The Turner owned cable network The Cartoon Network got its start airing reruns of old Hanna-Barbera cartoons like Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones. Like their orange competition, Cartoon Network began producing their own original content as demand for kid’s television grew to an all-time high. They could have easily just tried to imitate what worked for Nickelodeon’s original shows but Cartoon Network created their own style and charm through a large handful of unique, wonderful cartoons that many people remember fondly to this day. They never stopped creating new and successful cartoon shows but with nostalgia at a high Cartoon Network has started reviving some of their classic cartoons. The Powerpuff Girls got a reboot in 2016 and a more adult Samurai Jack mini-series is on its way with a lot of hype. Even DC’s Young Justice is getting a third season after a long break. With all of these shows being revived let’s take a look at five Cartoon Network shows that should make a return.
5: Ed, Edd n Eddy
Ed, Edd n Eddy was a fun, quirky comedy with memorable cast of characters. The show revolved around three young boys who lived in a small neighborhood with a colorful cast of kids. They spent most of their time coming up with and putting together ridiculous schemes to trick their neighbors into giving them a small amount of money for candy jawbreakers. Things usually didn’t work out for the boys but that was part of the fun. The show enjoyed a solid ten-year run because of its funny and original outlook on growing up in the suburbs. Even though it’s one of the network’s most successful shows I put it at the bottom of this list because it only ended in 2009. Despite not being gone long it’s still missed by fans and its timeless style and memorable characters could make a comeback anytime and easily bring in audiences both new and old. Unfortunately for fans of the similarly named trio a conversation between a fan and voice actress Erin Fitzgerald on Twitter revealed that the show’s creator has no interest in bringing the show back. We can always hope for a change of heart though. Or at the very least a Rolf spin-off.
4: Johnny Bravo
One of those rare shows that parents enjoyed right alongside their kids; Johnny Bravo was a show about a buff, chauvinistic idiot who spends most of his time looking at himself in the mirror, being rude to his friends and hitting on women until they hit him. I don’t think that concept would work now but I still think Johnny Bravo could make a comeback. What made Johnny Bravo work so well was its near perfect comedic timing and classic Tom & Jerry like slapstick. They could take Johnny and show him at a different point in his life. A domesticated Johnny with a wife and kids could be a great show if it matched the original show’s style. Similar to how Warner Bros. domesticated their Tasmanian Devil in Taz-Mania in the 90’s. Seeing how Johnny deals with marriage and fatherhood could be a really funny show.
3: Dexter’s Laboratory
This is usually recognized as the best show that Cartoon Network has ever put out and I have to agree with that sentiment. Dexter’s Laboratory was the perfect balance between classic cartoon slapstick, witty stories and Sci-Fi imagery. The main story revolves around Dexter trying to keep his lab and experiments a secret from his parents while also fending off his destructive sister. It also had a show within a show called Dial M For Monkey which featured Dexter’s test subject monkey fighting crime in secret after getting super powers from one of Dexter’s experiments on him. This show is beloved by most and probably would have topped this list if not for the fact that it has already been rebooted once before. The original ran from 1996 to 1999 and the second run went from 2001 to 2003. Despite already having two runs, Dexter’s Laboratory could still make a comeback at any time and likely be welcomed with open arms by fans.
2: Courage The Cowardly Dog
There’s probably no kid’s show more unique, both visually and in story telling than Courage The Cowardly Dog. It has a style and mood all its own. There are a lot of cartoon shows that have creepy, horror like styles but none of them do it like Courage does. The show focuses on a skittish, pink dog protecting his elderly owner and her cruel husband from various paranormal foes. The show could have easily ran out of steam quickly but it stayed strong through its various villains, each one very different from the other. Now almost 15 years after its last episode aired Courage The Cowardly Dog is still remembered and given its dark style, it could easily go the more adult reboot route that Samurai Jack has gone with to fit its adult fans.
1: What A Cartoon!/The Cartoon Cartoon Show
The moment I decided to write this list I knew what would top it. The reason why Cartoon Network succeeded with its original content is because they gave fresh talent the opportunity to be creative on a grand stage and they did that with What A Cartoon!, a show more influential than you might realize. What A Cartoon! was a show that featured different cartoon sketches written and directed by different talents. Three out of four of the other shows on this list started as sketches on this show. Johnny Bravo, Dexter’s Laboratory and Courage The Cowardly Dog as well as Cow and Chicken, Codename: Kids Next Door, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy and The Powerpuff Girls all got their starts on What A Cartoon!. So did a young Seth MacFarlane with a short titled Larry and Steve that was clearly a rough draft of Family Guy. I can think of no better show to make a comeback than a show that gave so many new artists a chance to be featured and helped create so many other amazing, iconic shows.
What classic Cartoon Network show would you like to see make a comeback and which shows should stay in the past? Let us know in the comments!