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90's Nostalgia: My Top 20 Most Loved Nickelodeon Shows
Short History of Nickelodeon
Pinwheel was launched on December 1, 1977 and and re-branded itself on April 1, 1978 to Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon is a satellite television and basic cable network that is owned by Viacom. Nickelodeon's demographic is aimed towards children from 7 to 16 years old, and its preschool shows are aimed at kids from ages 2-6.
Though Pinwheel changed it's name to Nickelodeon in April '79, Nickelodeon designated 1979 as the channel's official launch year. By 1984, Nickelodeon had lost nearly $10 million because of failed shows and a lack of successful programming. Green slime started on the television show You Can't Do That on Television and was adopted by other shows and became one of Nickelodeon's trademarks.
Nickelodeon penned itself as "The First Kid's Network" because of its place as the first television station aimed at children. When Nickelodeon opened Nickelodeon Studios in 1990, it began to pick up revenue and viewers. 1991 started their first original animated television series: The Ren & Stimpy Show, Doug, and Rugrats which are known as Nicktoons.
Because of the success of Nickelodeon's first Nicktoons, Nick decided to add a fourth Nicktoon - Rocko's Modern Life - in 1993. In August 1992, Nickelodeon extended it's Saturday schedule from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET with SNICK - it's new prime time block. In 2005, Nickelodeon Studios closed down and in 2007 it was converted into the Blue Man Group Sharp Aquos Theatre.
Tribute to 90's Nickelodeon Shows
Allegra's Window Logo
#20 Allegra's Window
Allegra's Window was a preschool television show that aired on Nickelodeon from October 24, 1994 to May 1, 1996.
The show centered around the life of a very curious 3 year old puppet named Allegra. Allegra's Window featured puppets, animation, and live actors.
Reruns of Allegra's Window aired from May 2, 1996 to April 2003. The style of the show was much like that of Sesame Street. At the end of each episode, Allegra recaps on the lessons that she learned while sitting at her window.
It seemed as if Allegra's Window was very musically based, it had over 100 original songs created for the show and several music videos went on to become sort of a commercial for Nick Jr.
Clarissa Explains It All Logo
#19 Clarissa Explains It All
Clarissa Explains It All was first aired on March 23, 1991 to December 3, 1994. Melissa Joan Hart plays the role of teenager, Clarissa Darling. In the show, Clarissa talks to the audience about things that are going on in her life and her life lessons.
Clarissa Explains It All covered topics that typical teenage girls go through. Such topics included: pimples, insecurities, boys, changing body parts, school, sex, teen partying and of course her annoying brother, Ferguson.
The show was Nickelodeon's first show with a female lead. The show was a major hit with boys and girls alike. Clarissa Explains It All was rival to NBC's Blossom. Because Blossom and Clarissa Explains It All were similar, a sitcom war between the two ensued.
Figure It Out Logo
Figure It Out Episode 1
#18 Figure It Out
I remember when Figure It Out first came on Nickelodeon.
It aired from July 7, 1997 to January 12, 2000. Figure It Out was Nickelodeon's game show about children with unique skills or achievements who competes as contestants while a few of Nickelodeon celebrities try to guess the phrase that describes the contestant's gift/talent.
Besides for Legends of the Hidden Temple, Figure It Out was my favorite Nickelodeon game show. On June 11, 2012 to July 16, 2013 the show was revived with a new host, Jeff Sutphen.
Animorphs Episode 1
Animorphs was a 26-episode television adaptation of the book series of the same name. It aired from September 1998 to March 2000. The series is about five kids who fight body snatching aliens by turning into animals at will.
The premise of Animorphs sounds very cheesy, and it sort of was too. The graphics and monsters on the series were very lackluster and very 80's horror movie-ish. Because of the success of the Animorphs book series, Nickelodeon figured they'd capitalize on the book series' fame and picked up on the tv show.
Honestly, besides for the horribly made television show, Animorphs had a great storyline and the books were very riveting. It's just too bad that the television show didn't live up to it's book counterpart.
Rupert Theme Song
Rupert aired from 1991 to 1997 with 65 episodes. Rupert is a fun loving young white bear who loves to go on adventures. Rupert started off as a comic strip character created by English artist named Mary Tourtel in 1920.
Rupert was originally depicted as a brown bear, but due to the fact that Rupert blended in too much with the background, so the publisher changed it to white - and Rupert has been white ever since.
I remember turning on Nickelodeon in the morning and watching Rupert with childlike wonderment. Rupert made me think outside the box and rethink everything in the world around us.
All That Cast
All That - Season Six (Best Of)
#15 All That and Kenan & Kel
All That was Nickelodeon's kid's version of a live action sketch comedy show, in the same fashion as Saturday Night Live (SNL) - with a featuring musical guest at the end of each show. All That debuted as a regular series on December 24, 1994. All That ran for 10 years and was cancelled on October 22, 2005.
The original cast memebers consisted of: Angelique Bates, Lori Beth Denberg, Katrina Johnson, Kel Mitchell, Alisa Reyes, Josh Server, and Kenan Thompson.
Some of All That's famous reoccurring sketches included the Good Burger sketch, The Loud Librarian sketch, the Dullmont Jr. High School sketch, the Everyday French with Pierre Escargot, and the Vital Information sketch.
From All That, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchel stared in their own sitcom on Nickelodeon. The show usually followed Kenan thinking up some crazy scheme - usually to gain money - and dragging the hilarious, clumsy, and orange soda loving Kel along with him. Both shows were great and a must watch for hilarious comedy.
Characters from The Wild Thornberrys
#14 The Wild Thornberrys
The Wild Thornberrys first aired in September 1998 and was produced by Clasky Csupo. The series revolved around 12 year old Eliza Thornberry and her family that consisted of her older sister, mother and father, orphaned wild boy, and pet chimpanzee. Eliza can speak to animals due to a shaman's curse placed upon her when she was 10 years old.
Eliza's parents travel from place to place, recording different animals on video for their nature television show and drags Eliza and her older sister, Debbie, along with them on their adventures.
Eliza was probably the first tom boyish girl cartoon character that I related with as a child. I remember skipping The Wild Thornberrys every time it came on for a really long time because I couldn't get into it. Once I got into the show, however, it became one of my most favorite shows to watch on Nickelodeon at that time.
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Season One - Clip 1
#13 Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
Before Pixar's Monster's Inc. came Nickelodeon's Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. Another hit television show for Nickelodeon from Klasky Csupo that ran from October 30, 1994 to December 7, 1997.
The show centered around three monsters in training, Ickis, Krumm and Oblina. At school they learn how to scare humans and learn the true power of friendship.
This is definitely one of my very top favorites. Comedy, thrilling and fast-paced, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters brings life to television. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was a follow-up series to Nickelodeon's other cartoon series produced by Klasky Csupo: Rugrats.
Rocket Power Crew
Rocket Power Theme Song
#12 Rocket Power
Rocket Power only aired for three seasons, but all of the episodes are definitely worth the watch. Rocket Power tells the story of the friendship between four friends: Twister Rodriguez, The Squid Dullard, Otto Rocket and his big sister, Reggie Rocket.
Rocket Power aired on August 7, 1999. The four friends were skater and surfer children and were believed to have lived in Venice, CA, USA. When the show first came on, I actually didn't like the premise of it, but it grew on me, and now it's one of my favorite 90's Nicktoons to watch! Whether you skateboard, surf, or just like hanging with your friends, it's a great show to watch.
Were You Afraid of the Dark?
Are You Afraid of the Dark? Season 1 Episode 1
#11 Are You Afraid of the Dark?
I remember being a little girl and keeping the lights on after watching Are You Afraid of the Dark? (AYAotD). There was no other spooky animated show such like this on at the time that was aimed at children, but for a children's show, it was quite scary.
Many people don't know that AYAotD was filmed in Canada with Canadian children called The Midnight Society. The show aired in Canada first in October 1990, but aired on Nickelodeon on August 15, 1992 through April 20, 1996. The show won many awards as the series progressed.
Are You Afraid of the Dark? centered around the Midnight Society - a group of teenagers - who would visit a campsite every week to tell spooky and scary stories. Instead of the show following the storyteller, the actual story was displayed to the viewer.
As Told By Ginger Logo
As Told by Ginger Theme Song
#10 As Told By Ginger
In 2013 I watched every episode from every season of As Told by Ginger, and I like it even more now that I am an adult. As Told by Ginger was one of the few animated series where the characters actually changed their wardrobe and hairstyles every episode and you could actually watch Ginger and her friends grow from preadolescence to adults.
As Told BY Ginger was also produced by Klasky-Csupo and aired on Nickelodeon on October 25, 2000. Though it technically isn't in the 90's lineup, it's great enough and close enough to include. Along with Macie Lightfoot and Dodie Bishop - Ginger's best friends - we also meet other regular characters like rich but good hearted Courtney Gripling, Darren Patterson, and the mean girl, Miranda Killgallen. As Told by Ginger was an animated sitcom that showed day to day life of a middle and high school girl trying to find her way. The show takes place in the made up town of Sheltered Shrubs, Connecticut.
In the pilot episode, as seen on the right, Ginger's hair looks more like that of her mother's from the actual show. The plot is slightly different from the direction that the show went in. Ginger befriends Courtney in the actual show, but in the pilot Courtney seems to be a little jealous of Ginger.
Cousin Skeeter Cast
Cousin Skeeter Theme Song
#9 Cousin Skeeter
What's most memorable about Cousin Skeeter to me was the fact that Skeeter was a puppet, and not just any puppet, Skeeter was an African American puppet. Cousin Skeeter was the third show on Nickelodeon to feature a prodominantly all African American cast - after My Brother & Me and Kenan & Kel.
Cousin Skeeter ran from Nickelodeon from 1998 to 2001. Cousin Skeeter starred actor Robert Ri'chard as Bobby. The whole show has comedy relief throughout the whole series. Skeeter usually get Bobby in trouble, but because Bobby's parents think that Skeeter is a good influence on Bobby, they agree to have Skeeter stay with them.
Angry Beavers Logo
Angry Beavers Theme Song
#8 Angry Beavers
Angry Beavers is set in the fictional forest of Wayouttatown, Oregon and centers around two brother beavers -Daggett and Norbert- who has been kicked out of their parent's dam because they had another liter of beavers. Norbert Foster Beaver is a caramel colored beaver and the elder of the two beavers. He's very laid back, intelligent, and very sarcastic.
Daggett Doofus Beaver is usually nicknamed Dag or Daggy and is voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz. Dag is the younger of the two brothers with darker brown colored fur and has a mutual love-hate relationship. Dag is immature and hyper and messy. Angry Beavers premiered on April 19, 1997. The show revolved around Dag and Norb as bachelors.
The Cast of Spongebob Squarepants
Spongebob Squarepants - Help Wanted
#7 Spongebob Squarepants
On May 1, 1999 Nickelodeon aired a new Nicktoon called Spongebob Squarepants.Spongebob centered around a sea sponge shaped as a rectangular kitchen sponge and his friends. Spongebob Spongebob Squarepants was created by Stephen Hillenburg, a marine biologist and animator.
Spongebob is Nickelodeon's biggest franchise and Nickelodeon's highest rated show. Spongebob was originally supposed to be called Spongeboy Ahoy! The series has been nominated for 15 Emmy Awards and won Outstanding Special Class Animated Program in 2010.
A new species of mushrooms that was discovered in 2011 was named after the main character of the series and called Songiforma Squarepantsii. The show is hilarious, educational, and borderline kid raunchy, but along with the great stories, Spongebob also has several tv movies and several merchandising contracts.
Ren & Stimpy Logo
#6 Ren & Stimpy
Ren & Stimpy was created by John Kricfalusi and premiered on Nickelodeon on August 11, 1991. The series centers around Ren Höek - a chihuahua - and Stimpson J. Cat.
Ren & Stimpy developed a cult following and lead the way for satirical television shows like South Park and Beavis and Butt-head. The series was seriously controversial with its sexual innuendos, violence, and adult-sense of humor. Angry Beavers reminds me of a more watered down version of Ren & Stimpy - two bachelors trying to make it through day to day life.
Muppet Babies Intro
Muppet Babies Logo
#5 Muppet Babies
Muppet Babies aired from September 15, 1984 to November 2, 1991 on CBS, but syndication rights for Muppet Babies were sold to Nickelodeon/Nick Jr. (1992–1999). Muppet Babies centered around Jim Henson's famous puppets like Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy as toddlers, but in cartoon version. The crew live in a nursery with only a named pair of legs who is their caretaker named Nanny.
Usually the episodes were about the children dealing with stressful toddler problems - like first dentist visits - or how they were trying to find ways to entertain themselves by having very vivid and creative imaginations using their toys. Yes, this was a true toddler's show, but even as an adult I can appreciate the good quality of storyline and imagery that the show brought to the television screen.
The Muppet Babies were, and still is, a great television show to watch that would keep you entertained for the half-hour shows that it produced.
CatDog - Dog Gone
The famous introduction song begins:
"One fine day with a woof and a purr a baby was born and it caused a little stir, no little bunny, no three eyed frog - a feline, canine little CatDog..."
And thus began the show's intricate theme song sequence. The show centered around a conjoined twin dog/cat who were much polar opposites. Cat was the well educated, charismatic, more serious of the duo while Dog was less intelligent, goofy, and sloppy.
The first episode aired on April 4, 1998 before premiering in October of that year. Although they are brothers, they are also best friends. Their personalities are much like Abbott and Costello and Laurel and Hardy mixed with The Odd Couple. Usually the episodes started by Dog making a mistake or doing something that makes Cat cringe and tries to fix the mess that Dog created.
The show is funny, witty, and very entertaining - to say the least. CatDog lives in the fictional town called Nearburg whose inhabitants were anthropomorphic animals and very few human-like creatures. Usually Cat tries to find a way to separate himself from Dog, but in the end, he realizes that he loves Dog just the way he is - crazy antics and all.
Eureeka and Friends
Eureeka's Castle Opening and Closing Songs
#3 Eureeka's Castle
I can remember as a child bouncing in my seat, waiting for Eureeka's Castle to come on. I was very surprised to learn that R.L. Stine - the horror writer - was co-creator and head writer of this magnificent show. The show's characters were puppets.
Eureeka was a sorceress-in-training that lived in a wind up castle music box owned by a giant. The characters were engaging and it was definitely a fresh face for Nickelodeon. Animated segments based on popular children's books were also featured throughout the show. The original show aired from September 4, 1989 to June 30, 1995.
The Hey Arnold! Crew
#2 Hey Arnold!
How can you talk about Nickelodeon and not talk about the cartoon brain of their center - Hey Arnold. This witty, humorous, and well made animated television show is centered around Arnold (we never learn his last name) who lives in the heart of New York and attends P.S. 118. We venture with Arnold and his gang of colorful friends as they grow up in New York, tackling several adolescent problems that arise.
In 1987 Craig Bartlett created a claymation about a character named Penny and her friend, Arnold. Six years later, Bartlett teamed up with five writers from Rugrats to create a new animated project for Nickelodeon. Not being able to come up with a substantial ideas for a new television show, Bartlett decided to play the "Penny" tapes for Nickelodeon executives, trying to highlight the Penny character, but the executives at Nickelodeon were more taken by Arnold - the minor character of the Penny claymations.
Bartlett created the first episode of Hey Arnold! in his living room and showed it to Nickelodeon producers. A whole year later, Nickelodeon decided to pick up the show. Arnold - albeit a different look, but same trademark hat - was featured in a trilogy of claymation shorts that aired from 1988 to 1991. Hey Arnold! was pitched to Nickelodeon in the fall of 1993, a pilot was produced in the spring of 1994, and the series was green lit in January 1995.
Rugrats' Pilot Episode
If Hey Arnold! was Nickelodeon's brain in the 1990s, Rugrats was definitely it's heart. The quad group of babies crawled into the hearts of children and adults alike with their memorable opening theme strictly instrumental song. Tommy Pickles was the main baby of interest, but the show soon revolved around his friends as well. Audiences of the show watched in anticipation as Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil stayed babies for thirteen years.
The Rugrats won 20 awards while in active production (7 Kid's Choice Awards, 4 Daytime Emmy Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame). The Rugrats was credited with being Nickelodeon's longest running show (with 172 episodes) until 2012 when Spongebob Squarepants aired its 173 episode. Who will ever forget the Rugrats? The best show on nickelodeon - respectively.