1) Power Rangers: When The Power Rangers burst onto the scene in 1993 you could hear the collective sound of kids heads exploding everywhere. The Power Rangers were everything you wanted from your action heroes and more. Not only did they have mad fighting skills, they had unique weapons, the ability to control colossal assault machines called Zords and a mentor that looked like a giant potato, the tastiest and most versatile of the root vegetables. The Power Rangers have gone onto achieve world domination, with so many different spin-offs I’ve lost count, but every child of the 90’s will agree that the original line up has been and always will be the best.
Here’s the original opening sequence; damn I forgot how good this is..
2) Fun House: A man, a mullet, an oversized playground, go-karts, a pair of blond twins and a wickedly catchy 80’s style theme tune. No it’s not a low budget porn film but the classic and epic kid’s TV show from the 90’s, Fun House. Show me a child that didn’t want to go on that show and I’ll show you a kid that needed a punch in the face.
3) Ren and Stimpy: This bizarre and twisted American cartoon followed the tales of a chihuahua and a cat as they embarked on graphically gross and often disturbing adventures. This cartoon sometimes left me feeling a little strange inside, like I’d just seen something that no child should ever see. And it was awesome. If Ren and Stimpy were around now, they’d probably be in a methadone programme trying to kick their crack habit.
Check out this clip that shows why this show was like nothing on TV.
4) Art Attack: Neil Buchanan taught us that with a little creativity, some PVA and an array of coloured card you could make anything. It was a great time as a child when guessing the giant Art Attack, before he’d finished making it, was the highlight of your week. Art Attack was so successful that it is actually CITV’s longest running programme, running from 1990 to 2007.
5) SMTV: Proof that children’s TV could be smart, funny and not at all patronising. If you were a kid (big kid) in the late 90’s and you weren’t watching SMTV then you there was something wrong. With Challenge Ant, Wonkey Donkey, Chums, the beautiful Corrs, Pokemon battles, to name but a few, this programme had it all going on. Many before and after tried to create the magic that existed between Ant, Dec and Cat but none came close. Here are two clips to remind you just how amazing it was:
6) Playdays: All the toddlers in the know were all about Playdays. Where would the bus be going that week? Who would be taking us there? What adventures would we have when we arrived? Playdays was the staple of any British child’s schedule and was a nice warm up to Neighbours later on in the day (My Mum and I learnt to share in the 90’s…).
7) Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends: Thomas had it all going on and more. Excellent plots, versatile characters, fantastic models and gripping, yes gripping, action sequences meant Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends was must see viewing in the 90’s. Originally broadcast in 1984, Thomas has such lasting and timeless class that the programme is still loved today. Thomas and Friends taught me how to be a better person and how to overcome obstacles. It even moved me to tears. Here’s a the sort of drama that had me hooked:
8) Gordon the Gopher: Gordon the Gopher and Philip Schofield were the sort of dream time that children’s TV was all about in the 90’s (hello? Bodger and Badger!). With a leather jacket gifted from Adam Ant and a personality that matched, we all wished we were friends with that gopher. In 2005 Philip Schofield claimed that sadly Gordon was an alcoholic but later revealed in 2008 that he was in rehab. Hopefully Gordon is managing to stay on the wagon.
9) Maid Marian and her Merry Men: Created by and starring Tony Robinson, this children’s musical comedy was well before it’s time. Horrible Histories owes a lot to Maid Marian and her Merry Men for paving the way with comedy accessible to adults and children alike, whilst being immensely watchable and bonkers at the same time. Maid Marian was hilarious and fantastic and taught me not to take life too seriously. I owe my later-day love of Blackadder this programme.
10) The Simpsons: What can you say about The Simpsons that hasn’t already been said? It’s still one of the funniest, most intelligent, satirical, endearing and enduring, cross-generational TV shows ever to have been made. The Simpsons does family comedy like no other and after 20 years is as hilarious as ever. The Simpsons has become embedded in our culture and will stay there for a very long time.
N.B It’s seriously difficult to name just 10 TV shows that I loved in the 90’s so here are a few that were equally as awesome that didn’t make the list; Doug, Cow and Chicken, Cat Dog, Dexter’s Laboratory, Ahhh Real Monsters, The Secret World of Alex Mack, Sister Sister, Kenan and Kel, Angry Beavers, Are you Afraid of the Dark?, Johnny Bravo, The Animals of Farthing Wood, Sweet Valley High, Saved by the Bell, Hey Arnold, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Rocko’s Modern Life, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Inspector Gadget, Biker Mice from Mars, Pinky and the Brain, Sharky and George, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, Danger Mouse and Chucklevision.