These days, it seems like everyone is getting nostalgic for the nineties. Most of us who were young during this generation were avid Nickelodeon watchers, which was THE network for kids. Nickelodeon has produced many great TV shows over the years, but the 1990’s was when it really shined. In 2011, TeenNick even debuted a programming block called The ‘90s Are All That which plays old Nick TV shows from, you guessed it, the 1990’s. Here are the ten best Nickelodeon shows from that era.
10. Salute Your Shorts (1991-1992):
Who didn’t want to attend Camp Anawanna? This show tapped into every child’s desire to go to sleep-away camp (which some of us never got to actually experience, not that we are bitter). It also had a crazy cast of campers, including “Donkeylips” and “Budnick.” Unfortunately, Salute Your Shorts only ran for two short seasons.
9. The Adventures of Pete and Pete (1993-1996):
Looking back, Pete and Pete was extremely well written for a children’s show, and most of the jokes and wit probably went over most of our heads. The show focused on two brothers, both named Pete, and their adventures of everyday teenage life. Pete and Pete is so memorable mostly because of its fantastic cast, which included Michelle Trachtenberg, Heather Matarazzo, Steve Buscemi, and Iggy Pop. Yes, THAT Iggy Pop.
8. Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1991-2000):
Another show which boasted a huge list of famous guest stars, Are You Afraid of the Dark? had the tendency to scare the pants off its young viewers every week. It was the television equivalent of reading a Goosebumps book, airing on SNICK late on Saturday nights. We all had a secret desire to be members of “The Midnight Society” even though it seemed really scary and grown up. Are You Afraid of the Dark? gave us ghost stories and supernatural tales, and always left viewers significantly creeped out.
7. Rocko’s Modern Life (1993-1996):
At first glance, this strange show about an Australian wallaby named Rocko seems almost insignificant. However, looking back on the show’s adult humor which was laden with innuendo, it’s clear that Rocko’s Modern Life deserves a spot on this list. At one point, Rocko had a brief job as a phone sex operator. How Nickelodeon managed to sneak that one past our parents is astounding.
6. Legends of the Hidden Temple (1993-1995):
Nickelodeon in the nineties was well known for having pretty awesome game shows, not all of which made this list (Wild & Crazy Kids! Guts! Figure it Out!). The best of these game shows, or at least the one which we tend to remember first, is Legends of the Hidden Temple, a game show about a secret Mayan Temple. There were six teams of two kids, and everyone had their favorite team which we took very seriously (Blue Barracudas, obviously). The show included physical challenges combined with historical and geographical knowledge, and had a very Indiana Jones feel to it.
5. Kenan and Kel (1996-2000):
“Aww, here it goes!” Keenan and Kel was a comedy series which starred All That alumni Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell. It revolved around the duo’s antics, usually involving them getting into trouble. Kenan was the schemer of the two, while Kel, who famously loved his Orange Soda, was the neurotic and clumsy one who usually ended up ruining everything somehow. The show ran for four seasons, ending just as the 1990’s did.
4. Rugrats (1991-2004):
Rugrats depicted the misadventures and imaginations of a group of toddlers. Tommy Pickles was the brave leader of their baby gang, which also included professional worrier Chuckie and dirt-loving twins Phil and Lil. The antagonist of Rugrats was typically older child Angelica Pickles, Tommy’s bratty cousin. Rugrats had an extremely long run for a Nickelodeon series and is one of the networks most beloved and remembered shows to this day. It even got its own full length feature film in 1998, as well as two less successful sequels.
3. Doug (1991-1994):
Doug was one of the first animated series on Nickelodeon, premiering way back in 1991, the same time that Rugrats and The Ren & Stimpy Show were introduced. Something was special about this show that focused around pre-teen Doug Funnie (bonus points if you knew his middle name was Yancey) and his various friends and family members, including sister (and future Hipster) Judith, best friend Skeeter Valentine, nemesis Roger Klotz, longtime crush Patti Mayonnaise, and pet dog Porkchop. Whether you remember the series for its Beatles knockoff band The Beets (you know you still know the words to Killer Tofu) or for Doug’s alter ego, superhero Quailman, Doug remains a legend in childhood nostalgia.
2. Clarissa Explains It All (1991-1994):
Clarissa (played by a young Melissa Joan Hart) was the epitome of nineties cool. She wore Doc Martens and listened to The Violent Femmes! She had a pet lizard named Elvis! Her best friend was a GUY! For young girls (or at least for me) you couldn’t get much cooler than Clarissa Darling. Her unique style, sass, and wit made her a nineties icon.
1. All That (1994-2005):
Any child of the nineties will tell you that staying up late (9 pm!) to watch All That on Saturday nights was the highlight of their week. With a format similar to Saturday Night Live or MadTV, All That was the single coolest TV kids show of the nineties. Each episode featured a musical guest, from TLC to Robyn to the Spice Girls, and often a special guest host joined the cast. Some of the stars of All That have even gone on to become famous (Keenan Thompson, Amanda Bynes). Even if you weren’t a huge fan of All That growing up, you know you remember the theme song.