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50 Best Kids Shows Of The 2000s Ranked

When it comes to children's shows, the decade after the turn of the millennium doesn't nearly get enough love. Finding itself nestled right in between the iconic cultural landscape that was the '90s as well as some of the more contemporary greats fresh in our minds of the 2010s, it's easy to forget some of the gems that those ten years left us with.

Although there are a few entries here from other players, the era is mostly defined by contributions from two giants, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. While both have undergone changes over the years, it can't be denied that the two powerhouses were at the top of their game at the time, churning out some of the most famous, and longest-running, children's series of the time.

Below we'll be taking a look back at the past and ranking the fifty best children's series of the 2000s as per their ratings on IMDb. Try and see how many you remember watching with your kids or even grew up watching yourself.

50. LazyTown

Blending real-life puppetry, CGI, and real-life actors into a visually unique experience, "LazyTown" made its debut in 2004, two years after an unaired pilot episode was produced, and would go on to run for a total of four seasons. 

Although it may not offer as much for adult audiences looking back on the series nowadays, it was praised by The Guardian for encouraging its viewers to be physically active and is remembered fondly by many who grew up watching it while it was releasing episodes. Performances by the vibrant cast of characters help cap off the light-hearted feel to the show, with the late actor Stefán Karl Stefánsson's portrayal of the series antagonist Robbie Rotten being particularly beloved by fans.

49. Zoey 101

The first of many live-action comedy series on our list, "Zoey 101" was a hit for the three years it was on the air. Series lead Jamie Lynn Spears got her start on the sketch comedy series "All That" before being given her own series in 2005.

The Nickelodeon produced project focused on the day-to-day activities surrounding the character of Zoey Brooks and her experiences attending the fictional and prestigious Pacific Coast Academy boarding school. While the on-screen drama was balanced by plenty of comedic moments, it's since been alleged that behind the scenes things were much less lighthearted.

48. Hamtaro

From the same animation studio that surprisingly brought us films like the cult classic "Akira" comes this innocent little cartoon about an adorable hamster. Adapted from a manga series of the same name, "Hamtaro" was a Japanese slice of life cartoon starring the titular hamster character.

While "Hamtaro" was, not surprisingly, wildly successful in Japan, it unfortunately never really gained much traction in the United States. It probably should have received more attention, however, with six seasons to its credit and a number of companion films and games being released all centered around the cartoonishly cute Hamtaro.

47. Dragon Tales

First airing on PBS in 1999 and releasing episodes up until 2005, "Dragon Tales" brought the genre of fantasy to younger audiences in a big way. Starring siblings Max and Emmy, and later next-door neighbor Enrique, the trio use a magical dragon scale to travel between the world we know and one inhabited entirely by dragons. Once there, they befriend a number of characters in the whimsical realm that most of the series is spent in.

Like most of the shows that would be produced by PBS, "Dragon Tales" emphasized being an educative program with younger viewers in mind. The series does so by teaching lessons about honesty and hard work, as well as more direct lessons on simple math and language skills.

46. Camp Lazlo

After working on the quirky '90s favorite "Rocko's Modern Life," Joe Murray would go on to create the equally eccentric series "Camp Lazlo." First airing on Cartoon Network in 2005, the series would go on to have a respectable five season run by the time of its conclusion.

As the title implies, "Camp Lazlo" takes place at a summer camp, and the cartoon stars a wide cast of eccentric animal characters and their counselors. Much of the same unpredictable antics that Murray has become known for is on display here, and everything gets capped off with a truly bizarre twist ending to the series.

45. The Proud Family

"The Proud Family" is a coming-of-age story centered around Penny Proud, the oldest child in the awkward but lovable Proud family. Joining her are the members of her family as well as several people in her daily life that tend to challenge the positive morals and life lessons her family has taught her to live by.

Now over two decades old, "The Proud Family" has been remembered fondly by audiences since it was on the air, enough even to earn itself a revival. Revisiting the iconic family and their various misadventures and bringing back much of the original cast to reprise their roles, "The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder" premiered in February 2022.

44. The Suite Life of Zack & Cody

In what probably became the ultimate fantasy for many young viewers, "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" stars the titular twins as they go about their lives living in the upscale Tipton hotel. The series first aired on Disney Channel in 2005 and would continue until its conclusion in 2008.

Despite being identical twins, the duo are both pretty different when it comes to their personalities, with the immature Zack frequently butting heads with his slightly younger brother, Cody. Along the way, they regularly encounter the hotel employees, including their lounge singer mother Carey, the comically materialistic London, and the straight-laced manager Marion Moseby.

43. Clifford the Big Red Dog

Based on a classic children's book series of the same name, the original "Clifford the Big Red Dog" cartoon first aired in 2000. While this one is definitely intended for a much younger audience, even as an adult it's hard not to find joy in watching the giant fire engine red dog Clifford try to navigate a world that seems like the size of a dollhouse to him.

The educational series, starring Clifford and his owner Emily Elizabeth Howard, focused on teaching younger children basic lessons on a variety of topics. While the original series finished its run in 2003, a prequel series debuted shortly after titled "Clifford's Puppy Days" and would run for two seasons and a recent live-action film.

42. ChalkZone

Without a doubt one of the more underrated cartoons of the 2000s, "ChalkZone" went largely unappreciated for most during its four season run starting in 2002. This Nickelodeon cartoon is centered around a young boy who is constantly at odds with the majority of his school. However, everything changes after he finds a magical piece of chalk that allows him to enter another world and allows him and his closest friend to go on adventures together.

Whether you're taking a nostalgic look back or viewing it for the first time, it's hard to deny that there isn't too much here that will appeal to some older viewers. Despite that, it's worth appreciating for the fun art style and quirky nature of the series as a whole

41. The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius

Following the day-to-day life of the titular Jimmy Neutron as he develops one fantastic invention after another, Jimmy's life proves to be anything but mundane. Along the way, he's accompanied by his friends Sheen and Carl while he faces off against a strange cast of villains.

The now dated three-dimensional animation style and truly bizarre characters have helped "The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius" burn itself into the memories of every kid who grew up watching this series. While most television series that opt to produce a full-length film do so sometime after the series has been well established with its audiences, the creators of Jimmy Neutron opted to do the inverse. The series we know and love for its eccentricities spawned from the 2001 film "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" and ran for three seasons beginning in 2002.

40. Lizzie McGuire

The 2001 comedy series "Lizzie McGuire" starred actress Hillary Duff, helping kickstart her two-decade-long ongoing career. While the show was popular with fans at the time, it only managed to get two seasons produced before cancellation. Since then, there's been talk over the years of a reboot, with one very nearly coming into fruition before being walked back. For longtime fans of the series, it sadly seems we won't be seeing it revisited anytime soon.

Centered around the teenage Lizzie McGuire while featuring her friends and family, the series depicts her daily struggles between growing up and the day-to-day events in her life. Along the way, she's accompanied by an animated fourth-wall-breaking version of herself, which humorously conveys her own inner thoughts and feelings.

39. That's So Raven

First airing in 2003, "That's So Raven" would be just one of several different sitcoms aimed at young adults to air in the 2000s. It set itself apart, however, through its incorporation of supernatural power in its main character Raven, played by actress Raven-Symoné.

Set in a present-day high school, the character of Raven Baxter discovers that she possesses limited psychic abilities, which express themselves as premonitions of the future. While the premise is serious enough, the series plays it for laughs, with Raven and her friends frequently finding themselves in trouble as a result of misunderstanding her visions.

38. The Amanda Show

After beginning her career as a part of the cast of '90s sketch comedy series "All That," actress Amanda Bynes would go on to star in her spin-off series titled "The Amanda Show." Airing for three seasons between 1999 and 2002, it used much of the same style of sketch comedy that was popularized by its predecessor.

The Nickelodeon produced series portrayed a world in which the show itself was being broadcast to audiences, with many gags playing off that premise. Additionally, several spoofs of pop culture giants at the time were frequently featured on the series.

37. Catscratch

The elderly and well-to-do owner of a trio of dimwitted cats is dead, and she leaves the felines with a massive fortune, a mansion, and a monster truck, of all things. This comically grim premise sets up the events of "Catscratch," and what ensues is a series packed with cartoonish, absurdist humor and slapstick comedy.

First appearing in 2005, "Catscratch" only aired 20 episodes across a single season before it was pulled off the air. While it's by no means the greatest children's show that the decade had to offer, it's definitely an oddity that would have been exciting to see flourish even deeper down the rabbit hole of the bizarre.

36. iCarly

Another series that played with the premise of its main characters producing their own programming for eager audiences, "iCarly" would go down as one of the most popular live-action series to air on Nickelodeon in the 2000s. In fact, Variety notes that the show has remained a hit on streaming platforms almost a decade after its last episode aired. Spanning six seasons and nearly 100 episodes, it was the culmination of child actress Miranda Cosgrove's accomplished career by 2007, after making her television debut guest starring on episodes of "Drake & Josh" and later appearing on "Zoey 101."

The quirky series stars Cosgrove as Carly Shay, who creates a popular web series known as "iCarly." Joining her are Sam, Freddie, Spencer, and Gibby, all participating in the day-to-day hijinks surrounding the titular web series.

35. Blue's Clues

Held close to every young viewer's heart, "Blues Clues" would arguably become one of the most culturally influential children's series of the late '90s, going on to air the majority of its episodes well into the 2000s. The series was framed as educational first, incorporating a number of the objects and characters around the household to solve mysteries with series lead Steve and his canine companion Blue. Along the way, they're joined by another dog, Magenta, a living mailbox, clock, soap bar, and even a set of salt and pepper shakers.

While the first host of the long-running series Steve Burns never intended to play the starring role for his entire career, it can't be disputed that he did a fantastic job in the part. In the years since the show's conclusion, he's gone on to shed some light on his sudden departure from the project and even reprising his role in a revival series titled "Blues Clues and You."

34. As Told by Ginger

From the same animation studio that produced the sardonic adult animated series "Duckman" and the first few seasons of "The Simpsons," Klasky Csupo would animate this series for the entirety of its six-year run beginning in 2000. Drawing heavy inspiration in the art style from their previous work on "Rugrats," as well as a sly reference to it in the series finale, "As Told by Ginger" is another story told from the point of view of its younger characters, albeit featuring a bit older demographic this time around.

"As Told by Ginger" is remembered for telling its stories about a socially awkward preteen and the struggles she goes through with a level of continuity not often seen at the time in children's media. Additionally, its characters, especially series lead Ginger Foutley, undergo some real changes that are relatable for its target audience and older viewers alike.

33. The Backyardigans

While at first glance, this one looks like another entry that may find limited appeal for those of us who are above the target audience, "The Backyardigans" surprisingly had enough substance to not bore parents and older kids to death. While the animation might be questionable by today's standards, it was solid enough for audiences at the time. 

When coupled with several musical scores that will appeal to older viewers, the end result is something that, when discussing the tone of the series, The New York Times said in a review: "It's hard to say whether "The Backyardigans" is a fantasy for children or for their parents."

32. Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat

Portraying a culture not often depicted in Western media, especially in children's shows, "Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat" can be commended for its depiction of Chinese culture during the 19th century. While it only lasted one season while it was on, it explored enough characters, both human and animal, to leave an impression on those who were lucky enough to catch it on television.

Sagwa is the middle child in a family of cats, all working for a Chinese royal family as scribes. She finds herself trying to pick up the slack between her baby sister and headstrong older brother across dozens of lighthearted adventures while teaching audiences important lessons about morality and strength of character.

31. Totally Spies!

With a collection of episodes spanning six seasons after its release in 2001, "Totally Spies!" is something of an underrated entry. The series focuses on three teenage girls who operate as unassuming students one minute and international spies the next, all while combating hordes of high-stakes criminals.

While it isn't the only espionage-themed pick on our list, it remains a fun series to rewatch. Thanks to its incorporation of frequent mystery-solving, as well as having to struggle with the navigation of high school life that the three series leads have to pull off, "Totally Spies" is as unique as it is relatable.

30. Danny Phantom

A few years after co-creating "The Fairly Odd Parents," creator Butch Hartman would draw inspiration from the paranormal to produce this children's action-adventure series. The result was "Danny Phantom," a series that lasted for three solid seasons which Decider called "ahead of its time."

The Nickelodeon series also was distinct from its counterparts at the time for placing importance on its story, with many characters having varied plotlines across multiple episodes. Centered around the 14-year-old Danny Fenton, who receives otherworldly powers after meddling with his parents' supernatural technology, he's forced to fight several enemies while shifting between the world of the living and the dead.

29. Codename: Kids Next Door

The lighthearted 2002 series "Codename: Kids Next Door" was unique for being told entirely from the imaginative although naive perspective of its five child leads. Playing off the spy genre theme, the characters in "Codename: Kids Next Door" are only referred to throughout the series by their numerical code names as they participate in counter-espionage against the adults in their lives.

With six seasons, several specials, and two TV movies, "Codename: Kids Next Door" is one of the longer-running series on our list. Thanks to its memorable plotlines and animation style, not to mention a truly unexpected ending, it has earned its spot as a favorite for the audiences who grew up watching it.

28. The Fairly Oddparents

Spanning an incredible ten seasons and with a number of live-action films to its name, "The Fairly Odd Parents" became an iconic part of the cartoon landscape in the 2000s, even airing new episodes infrequently all the way till 2017. While the quality of the series could vary wildly, it's still remembered fondly for its imaginative setting, unique animation and witty humor.

Ten-year-old Timmy Turner finds himself at his wits end between his psychotic babysitter and dismissive parents. Everything changes however when after the arrival of Cosmo and Wanda, his new fairy godparents who are able to give him any wish he desires. The only catch is that Timmy finds himself increasingly caught up in battles with other fairies, whether he wants to be or not.

27. My Life as a Teenage Robot

The classic fish out of water premise would define most episodes of "My Life as a Teenage Robot" for the three seasons it was on the air. Set in the fictional town of Tremorton, the series is focused on a robotic girl named XJ-9, or Jenny. In most episodes, Jenny finds herself forced to balance her primary task of defending mankind with a typical high school experience along with her two friends, Brad and Tuck.

The series made use of a unique animation style reminiscent of classic '40s cartoons, with its retro-futuristic scenery and distinct color palettes. It doesn't just reference the past in its artistic direction, however, with several jokes and references to classic media that might slip past most younger viewers.

26. Kim Possible

Another series in which our lead has to balance saving the world with the daily doldrums of high school life, "Kim Possible" incorporated the most fun elements of a typical spy thriller with a typical slice of life comedy. The series made its debut on Disney Channel in 2002 and would stay on the air for just over half a decade.

Starring the titular Kim Possible and her best friend Ron Stoppable, the duo goes through the motions of the standard high school drama whilst living a second life thwarting supervillains. While the series was very popular with audiences during its four season run and earned enough long-lasting goodwill among viewers to merit a live-action "Kim Possible" TV movie in 2019.

25. What's New, Scooby Doo?

While there have been plenty of iterations of the famous Mystery Inc. gang since the property's initial 1969 release, "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?," "What's New, Scooby-Doo?" helped reintroduce the series to younger audiences.

First airing in 2002, "What's New, Scooby-Doo?" knew that it was best to retain many of the things that made the original series so beloved, with all the quirks and humor from yesterday still on full display. While the art style got a major facelift for the three seasons it was on the air, it still stuck to its roots, giving fans a fun run of Scooby-Doo adventures that have been able to stand on their own and become a worthy successor to the classic series.

24. The Batman

The Dark Knight and his many appearances over the years are another property with almost too many different movies, comics, games, and television series to count. It can leave even the most dedicated fans with a daunting challenge trying to sort the good from the bad, with an entire lifetime of media to go through. 

While it may not be the very best animated depiction of Batman, this series still provided a unique spin on his exploits. With a distinctive art style and totally new imaginings of some of Batman's most iconic villains, "The Batman" is worth taking a look back at if you haven't already.

23. The Powerpuff Girls

Set in the comically named city of Townsville, three young girls, all the product of genetic experimentation, fight weekly villains with an assortment of powers. The vibrant and over-the-top color palette present in the original series helped "The Powerpuff Girls" earn its place in a generation of audience's hearts.

After its solid six-season run, "The Powerpuff Girls" seemed to have reached a natural conclusion in 2005. While most fans were eager for this classic 2000s cartoon to be revisited in a 2016 revival, the series was largely ignored by critics and received, at best, a lukewarm reception from audiences, proving that sometimes it's best not to mess with perfection.

22. Ben 10

With some great action scenes and tons of inventive alien designs on full display, "Ben 10" always kept viewers guessing after its 2005 release. The series begins with the story of the aptly named ten-year-old Ben Tennyson who, after finding a piece of alien technology deep in the woods, is given the ability to shapeshift into ten different alien forms.

While the science fiction plot premise mixed in with some moments of comedy kept the original run of the show going for four seasons, it didn't stop there. Between continuations of the main story and entire franchise reboots, there's a total of 22 seasons of "Ben 10" to sift through for the most dedicated fans.

21. Chowder

In what is likely one of the strangest picks on our list, everything about this 2007 cartoon "Chowder" defies the norm. The distinct animation style is only outdone by the series' surreal cast of culinary characters, each named after a particular dish. At the heart of everything is the lead, Chowder, whose determination to become a legendary chef is at odds with his erratic and zany personality.

Airing for three seasons, the series reveled in its insanity. While there are occasional lessons to some of Chowder's hilarious exploits, episodes typically conclude as they began, with a rising crescendo of absurdity and over-the-top gags.

20. House of Mouse

Produced by Walt Disney Television Animation, the "House of Mouse" ran for three seasons between 2001 and 2003, following the legendary Mickey Mouse as he operates a club in the fictional Toontown. 

Longtime fans of Disney films will absolutely adore this series, as Mickey winds up being the host to just about every character you could ask for throughout Disney cinema history. If hosting one of the biggest crossovers in television wasn't enough, the comical nature of the show provides a new angle to many iconic characters from older films, especially in its portrayal of some of the most notable villains over the years.

19. Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman

Remembered fondly for its fusion of 2D animation and real-life game show antics, "Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman" has become a nostalgic classic for those who grew up on it. First airing on PBS in 2006 and with a respectable 100 episode run at the time of its conclusion, the series was known for incorporating several pop culture references that likely went over the heads of its target audiences.

The half animated, half live-action series featured a number of child contestants each season. Each episode consisted of challenges for its guests to complete, interspersed with animated segments of the comically sarcastic canine host.

18. Ed, Edd n Eddy

Everything about "Ed, Edd n Eddy" is offbeat. The show featured a simple instrumental intro song and a distinctively sketchy style of animation, all while offering up some of the most unusual characters Cartoon Network had to offer. 

The three similarly named boys that give the series its title repeatedly try to scam the rest of the children in their neighborhood, often to the tune of a zany jazz soundtrack. The diabolical nature of the "Ed, Edd n Eddy" lead characters, and its bizarre, surrealist style of humor helps this series hold up to scrutiny after repeated viewings.

17. Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends

While the quirky animation style and humor would be enough for any show to stand on its own, "Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends" is rounded out with a cast of imaginative characters, each with their own oddball traits. Set in a sprawling mansion that's a home for imaginary friends who have been abandoned, the series is centered around eight-year-old Mac and his mischievous imaginary friend Bloo, as the duo embarks on various misadventures with the other residents of the home.

Being relatively high on our list and with six seasons, it likely comes as no surprise that series creator Craig McCracken was responsible for some other equally fantastic series over the years. His other hits include "The Powerpuff Girls" and the 2013 cult favorite "Wander Over Yonder."

16. 6teen

First airing in 2004, the Canadian cartoon series "6teen" handled the topics of adolescence and the myriad day-to-day challenges the series deals with in an approachable way for younger viewers.

Set nearly exclusively within the fictional Galleria mall, the series stars a group of six teenagers, Jude, Caitlin, Jonesy, Nicole, Jennifer, and Wyatt. While it incorporates several comedic gags that you would expect throughout its 93 episode run, it also helps deliver the messages of its stories in a grounded way that underscores their real-world importance. Additionally, the slice of life series was praised by Vice for incorporating a positively diverse cast not often seen, especially for the time.

15. Even Stevens

While it was far from Shia LaBeouf's first acting gig, the 2000 sitcom "Even Stevens" became the first major role in his career, paving the way for his appearances in many big-budget films. The series stars LaBeouf as one of the three Stevens siblings and the youngest member of the family.

The series is a fairly typical but utterly hilarious look at adolescence and suburban life as told through the eyes of its titular family. Although children were the target audience for "Even Stevens," it still managed to maintain a mature tone across its 65 episode run, leaving many adult fans with something to appreciate while rewatching one of the best Disney Channel live-action shows of all time.

14. Fillmore!

The 2002 series "Fillmore!" can be credited with introducing many younger viewers into the crime mystery genre. The first television series that "Walking Dead" showrunner Scott Gimple would executive produce, it captured viewers' attention for its compelling plotlines and a host of callbacks to much of the media it was inspired by.

Set in and around a school in Minneapolis, the series stars the titular character of Cornelius Fillmore and his investigative partner Ingrid Third. Together they solve the frequent mysteries that beset their school grounds. While the stories are understandably lighthearted to be age-appropriate, the show still never goes over the top with its comedic tones, opting to treat its material with a distinct level of sincerity.

13. The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy

Full of black comedy and starring the Grim Reaper himself as one of the main characters, "The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy" is fondly remembered by those that grew up watching it. First airing in 2001 and continuing for an impressive six seasons, the show became a perfect example of some of the more macabre children's media that trended in the 2000s.

The series is centered around the dim-witted Billy, his sardonic sister, Mandy, and the Grim Reaper, who inadvertently finds himself forced to become their lifelong friend. While the two never truly become the best of pals, with Grim repeatedly scheming ways to kill off his two companions, he nonetheless winds up caught up in their weekly misadventures.

12. The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack

Before he would go on to create the much adored and off the wall series "Regular Show," J.G. Quintel worked as a writer on the 2008 show, "The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack." It's hard not to see the parallels between "The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack" and Quintel's later work, with both projects maintaining the oddball and bizarre vibes that have made them enduring favorites over the years.

Set on the island of Stormalong Harbor and the waters surrounding it, the series follows a trio of characters and the zany misadventures they embark on. With a few adult themes and some unexpectedly creepy visuals, "The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack" managed to blossom into a show with universal appeal.

11. Drake & Josh

Sitting as the top-rated live-action series on our list and held dearly in many viewers' hearts, "Drake & Josh" transcended the sitcom's intended audience, finding widespread appeal among kids and adults alike. The series is also known for being a spin-off of a spin-off, with "Drake and Josh" being released just over a year after the conclusion of "The Amanda Show," a series that was built off the success of "All That."

Despite being siblings, brothers Drake and Josh couldn't be less similar. Between their polar opposite personalities and the struggles of adjusting to the minefield that is high school life, the comical events that repeatedly befall the duo have made this one stand out against Nickelodeon's other sitcoms of the time.

10. Teen Titans

First airing on Cartoon Network in 2003 and with five seasons to its credit, it's easy to understand why "Teen Titans" is so popular with viewers. Praised for its well-written storylines and moody tone, the original "Teen Titans” quickly became a crowd favorite among both DC fans and general audiences. 

With a killer intro to boot and some truly threatening villains, it was responsible for bringing the DC universe to many younger viewers in a light they'd never seen before. While it's safe to say most fans can agree that the successor "Teen Titans Go!" never managed to live up to the greatness of its predecessor, the original has stood the test of time and gone on to earn its title as a timeless classic.

9. The Weekenders

Taking a break from the far-fetched and fantastical plotlines most children's cartoon series featured, "The Weekenders" relied on telling down-to-earth stories centered around its four tween leads and the time they spend together. Airing for four years and four seasons, "The Weekenders" is undeservedly a bit less famous than most of the other entries on our list.

The title of the series is an integral part of the plot, with each episode's conflict arising and being resolved over the course of a given weekend. What it lacked in action-packed scenes it made up for with telling impactful stories with real-world applications in a way that wasn't condescending to its target audience.

8. Redwall

Although it may not be as well known among some American audiences due to its Canadian origin, "Redwall" was undoubtedly one of the best children's shows to grace television screens in the early 2000s. Based on the long-running series of novels of the same name, the animated series is a medieval fantasy epic centered around a young mouse who tries to become a powerful warrior during a time of great conflict. 

It's especially surprising that "Redwall" didn't pull punches when it came to its setting and pushed the line with its at times surprisingly brutal depictions of fantasy warfare.

7. SpongeBob SquarePants

Without a doubt one of the most beloved cartoon series of the 21st century, "SpongeBob SquarePants" has been iconic ever since its 1999 release. With over two decades of episodes and several feature films, the franchise has clearly stood the test of time. Creator Stephen Hillenburg cut his teeth while helping produce "Rocko's Modern Life" in the early '90s, taking the lessons he learned from that project and applying them to "SpongeBob SquarePants."

Set in the underwater town of Bikini Bottom, the series stars fry cook and naively childlike character of SpongeBob SquarePants, brought to life by prolific voice actor Tom Kenny. Alongside him are the other town residents, all helping to create a comically surrealist setting that has appealed to fans for generations. The witty and sarcastic humor of the undersea characters helps this one stand above most of its peers in children's media, making "Spongebob Squarepants" appreciated by fans of all ages.

6. The Spectacular Spider-Man

The past two decades of "Spider-Man" media have been complex, to say the least. With several film series crisscrossing the MCU, video games, and a slew of appearances across multiple television series, "The Spectacular Spider-Man" stands out among his numerous depictions.

First premiering in 2008, we only got two years and as many seasons from "The Spectacular Spider-Man," likely due to the legal challenges surrounding Disney's acquisition of Marvel shortly after the second season's conclusion. While it was certainly taken from us too soon, the series has had a lasting impact with fans thanks to its accurate depiction of the iconic web-slinger and his supporting cast.

5. Courage the Cowardly Dog

We can thank "Courage the Cowardly Dog" for providing us with some of the most nightmare-inducing scenes in the history of Children's media. Episodes like "King Ramses' Curse," "The House of Discontent," and series finale "Perfect" undoubtedly kept most of the younger viewers up at night, and probably a few adults too.

Taking place on a rural farmhouse in the aptly named the Middle of Nowhere, this animated series stars the bright pink dog Courage and his elderly owners. Every week, another twisted creature or disastrous event finds its way to the run-down home, with Courage desperately trying to babble his way out of certain doom.

4. Invader Zim

Likely one of the darkest picks on our list, "Invader Zim" was full of moments that probably made parents question whether this series was meant for its advertised audience. Viewers couldn't get enough, though, with its macabre themes and sardonic sense of humor making this one a cult classic that still dominates the shelves of many a Hot Topic.

Centered around the titular alien Zim and his lovable yet idiotic robotic sidekick Gir as they attempt to prepare the planet Earth for invasion, the series was sadly the subject of cancellation after just two seasons. Thankfully, however, a 2019 film release, "Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus," with the original series creator Jhonen Vasquez at the helm put an end to the long hiatus.

3. Justice League

Starring Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Manhunter, and Hawkgirl, "Justice League" was truly composed of an ensemble cast of characters. 

While it was only on the air for two seasons back in 2001, the series certainly left its mark. Featuring an assortment of some of the greatest and most powerful superheroes in the DC universe, the series is respected for its depiction of the comic book heroes it portrays, staying true to the tone of its comic book source material. After its conclusion in 2004, another series titled "Justice League Unlimited" was released, serving as a successor and greatly expanding the number of onscreen heroes that the series explored.

2. Samurai Jack

Locked in a battle with the shape-shifting demon Aku across multiple realities, the 2001 animated series "Samurai Jack" is remembered as one of the best Cartoon Network shows of all time. It's certainly considered one of the best projects that series producer Genndy Tartakovsky created, even after working on '90s classics such as "Dexter's Laboratory."

At the moment that the titular Samurai Jack is about to strike down his nemesis, Aku teleports the duo to a dystopian future in which he is its supreme ruler. Jack finds himself struggling to complete his mission amongst the nightmarish reality that is the world, with legions of robots and demons standing between him and his timeline. While the original four season run never completed the overarching story that captivated its audiences, the series returned with what critics felt was a near-perfect season in 2017, providing a long-awaited conclusion to the story portrayed with an even grimmer tone.

1. Avatar: The Last Airbender

At the number one spot on our list, "Avatar: The Last Airbender" is a master of its class. Even if you didn't grow up watching this Nickelodeon classic, it's worth revisiting for its fantastic worldbuilding, anime-inspired animation, and incredibly well-written storyline.

Set in a fictional fantasy world in which certain people are gifted with the ability to manipulate the elements themselves, the Avatar is tasked with bringing balance to the war-torn world and uniting the four existing nations. Since the original series' conclusion in 2008, the franchise has expanded with a live-action film, "The Last Airbender," a spin-off series, "The Legend of Korra," and a potential new live-action series. If you've waited this long without ever giving "Avatar: The Last Airbender" a try, now's the time.