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Ranking Nickelodeon’s Best Shows

We continue our Greatest Cartoons of All-Time countdown series with one of American television's most iconic staples

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We continue our Greatest Cartoons of All-Time countdown series with one of American television’s most iconic staples. It was orange when orange was cool and not associated with man-baby bigotry. Launched in December of 1977 Nickelodeon has expanded to being part of 80% of US households with 100s of original properties and several secondary channels. From original cartoons to programming blocks that featured the likes of Face and Stick Stickly, Nick has had its fair share of iconic programming that it has offered throughout the decades.

Today, we put them against each other and determine a GOAT.

Here’s the deal though, since Nickelodeon was known for both animated and live action properties, we have decided to split this countdown into two Top 10 lists instead of one giant Top 20 list. Podcast first, list after the jump.

But first, as always, the Honorable Mentions:

Ryan’s Honorable Mention:

The Loud House (2 seasons, 30 episodes, 2016-)

the-loud-house

I wanted to include this because it’s the first new show Nick has done in years that has actually been pretty good, Harvey Beaks being the exception. It follows a family of 11 kids (yeah) and does a really great job of showcasing their personalities and relationships with one another. If you get the chance to watch it, it’s really funny, I’d highly recommend it.

The People’s Honorable Mention:

Drake and Josh (4 seasons, 57 episodes, 2004-2007)

drake-and-josh

Drake and Josh would’ve been in the Top 5 on this list if we didn’t invoke the power of the electoral collage. I don’t have comments for it, I thought it was trash, but then again it existed when I was in High School and paying 0 attention. I blame Courtney for this, it was her post that garnered these votes, and she’s young as hell. So.

TOP 10 LIVE SHOWS

#10. My Brother and Me (1 season, 13 episodes, 1994-95)

Based in Charlotte, NC, My Brother and Me focused on the adventures of Alfie and Dee Dee as they grow up and deal with every day issues of childhood. My memories of it are fond but sketchy, so I don’t want to talk about it just to talk about it. If you don’t remember it, just google Goo Punch.

#9. The Secret World of Alex Mack (4 seasons, 78 episodes, 1994-98)

Alex Mack is an ordinary teenage girl, living with her parents, George and Barbara, and older sister, Annie, in the corporate town of Paradise Valley. While walking home after her first day of junior high school, she is nearly hit by a truck from a chemical plant, and during the incident, she is drenched with a top-secret chemical called GC-161. She soon discovers that it gave her strange powers, such as telekinesis, shooting electricity from her fingers, and the ability to dissolve into a mobile puddle of water. However, her powers prove to be unpredictable (such as when her skin starts glowing brightly while she’s 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 plant CEO, Danielle Atron, will do to her if she finds out.

#8. Cousin Skeeter (3 seasons, 51 episodes, 1998-01)

Skeeter was a puppet that no one treated like a puppet and I’m not sure why. It featured Bill Bellamy voicing the titular Skeeter and is where Meagan Good made her first feature role in a television series (she had an extensive film career and some minor TV appearances beforehand). Also featured Robert Ri’Chard and Disney’s go to black TV dad Rondell Sheridan.

#7. Salute Your Shorts (2 seasons, 26 episodes, 1991-92)

AJ was the only one to really remember this in detail (cause he’s old lol). There apparently was some running gag about an obsession with a cylindrical meat of some sort (pause). Memories are blurry. I’ve been drinking gallons of water and my full bladder is failing me. Fight me.

#6. You Can’t Do That On Television  Guts (4 season, 1992-96)

That intro is peak 90s.

Sorry for our Gen X crowd, but it was out of our age range so we invoked electoral college once again. Guts was just that show, I’m sorry. It was that sports action show that we thought we really could compete on, but probably weren’t good enough for. It was Legends of the Hidden Temple without the temple. It was simply lit.

#5. Double Dare (1987-93, 2000)

Couldn’t find just a simple intro of the game show on Youtube, but it’s cool. Double Dare was a game show that pit two families against each other in rounds of trivia. You could dare the other team if you didn’t know the answer, if they didn’t know it they can double dare you. At that point you can take a physical challenge for points. At the end there was an obstacle course for the winning team, with slime. So much slime. Which was apparently pudding.

#4. Are You Afraid of the Dark (7 seasons, 91 episodes, 1990-96, 99-2000)

This show could be legitimately scary and really used to throw me off as a child. I would purposely avoid watching it at times unless my brothers were already watching it. Then I’d hang around. Apparently I’m not alone…

#3. Legends of the Hidden Temple (3 seasons, 120 episodes, 1993-95)

If you had a pulse as a child in the 90s, you know this show, you loved this show, it pissed you off every time a kid struggled putting together a 3-piece monkey puzzle in the temple. Legends featured several teams of kids competing to enter Olmec’s Temple. Each episode, Olmec would tell a (false) legend about the artifact of the week that would be hidden inside his temple. The teams would then compete in a series of challenges revolving around the legend they just heard. At the end they would get their chance to enter the Temple to attempt to find the treasure and win the grand prize (if there was one). Apparently there were times where the show did not have the prizes it promised and made the Temple impossible to complete. Search youtube to find a video of the host Kirk Fogg discussing some of those very things.

#2. Keenan and Kel (4 seasons, 62 episodes, 1996-2000)

Pat yourself on the back if you knew growing up that Kel would be typecast into oblivion. It’s kind of sad really, Keenan and Kel were the 90’s Nickelodeon Iconic Duo. They could not be stopped. They were a young black Abbott and Costello, the faces of the network, whatever you want to call it. To see that KEENAN was the one who went on to become a staple of Saturday Night Live and KEL as the host of such iconic television programs like Dance 360  or singing the theme song and playing a main role in Game Shakers is still mindblowing.

#1. All That (10 seasons, 174 episodes, 1994-2005)

If you ask pretty much anyone to name a program from Nick’s early staple All That would be THE show that would be on the tip of everyone’s mouth. The hit sketch comedy show featured an intro from TLC and starred a talented group of teenagers and young adults. While not many of the cast members went onto be mega stars, they were relatively successful and brought a lot of joy to our hearts. Most notably launched the careers of the aforementioned Keenan and Kel, Josh Server, Nick Cannon, Lori Beth Denberg, and Amanda Bynes. The show peaked between its 2nd and 4th season and had a strong original run. We don’t talk about the revival though. We don’t.

AND NOW THE TIME YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR. IT’S CARTOON TIME

#10. Rocket Power (4 seasons, 71 episodes, 1999-2004)

Not eeeeeveeeennnn gonnnna lieeeeee I thought this show was traaaaaaaaaash. If you wanted an actual opinion should’ve asked one of those other negroes (or Courtnel) to write it. NEXT.

#9. Angry Beavers (4 seasons, 63 episodes, 1997-2001)

Angry Beavers was another slapstick cartoon, but dammit it was funny. I made the correlation that history will treat this like we treat Cow and Chicken: good, but over the top and because of that overlooked. Go back and rewatch, it was very aware of itself and did a great job with it. Norbert and Dagget are every big brother little brother relationship. Ever.

#8. Avatar: The Last Airbender (3 seasons, 61 episodes, 2005-08)

The best thing Nickelodeon ever did was move the hell out of the way when their Animation Studio brought this to the table. A western take on anime done RIGHT, Avatar tells the story of Aang’s quest to grow as the Avatar who can control all four elements and bring peace to the world. In the past Nick was no fan of finality in a series as it prevented re-runs and re-run revenue. They allowed it here. It’s a shame The Last Airbender never got a proper full-length feature film. Shame. Really.

#7. Ren and Stimpy (5 seasons, 52 episodes, 1991-96) 

This show.

Was not.

Meant For.

Kids.

#6. Doug (Nickelodeon Series – 4 seasons, 52 episodes)

Doug was about a weirdo who moved to a new town trying to adjust to life. Blahblahblah this show as trash too. Fight me. @EagleEye1906 if you wanna book tickets to Temecula homie.

Porkchop, Skeeter, Patti Mayonaise, Hipster Poet Sister > Doug as characters.

#5. Fairly Odd Parents (10 seasons, 150 episodes, 2001-please God kill it)

Before you think I’m just a negative ass person, let me say that Fairly Odd Parents is my SHOW. But it’s also the very reason why at some point everything has to end. The addition of Poof wasn’t a problem, but when Timmy got a magic dog, and then had to share his fairies with another child….yeah…um. Guys. We haven’t just jumped the shark, we’ve lapped the shark, strapped cement shoes to it and then told it to keep up. Please mercy kill this show before it’s too late and Butch Hartman cries himself to sleep.

#4. Rocko’s Modern Life (4 seasons, 52 episodes, 1993-96)

This show towed the line between appropriate and inappropriate for kids. From Rocko’s implied job of being a phone sex operator, to a cow named Heifer being raised by a family of Wolves, to Mrs. Big Head’s completely inappropriate behavior. The world of O-Town was a blast to visit every whenever-the-hell-morning this show came on. I loved it. You should love it to. Go to hell.

#3. Spongebob Squarepants (10 seasons, 205 episodes, 1999-present)

Okay BREAAATTTHEE. If you feel yourself enraged you really need to step back and appreciate this show. Spongebob’s characters have always been given unique personalities, and even though they’ve suffered a lot of flanderization since the original movie aired, it hasn’t quite nosedived as bad as FOP did. Still, it’s time to end it. Thank you for the memories though Spongebob, I’ve always wanted to know what it was like living in Bikini Bottom and how a Krabby Patty tastes.

#2. Hey Arnold (5 seasons, 100 episodes, 1996-2004)

Okay, you knew from the jump what two shows this list would come down to. Hey Arnold was such a damn good show. It was truly of its own kind. With each episode you got to know the kids from this block in this unnamed town (we can assume it was NYC), from main characters to secondary and even tertiary characters. It was one of the most well developed programs of our generation, let alone Nickelodeon. I’ve used the word Iconic several times in this post, but this show was just that. It’s supposed to finally get a full length movie to end the series proper. Let’s hope it gives us closure to the story of Arnold Shortman.

#1. Rugrats (9 seasons, 172 episodes, 1991-2004)

You knew good and well once you saw Hey Arnold at #2 that this would be #1. The Rugrats did almost everything right during their run:

a) feature iconic, remember-able characters? Check

b) Flesh out the personalities of secondary and tertiary characters? Check

c) Have a feature-length film? Check x3

d) Add more main characters in a way that felt natural and unforced? Twice.

The Rugrats did what you were supposed to do to create a children’s cartoon, but they ended up making stories that adults the world over fell in love with too. Personalities that were absolutely unforgettable. Even All Growed Up wasn’t THAT bad even though it was pre-teen focused and annoying and …. okay it sucked.

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