Special Report

The 40 Best Kids' Shows of All Time

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When you consider over-the-air channels, cable television, and streaming services, the number of children’s television shows is mind-boggling. Each program has a mission: to educate, stimulate, or entertain. Some shows do all of the above.

To determine the best kids’ TV shows of all time , 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on audience reception from IMDb, an online movie and TV database owned by Amazon. Shows were ranked based on average IMDb user rating as of mid-September 2023. Only shows with at least 4,000 user votes were considered. When more than one show had the same user rating, shows with more votes were ranked higher. Cast information is also from IMDb.

Children’s programming usually has to pass parents’ muster, and moms and dads tend to be pleased when their children watch a show that is educational as well as entertaining. Besides helping children learn to read, understand mathematics, and appreciate science, many programs teach kids about sharing, tolerance, friendship, and understanding.

One prominent example of a show like this is the much-beloved “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” starring Fred Rogers, which first graced television screens in 1968 and ran until 2001. Any list of the best children’s shows also needs to include the groundbreaking programs created or co-created by Jim Henson – “The Muppet Show” and “Sesame Street.” “Sesame Street” debuted in 1969 and is still on the air, about to launch its 54th season, now on Max. (Check this list of the best TV show released the year you were born.)

Some of the programs have clever ways to educate children. “Reading Rainbow” taught reading skills and habits in a magazine-style format with celebrity guest readers. “Schoolhouse Rock!” used animated shorts with songs that illustrate educational subjects such as history, science, and multiplication tables. “Bill Nye the Science Guy” fused real science of everyday items with action and humor. (There are several children’s shows on this list of classic TV shows we’d like to see rebooted.)

Click here for a ranking of the best kids’ TV shows of all time

Cartoon classics such as “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “The Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes Comedy Hour” are also on the list. Speaking of animation, an Australian animated program tops our list.

40. DuckTales (1987-1990)
> IMDb user rating: 8.0/10
> IMDb user votes: 33,980
> Starring: Alan Young, Russi Taylor, Terence McGovern, Chuck McCann

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39. Pee-wee’s Playhouse (1986-1991)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 5,147
> Starring: Paul Reubens, John Paragon, Phil Hartman, Laurence Fishburne

38. Sesame Street (1969-present)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 14,818
> Starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Caroll Spinney, Jerry Nelson

37. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated (2010-2013)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 16,025
> Starring: Frank Welker, Mindy Cohn, Grey Griffin, Matthew Lillard

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36. Superman: The Animated Series (1996-2000)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 16,975
> Starring: Tim Daly, Joseph Bologna, Dana Delany, David Kaufman

35. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018-2020)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 18,178
> Starring: Aimee Carrero, Marcus Scribner, Karen Fukuhara, AJ Michalka

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34. Boy Meets World (1993-2000)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 45,178
> Starring: Ben Savage, Rider Strong, William Daniels, Betsy Randle

33. Phineas and Ferb (2007-2024)
> IMDb user rating: 8.1/10
> IMDb user votes: 53,335
> Starring: Vincent Martella, Dan Povenmire, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ashley Tisdale

32. Schoolhouse Rock! (1973-present)
> IMDb user rating: 8.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 4,218
> Starring: Bob Dorough, Jack Sheldon, Lynn Ahrens, Bob Kaliban

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31. Bill Nye the Science Guy (1993-1998)
> IMDb user rating: 8.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 8,233
> Starring: Bill Nye, Pat Cashman, Michaela Leslie-Rule, Jaffar Smith

30. Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1990-2000)
> IMDb user rating: 8.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 15,737
> Starring: Ross Hull, Daniel DeSanto, Raine Pare-Coull, Jodie Resther

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29. Shaun the Sheep (2007-2020)
> IMDb user rating: 8.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 16,023
> Starring: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Richard Webber, Kate Harbour

28. Steven Universe (2013-2019)
> IMDb user rating: 8.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 37,646
> Starring: Zach Callison, Deedee Magno, Michaela Dietz, Estelle

27. SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-present)
> IMDb user rating: 8.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 106,795
> Starring: Tom Kenny, Rodger Bumpass, Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown

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26. Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006)
> IMDb user rating: 8.2/10
> IMDb user votes: 138,246
> Starring: Frankie Muniz, Bryan Cranston, Justin Berfield, Erik Per Sullivan

25. Moomin (1990-1992)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 4,469
> Starring: Ikue Ôtani, Minami Takayama, Rei Sakuma, Mika Kanai

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24. Salute Your Shorts (1991-1992)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 5,931
> Starring: Trevor Eyster, Danny Cooksey, Michael Bower, Kirk Baily

23. Amphibia (2019-2022)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 8,087
> Starring: Brenda Song, Justin Felbinger, Bill Farmer, Amanda Leighton

22. DuckTales (reboot) (2017-2021)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 11,315
> Starring: David Tennant, Ben Schwartz, Danny Pudi, Bobby Moynihan

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21. The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (2010-2012)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 15,825
> Starring: Eric Loomis, Colleen O’Shaughnessey, Brian Bloom, Rick D. Wasserman

20. The Adventures of Tintin (1991-1992)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 18,787
> Starring: Colin O’Meara, Thierry Wermuth, Christian Pelissier, Henri Labussière

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19. Dragon Ball Super (2015-2018)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 33,628
> Starring: Masako Nozawa, Naoki Tatsuta, Sean Schemmel, Ryô Horikawa

18. The Amazing World of Gumball (2011-2019)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 38,064
> Starring: Dan Russell, Teresa Gallagher, Kerry Shale, Kyla Rae Kowalewski

17. Courage the Cowardly Dog (1999-2002)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10
> IMDb user votes: 48,834
> Starring: Marty Grabstein, Thea White, Peter Fernandez, Simon Prebble

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16. Reading Rainbow (1983-2006)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 4,974
> Starring: LeVar Burton, Jennifer Betit Yen, Arnold Stang, Fred Newman

15. The Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes Comedy Hour (1985-1986)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 17,234
> Starring: Mel Blanc, Roberto Zenca, June Foray

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14. Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia (2016-2018)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 18,258
> Starring: Charlie Saxton, Lexi Medrano, Anton Yelchin, Kelsey Grammer

13. The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008-2009)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 18,269
> Starring: Josh Keaton, Lacey Chabert, Joshua LeBar, Grey Griffin

12. The New Batman Adventures (1997-1999)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 18,399
> Starring: Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong, Mathew Valencia, Efrem Zimbalist Jr.

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11. The Muppet Show (1976-1981)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 25,656
> Starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz

10. Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994-1998)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 33,958
> Starring: Christopher Daniel Barnes, Sara Ballantine, Edward Asner, Roscoe Lee Browne

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9. X-Men: The Animated Series (1992-1997)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 45,679
> Starring: Cedric Smith, Cal Dodd, Lenore Zann, George Buza

8. The Owl House (2020-2023)
> IMDb user rating: 8.5/10
> IMDb user votes: 17,022
> Starring: Sarah-Nicole Robles, Alex Hirsch, Wendie Malick, Tati Gabrielle

7. Regular Show (2010-2017)
> IMDb user rating: 8.5/10
> IMDb user votes: 53,074
> Starring: J.G. Quintel, William Salyers, Sam Marin, Mark Hamill

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6. Justice League (2001-2004)
> IMDb user rating: 8.6/10
> IMDb user votes: 49,719
> Starring: Carl Lumbly, Phil LaMarr, Michael Rosenbaum, George Newbern

5. Horrible Histories (2009-2023)
> IMDb user rating: 8.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 5,659
> Starring: Jim Howick, Simon Farnaby, Mathew Baynton, Martha Howe-Douglas

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4. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968-2001)
> IMDb user rating: 8.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 9,286
> Starring: Fred Rogers, Betty Aberlin, David Newell, Joe Negri

3. Justice League Unlimited (2004-2006)
> IMDb user rating: 8.7/10
> IMDb user votes: 18,902
> Starring: George Newbern, Kevin Conroy, Phil LaMarr, Carl Lumbly

2. Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)
> IMDb user rating: 9.0/10
> IMDb user votes: 111,363
> Starring: Kevin Conroy, Loren Lester, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Bob Hastings

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1. Bluey (2018-present)
> IMDb user rating: 9.4/10
> IMDb user votes: 19,878
> Starring: David McCormack, Melanie Zanetti, Ninthe van Schie, Brad Elliott

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