Quarantine Post #80: My Life in TV. (Late 80s-90s)

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The late 80’s/ early 90’s were an interesting time to be a kid. My mother was very strict on the things that I watched as a kid… She heavily monitored what was on television. That usually meant I was relegated to either PBS, Cartoon Network, Disney, or Nickelodeon. And even so… my mother had a few cartoons that she still didn’t allow me to watch. (Ren & Stimpy). I already did a post about kid’s gameshows so you won’t see any mention of those here. This post is about everything I watched that got me through my elementary and middle school years.

So I will be breaking this post down into different categories. Because I like categories. So let’s jump into it.

EDUCATIONAL

  1. The Magic School Bus – SEATBELTS EVERYONE!!! Mrs. Frizzle was the truth. We all know that it is based on the book series of the same name by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen. The Magic School Bus was prominent at the Scholastic Book Fair. And I was all about the book fair. It ran from 1994 to 1997 on several PBS stations in the United States. Like the books it’s based on, the show focuses on the exploits of Ms. Frizzle and her class of eight students (nineteen in the books) who board their titular school bus, which takes them on field trips to the solar system, inside the Earth, and inside the human body, or to other such impossible locations. It is the prequel and predecessor to 2017’s The Magic School Bus Rides Again. Remember the theme song is legit. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egmmYxXhScQ)


  2. Wishbone – Some of you guys haven’t learned your classic literature from a dog. And it shows. Whatever your feeling on what constitutes a classic… you have to give credit where it is due. Wishbone ran from 1995 to 1997. The show’s title character is a Jack Russell Terrier. Wishbone lives with his owner Joe Talbot in the fictional town of Oakdale, Texas. He daydreams about being the lead character of stories from classic literature. Only the viewers and the characters in his daydreams can hear Wishbone speak. The characters from his daydreams see Wishbone as whichever famous character he is currently portraying and not as a dog. Fun times. Kids always love dogs… The kicker here is that in high school when reading things like The Odyssey, Beowulf, or Chaucer… I could remember scenes from Wishbone. It really helped with my understanding of the foundation years later. The show won four Daytime Emmys, a Peabody Award, and honors from the Television Critics Association. Also, this theme song was legit as well. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZLEvrkbFcQ)


  3. Shining Time Station – This was my introduction to Thomas and Friends. When I mention it to people, no one knows what I am talking about. I thought it was a figment of my imagination. It incorporated sequences from the British television show Thomas & Friends, which was in turn based on the books of The Railway Series written by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry. The series aired on PBS from January 29, 1989, until June 11, 1993, with 4 one-hour-long “Family Specials” premiering in primetime throughout 1995.  In its first season, the show averaged a 0.9 Nielsen rating, translating to about 1.2 million viewers on average. At the peak of its popularity, the show brought in up to 7.5 million viewers per week. Mr. Conductor is a tiny man who lives in a signal house inside the station’s mural and tells the stories taken from Thomas & Friends to the kids. He also introduces songs to the kids in The Anything Tunnel. 


  4. Lamb Chop’s Play-Along – Lamb Chop is a half-hour preschool children’s television series that was shown on PBS in the United States from January 13, 1992, until September 22, 1995, with reruns airing on PBS until August 29, 1997. It was created and hosted by puppeteer Shari Lewis and featured her puppet characters Lamb Chop, Charlie Horse, and Hush Puppy. I annoyed the hell out of my mom with the song that doesn’t end. Good times. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_47KVJV8DU)



  5. Reading Rainbow – What countdown would not include Levar Burton and Reading Rainbow? Here is a show that I almost never watched at home. I always saw it at school just before I was to head to the library to pick a book for Accelerated Reader or a book report. The show was designed to encourage a love of books and reading among children. Each episode centered on a topic from a featured children’s book which was explored through a number of on-location segments or stories. The show also recommended books for children to look for when they went to the library. It is the third-longest running children’s series in PBS history, after Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YtYMzh8lxk)


  6. Babar – The series is based on Jean de Brunhoff’s original Babar books, and was Nelvana’s first international co-production. The show has been dubbed in 30 languages in over 150 countries. the plot of the first two seasons focuses on the story of Babar as it is told by him to his children. The past Babar is a young elephant who, traumatized by a hunter slaughtering his mother, flees from his home forest in exile to the city, where a kind Old Lady adopts him and teaches him the ways of human life. He returns to his home forest full of ideas for progress and, following the previous elephant king’s death from eating poisonous mushrooms, hatches a plan to drive out the unnamed hunter and his men. For his heroism, Babar is crowned king of the elephants, plans and builds Celesteville, and grows up to become a father himself. While the first two seasons focus on Babar’s recollections of his childhood and early years as king, as well as some stories told by his children, the series shifts its focus in the third season to Babar’s family life in the present day. Fun times. In 2010, a computer-animated sequel series spin-off of Babar titled Babar and the Adventures of Badou premiered on Disney Junior in the U.S. The new series takes place several years after the original and focuses on a majority of new characters including Badou.


  7. Bill Nye, The Science Guy – I was never a science person but Bill helped ease the pain. The show aired in syndication from September 10, 1993, to February 5, 1999, over six seasons and 100 episodes; beginning in season 2, a concurrent run was added on PBS from October 10, 1994, to September 3, 1999, with the show’s first run remaining in syndication. The show won critical acclaim and was nominated for 23 Emmy Awards, winning nineteen. Studies also found that people that viewed Bill Nye regularly were better able to generate explanations and extensions of scientific ideas than non-viewers.


  8. Gullah Gullah Island – There was nothing more fun than seeing a family that looks a bit like you on television. It is an American musical children’s television series that was produced by and aired on the Nick Jr. The show was hosted by Ron Daise and his wife Natalie Daise, both of whom also served as cultural advisors, and were inspired by the Gullah culture of Ron Daise’s home of St. Helena Island, South Carolina, part of the Sea Islands. Gullah Gullah Island is a sing-along half-hour live-action show. The format was part of a flexible thinking initiative that taught children to make good choices rather than using memorization. Episodes are presented with a unified plot and not separate segments, featuring singing, dancing, learning, and encouraging children to think about things like taking care of themselves, and animals, telling the truth, social skills, and problem-solving. The show also highlights the culture and language of Gullah, descendants of former slaves who live on the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Critical reception of the show was consistently positive, both as a children’s show and as a groundbreaker for African American programming, it was praised for “vividly colored sets, infectious sing-alongs, unique character accents and quirky humor that defined the show and introduced millions of children to an overlooked but centuries-old branch of African American culture. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFrTmvnY-C4)



Horror / Ghosts and Other Weirdness

  1. Are You Afraid of the Dark? – Yes… when I was a kid… I was totally afraid of the dark…. so watching kids meet in the dark to tell scary stories by campfire ALWAYS SCARED THE CRAP out of me. But not enough to make me stop watching. The original series aired from 1990 to 1996. It led to two revival series, with the first airing from 1999 to 2000, and the second debuting in 2019. My personal favorite was that each storyteller would begin their story by saying “Submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society, I call this story ‘(story name)'”, at which point they would toss a handful of “midnight dust” from a leather pouch into a campfire to heighten the flames and produce an eerie white smoke. The themes of the stories usually revolve around a variety of paranormal phenomena, such as demons, ghosts, magic, haunted houses, magical curses, aliens, witches, vampires, werewolves, and the like coming into contact with average youths. The episode that comes to mind is the Tale of the Frozen Ghost… and the Tale of Apartment 214. Don’t forget about Dr. Vink and Sardò.





  2. Tales from the Cryptkeeper – I did watch the original live-action version… younger me was interested in scaring the hell out of myself. And this was no different. It was based on the 1950s EC Comics series Tales from the Crypt and the live-action television series of the same name, which aired concurrently on HBO. Made for children, Tales from the Cryptkeeper was significantly milder than its live-action version, and all blood and gore, profanity and sexual content were completely removed in order to target the audience. The series details the Cryptkeeper telling other horror stories to the viewers, each with a lesson to be learned. There were not nearly enough episodes. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1j1ely4YoY)


  3. So Weird – Oh Disney… They tried to get scary… And they did. It is considered as “X-Files for kids”. The series centered on the teenage Fiona Phillips while encountering paranormal activity along the way. Stringing together all of Fi’s paranormal encounters was her search to communicate with her father, who died when she was three years old. Fi first “encounters” her father in the second episode titled “Web Sight” where an unknown force sends her internet articles warning her of the future. From alien invasions, time warps, and ghosts, Fi faced 13 episodes worth of paranormal activity.


  4. Beetle Juice – Fun and creepy. The animated series focuses on the life of Goth girl Lydia Deetz and her undead friend Beetlejuice as they explore The Neitherworld, a ghoulish wacky monster supernaturalistic realm inhabited by monsters, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, and zombies. The show ran from September 9, 1989, to October 26, 1991, on ABC, and on Fox from September 9, 1991, to December 6, 1991. Throughout the entire series, Beetlejuice would often try to scam residents of the Neitherworld—and, sometimes, the “mortal world” as well (Lydia’s parents were occasionally victims of his pranks)—by various means, from “babysitting” where he literally sits on the grotesque Neitherworld babies to trying to beat them in an auto race.



  5. Goosebumps – You knew it was coming. I have had a blog post about this… but I knew immediately when they announced there would be a television show… I was going to lay my eyes on it. The Haunted Mask is still creepy. I remember being like 9 and thinking… Carly Beth is going to look like a monster for the rest of her life. It was too much. Night of the Living Dummy was also a scary one. It is really the reason that to this day I do not like ventriloquist dummies. Goosebumps was a television series based on R. L. Stine’s best-selling book series of the same name. It is an anthology of stories about tweens and young teens finding themselves in creepy and unusual situations, typically involving supernatural elements or the occult. The book series has sold over 400 million worldwide in thirty-two languages, becoming the second-best-selling book series in history, after J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Individual books in the series have been listed on several bestseller lists, including the New York Times Best Seller list for children. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PkFLTfID_o)


  6. The Secret World of Alex Mack – I loved this show as a preteen. It was on Nickelodeon on SNICK. It ran from October 8, 1994, to January 15, 1998. Nickelodeon’s golden number before cancellation is 4. The series concluded with a two-part finale in 1998. Alexandra “Alex” Mack is an ordinary teenage girl, living with her parents, and her older sister, Annie, in the industrial town of Paradise Valley, Arizona. The town is largely funded by Paradise Valley Chemical, a chemical factory that employs most of the adult residents, although the factory’s staff and history are notoriously shady. While walking home after her first day of junior high school, Alex is nearly hit by a truck from Paradise Valley Chemical, and during the incident, she is accidentally drenched with GC-161, an experimental substance developed by the factory. She soon discovers that it has given her strange powers, including telekinesis, shooting electricity from her fingers, and the ability to dissolve into a mobile puddle of water. Alex finds this exciting and fun, however, her powers prove to be unpredictable (occasionally, her skin glows a bright yellow when she is nervous). She confides only in Annie and her best friend Ray, choosing to keep her powers a secret from everyone else, including her parents, for fear of what the chemical factory’s CEO, Danielle Atron, will do to her if she finds out. I thought that Alex Mack was pretty cool in the beginning but the series got darker as time went on. Seasons 1-2 mostly deal with cheerful misadventures and comedic encounters with incompetent Paradise Valley Chemical staff Vince and Dave. Seasons 3-4 take on a more serious and dark development, where it is revealed that Danielle Atron had been developing GC-161 as far back as the 1970s and that she may have had fellow scientists and researchers systematically assassinated to cover up GC-161’s mutagenic effects on people.


  7. Ghost Writer – Ghost Writer was a show that I watched before school on a lot of occasions. I was rushing through my morning routine to try and sit for 30 minutes in the morning before walking to school. Ghost Writer is an American children’s mystery television series created by the Children’s Television Workshop and BBC Television. (BBC Television has been sucking me in since I was young.) It began airing on PBS on October 4, 1992, and the final episode aired on February 12, 1995. The series revolves around a group of friends from Brooklyn who solve neighborhood crimes and mysteries as a team of youth detectives with the help of a ghost named Ghostwriter. Ghostwriter can communicate with children only by manipulating whatever text and letters he can find and using them to form words and sentences. I grew up in NY and love mysteries so it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with it. The series was designed to teach reading and writing skills to schoolchildren. Each mystery was presented as a case, covering four 30-minute episodes. Children were encouraged to follow each mystery, and use the reading and writing clues given to attempt to solve them just as the Ghostwriter team does in the TV series. Ghostwriter was critically acclaimed and honored for presenting a realistic, ethnically diverse world in its two-hour mystery stories. By the end of its third season, Ghostwriter ranked in the top five of all children’s shows on American television.



After School / Weekend

  1. TaleSpin – The Jungle Book was one of the few Disney movies that I had on VHS tape that I watched in HEAVY Rotation… So when I saw there was a tv show with Baloo… I couldn’t care less what it was about. TaleSpin is an animated television series first aired in 1990 as a part of The Disney Afternoon.  The show is one of nine Disney Afternoon shows to use established Disney characters as the main characters, with the other eight being Darkwing Duck, DuckTales, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Goof Troop, Bonkers, Quack Pack, Aladdin, and Timon & Pumbaa. It is also one of two animated television series based on the book The Jungle Book, the second being Jungle Cubs. TaleSpin is set in the city of Cape Suzette (a pun on the dish Crêpe Suzette), a place that’s similar to San Francisco, California. The city lies in a large harbor or bay enclosed by a high cliff wall. A single cleft in the wall is the harbor’s only means of access. The cleft is guarded by anti-aircraft artillery, preventing flying rabble-rousers or air pirates from entering the city. The time frame of the series is never specifically addressed but appears to be in the mid-to-late 1930s, based on Baloo’s Seaplane and other things, possibly in the last stages of the Great Depression. In the show, the helicopter, television, and jet engine are experimental devices. Radio is the primary mass medium, and one episode even briefly alludes to the characters having never heard of television. The series centers on the adventures of a bush pilot, Baloo the bear, whose air cargo freight business, “Baloo’s Air Service”, is taken up by Rebecca Cunningham because Baloo hasn’t made payments to the crooked businessman, Shere Khan. Rebecca changes the name to Higher for Hire. (Cute.)  An orphan boy and former air pirate, Kit Cloudkicker, attaches to Baloo and becomes his navigator. Their adventures often involve encounters with a gang of air pirates led by Don Karnage, as well as with representatives of Thembria (inhabited by anthropomorphic Warthogs) The theme song is the truth… To this day… my dad knows what I am talking about. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVTD-LtpW0M)




  2. Darkwing Duck – When there’s trouble you call DW. That theme song is the truth. My father’s eyes still twitch at the idea. When Disney plus announced they would have this… I was stoked. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YziVpa8oZDg) Darkwing is an animated superhero comedy television series that first ran from 1991 to 1992 on both the syndicated programming block The Disney Afternoon and Saturday mornings on ABC. A total of ninety-one episodes were aired. It features the adventures of Darkwing Duck, who is the superheroic alter-ego of ordinary suburban duck Drake Mallard. Darkwing Duck shows the adventures of the superhero, aided by his sidekick and pilot Launchpad McQuack (from DuckTales). Darkwing struggles to balance his egotistical craving for fame and attention against his desire to be a good father to his adoptive daughter Gosalyn and help do good in St. Canard. Most episodes put these two aspects of Darkwing’s character in direct conflict, though Darkwing’s better nature usually prevails. The show was the first Disney Afternoon series to emphasize action rather than adventure, with Darkwing routinely engaging in slapstick battles with both supervillains and street criminals. “I am the Terror that flaps in the night.” It still makes me smile. Check out Jim Cummings talking about it here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwWuV4B4VIM&t=190s) Jim Cummings actually voiced a lot of characters throughout Disney’s Afternoon Block. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoNFgUjSBTE)



  3. Chip n Dale: Rescue Rangers – This an animated adventure comedy television series that ran from 1989-1990. What is up with that Disney? From 1990 to 1993 reruns of the show were aired as a part of the Disney Afternoon lineup. I have found out during this post that a lot of what I was watching in the 90’s… was reruns… (DISNEY). Chip and Dale are two chipmunks who start a detective agency, Rescue Rangers, along with their friends Gadget Hackwrench, Monterey Jack, and Zipper. The pint-sized detectives deal with crimes that are often “too small” for the police to handle, usually with other animals as their clients. The gang frequently finds themselves going up against two particular arch-villains: Mafia-style tabby cat Fat Cat and mad scientist Norton Nimnul. Most of the episodes followed a similar format, wherein the next case was presented at the start of the episode, then the bulk of the episode had the sleuths gathering clues and investigating the situation. In the last few minutes of the episode, the case was resolved… in a dramatic way. Disney went off went it came to these themes songs. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFXTa2yeYWs)







  4. DuckTales -You knew it was coming. The original cartoon series premiered on syndication and on Disney Channel on September 18, 1987, and ran for a total of 100 episodes over four seasons, with its final episode airing on November 28, 1990. The show follows Scrooge McDuck, his three grandnephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and close friends of the group, on various adventures, most of which either involve seeking out treasure or thwarting the efforts of villains seeking to steal Scrooge’s fortune or his Number One Dime. When Donald Duck decides to join the US Navy, he enlists his uncle Scrooge McDuck to look after his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. The show’s primary villains consist of those from the comics: Flintheart Glomgold, who seeks to replace Scrooge as the “richest duck in the world”; the Beagle Boys, who seek to rob Scrooge of his fortune and often target his money bin; and Magica De Spell, who seeks to steal his Number One Dime. DuckTales is well noted for its many references to popular culture, including Shakespeare, Jack the Ripper, Greek mythology, James Bond, Indiana Jones, and Sherlock Holmes. The theme song was so good… they didn’t even change it for the reboot. Check out both versions (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqZ_Cb2slBw). The new version is not bad. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKSU82afy1w)




  5. Aladdin – Disney knew what it was doing when they put out television shows. Aladdin was another movie that I had on VHS tape… and was sure enthralled with the show. It aired from February 6, 1994, to November 25, 1995, concluding exactly three years to the day from the release of the original 1992 Disney film of the same name on which it was based. Despite the animated television series premiering four months before the first film sequel The Return of Jafar, it takes place afterward. The second and final animated film sequel was the 1996 direct-to-video film, Aladdin and the King of Thieves. Many of the films’ stars provided the voices of their TV counterparts, with the notable exception of Dan Castellaneta filling in for Robin Williams in The Genie role (like in The Return of Jafar). A total of 86 episodes were produced, making this series one of the few exceptions to Disney’s then-limit of 65 episodes. The direct-to-video film Aladdin and the King of Thieves serves as the series finale. The series is set in the fictional city of Agrabah. It takes place one year after the original film and is set after the second film. Aladdin, now engaged to Princess Jasmine, embarks on numerous adventures with his companions. Not on Disney Plus at the time of this post. Check out the theme song here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfoZ1xOBwkw)




  6. Timon & Pumbaa – Timon & Pumbaa, is an animated buddy comedy television series that ran for three seasons on CBS, Toon Disney, and in syndication as a part of The Disney Afternoon. It aired from September 8, 1995, to September 24, 1999. It is the first of two television series to be based on the film, the second being The Lion Guard. The series is primarily set after the events of the first film, although some episodes are set before or during those events. It involves the characters having misadventures in different settings, including the jungles of Africa, Canada, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP7tsWCEMzg)





  7. Doug – Now this I did a separate blog post for but since we are here… The show focuses on the early adolescent life of its title character, Douglas “Doug” Funnie, who experiences common predicaments while attending school in his new hometown of Bluffington. Doug narrates each story in his journal, and the show incorporates many imagination sequences. The series addresses numerous topics, including trying to fit in, platonic and romantic relationships, self-esteem, bullying, and rumors. Many episodes center on Doug’s attempts to impress his classmate and crush, Patti Mayonnaise. Doug, a mostly autobiographical creation, was largely inspired by Jinkins’s childhood growing up in Virginia, with most characters in the series being based on real individuals. He first pitched Doug as a children’s book to uninterested publishers before Nickelodeon purchased the show. The original run consisted of 52 episodes over four seasons that were broadcast from 1991 to 1994. Nickelodeon opted against renewing the show for a fifth season, so in 1996, Disney green-lit the fifth season after acquiring Jumbo Pictures.




  8. Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron – Hanna-Barbera has entered the chat. Swat Kats was all action all the time… and I was here for it. Swat Kats is a 1993-1994 animated television series created by Christian and Yvon Tremblay and produced by Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. The series takes place in the fictional metropolis of Megakat City, which is populated by anthropomorphic felines, known as “kats”. The SWAT Kats are two vigilante pilots who possess a state-of-the-art fighter jet with an array of weaponry. Throughout the series, they face various villains as well as competition from Megakat City’s militarized police force called the Enforcers. Jake “Razor” Clawson and Chance “T-Bone” Furlong were members of Megakat City’s paramilitary law enforcement agency, known as the Enforcers. They were discharged from the Enforcers after disobeying the orders of Commander Feral, which resulted in the destruction of the newly built Enforcer Headquarters. While in pursuit of Dark Kat, one of the main arch-villains of the series, the two rebelled against Enforcer Commander Feral’s orders to fall back and leave Dark Kat to him. When they objected, Commander Feral crowded out their jet, clipping their wing and sending Jake and Chance’s jet crashing into Enforcer headquarters. The resultant explosion distracted Commander Feral, allowing Dark Kat’s escape. The Commander took no responsibility for the incident, discharged Jake and Chance from the Enforcers, and reassigned them to work at the city’s military salvage yard to pay for the damage to the Enforcer Headquarters that Feral caused. (Jerk) Using discarded military parts and weapons from the salvage yard, Jake and Chance built themselves a three-engine jet fighter called the Turbokat, along with a handful of other vehicles such as the Cyclotron (a motorcycle built into the jet’s seating, deployed from the bomb bay of the Turbokat like a missile), the TurboMole (a subterranean vehicle used to drill underground), the HoverKat (a militarized hovercraft), and the Thunder Truck (a militarized Jeep modified from their tow truck). All these vehicles are stored, along with a training area and other equipment, in a secret hangar below the yard. Razor and T-Bone now patrol Megakat City as the SWAT Kats, defending it against any kind of menace that threatens the city. Their enemies include the criminal mastermind Dark Kat, the undead sorcerer Pastmaster, the mutant evil genius Doctor Viper, and the robotic gangsters the Metallikats. The SWAT Kats also face many villains-of-the-week, such as Madkat and Volcanus. There were only 2 seasons and 25 episodes of the show. NOT NEARLY ENOUGH… I have a few other Hanna Barbera shows but I mean… they are way older than the late 80s. This opening is pretty great. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0IQBWWabuU)




  9. Gargoyles – Gargoyles was pretty serious television for kids back in the day. It is an animated television series that ran from October 24, 1994, to February 15, 1997. The series features a species of nocturnal creatures known as gargoyles that turn to stone during the day. After spending a thousand years in an enchanted petrified state, the gargoyles (who have been transported from medieval Scotland) are reawakened in modern-day New York City and take on roles as the city’s secret night-time protectors. Gargoyles was noted for its relatively dark tone, complex story arcs, and melodrama; character arcs were heavily employed throughout the series. The series also received favorable comparisons to Batman: The Animated Series and X-Men. A total of 78 half-hour episodes were produced. In the year 994, the clan lives in a castle in Scotland. Most are betrayed and killed by humans while petrified and the remainder are magically cursed to sleep. A thousand years later in 1994, billionaire David Xanatos purchases the gargoyles’ castle and has it reconstructed atop his New York skyscraper, the Eyrie Building, thus awakening Goliath and the remainder of his clan. While trying to adjust to their new world, they are aided by a sympathetic police officer named Elisa Maza and quickly come into conflict with the plotting Xanatos. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjI0TdvVbqI)



  10. The Famous Jett Jackson – I loved me some Lee Thompson Young. Lee Thompson Young plays Jett Jackson who plays a teenage secret agent on the wildly successful TV series “Silverstone,” and his life is like that of any Hollywood star. Every day, he deals with fans, agents, and managers, though sometimes he longs for a normal life. He gets a taste of that normal life when he insists that the show moves from Los Angeles to his father’s town in Wilsted, North Carolina, where he goes to school and hangs out with his friends. The move provides jobs to townspeople. Jett now spends part of his time with family, friends, and school, and the rest living the life of a working actor and celebrity. In doing so, Jett often ends up in sticky situations, usually aided and abetted by his childhood friend, J.B., his not-quite girlfriend Kayla, and sometimes by Cubby, Silverstone’s wacky special effects wizard.  It is a show within a show and I was cool with that. The show within the show, Silverstone, is about a spy who works for Mission Omega Matrix in order to save the world from villains like Dr. Hypnoto and The Rat. In contrast to Jett, Silverstone has no family, only his mentor, Artemus, and eventually his partner “Hawk” (surname Hawkins).



  11. The Jersey – The Jersey is a comedy television series based on the Monday Night Football Club books by Gordon Korman. The series aired on Disney Channel from January 30, 1999, to March 23, 2004. The Jersey tells the story of a teenager named Nick Lighter, who inherits a mystical, old football jersey from his grandfather. The Jersey has the ability to transport the wearer (and anyone in contact with it) into the bodies of professional athletes. Accompanying him are his friends, Morgan Hudson, Coleman Galloway, and Elliot Riffkin. The four teens decide to form the MNFC (Monday Night Football Club) and swear never to let the secret of the jersey be revealed. It was revealed in the episode Origin (Part 1) that the Jersey was once a cloak in Ancient Egypt and was later found by the wizard Merlin and later King Arthur. It is also revealed that after several centuries, Jersey would lose its powers, and the only way to restore it is to use thorn berries, vinegar, and sesame oil, and that it could not only leap into the bodies of athletes but also other people. It also seems to have the power of time travel, as it once sent either Nick or Morgan to the past or future. Another important fact is that if the wearer wears the Jersey for too long, he or she will disappear forever. They need to add this to the Disney Plus platform. I was deep into football back then so this was right up my alley.


  12. Tiny Toons – Tiny Toon Adventures is an animated comedy television series that was broadcast from September 14, 1990, to December 6, 1992. The show follows the adventures of a group of young cartoon characters who attend Acme Looniversity to become the next generation of characters from the Looney Tunes series. I loved Looney Tunes and Bugs Bunny so this was right up my alley. The series ended production in 1992 in favor of Animaniacs which premiered a year later; however, two specials were produced in 1994. (Tiny Toon Spring Break and Tiny Toons’ Night Ghoulery) The movie was watched religiously at my house. A revival series, Tiny Toons Looniversity, was announced in October 2020 and is set for a 2022 release. Tiny Toon Adventures is a cartoon set in the fictional town of “Acme Acres”, where most of the Tiny Toons and Looney Tunes characters live. The characters attend “Acme Looniversity”, a school whose faculty primarily consists of the mainstays of the classic Warner Bros. cartoons, such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, Wile E. Coyote, and Elmer Fudd. In the series, the university is founded to teach cartoon characters how to become funny. The school is not featured in every episode, as not all of its storylines revolve around the school.



  13. Hey Arnold! – Hey Arnold! is an American animated comedy television series created by Craig Bartlett. It originally aired on Nickelodeon from October 7, 1996, to June 8, 2004. The show centers on a fourth grader named Arnold Shortman, who lives with his grandparents in an inner-city tenement in Hillwood, Washington. Episodes center on his experiences navigating urban life while dealing with the problems he and his friends encounter. Bartlett completed the cast and setting by drawing inspiration from people and locations where he grew up in Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and Brooklyn, New York. On March 2, 2016, a television film continuation of the series, Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie, was greenlit. It picks up from where the series ended and resolved the unanswered plotlines of the story. I have been rewatching this on Hulu but my guess is that it will end up on Paramount Plus soon enough. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUsnJ9jlwns)


  14. All That – All That is an American sketch comedy television series. The series originally aired on Nickelodeon from April 16, 1994, to October 22, 2005. The series features original short comedic sketches and weekly musical guests aimed at a young audience. Its sketches parody contemporary culture and are performed by a large and varying cast of child and teen actors. Early episodes were taped at Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Orlando Resort and then moved to Hollywood at the Nickelodeon On Sunset theatre, where other Nickelodeon shows such as The Amanda Show, Kenan & Kel, and Drake & Josh were filmed. All That went on to become a fixture on Nickelodeon for over a decade, and has received acclaim for its diverse cast and impact on children’s television. The series has spun off several members of the cast in their own Nickelodeon television series with varying levels of success. I had a few favorite sketches. ( Everyday French with Pierre Escargot, Good Burger, The Loud Librarian, Vital Information)



  15. Animaniacs – Animaniacs is an animated comedy musical television series that ran from September 13, 1993, to November 14, 1998. It is the second animated series produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Animation, after Tiny Toon Adventures. It initially ran a total of 99 episodes, along with a feature-length film, Animaniacs: Wakko’s Wish. Animaniacs is a variety show, with short skits featuring a large cast of characters. While the show had no set format, the majority of episodes were composed of three short mini-episodes each starring a different set of characters, and bridging segments. A revival of the series was announced in January 2018, with a two-season order and many of the main voice actors returning. It premiered on November 20, 2020, on Hulu, with a second season premiering on November 5, 2021. A third season has since been ordered. Animaniacs parodied popular TV shows and movies and caricatured celebrities. Animaniacs made fun of celebrities, major motion pictures, television series for adults (Seinfeld, Beverly Hills 90210, and Friends, among others), television series for children (such as Barney & Friends and Rugrats). One episode even made fun of the competing show Power Rangers. Animaniacs also made potshots of Disney films, creating parodies of such films as The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Bambi, and others. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7Q4tPTLUVk)



  16. Smart Guy– Smart Guy is where I explored my love of Jason Weaver. It was nice to see a black series with a Black Family and a Black father present. It ran for three seasons on The WB from March 26, 1997, to May 16, 1999. Set in Washington, D.C., the show centers on the misadventures of boy genius and youngest child T.J. Henderson who at the age of 10 moves from elementary school and gets transferred to Piedmont High School, where he ends up becoming a high school freshman with teenagers as his classmates. He must adjust to life with older, but not necessarily wiser, high school teenagers – including his brother Marcus and Marcus’ best friend Mo. Episodes typically deal with T.J.’s missteps of trying to fit in as a kid genius, while being a small kid in high school, as well as the contrast between his smarts and his brother’s underachieving nature. Tahj Mowry and Omar Gooding are the only main cast members that did not appear in every episode (which in the case of Mowry is quite unusual for the lead actor for a television series to not appear in all episodes). Tahj Mowry did not appear in the season 3 episode “Get a Job” and Omar Gooding in “A Little Knowledge.” Jason Weaver, Essence Atkins, and John Marshall Jones are the only cast members to appear in every episode. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYdPNsd1WY8)



  17. Kenan & Kel – The show originally aired on the Nickelodeon network for four seasons, from July 15, 1996, to July 15, 2000. Set in Chicago, Illinois, the series follows mischievous Kenan Rockmore (Kenan Thompson) and his optimistic but dimwitted best friend Kel Kimble (Kel Mitchell), who go on a number of misadventures which usually occur as a result of Kenan devising a scheme to get rich quick or avoid trouble with his elders. The show employs a number of running gags. Episodes open and close with Kenan and Kel breaking the fourth wall by interacting with a studio audience, standing in front of a red curtain that is placed in front of the main set while they are still in character. A running gag of the openings is Kel never knowing what the night’s episode would be about and Kenan refusing to tell him, while the closings frequently feature Kenan coming up with a new scheme, often asking Kel to get various assorted items and meet him somewhere. Frazzled both times, Kel exclaims his catchphrase, “Aww, here it goes!”.These schemes are often foiled as a result of Kel’s aloof, happy-go-lucky nature. It won the “Favorite TV Show” award at the 1998 Kids’ Choice Awards. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgC18L6UOKQ)



  18. Clarissa Explains it All – If you told me that Mellisa Joan Hart is in something… to this day… I will hop on it. In the series, Clarissa Darling (Melissa Joan Hart), is a teenager who addresses the audience directly to explain the things that are happening in her life, dealing with typical adolescent concerns such as school, boys, pimples, wearing her first training bra, and an annoying younger brother. I felt Clarissa understood me. I mean I too had younger brothers who got on my nerves. A total of 65 episodes were produced and aired from March 23, 1991, to October 1, 1994. From August 1992 onwards, the series headlined the popular SNICK (Saturday Night Nickelodeon) lineup. In 2015, a novel was released, Things I Can’t Explain, which serves as a sequel to the series. In the novel, Clarissa is now in her late 20s and trying to navigate life as an adult. Clarissa was credited with becoming the first Nickelodeon series to feature a female lead, which led the network to create other shows such as The Secret World of Alex MackThe Amanda Show and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. Its popularity among both boys and girls also helped to debunk a myth that a children’s series with a female lead would not appeal to boys. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0BerpDmVSE)




  19. Sabrina, the Teenage Witch – It is Melissa Joan Hart again…. But I watched this show more for Harvey than anything else. Sabrina the Teenage Witch is a television sitcom, based on the Archie Comics series of the same name. It premiered on Friday, September 27, 1996 on ABC to over 17 million viewers in its “T.G.I.F.” lineup. It stars Melissa Joan Hart as American teenager Sabrina Spellman, who, on her 16th birthday, learns she has magical powers (a departure from the Archie Comics series, in which she has known of her powers since an early age). She lives with her 600-year-old aunts, witches Hilda  and Zelda, and their magical talking cat Salem. As a novice witch, her spells often go awry. Her witch aunts counsel her on the proper use of her magic and give her moral advice. Additionally, Hilda and Zelda have to take care of Salem, a witch turned into a cat for trying to take over the world. Sabrina’s basic premise and “genial loopiness” earned the show comparisons to the 1960s television series Bewitched.


  20. The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo -The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo is a children’s mystery television series that ran on Nickelodeon between 1996 and 1999. A total of 41 episodes were produced.  the series revolves around the adventures of a teenage girl who lives with her innkeeper grandfather and works as a non-sworn intern at the local police department where she helps out with odds and ends around the office. Occasionally an intriguing case comes to Shelby’s attention, prompting her to apply her unique insight and enlist the help of her friends to solve it. Her supervisors, however, do not appreciate her help, as she is only a teenager. Her grandfather also does not want her getting involved in cases, often reminding her, “We are not detectives with warrant badges, we are innkeepers with brooms.” Many of the stories, with three clear suspects, keep the audience guessing until the truth is ultimately explained. Nickelodeon did not give enough episodes to some of these shows that I love.



  21. Brotherly Love – Anything Lawrence Brothers… Sign me up. I could date any one of them. (Still to this day.) Three real-life siblings star in this series about an older brother who returns to the family business a year after his father dies. Joe just wants to cash out his share, but he realizes that the business could use his help — and his half brothers need a father figure. Now Joe is clashing with his equally strong-willed stepmother about how to run the business and deal with the boys. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FJ45FJY_Os)





  22. X-Men: The Animated Series – I was never into Marvel but I never counted X-Men in that. X-Men is an animated superhero television series which debuted on October 31, 1992, on the Fox Kids Network. X-Men was Marvel Comics’ second attempt at an animated X-Men TV series after the pilot, X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men, was not picked up. The series deals with social issues, including divorce, Christianity, the Holocaust and AIDS hysteria, and feelings of loneliness. X-Men crossed over with the animated series Spider-Man, when Spider-Man seeks out the X-Men’s help to stave off his progressing mutation. The first season of the show brought the X-Men into conflict with human conspirators building mutant-exterminating Sentinel robots, Magneto and his attempts to instigate a human-mutant war, and the powerful mutant Apocalypse’s plans to eradicate the weak, both human and mutant alike. The second season sees Cyclops and Jean get married and become the targets of Mister Sinister, who hopes to use the genetically perfect combination of their DNA to create an army of obedient mutants. Morph returns, having been rescued by Sinister and brainwashed into forcing the X-Men apart. The season also features the growing rift between humans and mutants, spearheaded by the Friends of Humanity, an anti-mutant group who lead the persecution of all mutants. 


  23. Spider-Man: The Animated Series – The series aired on the Fox Kids Network from November 19, 1994, to January 31, 1998, for a total of five seasons comprising sixty-five episodes, and ran reruns on Toon Disney’s Jetix block and on Disney XD. The series follows Peter Parker, a college student at Empire State University who struggles to balance his responsibilities as the hero Spider-Man with the problems of his personal life. Parker must navigate his romantic affections for love interests Felicia Hardy and Mary Jane Watson; maintain his friendship with Harry Osborn; focus on his academic performance as Dr. Curt Connors’ student; and help to support his Aunt May after the death of his Uncle Ben by working as a freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle. As Spider-Man, Parker faces various supervillains that threaten New York City, including criminal masterminds such as the Kingpin and the Hobgoblin, scientific mishaps like Doctor Octopus and the Green Goblin, and the alien symbiotes Venom and Carnage. 



  24. The Wild Thornberry’s –  The series portrays an American family of wildlife documentary filmmakers known as the Thornberrys, which consist of the British nature documentary television host Nigel, his wife and camera operator Marianne, their 16-year-old daughter Debbie, their younger daughter Eliza, their adopted son Donnie, and a chimpanzee named Darwin. The series focuses in particular on Eliza, who has an ability to communicate with animals. The Thornberry family travels to every continent and wildlife environment in the ComVee, a recreational vehicle equipped with safety mechanisms to handle any terrain or body of water, to document their journeys in detail, with typical episodes involving Eliza befriending an animal and subsequently finding herself in peril. The series premiered on September 1, 1998, on Nickelodeon as the eleventh Nicktoon. It ran for 5 seasons containing 91 episodes in total, with the series finale airing on June 11, 2004.


  25. Goof Troop – It is an animated sitcom television series produced by Walt Disney Television Animation. The series focuses on the relationship between single father Goofy and his son, Max, as well as their neighbors Pete and his family. Walt Disney Pictures released two films that served as follow-ups to the television series: the theatrical A Goofy Movie, released on April 7, 1995, as well as the direct-to-video sequel An Extremely Goofy Movie, released on February 29, 2000, as the series finale. Goofy, a single father, moves back to his hometown of Spoonerville with his son, Max. As it happens, Goofy and Max end up moving in next door to Goofy’s high school friend: Pete, a used car salesman and owner of Honest Pete’s Used Cars; Pete’s wife Peg, a real estate agent; and their two children, son P.J. (Pete Jr.) and younger daughter Pistol. Max and P.J. become best friends and do practically everything together. A large portion of the show’s humor comes from Max’s relatively normal personality sharply contrasting with his father. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts7–zxXXKQ)


  26. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is a superhero television series that premiered on August 28, 1993, on the Fox Kids programming block. It is the first entry of the Power Rangers franchise and became a 1990s pop-culture phenomenon along with a large line of toys, action figures, and other merchandise. The original series also spawned the feature film Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, released by 20th Century Fox on June 30, 1995. Despite mixed reviews, it was a modest financial success and earned a cult following. The series takes place in the fictional town of Angel Grove, California. On an exploratory mission, two astronauts discover an extraterrestrial container (referred to as a dumpster as a result of its smell) and breach the unit, inadvertently releasing the evil alien sorceress Rita Repulsa from 10,000 years of confinement. Upon her release, she and her army of evil space aliens set their sights on conquering the nearest planet—Earth. The wise sage Zordon, who was responsible for capturing Rita (and also being enemies on Zordon’s homeworld, Eltar), later becomes aware of her release and orders his robotic assistant Alpha 5 to select five “teenagers with attitude” to defend the Earth from Rita’s attacks. The five teens chosen are Jason Lee Scott, Kimberly Hart, Zack Taylor, Trini Kwan, and Billy Cranston. Zordon gives them the ability to transform into a fighting force known as the Power Rangers. This provides them with superhuman abilities and an arsenal of weapons, as well as colossal assault machines called Zords which can combine into a giant humanoid machine known as the Megazord. And then Tommy came along…DRAMA. I remember when I used to have to sit t my dad’s job… (Circuit City) and he would set me up to watch the Rangers. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHalaFUqnTI)


  27. James Bond Jr – Whenever I mention this show… People have no clue what I was talking about. James Bond Jr. is a character described as the nephew of Ian Fleming’s spy James Bond. While attending prep school at Warfield Academy, James Bond Jr, with the help of his friends IQ (the grandson of Q), and Gordo Leiter (the son of Felix Leiter), fight against the evil terrorist organization S.C.U.M. (Saboteurs and Criminals United in Mayhem), a SPECTRE-like organization. Expanding on his uncle’s famous line, James Bond Jr’s catchphrase was “Bond, James Bond… Junior. It debuted on 30 September 1991, with a total of 65 half-hour episodes produced. The series was mildly successful, spawning a six-volume novelization series by John Peel, a 12-issue comic book series by Marvel Comics published in 1992, and video games for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super NES.


  28. My Brother and Me – My Brother and Me is an American sitcom, that originally aired on Nickelodeon. My Brother and Me is about the Parkers, a family living in the west side of Charlotte, North Carolina, who experience the highs and lows of everyday life. It premiered on October 15, 1994, and ended on January 15, 1995, with a total of 13 episodes over the course of one season. This definitely should have lasted longer. Alfie was the cool older brother and Dee Dee was the younger brother who always followed his older brother around and tried to be just like him. There was also a smarter, older sister named Melanie.



  29. The Adventures of Pete & Pete – The Adventures of Pete & Pete is an American comedy television series. It centers around two brothers, both named Pete Wrigley, and their humorous and surreal adventures in suburbia among their equally eccentric friends, enemies, and neighbors. it is an abstract and rather absurd portrayal of everyday suburban life in the United States. The antics of the two brothers of the same name and their various friends and enemies are ludicrous in nature, but it is often easy to identify with the potent suburban truths stated in the narrations of Older Pete.  It began as a series of one-minute shorts in 1989 that were shown in between regular programs on Nickelodeon. Owing to the popularity of the shorts, five half-hour specials were made, followed by a regular half-hour series that ran for three seasons (1993-1996) and continued in reruns until around 1999.



  30. Heathcliff – Anytime I refer to the orange animate cat… people assume I am talking about G. Heathcliff is a children’s animated television series that debuted on September 3, 1984. 65 half-hour episodes aired in first-run syndication in the fall of 1984, followed by the second season of 21 episodes in 1986. Each episode featured two segments, one being about Heathcliff and his friends, while the other featured The Catillac Cats. The Heathcliff segments focus on the everyday adventures of Heathcliff and the cast from the comic strip. At the end of the show, there is a short segment called Pet Tips where Heathcliff (or some other characters including Spike or Riff-Raff) would teach the audience certain safety tips when it comes to raising pets. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LLb8EBU9nQ)



This was a fun trip down memory lane. I have realized that a lot of what I was watching in the 90s is syndication. I have also realized that the kid actors that I saw on tv were not much younger than me. But that is all I have for now so let me know your favorite shows as kids…. Until next time.

Quarantine Post #79: 90’s Kid’s Game Shows

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A lot of my young life revolved around television. Yes. I did go out and play but my younger siblings were too young to play with for a long time… in the meantime I watched I lot of tv. It seems I grew up in the time of great kid’s game shows. I guess this was training me for things like Family Feud or The Price is Right. Watching tv with my niece and nephew now is bland because they don’t have any kid’s game shows anymore. (I may just be one of those that thinks the years she grew up was the golden age.) Anyway… I figured I would do a countdown of some of what I think are the greatest kid game shows I watched as a kid.

The 90’s were an interesting time. Pogs, Slap Bracelets, the Green Ranger and his Dragonzord, Goku and his nimbus. There is a lot that brings me that feeling of nostalgia but it is probably those that are on this list that bring me the most joy. I spent a lot of time hoping that I could visit Orlando Studios… (I finally got to go as an adult. Read that post.) I am going to try to keep this short… but we will see what happens.

  1. Nick Arcade – It originally aired in 1992 during weekend afternoons. Weekends were a good time for tv. We aw contestants face off in several different rounds of challenges involving trivia, video games, and live-action video games. Two teams of contestants played two initial rounds, with the winner advancing to play against the “Video Game Wizard” of the day. In the main game, the teams would navigate Mikey across an 18-square game board towards a Goal. Each step along the way triggered trivia quizzes, video puzzles, instant-win prizes, enemies, and video game challenges; Points! Puzzles! Pop Quizzes! and Prizes! The winning team got a chance to play in The Video Zone, a massive bluescreen background in front of which contestants would act as the character within a game, attempting to beat three levels, including one of three Video Game Wizards of the day. I used to love watching the teams move Mikey and what I now know as bluescreen and the contestants. Apparently, it was only on the air for a year. I totally wanted to be a video game. No way my mom was going for that though. So apparently, it is on Paramount Plus. That is definitely a plus for that streaming service.



  2. Double Dare – Back when you wanted to avoid being slimed… and it was thick and vomit-colored. (New slime is different.) This game show combined trivia questions with physical challenges. It’s been around the longest and has the most iterations: Double Dare, Super Sloppy Double Dare, Family Double Dare, and Double Dare 2000. Two teams (each either comprised of two children or two children and their parents) squared off in the main game of trivia questions, which could be answered in a number of ways: answer the question, dare the other team to answer it (doubling the value), returning a dare with a double dare (doubling the value again), or accepting a physical challenge instead of answering at all. I wanted it to be a physical challenge all the time. It almost always had to do with finding a flag or filling a canister in some outrageous way. The final course was always a bunch of mess. From finding flags in a giant fake pizza to having to pick a giant nose… I wanted to run the final course and get messy… but knew my mother would never slide down a slide with an ice cream sundae on it.


  3. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? – PBS had a hit on their hands with this one… and they knew it. You can still hear the song, can’t you? This was before I was introduced to the computer game in middle school even though the show is based on the game. The game show was created after a National Geographic survey found that one in four Americans could not locate the Soviet Union or the Pacific Ocean on a map. (Sadness. But not surprised.) The game happened in 3 rounds with the player with the lowest score dropping off. Three contestants (Gumshoes) have been recruited by ACME Detective Agency to track down Carmen Sandiego and her henchmen by answering geography-based trivia questions. (Remember, She’s a double-dealing diva with a taste for thievery.) The Gumshoes were given Crime Bucks to start out, rewarded with more for each correct answer, and allowed to wager their Crime Bucks based on how certain they were as to the criminals’ location. (Something about the fact that Carmen was a woman that was smart enough to go undetected stuck with me even as a kid.) The second round saw the remaining Gumshoes looking for prizes and evidence hidden behind images of famous landmarks of that game’s location. Gumshoes had to find The Loot, The Warrant, and The Crook in that exact order to win the game. That winning Gumshoe then earned a chance to capture Carmen Sandiego in the bonus round’s World Map. The World Map was HUGE and blank. But everything in me knew I could conquer it. Younger me was a total nerd for geography, landmarks, and the like. The Gumshoe had to find and mark a number of locations in order to capture Carmen Sandiego and win the grand prize. The grand prize was almost always a family trip and I wanted to go somewhere as a kid soooooo badly. Nothing like yelling at the kids who couldn’t find Nicaragua. This was a show that I never missed… and was my first introduction National Geographic and why I love it now. This was a show that I NEVER missed. DO IT ROCKAPELLA!!! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozYg8vDTmkc)






  4. Guts/Global Guts – Do you have it? Who didn’t love Mo… There was nothing that got me more hype than Guts. Because I felt that I had it. So this was my taste of Olympic events or extreme sports. GUTS was concerned with one thing: pure, athletic competition. Each episode featured three young athletes squaring off against each other in a series of four events based on extreme sports. You got points no matter where you placed… but the final competition was always what I was about. I wanted to conquer the Crag. The 28-30 foot tall artificial mountain featured strobe-light lightning, foam rock avalanches, glitter snow, and nuclear flying crystals. Kids had to navigate the perilous mountain climb while activating lights along the way, with the ultimate goal of climbing the mountain first. There were, if I remember correctly, 8 lights that had to be lit up along the way. If you missed one, you had to go back and it could cost you your place. The other thing I remember was the crag was broken down into 3 lanes… so the contestants were climbing at the same time. The final Crag Competition could put someone at the bottom over the top. The Crag was known as the Aggro Crag in season one and two, the Mega Crag in season three, and the Super Aggro Crag in Global GUTS. When I say… I begged my mother about climbing the Crag… and she ignored me lol. Good times. Some of the events were just great if not a bit outrageous. There were several different types of events, ranging from field sports to pool sports. Many events made use of elastic harnesses for aerial purposes. There were also track events and an obstacle course taking place in the gym. Apparently, also on Paramount Plus






  5. Legends of the Hidden Temple – This was definitely in my top three. As in another on the list that I never missed when it was on. I wanted to be a Silver Snake so badly. Who didn’t want to talk to the talking head Olmec? Six teams each comprised of one boy and one girl (between 11 and 14) would compete in a series of physical and mental challenges with the ultimate aim of retrieving an artifact from the titular temple. Teams were the Purple Parrots, Orange Iguanas, Blue Barracudas, Green Monkeys, Red Jaguars, and Silver Snakes. Olmec revealed mythological, historical, and geographical facts about each item. Teams went through three elimination rounds. And the team left standing got to go on the temple run to retrieve the artifact. That damn moat seemed stressful. Though each episode started with six teams, two of them were eliminated right away if they were the last ones to cross The Moat. The remaining four teams then advanced to the Steps of Knowledge where Olmec would relate the episode’s central story as well as the location of the artifacts within the temple. The two teams advanced down the steps by correctly answering related trivia questions about the story they just heard and then moved on to The Temple Games. These physical challenges appeared in a “Best of Three” series that not only granted the winning team access to the final round but also allowed them to earn Pendants of Life. These items allowed Temple Runners to escape the clutches of the Temple Guards as long as they had a full pendant to exchange. You could get half a pendant… but that would mean that you would need to find the other half pendant in the maze. In the Temple Run, the team had three minutes to retrieve the artifact inside and bring it back outside the temple. Inside the temple were three temple guards hidden inside three of the rooms. If a player was caught by a temple guard and if they didn’t have a pendant to save them, they were captured and their teammate had to go inside the temple and retrieve the item. For some reason… The Shrine of the Silver Monkey had kids stumped and that killed me because… it was only 3 pieces… HURRY UP AND JAB THE HEAD ON THERE! I wasn’t scared of the Temple Guards but I can see a person popping out at you being unnerving… I don’ think the kids were scared more than surprised.





  6. Wild and Crazy Kids – This was my introduction to Omar Gooding. There was no rhyme or reason to the show and for kids, that is really all they needed. Each episode consisted of three games with one host emceeing each game. The teams were identified by the color of the shirts they wore, which varied from show to show. The games varied in style; many were different takes on playground games, sports with unusual rules added, or messy games involving pies or slime. I distinctly remember an episode where kids had unusually large ice cream cones and had to slide down into a pool and whoever kept the most ice cream on the cone won. ODD but it apparently stuck. The majority of shows were filmed at various community parks and beaches in the greater Los Angeles area. Occasionally, the show taped special episodes at a theme parks such as Raging Waters, Wild Rivers, and Six Flags Magic Mountain. Unlike other Nickelodeon game shows, no prizes were ever awarded to any of the players. I just wanted a group of kids to do this with when I was younger. They had games like Dizzy Bat Home Run Derby, Three-Legged Soccer, Bumper Boat Lacrosse, Splash Football, Red light/Green light, Cops and Robbers, and Tug of War. Sometimes, this seems more like a comedy show than anything else. But it had a field day feeling and I loved field day.



  7. Figure it Out – This panel show featured children with special skills competing as contestants. While they stand off-screen and share their talent with the home audience, a panel of four Nickelodeon celebrities try to guess the predetermined phrase that describes the contestant’s particular skill. Something about Danny Tamberelli and Lori Beth Denberg getting slimed was fun. Figure It Out was a flip on kids’ game shows, putting the talents of contestants in the spotlight while having their celebrity peers try to guess, and then admire their talent. The show was so popular that a revival of it was launched in 2012; it lasted about a year.




Events for GUTS/Global Guts

So no I am not done gushing over GUTS. Here is a look at many of the events that the kids had to deal with. I just knew that I would conquer these… and it would be my crowning achievement. So let’s go… Track and Field

  • Moon Race – This event made use of Nickelodeon Moon Shoes, which were strapped to the players’ feet. Players raced around the track by jumping with the moon shoes on. Players must stay in their designated lanes or they’ll be disqualified, and the player who crossed the finish line first was the winner. This one was odd… but I wanted moon shoes. My friend had some and I was so jealous.
  • Wild Wheels – Players were buckled into a special recumbent tricycle, which they then pedaled around the track while going through some obstacles such as cones and ramps. Players competed one at a time, and if the player went off the track or missed an obstacle during their run, he or she received a two-second penalty. The player who finished this course in the fastest time was the winner. This looked hard and I was not about that life. I knew I could ride a bike but I hate sand. I would not have made it. But I am sure that would have been fun.
  • Eat My Dust – In this event, players, going one at a time, rode a BMX bicycle around the track, while having to deal with obstacles such as the “Bump n’ Dump” ramp, a sand trap, the “Tippin’ Tubular Tunnel”, the “Sack Attack” (a series of swinging punching bags) and a final ramp before crossing the finish line. A two-second penalty was imposed on a player if they went off the track during their run. The fastest time was the winner. Again… maybe I could do it now… but I didn’t have confidence… the punching bags were a lot.
  •  Blade Runners -The contestants wore in-line skates, which they used to race around the track, going through some obstacles as they went along, including a pair of low hurdles (the Limbo Bars), a series of flags or cones (the Frantic Flags, or the Slalom), some swinging punching bags (the Sack Attack), a low tunnel (the Car Wash), and a final ramp. Players received a two-second penalty if they stepped off of the track during their run. Fastest time won. I think I have only ever seen this once… but I know it was subconsciously added to my fuel to learn in-line skating. My mother thought that was too dangerous but I mean it was nothing as extreme as this.
This seems like a lot.

Gym

  • Basic Training –  One of the most frequently played events, players navigated a six-station obstacle course (seven in Global GUTS) one at a time. To prevent making strategies based on their performance, opposing players were not allowed to watch contestants run the course before their turn. Players had to complete each obstacle before moving on to the next one (any missed obstacle resulted in a disqualification). The player who cleared the course in the fastest time won. 
    • Obstacle 1– It was either the cargo net or the wall climb. Cargo net always seemed to slip people up. Since it was the start of the competition, it usually set the tone for the rest of the I usually thought if it was me… I would have a chance if I was up against the wall…
    • Obstacle 2 – It was either the tightrope walk, rings, or the Tarzan swing. I know that tightrope walk always made me cringe. The gymnastic rings… or the swing seemed a bit easier but I have seen people have to start all the way over.
    • Obstacle 3 – Usually seemed the easiest to me… The Freefall, Slide for Life, Fire Pole… any of these things…now that I am older I can see this was to break up the course… with something a little less energy. I always wanted to jump from a high platform onto a large into an airbag. I’ll do it at some point… but some things are more acceptable if you are a kid. Like the fire poles.
    • Obstacle 4 – I always thought it was the worst because it almost always (at least when I was watching it… ) the elastic jungle… and people had a HARD time with it. A lot of people got delayed in the jungle. The other obstacle was the tire crawl… which by comparison was so much easier.
    • Obstacle 5 – Wall Climb or Cargo Net, depending on which of those two obstacles was first.
    • Obstacle 6 – Tube slide where they land in the GUTS pool or the free fall depending on if it was used in obstacle 3.

Pool – The pool always freaked me out because I couldn’t swim… I know how to stay afloat now… still wouldn’t call it swimming. They made things seem like a real Olympic event because of these damn water cannons.

  • Invisible Boat – Players were hooked to an elastic cord and given a paddle. The players used the paddle to walk themselves across the pool before touching the end of the pool with their paddle; this was made more difficult by means of several water cannons creating rapids in the pool. Fastest time won. In the 1994 season, this event was made a bit more difficult, in that players were now required to paddle to the end of the pool and then back. As such, in this version of the event, not touching both ends of the pool with one’s paddle resulted in an automatic third-place finish. People had the weirdest forms trying to get from one side of the pool to another. Some people could not get across. Their feet were just flailing but not moving.
  • Boogie Down –  With rapids active, players, who were hooked to a harness, use a rope to pull themselves from one end of the pool to the other and back while kneeling on a kneeboard (boogie board). Fastest time won. The pitfall here was having the board take a nosedive into the water… and it slows you down completely.
  • White Water – With rapids active, players had to paddle an inflated raft around two buoys and to the end of the pool, where they gave a high five to a spotter to end the race. If a player did not go around a buoy, he or she got a five-second penalty added to their time. The player with the fastest time won the event. In the first two seasons, if the player exceeded a 60-second time limit, he or she would get an automatic third place.
  • Totally Tubular – The swimming pool was divided into three lanes for this event, and each lane had an equal number of inner tubes. Players simultaneously swam to the other end of the pool, having to put the inner tubes over themselves as they swam along. After touching the end of the pool, they had to swim back to the starting point with the tubes still on them. The player who made it back to the starting point first was the winner. However, if a player did not touch the end of the pool before coming back to the starting point, or missed any inner tubes, he or she was disqualified. This seemed impossible to me because really… who is supposed to swim this way? But other kids were doing it which means… I was behind on what I felt I needed to know about
  • Power Ski – Hanging from a harness, the player’s feet were strapped to a special (trick) water ski. With the Wave Ball active, the object was for the players to pull themselves from one end of the pool to the other and back while on the ski, high-fiving the spotters at each end. The fastest time won the event. This seemed like one of the few things I could do but even this had some pitfalls. The pitfall here was having the ski take a nosedive into the water… and it slows you down completely.

Field

Field events were fun… because it was something I could mimic out in the field with my friends. I was definitely thinking that I could have come out on top in these events.

  • Free Kick – Two automated cannons shot several soccer balls at each of the players in front of the nets. (Kinda scary… but I was pumped about it.) Players had to block as many of the soccer balls as they possibly could in the allotted time (30 seconds in seasons 1 and 3, and 45 seconds in season 2 and Global GUTS), and the one who blocked the most shots won.
  • Wild Pitch – Things get a little more dangerous here. Cannons shot several baseballs at high speeds directly at the three players. (Yikes!) In earlier playings, the object of this game was to dodge as many balls as possible in 30 seconds, with the player getting hit the fewest times being the winner. The second and more familiar version of this event gave the players a baseball bat to use. Here, they tried to hit as many balls as they could with their bats in 30 seconds (45 seconds in season 2), with the winner being the person who hit the most balls.
  • Blast It – Players stood in a center circle as soccer balls poured out of an elevated tube. There were three separate goals set in a triangular fashion outside the circle (each one representing the player’s color), and the object was to score as many soccer goals as they could in 60 seconds. Players could not leave the center circle or touch the ball with their hands. There was a lot going on here. Maybe too much.

Aerial/Elastic

These were the most epic events. I was down to do bungee jumps off the top of the alter. Kids had so much trouble climbing back up to jump again. LOL. Poor kids. Even with the energy they had.

  • Bull’s Eye – Modeled after archery, players were equipped with crossbows and velcro arrows. With the help of the elastics, they jumped off the Aerial Bridge and fired the arrows at the targets in front of them. Only arrows that actually hit the bullseye counted, and they only counted after the player hit the ground first before bouncing back up. The player with the most bullseyes scored in 60 seconds won the event (45 seconds in one season 3 episode). There was nothing you can tell me. I was winning this.
  • Slam Dunk – This one is my favorite Aerial. To me, this is the only way to play basketball. If not with a bungee cord… then why do it? Slamball comes close but… not really. Players jumped off the Aerial Bridge and attempted to shoot a basketball through an elevated basketball hoop with each jump. Baskets only counted if they were made after the player touched the ground. All three players competed at the same time, and the player with the most baskets scored in 60 seconds won.
  • Spirals – Football… more or less… with a twist. Add an Aerial Bridge to anything and that makes it 100 times better. Especially in the mind of a kid. With all three competing at the same time, players jumped off the Aerial Bridge and tried to throw footballs through a set of tires and into a net.  The player with the most footballs thrown into his or her goal in 45 seconds (60 seconds in season 2) won.
  • Over the Top – This was modeled after high jump competitions. Each player, one at a time, jumped off the Aerial Bridge and tried to jump over a hurdle at a set height. Each player received three jumps (two in one episode). If a player successfully cleared the hurdle, it was raised for the next jump; if not, the player attempted the next jump at the same height. The player who jumped the highest was the winner.
  • The Longest Yard – Another Long Jump Event. Each player jumped from the Bridge and tried to make the longest distance they could away from it, making their mark by planting their feet in a sandpit in front of the bridge. Jumps that did not include two footprints in the sand did not count. The player making the longest jump won the event. Fun times had by all.
  • Jump! Jump! – This event was based on hurdling competitions. Players jumped off the bridge, over two high hurdles, and onto the bridge on the opposite side, before jumping over the hurdles again and back onto the original bridge. A five-second penalty was imposed on a player if he or she knocked a hurdle down, and in the first two seasons, a two-second penalty was imposed if a player needed help from the spotters. The player who cleared this event in the fastest time won the event.
  • Make Your Mark – Each player jumped from the Bridge and, upon jumping back up, tried to make their highest mark on a yellow wall with paint resembling Nickelodeon’s famous green slime. In earlier versions of this event, players put plastic gloves on their hands and dipped them in paint before trying to slap their hands on the wall. In later playings, players jumped into a giant ink pad (in season 1, players jumped into green ink, and in season 2, players jumped into inkpads corresponding to their jersey color) and then tried to make their mark on the wall with their feet. The highest jump won.
  • Zero G – There was no way I could do this even in my mind. So it is what it is. The contestants were suspended sideways and had to run across a sideways track with hurdles and trampolines (“Black Holes”). They also had to make their way around the “Edge of Nothing,” a sharp turn onto the other side of the track. The player who cleared this event in the fastest time was the winner.
  • Slam-A-Jama – This was a variation on Slam Dunk… where each contestant played both offense and defense. Each player had 30 seconds to score baskets in a hoop inside of a center cylinder while the other players tried to reject the shots. After one player has had their turn, he or she then went on defense against the next player. The player with the most hoops scored won. Players on defense could not grab onto the basket while they tried to defend against a player on offense; if they did grab onto the basket, they would lose a point that they scored on offense. Good times. I would have loved to try this.

So in the end… These were some of the kids shows that I watched religiously. My mother was not impressed with some of them… (There was no way I was going to pick a giant nose.) These shows were a large part of the reason I wanted to visit Universal Studios Florida for the long time. I am down to see some of them come back for a new generation. Definitely, things like GUTS, Legends of the Hidden Temple, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. A lot of these are being shown on Paramount Plus. I am wondering if that is enough to get a new service. I was Disney Plus for the nostalgia factor…. But we will see. Where in the World is Carmen San Diego can be found on Youtube for now… I loved my trip down memory lane for now. Tell me what your favorite kid game shows were when you were younger… But that is all for now.