35 Best Cartoons of the 2000s: A Walk Down Memory Lane

The 2000s was a fun time for cartoons! Relive your childhood with me as I reminisce on some of my absolute favorites!

The 2000s nostalgia is here, and it has brought with it fond memories of the decade’s unique fashion trends, music, and television shows.

It’s a decade that also boasts a collection of the most innovative and memorable animated series such as Avatar: The Last Airbender, Ben 10, Teen Titans, Samurai Jack, The Fairly OddParents, Kim Possible, Phineas and Ferb, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Danny Phantom, and The Spectacular Spider-Man.

Influence from the growing Japanese manga and anime coupled with well-written main characters, menacingly elaborate and interesting anti-heroes and fantastic plot lines made these cartoons stand out from those that came before them.

Another trend I noticed with these cartoons is that they all use upbeat, memorable songs. Think of Kim Possible and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for instance.

Early 2000s Cartoons

We all like to dive into nostalgia from time to time and fondly remember the sounds that made our childhood and had an impact on us. In this blog post, I will explore the fan-favorite cartoons that shaped us and what made them so influential.

I will only focus on the cartoons released between 2000 and 2019.

Read on for an exciting take on the fan-favorite cartoons that graced our TVs in the 2000s.

1. Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender

First episode: February 21, 2005
Final episode: July 19, 2008

Program creators: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko

This journey with 12-year-old Aang in his quest to defeat a warring army and unite the four elemental nations is nothing short of a masterpiece. Beloved by many and highly rated on IMDB, its fans describe it as a work of art that can move the watcher to tears before having them filled with so much hope, all in one short episode, while delivering valuable lessons.

While the four elements have been the subject of many forms of media, I was left in awe of how brilliantly the show’s production team tackled them in this anime-inspired animated series. First, they assigned each nation an element before associating it with the element’s characteristic attributes and philosophies.

A remarkable blend of humor and teaching, this show addressed heavy topics such as genocide and war maturely. The unique outlook makes it a cartoon that adults can also enjoy.

2. Ben 10

Ben 10 - early 2000s cartoon shows

First episode: December 27, 2005
Final episode: April 15, 2008

Available to stream on HBO Max

Networks: Cartoon Network, TV Avala

Those who like action-packed cartoons will probably pick Ben10 and Teen Titans over Avatar: The Last Airbender any day. The animated series followed the life of a previously average child, Ben Tennyson, who was on a summer vacation with his grandfather and cousin.

Ben’s life takes a fascinating turn that drives the entire series when he stumbles on a powerful alien device, the Omnitrix, that can transform him into up to ten alien species.

The Omnitrix was at the center of the show’s primary battles because it was believed to possess enough power to conquer the entire universe. The most narcissistic bad guys covet the device and stop at nothing to get it.

The show’s villains and all their evil angles and endeavors were well-written to contribute to the super-charged atmosphere of the series. Ben 10 and its unique and believable extraterrestrial villains appealed to our love of aliens at the time and kept us deeply engaged.

3. Teen Titans

Teen Titans - mid 2000s cartoons

First episode: July 19, 2003
Final episode: January 16, 2006

Based on: Teen Titans; by Bob Haney; Bruno Premiani

One of the cartoons with the most incredible staying power, Teen Titans explored more profound, intimate topics such as friendship and feelings of inadequacy alongside the team’s everyday crime-fighting activities.

The cartoon explored the theme of friendship, starting by explaining the characters’ backgrounds, how it impacted them, and how their bonds grew stronger as they got to relate. All these stories had excellent plots and were accompanied by great music.

Like many other teenagers then, I related to the Teen Titans even when they were not your average school-going teens. The writers seemed to send a message throughout the series that even heroes were invincible and faced teenage problems like the rest of us did.

While the titans were only teenagers, the people knew who to call when there was trouble. In this way, these relatable teens taught the rest of us that there was no stipulated age for being a hero and that we could be heroes in our own ways.

4. Samurai Jack

Samurai Jack

First episode: August 10, 2001
Final episode: May 20, 2017

Networks: Cartoon Network, Adult Swim

The story of Samurai Jack is quite simple. It narrates the story of a Samurai in ancient Japan who witnesses a powerful demon (Aku) destroy his homeland. Jack takes on the role of the hero and fights Aku with his mystical sword, but before he can defeat him, Aku casts a spell on him that sends him to the future.

Aku rules future Japan, and Jack is responsible for figuring out his way around the new place and going back into the past to defeat Aku. However, the future is not one without obstacles. Jack runs into bizarre new creatures and aliens, some of whom befriend him and give him hope as he continues his journey to the past.

The series sticks to this simple plot the entire time without becoming boring because it is filled with fast-paced fighting scenes to keep the watcher engaged. The little dialogue also reinforces the fighting scenes and keeps the show fascinating.

Shout out to the fact that the production house let us see Jack again for an epic ending over a decade later. That shows just how iconic the samurai was.

5. The Fairly OddParents

The Fairly OddParents

First episode: March 30, 2001
Final episode: July 26, 2017

Program creator: Butch Hartman

The story of magic tricks gone awry is a common one. However, the production team for The Fairly OddParents managed to explore the theme in all the episodes and keep it engaging. A brilliant blend of whacky humor and fresh ideas for every episode kept the show alive.

The cartoon focuses on a misunderstood kid, Timmy, who is given access to fairies who can grant any of his wishes. However, magic comes with significant responsibilities that Timmy slowly learns to handle with a new challenge in every episode.

He also learns great lessons that prove that life is complicated, and sometimes even magic cannot fix that. Timmy often wishes himself and the world into trouble, setting an environment for a long and exciting storyline.

Another interesting factor that made the show is the large set of well-defined characters. For instance, it had unique menacing villains such as Timmy’s babysitter Vicky who only cared about money and, of course, making children suffer.

His teacher, Denzel Crocker, also made it his life’s mission to ensure Timmy didn’t pass his grade by constantly giving him F scores. Such characters made an invaluable contribution to the plot development.

6. Kim Possible

Kim Possible

First episode: June 7, 2002
Final episode: September 7, 2007

This cartoon and its iconic theme song were a favorite in my household, especially while navigating our pre-teen and teenage years. Kim and her witty nature, paired with the fact that it was an action-oriented series featuring a teenage female lead, made the show impossible not to watch.

Kim Possible followed the relatable story of an average teenage girl with the crippling responsibility of rescuing whoever called her when they had an emergency. The show’s creators also explored Kim’s personal life as she dealt with typical teenage problems aside from the thrilling adventures that drove the show.

She was also very authentic and fluid, changing from being tough and delivering witty one-liners to being vulnerable and dealing with problems like going to the school dance with a guy who is “just a friend” in one short episode.

7. Phineas and Ferb

Phineas and Ferb

First episode: August 17, 2007
Final episode: June 12, 2015

The story of Phineas and Ferb follows two young brothers, the talkative Phineas and the silent Ferb, who plan to make the most of their 104 days of summer vacation. The boys do it all, from building time machines and rockets to frustrating their sister, who tries to report their efforts to their mother but always fails.

The show’s characters and the relationships between them are interesting and well-developed to contribute to the progression of the plot. For example, the sibling rivalry between Candace and her younger brothers is apparent, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about each other.

Phineas and Ferb’s efforts are usually assisted by a diligent Fireside Girls troop led by Isabella, their neighbor. Isabella has a crush on Phineas, who doesn’t seem to pay attention to boy and girl relationships just yet. Isabella is also the owner of the famous phrase “Phineas, Watcha doing?”

This character exploration makes Phineas and Ferb a relatable show for pre-teens and teenagers. Moreover, the random adult jokes in the dialogue also make the animation interesting for adults.

While the brothers’ story and that of their sister is enough to keep any audience engaged, this cartoon creator followed the Kim Possible style of parallel storytelling that makes the show suspenseful, event-filled, and fast-paced.

The parallel story involves the family’s pet, Perry, the platypus, who is also a secret agent working to stop the plans of the evil but inept scientist Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz.

8. Wolverine And The X-Men (2008–2009)

Wolverine And The X-Men (2008–2009)

First episode: January 23, 2009
Final episode: November 29, 2009

Marvel Studios thought it would be a good idea to introduce another series whose animation quality will be even better than X-Men: The Animated Series, which will take us deeper into the Marvel Universe than X-Men. As a result, the first four seasons of X-Men: Evolution featured teenage X-Men members.

As a result of its declining ratings after Season 4, the show was canceled. Ascension was the last episode in which Xavier gave a quick overview of Season 5.

As a successor to X-Men: Evolution, Marvel Studios introduced Wolverine and the X-Men in early 2008.

9. The Spectacular Spider-Man

The Spectacular Spider-Man

First episode: March 8, 2008
Final episode: November 18, 2009

Program creators: Stan Lee, Greg Weisman, Steve Ditko

This list would be incomplete without mentioning the decades-old story of Spider-Man. Although this series in the Spider-Man franchise was released in 2008, Spidey has been spinning webs and fighting crime for decades, and this show did the Peter Parker storyline justice.

This Spider-Man version is a spectacular entertainment piece that sticks to the original story of the orphaned schoolboy who was bit by a mutated spider and granted a myriad of spider powers, such as spider senses and the ability to climb walls. Peter chooses to be a masked superhero and fight crime with his new superpowers.

Like many other cartoons at the time, the spectacular Spiderman’s animation was also anime-inspired but presented uniquely Americanly, maintaining its familiarity.

I liked this version of Spiderman specifically because I have always found Peter to be more relatable than other superheroes in the Marvel universe, and this show reinforced that. Unlike the other superheroes, Peter is a young high school student navigating teenage life while at the same time slowly learning that “with great power comes great responsibility.”

Many of us also identified with his struggles, such as figuring out romantic relationships and social awkwardness.

10. Danny Phantom

Danny Phantom

First episode: April 3, 2004
Final episode: August 24, 2007

Program creator: Butch Hartman

Finally, on the list, we have Danny Phantom. This ghost-hunting adventure follows the story of 14-year-old Danny, living with his parents in Amity Park.

After his parents’ failed attempt at making a ghost portal, Danny comes across it and gains a ghost-like appearance after pressing a button. He also acquires ghost powers and makes it his mission, together with friends who support his antics, to use his powers for good to save the world from other evil ghosts.

Unlike other cartoons, Danny Phantom has continuity where each episode builds on the last but is standalone and can be enjoyed by people who haven’t watched previous episodes. Danny Phantom is also packed with relatable topics for teenagers, such as growing up with embarrassing parents and trying to fit in as a freshman in high school.

It delivers these stories with dry humor and heavy sarcasm in dialogues that appeal to both teens and adults. As such, it is an excellent cartoon for the whole family.

11. Spongebob Squarepants

Spongebob Squarepants

First episode date: May 1, 1999

Program creator: Stephen Hillenburg

Spongebob Squarepants, a beloved character created by Stephen Hillenburg, first debuted on Nickelodeon in 1999. This yellow sponge has captured the hearts of children and adults alike with his optimistic attitude and goofy antics.

Spongebob’s good-natured nature shines through as he navigates Life in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom with his friends, including the grumpy Squidward, Spongebob’s pet snail Gary, and his trusty starfish sidekick Patrick.

12. Megas XLR (2004–2005)

Megas XLR (2004–2005)

First episode date: May 1, 2004
Final episode date: January 15, 2005

Program creator: George Krstic

Megas XLR follows the adventures of Coop, a goofy mechanic who ends up in possession of Megas, a giant robot from the future. With Megas and his trusty sidekick Kiva, Coop goes on epic battles against aliens and other foes. Megas XLR provides comedy and action in equal measure, with a heavy dose of ’80s nostalgia thrown in. It’s a blast for robot enthusiasts and casual viewers alike. So what are you waiting for? Join Coop on his adventures and rev up your engines for Megas XLR.

13. Invader Zim (2001–2006)

Invader Zim (2001–2006)

Invader Zim was a popular animated series produced by Nickelodeon and created by Jhonen Vasquez. The show follows the story of an alien named Zim from the planet Irk, who is sent on a mission to invade Earth. However, his incompetence and arrogance often lead him to failure and comedic misadventures. Invader Zim was critically acclaimed for its dark humor and unique art style but was ultimately canceled due to low ratings. Despite this, the show gained a cult following and continues to have a strong presence in pop culture.

14. Justice League (2001–2004)

Justice League (2001–2004)

If you’re a Justice League fan, then you know the 2001-2004 cartoon is one of the best versions.

The all-star lineup features Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl, and Green Lantern as they team up to save the world from villains like Lex Luthor and Darkseid.

With iconic voice actors like Kevin Conroy as Batman and Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman, the show brings justice to our TV screens in every episode.

15. 6teen


First episode date: November 7, 2004
Final episode date: February 11, 2010

In 2004, the Canadian television network Teletoon premiered the animated teen sitcom sixteen. Jennifer Pertsch and Tom McGillis created it. An ensemble cast of six sixteen-year-old friends explores their first part-time jobs and teenage lives in the fictional Galleria Mall.

The production is a joint venture between Fresh TV Inc., Nelvana Limited, and Teletoon Television.

16. Cyberchase


First episode: January 21, 2002

The show aired on PBS Kids in 2002, produced by Canada-based animation studio Nelvana and Thirteen/WNET New York. In addition to Sesame Street, it is currently the second-longest-running PBS Kids series after Arthur (1996-2022). Cyberchase’s brand is also centered around it.

17. The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (2003 – 2007)

The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (2003 - 2007)

The hit cartoon The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy ran for four highly successful seasons on Cartoon Network, following the duo’s adventures with their ever-suffering best friend, The Grim Reaper.

The show was known for its unique blend of dark humor and youthful hijinks, making it a favorite among children and adults.

From defeating ancient gods to saving the world from destruction, no task was too big for the power of friendship (and a little bit of trickery). The show spawned various spin-offs and specials, cementing its place in cartoon history.

18. House Of Mouse (2001–2003)

House Of Mouse (2001–2003)

The House of Mouse was where all your favorite Disney characters came to play.

With nearly every character appearing, it was no surprise that this spot quickly became the hottest hangout in town. And with Mickey, Minnie, and the rest of the gang running the show, you knew you were in for a good time.

But it wasn’t just the characters that made House of Mouse a hit – the musical guests and hilarious sketches added an extra dose of magic to this already enchanting venue.

So, if you were looking for a guarantee of laughs and good times, look no further than the House of Mouse. Trust us; it’s worth every mouse ear.

19. Codename: Kids Next Door – 2002-2008

Codename: Kids Next Door - 2002-2008

If you were a kid in the early 2000s, Codename: Kids Next Door was your jam. The cartoon followed the adventures of a group of pre-teen spies who fought against adults and teenagers, trying to ruin childhood for all children.

But what made Codename: KND stand out was its unique storytelling style. Each episode was structured around a mission number and often involved clever gadgets, secret hideouts, and epic battles. It also had a diverse cast of characters, with each kid representing a different nationality or race.

But Codename: KND wasn’t just about cool spy missions – it also tackled essential issues in the lives of children, such as bullying and peer pressure.

20. Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends (2004–2009)

Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends (2004–2009)

Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends was a beloved cartoon aired on Cartoon Network from 2004 to 2009. The show followed an eight-year-old boy named Mac and his best friend, an imaginary friend named Blooregard Q. Kazoo (or just “Bloo” for short).

Together, they navigate the wacky world of Foster’s Home, a haven for forgotten and abandoned imaginary friends. Along with other zany characters like Eduardo, Wilt, Coco, and Frankie Foster, Foster’s Home provided its viewer’s endless laughs and heartwarming moments.

21. The Proud Family (2001 – 2005)

The Proud Family (2001 - 2005)

The Proud Family was a beloved animated series about teenager Penny Proud and her wacky yet loving family. The show featured an all-star voice cast, including Kyla Pratt as Penny, Tommy Davidson as her father, Oscar, and Paula Jai Parker as her mother, Trudy.

The show tackled critical social issues such as race and body image while providing plenty of laughs.

The Proud Family also had amazing musical guests like Destiny’s Child, Brandy, and Solange Knowles. The show may have ended in 2005, but it remains a cherished staple in Black pop culture today. Thank you, The Proud Family, for giving us the iconic catchphrase “ya nasty!”

22. Ed, Edd N Eddy (1999 – 2008)

Ed, Edd N Eddy (1999 - 2008)

Final episode: November 8, 2009
First episode: January 4, 1999
Program creator: Danny Antonucci

Ed, Edd, and Eddy are three friends living in a suburban cul-de-sac as they constantly try to make money through various schemes. However, their plans often backfire due to Ed’s stupidity, Edd’s overthinking, and Eddy’s selfishness.

Despite their shortcomings, the trio always stick together and learn lessons.

The show’s unique animation style and comedic writing garnered a cult following. It also spawned several video games and a feature film before ending its run in 2008. Today, Ed Edd N Eddy remains a beloved staple of Cartoon Network’s classic era.

23.  CatDog (1998 – 2005)

CatDog (1998 - 2005)

First episode: April 4, 1998
Final episode: June 15, 2005

Networks: Nickelodeon, Nicktoons

CatDog, the cartoon created by Peter Hannan, aired on Nickelodeon from 1998 to 2005. The show followed the antics of Cat and Dog; conjoined twins joined at the abdomen with distinct personalities. Cat was a suave and cunning character, while Dog was dim-witted and easily manipulated.

Together, they navigated daily Life in their hometown of Nearburg while facing off against recurring antagonist CatDog’s smooth-talking cousin, Winslow T. Oddfellow.

CatDog received both praise and criticism for its commentary on social issues such as diversity and peer pressure. Despite ending after four seasons, CatDog remains a beloved staple of 1990s childhood nostalgia.

24. Duck Dodgers (2003–2005)

Duck Dodgers (2003–2005)

Duck Dodgers follows the adventures of Daffy Duck as Duck Dodgers, a space hero in the 24½th century.

In addition to Duck Dodgers, other Looney Tunes characters, such as Porky Pig and Marvin the Martian, also make appearances. The show often parodies popular science fiction films and television shows, including Star Wars and Star Trek.

Duck Dodgers won an Emmy for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program in 2004. Despite its success, the show was canceled after its third season in 2005.

However, it continues to have a devoted fanbase who enjoy revisiting Duck Dodgers’ zany misadventures in outer space.

25. The Powerpuff Girls (1998 – 2005)

The Powerpuff Girls (1998 - 2005)

The Powerpuff Girls, created by Craig McCracken and produced by Cartoon Network Studios, follows the adventures of three kindergarten-aged girls with superpowers: Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup.

The trio frequently saves their hometown of Townsville from various villains such as Mojo Jojo, The Gangreen Gang, and HIM. The show’s success spawned numerous spinoffs and merchandise. T

The Powerpuff Girls was praised for its strong female characters and themes of feminism and girl power. The show continues to be popular with fans, old and new. In 2016, a reboot aired on Cartoon Network with an updated animation style and voice cast.

26. Dragon Tales

Dragon Tales - 2000s cartoon shows

First episode: September 6, 1999
Final episode: November 25, 2005

Program creators: Ron Rodecker, Jim Coane

In the preschool-grade television series Dragon Tales, children between the ages of 3 and 6 would watch animated stories about dragons.

Ord, Cassie, Zak, Wheezie, and Quetzal are dragon friends who join Emmy and Max in their adventures. In the third season, Enrique’s human character joined Max, Emmy, and the dragons.

27. As Told By Ginger (2000 – 2006)

As Told By Ginger (2000 - 2006)

As Told By Ginger follows the coming-of-age story of a middle schooler, Ginger Foutley. Along with her friends, Dodie and Macie, Ginger navigates the challenges and triumphs of adolescence while also dealing with her overbearing mother and shallow older sister, Darren.

The show tackles essential issues such as body image, self-esteem, peer pressure, and family dynamics. As Told By Ginger received critical acclaim for its realistically portrayed characters and relatable storylines. It ran for four seasons on Nickelodeon before ending in 2006.

Despite its short run, As Told By Ginger remains a beloved staple in 90’s/00’s kid culture and has a dedicated fan base.

28. My Life As a Teenage Robot (2003 – 2009)

My Life As a Teenage Robot (2003 - 2009)

My Life As a Teenage Robot follows the adventures of XJ-9, a teenage robot built to serve and protect humankind. Despite her programmed responsibilities, XJ-9 longs to live everyday teenage Life and navigate the ups and downs of adolescence alongside her human friends Brad, Tuck, and Sheldon.

Throughout the series, XJ-9 balances being a superhero while dealing with typical teenage issues like crushes and school bullies. My Life As a Teenage Robot received critical acclaim for its diverse representation and positive messages about self-acceptance and friendship.

The show ran for three successful seasons before ending in 2009. Fans continue to cherish My Life As a Teenage Robot as one of their favorite childhood cartoons.

29. Dave the Barbarian

Dave the Barbarian

First episode: January 23, 2004
Final episode: January 22, 2005

Program creator: Doug Langdale

Doug Langdale created Dave the Barbarian, a Disney Channel Original Series that premiered on January 23, 2004. It ran for a total of 21 half-hour episodes.

The creators of The Weekenders bring us a show set in the Middle Ages, featuring Dave, a mighty barbarian living in the mythical land of Udrogoth with his older sister Candy and younger sister Fang.

30. Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003–2005)

Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003–2005)

Program creators: Genndy Tartakovsky, George Lucas, Henry Gilroy

The Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series aired from 2003 to 2005 and took place during the events of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

The series follows the Jedi Knights as they lead their army of clone troopers against the Separatist forces, led by the villainous Sith Lord Count Dooku.

The series also introduces several new characters, such as Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan apprentice Ahsoka Tano and bounty hunter Cad Bane.

31. Totally Spies!

Totally Spies!

First episode: November 3, 2001

Under the direction of the World Organization of Human Protection’s director Jerry, three Beverly Hills teens are undercover agents. Alex, Sam, and Clover fight international crime and save the world.

Because they’re secret spies the girls still have to attend school and keep their grades up while battling evil.

32. What’s New Scooby-Doo? (2002 – 2006)

What's New Scooby-Doo? (2002 - 2006)

First episode: September 14, 2002
Final episode: July 21, 2006

Networks: Cartoon Network, Boomerang, CBBC, Kids’ WB, Korean Broadcasting System, Teletoon, The WB

In What’s New Scooby-Doo? the gang is back to solve mysteries with a modern twist. The series features updated animation, celebrity guest stars, and an original theme song by Modern English.

Overall, What’s New Scooby-Doo? ran for three seasons from 2002 to 2006 and received positive reviews from fans and critics alike.

33. Dora The Explorer

Dora The Explorer

First episode: August 14, 2000
Final episode: August 9, 2019

The first episode of Dora The Explorer aired in 2000. Dora, a Latina girl, goes on adventures with her monkey friend Boots and teaches young viewers about problem-solving and the Spanish language and culture.

Dora also frequently interacts with her talking backpack, map, and other helpful items to guide her through various challenges.

There have been praises for Dora’s diverse cast and its representation of Latin American culture. The show has spawned numerous spin-offs and merchandise products, making Dora a popular household name among children.

34. Bounty Hamster

Bounty Hamster

First episode: January 9, 2003

David Max Freedman and Alan Gilbey are the creators of Bounty Hamster (the creators of Tipsy Topsy Turvy the Clown Fox).

Having lost her father to space pirates, Cassie Harrison, a 13-year-old, searches the universe for him. Her only hope is a talking blue hamster, Marion, who can help her as a bounty hunter. Their relationship is odd-couple-style, and they search the universe together for Cassie’s father.

35. Tutenstein


Original release: November 1, 2003 to October 11, 2008

I found her to be a very rude and egotistical mummy. Nutka was his best friend, and he lived a spoiled, lazy lifestyle. In Egypt, the two would often trick other children into stealing honeycakes and toys through scams.

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