For kids growing up in the 1990s, there was suddenly a very confusing new type of cartoon: Animation for adults! Although The Simpsons is probably the most famous of these, MTV was the true home of weird, wild, and cool cartoons that weren’t really for kids. In the ’90s MTV was where indie animators spun their just-weird enough with a just-weird-enough cartoon idea for not-kids
Most ’90s kids remember the big 90’s MTV cartoons, like Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butthead and its spin-off Daria (and eventually, Fox’s King of the Hill). But this era of MTV cartoons also produced a bunch of other wacky and watchable shows that you maybe have forgotten. In need of a ’90s fix and watched Cornholio as many times as you can stand? Check out these 10 forgotten animated MTV shows from the era.
10. Liquid Television
This MTV cartoon ran from 1991 to 1995 and served as a showcase for several different short cartoons, some by festival winners, others submitted by indie artists. Some of them (like Aeon Flux and Beavis and Butthead) would go on to get their own shows thanks to their appearance on Liquid Television. The show featured tons of high-profile and very licensed music of the time, which makes it pretty hard to find these days, though a set of DVDs was released in 1997 but it’s no longer being printed.
9. The Head
Created by Eric Fogel (who would go on to create Celebrity Deathmatch) this animated show ran from 1994 to 1996. The show follows the adventures of Jim, a man who one day wakes up to discover that his head has become enormous. Eventually, a tiny purple alien fellow pops out of there and shenanigans ensue as he lives with Jim and learns about our world.
8. Cartoon Sushi
Cartoon Sushi for just one season in 1997. Meant as a successor to Liquid Television, the show worked a little bit differently. While there were still original cartoons within the showcase, most of the cartoons were produced overseas and had never been introduced to an American audience before. Fun fact, its creator Danny Antonucci would go on to create the popular kids show Ed Edd n Eddy.
7. The Brothers Grunt
Speaking of Danny Antonucci, this is another one of his creations! The Brothers Grunt ran from 1994 to 1995. It followed a group of grotesque, cheese-pre-humans in their struggle to bring back their leader, Brother Perry. But the plot wasn’t as nearly as compelling as the farting, drolling, veiny Grunt bros themselves.
6. Station Zero
This small treasure ran for just one season in 1999. In it, a group of friends with their own public access show (Live From the Bronx) would critique hip-hip videos much like Beavis and Butthead. The show itself was inspired by a comic strip of the same name that ran in The Source from 1991 to 1994.
5. The Maxx
This series was adapted from the comic series of the same name and ran for one season in 1995. Its hero, the Maxx is muscle-bound, disoriented and homeless. His mission? Protect his social worker Julie at all costs while slowly piecing together his own identity. The show often changed animation styles (including an early foray in CGI) to depict the internal anguish of its hero, who was often battling a villain (Mr. Gone) who might very well have been a figment of his own imagination.
4. Aeon Flux
Aeon Flux ran on MTV from 1991 to 1995. While you may know the movie adaptation starring Charlize Theron, fewer people are familiar with this MTV cartoon from the 90’s. The story follows Aeon Flux, a secret agent, as she battles her way through a dystopian future, one inspired by the idea of a version of Germany where the wall never fell.
3. Migraine Boy
Migraine Boy had one season on MTV in 1996. It was based on a popular indie cartoon of the same name. The boy himself and his dog Tylenol has everyday adventures with his group of deeply irritating friends—his description, not ours. In a popular example of the show’s humor, he leaves a friend playing red light green light until he becomes a skeleton.
2. Stevie and Zoya
This MTV cartoon ran as a series of 60 second episodes in 1987, but it’s underrated enough to make this list all the same. The show, set in New York, follow Stevie and Zoya, two spies working for an agency called D.A.D.D.I.O. a reference to The Man from U.N.C.LE. Stevie and his sidekick Zoya fight crime with an assist from Zoya’s deadly weapon, a yo-yo.
1. Super Adventure Team
This show ran for just one season in 1998. The appeal here, it wasn’t strictly animated! The characters were all marionettes, voiced by comedians like Paul F. Tompkins, Karen Kilgariff, and Dana Gould. While the team was fighting baddies every episode, people were really tuned in for the comedic and soap opera-style interpersonal goings-on.