Not unlike today, Nickelodeon dominated children’s television back in the ’90s. Show after show was a youthful hit, but the network has since moved on to duller programming. Or maybe we’re just getting old. Either way, looking back and reminiscing can never come too early. How many of these classics do you remember?
1. “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” (1991-1996)
As a kid, Saturday nights meant one thing: “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”
My sisters and I would huddle around the TV, waiting anxiously for a new episode to freak us out. The show featured a group of kids who would gather around a bonfire in the woods to tell all sorts of spooky stories.
Every week, narrators submitted their tales for “approval of The Midnight Society.” Some of the best involved a fear-inducing soup, aliens disguised as toy makers and witchy babysitters. Even today, lots of the “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” episodes will send chills down your spine.
2. “Doug” (1991-1994)
Quite simply, “Doug” had it all.
The show followed the life of sixth-grader Doug Funnie and his neighborhood pals, including the lovable Patti Mayonnaise, his blue friend “Skeeter” Valentine and a green bully named Roger Klotz. Doug’s adventures have made for some great laughs both then and now.
Today, Quailman can be found at probably one Halloween party each year, and The Beets have their very own MySpace page. If you’re not whistling the theme song by now, you never watched the show.
3. “Clarissa Explains It All” (1991-1994)
Aired alongside “Are You Afraid of the Dark” on SNICK, “Clarissa Explains It All” was a preteen sitcom featuring Melissa Joan Hart, before she graduated to teenage movies.
Hart played a typical young girl dealing with the pressures of growing up, like pimples, homework and her friendly neighbor who refused to use the front door. The show was the ultimate look into puberty.
When one trivial issue finished blowing up, another was sure to follow. Luckily, phrases like “Way cool!” kept things light.
4. “Salute Your Shorts” (1991-1992)
One of Nickelodeon’s more short-run programs from the ’90s, “Salute Your Shorts” followed a group of preteens at summer camp and all their antics.
“Salute Your Shorts” was another one of those shows with a great theme song (“Camp Anawanna, we hold you in our hearts / and when we think about you, it makes me wanna fart!”) and bizarre character names (Donkeylips, Pinsky, Sponge Harris), but you couldn’t help but laugh when the campers pulled prank after prank on their clown of a counselor, Ug.
5. “Legends of the Hidden Temple” (1993-1995)
Way before MTV’s “Real World/Road Rules Challenge,” a more innocent set of TV youngsters captured our competitive spirits.
Teams like the blue barracudas, green monkeys and—yes—the silver snakes battled across a fierce moat, ascended the Steps of Knowledge and scored pendants in mini-games, all of which centered on a historical theme or legend.
At the end of each show, the remaining team had to surpass the treacherous temple run in search of the day’s relic. Television hasn’t had a game show as intense or entertaining as “Legends of the Hidden Temple” since it went off the air.
- Got a great Halloween costume this year? Send a photo of you dressed in your Halloween best to firstname.lastname@example.org and the top five ensembles will be in next week’s Take Five. Just make sure to include name, school year and how/why you chose your costume.
Grant can be reached at email@example.com.