impact on the Galactic Republic and its diminishing control over various planets.
It showcases the Jedi forces’ struggle for supremacy by offering an engaging portrayal of fan favorites like Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi. As a top 2000s cartoon, Star Wars: Clone Wars laid the foundation for today’s animated canonical Star Wars shows, all in Genndy Tartakovsky’s distinct style.
7The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008–2009)
Though Teen Titans didn’t conclude fully, it wrapped some storylines with a film. However, the superior superhero show, The Spectacular Spider-Man, ended abruptly after two seasons following Disney’s acquisition of Marvel.
It may be the best Spider-Man animation yet, masterfully balancing classic and new concepts, even in a world boasting Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Hence, The Spectacular Spider-Man comfortably sits among the top 2000s cartoons.
6Kim Possible: Girl Power in the Early 2000s Cartoons
“Kim Possible” was a groundbreaking early 2000s cartoon that propelled girl power to the forefront. This unforgettable series followed the exploits of a high school cheerleader who, in her spare time, saved the world from supervillains.
With her resourceful sidekick Ron Stoppable and his naked mole-rat Rufus, Kim broke gender stereotypes and kept us glued to the screen. A perfect blend of action, comedy, and teenage drama, “Kim Possible” was a testament to the increasing diversity in cartoons of the 2000s.
5Ben 10 (2005 – 2008)
In Ben 10, Ben Tennyson (Tara Strong) finds the powerful Omnitrix, transforming him into various unique aliens. He fights growing alien threats with cousin Gwen (Meagan Smith) and Grandpa Max (Paul Eiding).
The show’s vividly designed aliens and engaging characters captivate viewers, while each episode delivers fresh adventures and nostalgia for thrilling childhood moments.
4The Fairly OddParents: Magical 2000s Cartoon Universe
If you ever wished for magical fairy godparents to whisk you away from mundane troubles, you’re probably a fan of “The Fairly OddParents.” One of the top cartoons from the 2000s, this quirky show introduced us to Timmy Turner, a ten-year-old boy with two fairy godparents fulfilling his every wish.
But, as we soon learned, every wish came with unforeseen consequences. From its memorable characters to its valuable life lessons wrapped in whimsical humor, this cartoon perfectly encapsulates the magic of 2000s kid cartoons.
3Rick And Morty (2013 – Present)
Stepping away from the 2000s and moving into the 2010s, no discussion of recent influential animation can ignore the incredible impact of “Rick and Morty.” Premiering in 2013, this adult animated science fiction sitcom has taken the world by storm with its sharp wit, complex narratives, and dark humor.
The brainchild of Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, “Rick and Morty” centers on the interdimensional escapades of Rick Sanchez, an eccentric and alcoholic mad scientist, and his good-hearted but easily influenced grandson, Morty.
2Justice League (2001–2004)
Justice League enriched the character roster as part of the DC Animated Universe, outshining its live-action counterpart. While the “Big Three” (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) excelled, the comprehensive supporting cast rendered the trio not the sole focus, marking Justice League as a top 2000s cartoon. Its inclusion of obscure characters and refusal to underestimate the audience resulted in an outstanding saga.
1Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005–2008)
Among the plethora of cartoons from the 2000s, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” stands as an undisputed classic. It revolutionized Western animation with its intricate storytelling, profound themes, and richly detailed universe.
The tale of Aang, a young boy tasked with mastering elemental powers to bring peace to a war-torn world, captured the hearts of millions. More than just a 2000s kid cartoon, “Avatar” transcended its target audience, offering a depth that viewers of all ages could appreciate.
2000s Cartoon Shows | The Ultimate Collection!
What made 2000s cartoons different from previous decades?
Cartoons in the 2000s were influenced by a broader range of cultures, with many shows drawing inspiration from anime and manga. This decade also saw a push towards more complex storytelling and character development, attracting older audiences.
Are any of the 2000s cartoons still running?
As of 2023, a few shows that began in the 2000s are still on the air, including “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Family Guy.” Others, like “The Fairly OddParents” and “Teen Titans,” have been rebooted or continued through sequels and spin-offs. Or Have holiday specials that still get made.