The 10 Best Old Nick Shows
Old Nick shows produced some of the best TV entertainment during the ’90s and early 2000s. While there are a few fantastic programs that have come out recently, nothing really measures up to the classics. Read on to take a look back at some of the shows that made Nickelodeon the best network for kids.
Are You Afraid of the Dark?
This creepy kids’ show was a true horror anthology, and most of its best episodes stand up to watching as an adult. A few of the scripts have even directly inspired modern TV and movie stories, which goes to prove the enduring power of the Midnight Society.
Guts was a fantastic game show for sports-loving kids. Featuring a number of “extreme” challenges and the almighty Aggro Crag, this show featured the kind of games you could only dream about playing at home. While everything is shot in a style that could only be described as ultra ’90s, it’s still a fun watch today.
For a generation of kids, this was THE game show. Hosted by Marc Summers, Double Dare’s physical challenges led to some of the most memorable game show stunts ever. There’s a generation of adults out there who are confident in their ability to find orange flags in giant piles of goop thanks to this show.
What do you get when you put a ’90s show on a dude ranch? If things work out right, you get Hey Dude. This comedy put in four seasons before it hung up its spurs for good. However, it really stretched the definition of what you could feature on a kids’ show during those four years.
Salute Your Shorts
Salute Your Shorts featured the adventures of a ragtag group of campers at Camp Anawanna, which was at once the summer camp every child wanted to visit and wanted to avoid. The show featured writing that was maybe a little too smart and a cast that could, shockingly, actually act. Of all the old Nick shows, it probably holds up the best.
Legends of the Hidden Temple
Another one of Nick’s fantastic game shows, Legends of the Hidden Temple pitted a host of color-coordinated teams in a series of physical and mental challenges. The real draw here was the Temple itself, which was allegedly filled with lost Mayan treasures.
On its best days, this kids’ sketch comedy show could rival adult productions. With an incredibly talented cast (including SNL’s Keenan Thompson) and a host of memorable characters, All That! was a comedy masterpiece that happened to air on a kids’ channel. It was also responsible for spinning off into two other beloved Nick shows, Keenan & Kel and The Amanda Show.
The Adventures of Pete and Pete
Pete and Pete was so dense and surreal that it stood out even among the old Nick shows. Following the story of two brothers, it bounced between the surprisingly mature and the undeniably low-brow. Pete and Pete has more in common with adult sitcoms than other kids’ shows, but it’s an undeniable favorite among those who grew up during its run.
Clarissa Explains It All
Of all the enduring old Nick shows, this one is probably the one that had the longest-lasting impact. With a setup of a teen narrator who talks directly to the camera, her wacky family and an increasingly dramatic story, Clarissa Explains It All helped to establish the formula that most of Nick’s kid-coms continue to follow.
It would have been easy to fill this list with nothing but Nicktoons, but it would have been unfair. Instead, we’ve chosen the original — Rugrats. A smart, funny show about the lives of babies, this show set the tone for all the cartoons that would follow.