Growing up in the 90s meant that I had the pleasure of viewing some of the finest kids TV shows ever made and for the most part these shows are generally remembered fondly and considered to be highly nostalgic for myself and many others. From channels such as Nickelodeon, Fox Kids, Cartoon Network, The Disney Channel and so on, we really were spoiled for choice when it came to deciding what to watch and this was in a time without DVR so deciding was usually difficult. This truly was the golden age for children’s programming and honestly I doubt we’ll ever see anything like it again or see kids TV shows generate the kind of popularity that some of the shows I’ll be mentioning below did at that time. We all have our favorites so this of course is simply my opinion which is my way of saying don’t be too disappointed if something you loved is missing.
10 – Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993 – 1996)
A team of teenagers with attitude are recruited by Zordon and his assistant Alpha in an attempt to try to save Angel Grove from the evil witch Rita Repulsa and then later Lord Zedd, Emperor of all he sees and their hordes of monsters.
Even when I was much younger I used to find this show cheesy as hell but I can’t deny that I used to love nothing better than watching the rangers kick ass. The effects have aged quite poorly but I think it adds to the charm of the show and there’s still enjoyment to be found throughout. What kid in the 90s didn’t want to be a power ranger!? And then say those almighty words “It’s morphin time!” with that memorable soundtrack blazing in the background, just awesome.
9 – Hey Arnold! (1996 – 2004)
Hey Arnold stars fourth grader Arnold, a boy who lives with his paternal grandparents, Phil and Gertrude, proprietors of the Sunset Arms boarding house, in the fictional city of Hillwood. In each episode, Arnold often helps a schoolmate solve a personal problem, or encounters a predicament of his own. The show also frequently focuses on Arnold’s classmate, Helga, who often treats Arnold cruelly and bullies him constantly. However, a recurring theme of the show is the fact that Helga only pretends to dislike Arnold to hide the fact that she has possessed a profound, Shakespearean-in-magnitude love for him for years.
Many episodes involve urban legends usually told by Arnold’s best friend, Gerald. These episodes often feature over-the-top events such as those that involve superheroes.
Unlike most cartoon shows on Nickelodeon at the time Hey Arnold had a more sophisticated form of humor that means it appeals to audiences of all ages. The storytelling is of a very high quality and there is an array of interesting, well developed characters. I have very fond memories of this show and in my opinion it was one of the best cartoons of the 90s.
8 – Drake and Josh (2004 – 2007)
The series focuses on a pair of stepbrothers of opposite personalities. Drake Parker is portrayed as being a popular but immature aspiring musician idolized by his schoolmates and able to court a countless array of beautiful girls with ease, whereas Josh Nichols is depicted as being a nerdy and eccentric boy with poor luck with dating and popularity. Drake and Josh live in San Diego, California, with their odd, unfortunate, geeky father; a weatherman named Walter, their loving mother Audrey, and their outrageously manipulative and conniving younger sister Megan. The boys are often in outrageous, typical situation comedy misadventures and obstacles that they are faced with the challenge of overcoming while also handling average teenage situations such as school, dating, and popularity. Over the course of the series, the character arcs of both boys, and their relationship, develop: Josh loses weight and becomes more popular, while Drake matures and becomes more caring of other people, especially his stepbrother
Drake and Josh was probably the last great live action show that appeared on Nickelodeon, at least for my generation anyway. The reason why I really enjoyed this show was because of how likeable its characters were and although the comedy can be quite obvious at times its delivered in such hilarious fashion, oh and it also has an awesome intro song; nostalgia overload.
7 – Saved By The Bell (1989 – 1993)
Saved By The Bell follows the trials and tribulations of 5 high school students lead by Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) who is a charming schemer who often opens episodes by breaking the fourth wall and addressing the viewers. He sometimes temporarily freezes all of the characters around him by calling “Time out!” and discussing with the viewers what his next plan of action will be before calling “Time in!”, unfreezing the characters as they were. Zack’s schemes always seem to backfire, resulting in unexpected outcomes, hilarity and chaos. Zack’s best friends since grade school include Lisa Turtle, next-door neighbour Jessie Spano, and Samuel “Screech” Powers. Transfer student A.C. Slater initially enters the scene as Zack’s rival for the affections of Kelly Kapowski, though the two eventually work their way up to being best friends.
Despite Zack’s playboy persona, his main love interest is Kelly; they have an on-again, off-again relationship throughout the series’ run.
I know I’m kind of cheating with this one because it originally aired in 1989 but I genuinely had no idea that it was that old because I first watched it in the late 90s and early 00s so I’ll let this one slide. This is another show that I used to watch in the morning before school and I really enjoyed its story lines and characters which you can’t help but get attached to. There really won’t ever be anything like it again because it’s just so synonymous with the time period in which it came out and I don’t think it would have the same impact on today’s audiences.
6 – Batman: The Animated series (1992 – 1995)
Batman: The Animated Series is an American animated television series based on the DC Comics superhero Batman. The series was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and originally aired on the Fox Network from September 5, 1992 to September 15, 1995 The series was widely praised for its thematic complexity, dark tone, artistic quality, and faithfulness to its title character’s crime-fighting origins.
I have such fond memories of watching this show every day before going to school; it was the perfect way to start the day. I really enjoyed the series dark tones and mature themes, watching it gave me a much greater understanding of the Batman universe and all of the characters and their back stories. I would highly recommend everyone and anyone to watch it because it’s simply brilliant and certainly one of the finest animated TV shows ever created.
Due to the length of this I’ve decided to split it into two parts, keep an eye out for the second part coming soon!