The 90s was filled with fun and exciting movies and TV shows that are made for kids and teenagers. Some of the best TV shows from the said era would even have popular toy lines, as the popularity of the shows allowed its producers and creators to sell merchandise that is guaranteed hits among their target audience. To know more, here is a list of the best 90s TV shows with popular toy lines.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993 to 1995)
One of the most popular TV shows in the 1990s was Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a superhero television series that is based on the “Super Sentai” theme that was first popularized in Japan. The “Super Sentai” theme involves characters that transform into stronger and more agile versions of themselves that wear tight spandex suits that are color-coded and have matching helmets.
Before the Power Rangers, Marvel Comics has already tried to create an American Super Sentai show based on the Sun Vulcan series, which is a TV show that is fairly popular in Japan. In fact, Marvel Comics teamed up with Toei Company (known for producing legendary TV shows like Dragon Ball Z and One Piece) to share and exchange ideas and concepts and create TV shows for their target audience.
For Toei Company, they borrowed Marvel’s iconic character Spider-Man and turned him into a Super Sentai character that sometimes pilots a giant robot. On the other hand, Marvel Tried to sell the concept of the Sun Vulcan series to producers in the United States, but the concept was constantly rejected.
Haim Saban, the founder of Saban Entertainment (who would later produce the Power Rangers TV show), also tried to launch a Super Sentai series in the US. He first produced a pilot episode for “Bio-Man,” which is the American version of a known Japanese Sentai show called “Choudenshi Bioman.” Unfortunately, much like Marvel Comics, Haim Saban’s concept and pilot episode were rejected by numerous companies and TV stations. 
Fortunately, Fox Kids approved Saban’s concept, although Saban would create a new Super Sentai show called “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” and this show would first air on Fox Kids on August 28, 1993. The Power Rangers show proved to be very popular among kids and TV shows, and this allowed Saban Entertainment to license toys to toy companies to create Power Rangers action figures.
For those that want to get their hands on a retro Power Rangers action figure without the retro resell price, you can check out the Retro-Morphin series made by Hasbro, which is inspired by the classic action figures in the 90s. Here are three of the best action figures in the Retro-Morphin series:
- Power Rangers Retro-Morphin Red Ranger
- Power Rangers Retro-Morphin Black Ranger
- Power Rangers Retro-Morphin Green Ranger
Mighty Max (1993 to 1994)
Mighty Max is an animated TV show that first aired on September 1, 1993.  This specific show is based on the popular line of British toys called Mighty Max, which featured miniature figures that can explore mini-dungeons and areas that can be closed or opened since they have hinges on their backs. So, because of how you can close the mini-dungeons or playsets, they can also serve as storage for the mini-figures and other items that come in the box or packaging.
Mighty Max is supposed to be an outgrowth or a spinoff to the Polly Pocket line, which also features mini figures and mini playsets. However, Polly Pocket was designed for girls while Mighty Max was for boys. Both of these toy lines are created by Bluebird Toys, a British toy company. Polly Pocket was released in 1983, while Mighty Max was launched in 1992.
The Mighty Max animated TV show then aired one year after the release of the toy line. Interestingly, the toy line was more popular than the animated TV show, as the airing of the series didn’t really do much in terms of increasing the popularity of the Mighty Max toys in different countries. In fact, the Mighty Max toys outlived the show for two years, as the show ended in 1994 while the toy line stopped production in 1996.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987 to 1996)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or TMNT is an animated TV show that was first aired on December 14, 1987, for syndication. The show was produced by Fred Wolf Films, who was known back then for producing television specials like Puff the Magic Dragon (1978) and animated short films like The Box (1967). Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the first full TV show for Fred Wolf Films.
However, Fred Wolf Films was not responsible for creating the actual Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that appear on the show, as these were created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, who published a comic book of the same name as the show in 1984.  But it is through the animated TV show that more people got to know about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the other characters in the franchise. The TV show was so popular that it lasted from 1987 to 1996, which is unprecedented for many animated shows during that time.
If you want to have the retro action figures of the most popular characters in TMNT, you can check out the two bundles below:
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Classic 4-Pack Figure Bundle
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Classic Mutant 4-Pack Figure Bundle
Batman: The Animated Series (1992 to 1995)
Batman: The Animated Series is considered by long-time Batman fans as one of the best TV shows in the Batman franchise, and if you watch at least one episode of the show now, you will see why the series is regarded as timeless and classic.
The superhero TV show was developed by Bruce Timm, an artist and writer, and Eric Radomski, a producer.  According to them, Batman: The Animated Series was inspired by the two Batman live-action films created by Tim Burton, namely Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). So, the Batman: Animated Series features a highly stylized Gothic environment similar to the Tim Burton films, although the TV show has futuristic architectures and designs.
Batman: The Animated Series first aired on Fox Kids on September 5, 1992, and it ended on September 15, 1995. Due to popular demand, the Batman animated TV show was followed up with a new series called “The New Batman Adventures,” and this specific show aired in 1997 on Kids’ WB a children’s programming service that was created by Warner Brothers on September 9, 1995.
For the best action figures of the Animated Series version of Batman, here are two of the best that you can purchase:
- DC Collectibles: The Animated Series Batman Action Figure
- McFarlane Toys DC Animated Batman Action Figure
Rugrats (1991 to 2004)
Rugrats is regarded as one of the best TV shows of the 1990s and early 2000s, and this is evident by how great each episode of the series is in terms of story, characters, and quality. Rugrats is an animated TV show that was created by Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó, and Paul Germain, and was first aired on Nickelodeon on August 11, 1991. 
Due to how popular it is on Nickelodeon, Rugrats ran for 13 years from 1991 to 2004, making it the eighth-longest-running American animated television series. On Nickelodeon itself, Rugrats is the third-longest-running animated series behind SpongeBob Squarepants and The Fairly OddParents.
Rugrats is a story about a group of babies that can talk to each other and go on imaginary and real-life adventures in one of the babies’ homes or in outdoor areas. Even before the series ended in 2004, there was a TV special broadcasted on July 21, 2001, called “All Growed Up,” and this special featured the main characters of the Rugrats show as teenagers. The positive response from the TV special led to the creation of the sequel to the show titled “All Grown Up!,” which was broadcasted from 2003 to 2008.
If you want to have Rugrats action figures for your collection, check out the ones listed below:
- Retro Nick Rugrats Mini Figures 5-Pack
- BendyFigs Rugrats Cynthia Doll
- World’s Smallest Rugrats Micro Figures 3-Pack
Beast Wars: Transformers (1996 to 1999)
Beast Wars: Transformers is a computer-animated television series that first aired in 1996. This TV show is unique compared to the other shows on this list because it features CGI (computer-generated imagery) instead of hand-drawn animation. So, the characters and the environment in the film are 3D, and this CGI technology was becoming quite popular during the 1990s. In fact, Beast Wars: Transformers is one of the earliest fully CGI television shows in the world. 
The story of Beast Wars: Transformers takes place 300 years after the events of the first Transformers show (1984 to 1987), and the characters in the show are grouped into two factions, the Maximals (the descendants of the Autobots in the original show) and the Predacons (the descendants of the Decepticons). Beast Wars: Transformers, also known simply as Beast Wars, was the first Transformers show that featured CGI characters. When the show finished airing in 1999, it was followed up a few months later with a sequel titled “Beast Machines: Transformers,” and this show aired from 1999 to 2000.
Much like most Transformers characters, the ones in Beast Wars also got their own action figures. Here are the retro action figure iterations of three popular Beast Wars characters:
- Transformers Vintage Beast Wars Optimus Primal Action Figure
- Transformers Vintage Beast Wars Predacon Megatron Action Figure
- Transformers Vintage Beast Wars Cheetor Action Figure
Street Sharks (1994 to 1997)
Street Sharks was a superhero animated show that was produced By DIC Productions and Bohbot Entertainment. DIC Productions was an international production company that was known for producing popular animated shows like Inspector Gadget and Dennis the Menace, while Bohbot Entertainment was an advertising and marketing company that distributed shows like Mighty Max (1993) and Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (1993) in the United States.
Street Sharks originally aired from 1994 to 1997 and was a part of the Amazin’ Adventures programming block that was created by Bohbot Entertainment. The animated show had three seasons, with seasons one and two being aired on the Amazin’ Adventures block, while season three aired on ABC (American Broadcasting Company). It was also in the third season when Street Sharks was paired with a spin-off called Extreme Dinosaurs. The pairing resulted in the retitling of Street Sharks to “Dino Vengers Featuring Street Sharks,” which was supposed to focus more on the team of characters in Extreme Dinosaurs called “Dino Vengers.”
The animated show revolved around the Bolton family, which is composed of humanoid sharks that are represented in different colors and patterns. The show was produced to promote the Street Sharks line of action figures manufactured by Mattel. These Mattel Street Sharks action figures were produced from 1994 to 1997, which was the same lifespan as the original airing of the animated series.
The Mr. Potato Head Show (1998 to 1999)
The Mr. Potato Head Show was a children’s TV series that was produced by the toy company Hasbro and the animated studio Film Roman. This particular TV show was loosely based on the Mr. Potato Head toy line that is owned by Hasbro. The Mr. Potato Head Show originally aired on the Fox Kids programming block from September 1998 to February 1999. The children’s TV show focuses on Mr. Potato Head, who always had a dilemma on how to create and air a TV show for each episode. Fortunately, he is helped by numerous characters within the Kitchen Crew, which is composed of different kinds of anthropomorphic food ingredients.
After the show’s original airing in 1999, it is thought that the episodes of the show were lost, hence the reason why reruns didn’t happen for many years. Fortunately, two members of the Lost Media Wiki, a website dedicated to providing information about lost media (like music, video games, radio broadcasts, television shows, and films) and finding them, found all episodes of the Mr. Potato Head Show online. 
Even though The Mr. Potato Head Show already finished airing in 1999, Hasbro is still making Mr. Potato Head toys because of its popularity, which is mainly attributed to the toy’s appearance in the Disney Pixar franchise Toy Story. Here are a few Mr. Potato Head toys that you can buy online:
- Hasbro Playskool Mr. Potato Head
- Hasbro Potato Head Create Your Potato Head Family
- Hasbro Mr. Potato Head Toy Story 4 Andy’s Playroom Potato Pack
Arthur (1996 to 2022)
Arthur was a popular animated edutainment (education and entertainment) show for children that were developed by writer Kathy Waugh and produced by WGBH, the primary PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) member TV station in Boston, Massachusetts. The story of Arthur revolves around the titular character, Arthur Read, who is an anthropomorphic aardvark (a nocturnal mammal) that interacts with his family and other characters in every episode.
The show’s original run started on October 7, 1996, and ended on February 21, 2022, making it the third-longest-running animated TV show (behind South Park) and the longest-running children’s animated series in the United States. The series lasted for such a long time because of how great it is in terms of production quality and story. In addition, the show was also praised for how well it handles important issues that most children and families face, which include cancer, diabetes, asthma, autism, and dyslexia.
One of the first toy lines produced for the Arthur TV show was a subline for the Microsoft ActiMates, which are high-tech dolls that can interact with children or with each other. The Arthur Microsoft ActiMates dolls were released in 1998 and have a special feature to interact with the Arthur website in the 1990s.
Stone Protectors (1993)
Stone Protectors was a short-lived animated show that was originally aired in 1993. The series was produced by Graz Entertainment and written by Marty Isenberg, who is mostly known as the co-story editor of other popular animated TV shows like Beast Machines and Transformers: Animated. Stone Protectors was focused on the story of five people who formed a terrible rock band called Rock Detectors and found five magical stones that gave them superpowers in exchange for looking like trolls.
Stone Protectors served as Graz Entertainment’s attempt to capitalize on the Trolls dolls craze in the 1990s. Unfortunately, the show wasn’t perceived as a success commercially and critically, so it only lasted for 13 episodes before being canceled. However, Stone Protectors gained a small cult following over the years, and on March 2, 2021, there was even a Kickstarter or crowdfunding campaign that was started in order to get all 13 episodes of the show released on DVD. The campaign met its funding goal on March 29, 2021.
The toy line for Stone Protectors was produced by a defunct toy manufacturer called Ace Novelty Toy Company. Sadly, the toy line didn’t really become popular among kids and teenagers, as it was viewed as a cheap imitation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys.
VR Troopers (1994 to 1996)
VR Troopers was a live-action TV series that was produced and distributed by Saban Entertainment (the producer of Power Rangers). The original run of VR Troopers began in 1994 and ended in 1996, and this show was supposed to capitalize on the virtual reality (VR) craze during the mid-1990s. In addition, it also tried to profit from the popularity of the “Sentai” theme that was popularized by Power Rangers. In fact, VR Troopers served as the first official “sister show” to the “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.”
Much like the first Power Rangers show, VR Trooper also used stock footage from Japanese Sentai-themed TV shows, namely “Metal Hero Series: Superhuman Machine Metalder,” “Space Sheriff Shaider,” and “Dimensional Warrior Spielban.” 
Even though VR Trooper was considered to be successful and popular in the US, the show was canceled after just two seasons because the Japanese stock footage was already exhausted by 1996. There were even scenes in the show where reused footage was used. Besides a dedicated toy line, VR Troopers also spawned a video game that was released in the 90s for the Sega Genesis and the Sega Game Gear.
Those are just some of the popular TV shows from the 90s that have toy lines. While there have been more famous TV shows in the 1990s that had popular toys, many of them discontinued toy lines due to declining interest or sales. But, as long as people that were kids or teenagers in the 90s still remember these fun shows like Mighty Max, their toy lines might make a comeback in the near future.
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 Roberts, J. (2023, February 9). Bruce Timm Had Two Classic Shows In Mind While Writing Batman: The Animated Series. Slash Film. Retrieved June 5, 2023, from https://www.slashfilm.com/1194750/bruce-timm-had-two-classic-shows-in-mind-while-writing-batman-the-animated-series/
 Pelletiere, N. (2016, August 11). ‘Rugrats’ Turns 25: Creators Klasky and Csupo Share Story Behind the Iconic Cartoon. ABC News. Retrieved June 5, 2023, from https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/rugrats-turns-25-creators-klasky-csupo-share-story/story?id=41263392
 McCoy, J.K. (2023, March 26). Transformers: How Well Has Beast Wars Aged? GameRant. Retrieved June 5, 2023, from https://gamerant.com/transformers-beast-wars-aged/
 The Lost Media Wiki. (2023, April 12). The Mr. Potato Head Show (found Fox Kids puppet series; 1998-1999). The Lost Media Wiki. Retrieved June 19, 2023, from https://lostmediawiki.com/The_Mr._Potato_Head_Show_(found_Fox_Kids_puppet_series;_1998-1999)
 CBR Staff. (2018, July 28). VR Troopers: 15 Crazy Things Only Huge Fans Will Know. CBR.com. Retrieved June 19, 2023 from https://www.cbr.com/vr-troopers-crazy-memories/#made-from-3-different-japanese-shows