While some TV shows are made for kids, it doesn’t mean that adults can’t enjoy them too thanks to their great art, voice work, stories, and jokes. In fact, sometimes shows sneak in jokes that will fly over younger folk’s heads.
We’ve rounded up some of the best kids TV shows, old and current, that are worth watching as an adult.
1. Batman: The Animated Series
The Batman franchises spans comics, games, and films. But there’s a reason that many people consider Batman: The Animated Series to be the definitive take on the caped crusader.
It has a great noir vibe, tackles some interesting themes, features some obscure Batman villains and their origins, and also has an incredibly wild portrayal of the Joker courtesy of Mark Hamill.
2. The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police
Sam & Max started out as a comic book from Steve Purcell that follows two freelance detectives—one dog, the other a “hyperkinetic rabbity-thing”.
In 1997, it got turned into this wild and wacky animated show. The energy is constantly set to eleven and it’s hard to keep up with the amount of jokes that fly out everyone’s mouth.
3. We Bare Bears
We Bare Bears follows three bears called Grizz, Panda, and Ice Bear as they hilariously try to fit into a human world by doing normal human things like shopping, going on diets, and recycling.
Kids will love the show’s adorable and endearing titular bears, while adults will appreciate the ribbing that modern millennials get through the show’s storylines.
4. Costume Quest
Costume Quest is based on a couple of video games, but no previous exposure is needed to enjoy the show that follows four friends who can transform into incredible things when they don costumes.
They use their powers to defeat the Grubbins, evil creatures who feed on the town’s ample and famous nougat supply. The show is thrilling, charming, and funny.
5. Gravity Falls
In Gravity Falls, Dipper and his sister Mabel are sent to spend their summer in a town bursting with weird shenanigans and supernatural forces.
The show is warm thanks to the characters who support one another, and endlessly quirky with a Twin Peaks vibe. It also looks and sounds great.
6. SpongeBob Squarepants
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? You know the answer to that. SpongeBob Squarepants has been running since 1999 and its longevity speaks to its quality.
The show follows Mr. Squarepants and his friends in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. They get into endless hijinks and adventures that are sure to keep a smile on your face.
7. The Fairly OddParents
Timmy Turner is an average kid who no-one understands. His Mom, Dad, and babysitter Vicky are always giving him commands. However, one day the doom and gloom up in his room is broken instantly when his fish transform into magical fairies.
As you can imagine, the idea of a kid having access to unlimited magic wishes ends up causing lots of havoc. Fairly OddParents is hilarious for kids, but also features lots of jokes for adults too.
8. Carmen Sandiego
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? is a series of popular edutainment games that Netflix have adapted for this action-adventure series that focuses on Carmen’s backstory.
Along with her friends, Carmen travels the world to stop crime by stealing from the evil V.I.L.E. agency. Not only is following Carmen’s heists exciting, but you might end up learning from the geographical facts sprinkled throughout.
9. Steven Universe
The themes of Steven Universe are important for anyone, regardless of age. Family, friendship, and love are all touched upon, while being wrapped up in a wonderful sci-fi world.
The show follows the adventures of Steven Universe and his humanoid alien friends as they try to protect their world from unruly forces. Once you finish the main show you can also enjoy the spin-off Steven Universe Future.
10. Looney Tunes
We’ve all seen Looney Tunes, right? It’s considered one of the greatest animated works of all time and its characters and catchphrases are famous the world over.
While the show’s classic episodes still stand the test of time, the newer series called Looney Tunes Cartoons on HBO Max is also worth watching thanks to its gag-driven stories and return to classic 2D animation.
Kids Shows That Don’t Stand the Test of Time
These are the best kids shows from past and present that you can enjoy today, whether you’re young or old.
However, not all kids shows have stood the test of time. Here are some beloved kids shows that are downright annoying as adults.
We earn commission if you purchase items using an affiliate link. We only recommend products we trust. See our affiliate disclosure.