For many of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s, Saturday mornings meant one thing – cartoons on TV. And when it came to Saturday morning cartoons, ABC was the network to beat.
From classic animated series to new and innovative shows, ABC had something for everyone. These cartoons created a sense of community and excitement that will always be remembered fondly.
ABC’s Classic Saturday Morning Cartoon Lineup
ABC’s cartoons were a gift from the gods of childhood. It was the golden age of television, and we couldn’t wait to wake up early, grab our cereal bowl, and run to the living room to catch the latest episode of our favorite cartoon.
Those were the days.
In the early 2000s, ABC hit the jackpot with its comedic cartoon The Weekenders. For four seasons, viewers were taken on a wild ride with four best buds – Lor, Carvo, Tino, and Tish – as they tried to make every weekend epic.
And with Tino as the narrator, breaking the fourth wall and talking to us directly, this show was ahead of its time.
The Weekenders kept us laughing and broke the mold by having characters change their clothes regularly.
You might be thinking, what’s the big deal?
But back then, it was a rare sight on TV – who knew cartoons could be so fashion-forward? Kids everywhere were taking style notes from the gang and trying to rock Carvo’s signature beanie or Tish’s cool-girl outfits.
But what made The Weekenders stand out was its relatable and hilarious plotlines. Whether they were trying to sneak into a movie, plan the ultimate sleepover, or just hang out at the mall, we felt like we were with them.
The show’s mix of humor, heart, and hijinks kept us coming back for more.
11Hercules: The Animated Series
In 1997, Disney released the film Hercules, which charmed kids and their parents by retelling Greek mythology. The plot centers around Hercules, the son of Zeus, who is abducted by Hades’ minions and brought to Earth.
Adopted by a mortal family, he must overcome several obstacles to return to Mount Olympus with his family and other gods.
Hercules: The Animated Series focuses on the teenage years of Hercules as he trains to become the hero he was in the movie.
Along the way, he makes new friends, including Icarus and the prophet Cassandra.
10Sabrina: The Animated Series
During the late 90s and early 2000s, Sabrina The Teenage Witch gained popularity among teenagers and young adults as a TV show. It was based on the Archie Comics and even had an animated version for kids that aired on ABC Saturday mornings.
In 2018, Netflix released its adaptation of the story, The Chilling Adventure of Sabrina.
The plot of Sabrina: The Animated Series revolves around Sabrina Spellman, a half-witch and half-human mortal. At the age of sixteen, she gains magical powers and must learn to control them while navigating the challenges of high school.
9The Legend Of Tarzan
In 1999, the heartwarming tale of Tarzan, a boy raised by apes in the jungle, was released in theaters. His journey to discover more about humans and find love resonated with many viewers.
The Legend of Tarzan, an animated series based on the film, aired for three seasons from 2001 to 2005.
It is the only Disney animated series that delves into events after its respective movie.
The story follows Tarzan and his girlfriend, Jane, as they adapt to their life in the jungle and embark on numerous adventures.
8101 Dalmatians: The Series
Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, released in 1961, was a beloved animated film during its time. It gained such immense popularity that the story of Pongo, Perdita, and their 101 puppies was adapted into a live-action movie in 1996, starring Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil.
A sequel to the live-action movie, called 102 Dalmatians was released in 2000.
In 2021, the iconic villain returned to a new movie called Cruella, where she was portrayed as the protagonist.
The ABC television program 101 Dalmatians: The Series aired for two seasons between 1997 and 1998. The story is set on a farm and follows the adventures of three puppies – Lucky, Rolly, and Cadpig.
They are accompanied by their friend Spot, a chicken who dreams of being just like them.
Get ready to have some nostalgia because Doug aired on Nickelodeon and ABC on Saturday mornings for seven seasons in the early 90s!
It followed the story of the titular character, Doug, as he navigated through sixth grade, making friends, finding love, and chronicling his journey in his journal.
Despite being aimed at kids and young teenagers, the show tackled serious and relatable issues with wit and humor, surprising many fans.
Doug quickly became a fan favorite, proving that a cartoon about a middle schooler can be entertaining and meaningful.
In fact, it was so beloved that it even spawned a movie in 1999, Doug’s 1st movie, which gave fans one more chance to relive their childhood before they hit adulthood and had to worry about things like taxes and mortgages.
6Lloyd In Space
Are you ready to blast off into outer space? Lloyd in Space was a cartoon that followed the escapades of Lloyd Nebulon, a 13-year-old alien who tried his darnedest to lead an ordinary life, but with no success.
I mean, can you blame the poor guy? He’s living in space for crying out loud!
The story takes place in the future, specifically after World War Nine – I guess we all have something to look forward to, huh?
The show first aired on Disney Channel and ABC family Saturday mornings in 2001 and ran for four seasons.
With such an impressive creative team, it’s no wonder Lloyd in Space was out of this world!
Quack, quack! Ducktales was a true classic, with fans waking up early on Saturdays to catch the action. The show aired from 1987 to 1990 and centered around none other than Disney’s Donald Duck’s wealthy uncle, Scrooge McDuck.
He spent the whole series on daring escapades with his adorable nephews, Louis, Dewey, and Huey, all in the name of gold and treasure!
And let’s not forget about that unforgettable opening sequence – it was pure gold!
Hearing it today will bring back all the feels and transport you back to when your biggest problem was deciding what sugary cereal to eat while watching Scrooge and his crew. Ah, the good old days.
Get ready to take a trip down memory lane because Recess aired on ABC for a whopping six seasons from 1997 to 2001! It was a comedy aimed at kids about six friends, four boys, and two girls, in the fourth grade.
They spent every day trying to avoid getting bullied by King Bob and his minions and getting caught for their pranks by the evil Miss Finster.
What’s recess without a little bit of mischief?
The cartoon was diverse in terms of characters, which made them all the more relatable to their fans. And let’s be honest, who didn’t want to be friends with these guys?
One of the show’s most iconic characters was Ashley Spinelli, whose rebellious and tomboyish attitude made her the ultimate cool girl that young viewers aspired to be.
Move over, Barbie – Ashley Spinelli was where it’s at.
Get ready to cringe because this ABC comedy is about a 12-year-old with only two friends and a serious case of nerdiness. She constantly manages to put other kids off with her awkward behavior and terrible timing, all while trying desperately to be cool.
To top it all off, she’s just started middle school – which we all know is the absolute worst – and has already caught the attention of the perfectionist principal who’s always lurking, waiting for her to mess up.
I mean, we’ve all been there, right? Who hasn’t awkwardly tried to fit in and be one of the cool kids, only to fall flat on our faces?
This show is the ultimate cringe-fest, and we can’t help but watch and laugh as this poor girl stumbles her way through middle school.
But hey, at least she has two friends – that’s more than some of us had!
Buckle up, because Fillmore! is a cop show like you’ve never seen before. This American animated series created by Scott M. Gimple for ABC and later Toon Disney ran from 2002 to 2004 and was a parody of popular police dramas from the ’70s.
The show followed reformed juvenile delinquent Cornelius Fillmore and his new partner, Ingrid Third, as members of the Safety Patrol at X Middle School. They might not be your typical detectives, but they get the job done.
Sure, the show was aimed at kids, but let’s be honest – the real fans were the adults who grew up in the ’70s and couldn’t resist the nostalgic references.
It’s like the creators spoke directly to our inner child – the one who grew up watching Starsky and Hutch and wanted to be just like them.
Get ready to quack up, because Darkwing Duck was the ultimate Saturday morning cartoon, with fans tuning in to ABC from 1991 to 1993. This superhero comedy was action-packed and had viewers glued to their screens, eagerly following the adventures of protagonist Drake Mallard as he fought crime and kept the city safe.
Move over, Batman – Darkwing Duck is in town!
Sure, the show had a bit of a dark side, but it also taught kids some valuable lessons they could carry with them throughout their lives. And let’s not forget the similarities to the Batman animated series – but with more quacks, of course.
Fans couldn’t get enough of Darkwing Duck and would eagerly wait for Saturday morning to roll around to watch the show.
Now, that’s what I call a fanbase!
ABC Kids (TV programming block)
ABC Kids (originally known as Disney’s One Saturday Morning until 2002) was THE place to be on Saturday mornings for kids between the ages of 6 and 12.
A mix of animated and live-action series from Disney Channel and Walt Disney Television Animation aired on this Saturday morning children’s programming block on ABC from September 13, 1997, to August 27, 2011.
It was a magical time when kids could turn on the TV and be transported to a world of fun and adventure. In addition, Disney Channel content was the only one airing over the air at the time.
But sometimes, even the magic had to make way for other things. After five years of mainly repeats, ABC ceased providing children’s programming during the Saturday morning timeslot.
They entered into an agreement with Litton Entertainment to program that period, which resulted in the creation of Litton’s Weekend Adventure. It replaced ABC Kids on September 3, 2011, and while it wasn’t quite the same, we’ll always have our memories of ABC Kids.