Why The 90s Are All That: 5 Fave 90s Nick Shows

Free-For-All Friday: Why The 90s Are All That: 5 Fave 90s Nick Shows

Anyone who has been paying attention to the television over the last few weeks has probably noticed by now that TeenNick one of Nickelodeon’s affiliated tv channels has begun a midnight programming block called The 90’s Are All That.  In an enormous surge of nostalgia, Nickelodeon has begun to air a rotating selection of their best 1990’s television shows, both animated and live-action.  This decision is largely in response to an overwhelming demand from the 20 and 30-somethings demographic for a return to the “good stuff,” ie, the tv shows we literally grew up on in the 90’s a sign that we 20 and 30-somethings refuse to give up our childhoods quite so easily as all that.

I’m 26 years old, which puts my elementary and middle school years squarely in the 1990’s.  So you can imagine my enthusiastic response to this development.  My brother is a few years younger than me, and the two of us watched quite a lot of television together when we were younger (hell, who I am kidding, we still do), so we were both extremely happy for the chance to see some of our 90’s favorites again.

In honor of The 90’s Are All That block, here are my top 5 favorite 90’s Nickelodeon tv shows:

Doug: Okay, seriously.  If you’re over the age of 18 and under the age of like, 50, you loved Doug – right?  (Don’t destroy my illusions, please.)  Doug was funny, quirky, and so identifiable for every middle-school-aged kid ever.  As Doug Funnie dealt with being the new kid in school, first crushes, bullying, babysitting, and bad grades, so were we.  Some of the best segments, of course, were when Doug imagined his life as the alter-egos superhero Quailman, secret agent Smash Adams, and explorer Race Canyon (just to name a few).  However, my personal favorite character wasn’t Doug, but Skeeter.  Crazy, off-the-wall, blue-skinned Skeeter.  He was just too damn hilarious!

Clarissa Explains It All:  Not only was Clarissa Explains It All the first Nickelodeon show to star a girl, it also had a large following of both boys and girls, dispelling once and for all the belief that shows starring girls would turn off male audiences.  On top of that, Clarissa Explains It All dealt with quite a few serious teenage issues in ways that were more lighthearted than many other shows at the time (such as Full House).  Clarissa was a spunky, intelligent girl who dealt with school, bullying, getting her driver’s license, even issues of alcohol and sex, without chasing off male audiences, or causing a stir among censors or parents.  One of the more interesting elements of the show was the way it broke the fourth wall, allowing Clarissa to speak directly to the audience.  This was one of my favorite shows, because it showed that a girl could be tough, intelligent, and friends with boys (with no romantic undertones), all while still being a GIRL.

Hey Arnold!: Like Doug, Hey Arnold! was a cartoon about a boy dealing with school, friends, bullies, etc.  But Hey Arnold! was also different.  For one thing, Hey Arnold! portrayed a main character with a non-traditional family: Arnold lived with his paternal grandparents who were the proprietors of a boarding house, and the other tenants of the house were as much family to Arnold as his grandparents were.  For another thing, while Doug remained mostly within the realms of reality (despite Doug’s constant daydreaming), Hey Arnold! often spun out into the completely bizarre.  Superheroes and headless horsemen were as likely to appear in the show as any “normal” school situation.  This is part of what made the show so much fun.  Also, the opera episode “What’s Opera, Arnold?” is an absolutely riot, and by far my favorite episode.

Legends of the Hidden Temple: Nickelodeon was home to my two favorite game shows of all time: Legends of the Hidden Temple and GUTS.  Both were great, but of the two Legends of the Hidden Temple was definitely my favorite.  A game show that pitted 6 teams of 2 against each other in a number of physical and trivia challenges, Legends of the Hidden Temple was all-around-fun.  And it was also one of the most difficult game shows for children EVER.  I can probably list the number of times a team won the final challenge on one hand.  My brother and I watched this show fanatically.  We wanted to be on it so badly, and we were fairly-well convinced we could have won it if we had been on.  Actually, I STILL think my brother and I could have won the game if we’d be on it.  We always wanted to be the Blue Barracudas what was your favorite team?

GUTS: Last, but not least, GUTS.  The competition show for athletic types, full of increasingly difficult physical challenges the likes of which no children’s game show has ever seen again.  The final challenge of GUTS was the Aggro Crag – a gigantic fabricated mountain that the two final contestants had to climb, being the first to the top after activating several lighted targets.  This was NOT an easy challenge, but man, was it fun to watch.  When GUTS was later changed to Global GUTS, the format remained essentially the same, except that the contestants now came from all over the world rather just the U.S., and the Aggro Crag was made even more difficult and changed to the Mega Crag, and finally the Super Aggro Crag.  I would never ever ever have survived that show, but I have no doubt my brother would have been awesome on it.  I bet he could have won too.

All of these shows are specifically Nickelodeon shows fro the 90’s.  Now, if Disney brought back it’s 90’s programming too, this favorites list would like significantly different.  Anyone else remember the Disney Afternoon programming block?  ‘Cause that is still one of my favorite grouping of tv shows ever.  But I’ll save that gush of praise for another day.

So, what’s your favorite Nickelodeon show from the 1990’s?  Is your favorite missing from my list?  Let me know!


29 thoughts on “Why The 90s Are All That: 5 Fave 90s Nick Shows

  1. I loved Legends of the Hidden Temple and always wanted to go on it! One of the cooler ‘for kids’ game shows. GUTS was pretty cool, too.

    I’d have to go digging to figure out which of the 90s block was my favorite back then.

  2. Lol I love and agree with all of your choices! The only one you’re missing is Round House! Remember SNICK when they’d play Clarissa Explais it All, Round House, Are you Afraid of the Dark? and Uhm…. I think it was Ren and Stimpy? Round House was like Saturday Night Live for our generation 🙂

  3. Your posts have a way of making me really, really nostalgic haha. Doug was an awesome show, and so was Hey Arnold. I remember Clarissa Explains it All, but I must not have watched it much because I don’t remember it clearly.

    Hearing about this network makes me wish I had cable…but I could probably find them on Netflix if I wanted to as well, haha. A few that you didn’t mention that I liked: Salute Your Shorts, Rugrats, and Rocko’s Modern Life.

    It’s funny now, but there was one show on there that I COULD not watch…Are You Afraid of the Dark? I love horror now, but back then I was a massive scaredy cat, haha. I need to see if that one is on Netflix…it’s probably laughable now.

    • Being nostalgic sometimes is so much fun. We just can’t help it. Rugrats was pretty good, but it was never one of my favorites. My brother loved it though. I’m definitely gonna go have to check out Hey Arnold on Netflix though.

  4. I love this! I had no idea they were bringing the old classics back into rotation. Doug was one of the top cartoons I watched growing up, and I still think it probably had the most creative use of music throughout it. I still occasionally get a few lines of The Beets’ hit song “Where’s My Sock?” stuck in my head.

    I remember watching all of these shows, there’s a few others I recall still pretty vividly. I occasionally still find myself quoting ‘All That’ and Goodburger… And then I’m astonished when people actually recognize the reference.

    I think I might actually have a reason to turn on the television now. 😀

    (Also, I can’t think of what my favorite Nick show is right now… I have a feeling it was ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’ which I watched religiously every Saturday night… But I’d have to do some thinking to tell for sure. ^_^ )

    • You definitely need to catch some of these on TV, Nathan! It’s awesome how many of the old ones are coming back. Though, like I’ve said in some other comments here, you can also find some of them on Netflix.

  5. I didn’t really watch Nick in the ’90s….but I do remember always watching whatever show that was that slimed people when I was younger. I even went on a tour of Universal Studios and they slimed someone in one of the studios while we were there. Ah, memories.

  6. Yes! You have listed all of my favorites. I think the others that I really loved were Space Cases (io9 had a great tribute article to the show the other day), Salute Your Shorts, and Are You Afraid of the Dark. I still have really fond memories of the “big orange couch,” too. Ah, nostalgia!

  7. I loved Pete and Pete, Hey Dude, The Roundhouse, All That, The Tomorrow People, Salute your Shorts… there are many more, lol. Those were awesome shows. That and saturday morning cartoons rocked back then… memories.

  8. Legends of the Hidden Temple! How about Are you Afraid of the Dark? Secret World of Alex Mack? Salute your Shorts?! Wow it just goes on and on! Nickelodeon today is nothing compared to what it once was.

  9. Ok, I have a confession to make… When I have satellite or cable, I still watch NickGAS so I can watch LotHT and GUTS.

    In addition to those already mentioned by others (really loved P&P), I was also a big fanatic of Double Dare, Rugrats, and the video adaptations of the Goosebumps books.

    As for Space Cases – loved that show as a scif-fi junkie. Jewel Satie ended up on another sci-fi fav of mine… Firefly!

    • Lol, you say “confession” like that’s a bad thing. I definitely still watch Legends of hte Hidden Temple when I can find it.

      And Space Cases, while I never got to see a lot of it, was funny too. And both Jewel Staite and Firefly are AWESOME!

  10. I wish I could watch every episode of Are you Afraid of the Dark. I’ve only seen short clips available on-line. If I say, “They don’t make them like they used to!” does that mean I’m getting old?

  11. Wow! I’m 26 as well && these were my favorite shows as well =) I was trying to remember the name of the TV show where they go in to the video game && collect those gold medallions..&& you have it listed here!! (Legends of the hidden temple) Thanks for the trip down memory lane!!

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