Home > Uncategorized > The Odd Duck’s Top 20 Nostalgic Television Shows Part I

The Odd Duck’s Top 20 Nostalgic Television Shows Part I

Just like the boomers and X-ers before us, the early Generation Y crowd is getting older and as we do, we look at the new generation of kids and wonder just what the heck happened? To us, it seems like the Nineties were a golden age where Saturday morning cartoons were a way of life, you spent all day playing until the street lights came on, and where people seemed to be nicer in general.

Even though I was a month shy of 12 when 2000 hit (Oh Y2K, the amount of panic you caused was hilarious) it still feels like those days were another lifetime.

So after talking over nostalgia with my blog crush friend Jeney and during a rather awkward Gchat conversation (I fail at Gchat, seriously) came up with the idea of doing a little tribute to some of  the most amazing shows we grew up watching.

Originally, we were only going to do the top 10 but as I was making my list I realized that there was no way I could narrow it down.

To make the list, 1.) I had to have watched the show sometime between 1990 and 2000 2.)that the show produced new episodes and didn’t just show reruns 3.)I have to be able to watch it now and still find it enjoyable. Therefore shows like Will & Grace, Seinfeld, Dawson’s Creek, and Saved By The Bell didn’t make the cut despite how much I love them as I didn’t start watching them until my teen years.

That being said, here is a look back with Part I of my tribute to my favourite shows from the Nineties.


And we kick the list off with Celebrity Deathmatch. This show, along with Beavis & Butthead and another further down the list, was one of the reasons I started watching MTV in the first place. Unbelievably violent, stuffed with pop culture references, and with a hilarious (and very loose) storyline. For those of you who missed this one, the show was structured much like an episode of (then) WWF Raw or Monday Night Nitro with several matches and interviews with the various contenders spread throughout. Most of the original episodes are on Youtube so if you want a quick laugh then you can’t really go wrong here.


Rugrats was quite possibly one of the first shows I ever watched not named Sesame Street or The Price Is Right. This was the show that basically took the question of what babies/toddlers are like when no adults are around and ran all the way to the bank with it. So how did this show with an admittedly lame premise manage to become one of the most Nickoledeon shows ever? The memorable, well-written characters and dialogue that often snuck in more mature humor that would fly over any kid’s head. Also this show had some of the most honest holiday specials I have ever seen with a special nod going to their final Christmas special and the heartbreaking Mother’s Day episode.


After the abortion known as Roundhouse, Nickoledeon decided to give sketch comedy one more try. And thankfully, they got it right this time. This was the first sketch comedy show I ever watched and remains one of  favourites 16 years later. All That could also have been called Saturday Night Live for teenagers, or at least the first six seasons could before the show started to target preteens and younger kids instead. It also introduced the world to Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, Amanda Bynes, and Nick Cannon.


The Adventures of Pete & Pete was a…special show. It followed the adventures of two brothers, Big Pete and Little Pete, and their interactions with the somewhat insane residents in their home town. But I, like most kids who watched, was far more interested in Little Pete’s fight against The Man (responsible adults) which was aided by his personal superhero Artie “For I am Artie — the strongest man…in the world!” and his other best friend Nona (played by a very young Michelle Trachtenberg). Also notable as one of the few old school Nick shows that had a  full DVD release in the new millenium.


Reboot had a very simple premise, imagine your computer is a world unto itself with various programs existing as unique citizens each with their own quirks. Now imagine that there are certain programs whose main goal is to defend them from viruses and their worst enemy, you. Well more like your computer games. The first 3 seasons followed this format of various User games wreaking havoc until the final season which was pretty much Lost in (Cyber)Space. This was one especially notable for being the first entirely computer-animated TV series and for having such an open (and downer) ending.


If you asked me and my sister what we would be doing most Saturday nights as kids, we’d tell you we were watching SNICK for All That and this next show Are You Afraid Of The Dark? The premise of this one was every week, a group of teenagers would go into a clearing in the woods to tell horror stories that often borrowed from fairy tales and famous short stories. It ran from 1992 until 2000 here in the states and as such is one of the shows I remember most vividly. This is also the show that inspired M. Night Shayamalan’s hit-movie The Sixth Sense in terms of its now-famous twist ending. Best of all, the compete series is available on Youtube.


Ah, my first guilty pleasure show. Xena: Warrior Princess was a spin-off to Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules that became a cult hit. A story that revolved around fight scenes, Greek mythology, some slapstick, and more lesbian subtext than I have ever seen in my life? There was no downside here folks. It followed the story of a former warlord as she tried to atone for the people she slaughtered during her conqueror days alongside her sidekick/bard/best friend/partner/soul mate Gabrielle all the while going up against tyrants, monsters, Amazons, a psychotic rival, a ridiculously powerful hellspawn, Caesar, and eventually the Gods themselves.


You know you were singing it, don’t even bother trying to deny it. This one may be one of the most well-known and well-loved Nineties shows of them all and it easily made my list at #13. Before he was saving the world on his time-off in Independence Day and after he was rapping about Summertime, Will Smith made his way into our homes and hearts as the smooth talking Philly kid living with his auntie and uncle in Bel Air. Both a coming-of-age story as well as comedy, I honestly do not know anyone who did not at least like this show. And as I consider anyone who didn’t as non-existent, I never will.


At #12 on the countdown is my other favourite MTV series. Daria followed the observations of the classic deadpan snarker, Daria Morgendorffer, as she and her best friend Jane, as they comment on the exaggerated stereotypes that populate their town and in particular their high school. With witty dialogue, a well-written story arc, and quite possibly one of my favourite examples of sibling rivalry in Daria’s bratty, manipulative, smarter-than-she-acts sister Quinn, this show easily deserves its spot on the list and if not for the fact that it is almost impossible to find episodes now would probably make my top 10.


And last on today’s list, we have The Wonder Years of my generation. Boy Meets World was about the life and times of Cory Matthews (Ben Savage, little brother of Fred Savage) along with his best friend Shaun,  his older screwball brother Eric, his nuisance-turned girlfriend-turned wife Topanga and the surprisingly adaptable teacher Mr. Feeny. This is where I was  introduced to the concept of bromance and the phrase, “she’s all grown up!” Notably, while the show was usually more comedy than drama it did handle issues like parental abandomnent/neglect, alcoholism, the troubles of being young newlyweds and the death of a parent exceptionally well. This show and specifically the characters of George Feeny and Johnathan Turner have had more impact on my life than any show ever as they are what made me want to be a teacher in the first place. Yeah, my career goal came from a 90’s sitcom. The finale episode is also one of the few times where even watching video of it years later will make me a sobbing wreck. “I love you all. Class dismissed.” -sniffle-

Come back around on Wednesday where I gab about my top 10 favourite shows from the Nineties.

Later, kids.

  1. phampants
    February 22, 2010 at 2:42 PM


    I can’t wait for the top 10.

  2. February 22, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    this is all that, this is alllll thaaa-aaat. brilliant.

    i was quoting to someone the other day – “who loves orange soda?” – “kel loves orange soda!” – “i do i do i doo-ooo” and they didn’t get it, which made me sad. i’m glad you’re exposing the world to such joy.

  3. February 22, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    Pete and Pete at #17? I think I may have gotten a little angry at that one.

  4. February 22, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    I keep asking my student workers if they remember (or ever heard of) these shows and they keep looking at my like I’m crazy.

    I almost feel bad for them….

  5. February 22, 2010 at 9:07 PM

    Whoa whoa whoa whoa. I mean, I completely agree… but where is the Saved By the Bell? That better be in the TOP ten. 😉

  6. February 23, 2010 at 4:31 AM

    Haha brilliant. Looking forward to the top 10!

  7. February 23, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    AHHH! This is awesome! I miss the 90s now.

  8. February 23, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    oh i was hoping you’d have kenan & kel, pete’n’pete & are you afraid of the dark on here! lol. i loooooooooooved those shows, and I was the kid that never watched tv too! lol

  9. vixations
    February 23, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    OH MY GOD all of this amazingness in one place just made my entire life. I can’t wait for the top 10. And I agree with TOPolk about Pete & Pete… should TOTALLY be at least #10. I also would have put All That a little higher in the mix… Yea, I’d be willing to start a fight over those two. Also, why isn’t Daria still on television?? Because it should be.

  10. February 24, 2010 at 12:23 AM

    DUDE. Angry Beavers, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Fresh Prince and Daria. Throw in a little Pete & Pete and My So Called Life and you have the best list…IN THE WORLD. ^_^

    Oh, how I miss those shows. I don’t even watch television anymore I’m so brokenhearted. Le sigh.

  11. February 24, 2010 at 1:14 AM

    I really miss Daria! I wish they could secure the music rights and put it on DVD already. I think that’s what’s holding up a DVD release.

  12. May 16, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    A useful tip

  1. February 24, 2010 at 9:22 AM

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