This is the page for the original 1998 series. If you're looking for the 2016 reboot, go here.
One of Cartoon Network's most popular original series and the first entry in its eponymous franchise, The Powerpuff Girls is a superhero-comedy series revolving around a Power Trio of Little Miss Badasses who fight crime and evil forces in the fictional city of Townsville. These Artificial Human girls, who have no fingers, toes, flat feet, ears, or noses, were created when Professor Utonium (Tom Kane) accidentally added a mutagenic substance called Chemical X to his mixture of sugar, spice, and everything nice while trying to "create the perfect little girls."
The series' heroes are Blossom (Cathy Cavadini), "commander and the leader," Bubbles (Tara Strong), "the joy and the laughter," whose personality is very similar to that of her namesake from Jabberjaw (but not quite a Dumb Blonde), and Buttercup (E.G. Daily), "the toughest fighter," and a tomboy with a bad attitude. Their simian Arch-Enemy Mojo Jojo (Roger L. Jackson) wears a helmet to cover his enlarged brain and speaks in a manner reminiscent of bad anime dubbing.
The concept began life as creator Craig McCracken's CalArts thesis film, titled "The Whoopass Girls" (they were created with "sugar, spice, everything nice," and a can of Whoopass) and was then adapted, with a slightly safer-for-work name, into two pilots for the What A Cartoon! Show. Cartoon Network decided to go with one of the other shorts, created by McCracken's friend and former 2 Stupid Dogs colleague Genndy Tartakovsky, as their first series, giving McCracken a little more experience before his show finally went to series in 1998. Both artists worked on one another's respective shows.note
Warner Bros. released a feature film, The Powerpuff Girls Movie, in 2002 (which bombed at the theaters, likely due to a severe decline in popularity that began in early 2001). A comic book series (from DC Comics no less). An anime version, Powerpuff Girls Z, hit the airwaves in Japan on July 1st, 2006.
The original series was the final production to be created under Hanna-Barbera, with the company's current productions — including The Powerpuff Girls being taken over by Cartoon Network Studios, while the studio's other assets were absorbed into Warner Bros. Animation.
In July 2022, it was announced that Craig McCracken would be returning to spearhead a revival of the series with Hanna-Barbera Europe, Cartoon Network's UK-based animation studio.
Tropes, spice, and everything nice: