.The other day while I was watching TV and channel surfing (because the baseball game I was watching was a blow out), I came across YTV the old television channel that used to have fantastic shows when I was a kid and teenager, so naturally I look at what they had to offer and to my dismay it was pure and total crap. It is either back to back to back, to back to back-to-back shows of Fairly Odd Parents or Spongebob Square Pants, which there is nothing wrong with that, but that is everyday during the week; that is not it though it gets worse. Most of the other shows are these craptastic live action shows (with the fake laugh track) with child/teenage actors who really cannot act. It is mostly nickelodeon garbage that should never be on air to begin with, it is not like they are showing the good stuff like Hey Arnold or Rugrats etc.
So I started to reminisce about shows that I watched as a kid and it is a an extensive list, shows that many people from the 80’s and 90’s would remember and loved as a kid. Here are some of the shows I watched and you might have watched too, which are in no particular order.
Where in the World is Carmen San Diego, Johnny Bravo, Big Wolf on Campus, Magic
School Bus, Wishbone, Gargoyles, Scooby Doo, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Little Bear,
Rupert, Berenstain Bears, Care Bears, Tales of the River Bank, Pinky and the Brain,
Insektors, Mr. Rogers, Mr. Dressup, Power Puff Girls, Blues Clues, Big Comfy Couch,
Doug, The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Recess, Sailor Moon, Charlie Brown,
Ghost Busters, Garfield and Friends, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Biker Mice From Mars,
Mummy’s Alive, Arthur, Tin Tin, Sesame Street, Sesame Park, Bugs Bunny and Tweety
Show, Uh-Oh, Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Power Rangers, Spider Man, X-men, Neds Newt,
Monster Rancher, Digimon, Thomas the Tank Engine, Shining Time Station, The
Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Beast Wars, Reboot, Shadow Raiders, Radio
Active, Student Bodies, The Hit List, Are you Afraid of the Dark, Buffy the Vampire
Slayer, Beetleborgs, Alvin and the Chipmunks, X-men Evolution, Dragon Ball, DragonBall Z, Pokemon ETC!
Sorry if I did not put your favorite show, but clearly there were a lot and yes it looks like I watched a lot of T.V. and sure I did, but it was only a small part of my childhood and at least I was entertained when I could not be with friends, or I was outside, or sick. Yes I also realize that The Simpsons is not a kids show, but I have watched it since I was born and still do to this day, so it was a part of my childhood.
Now if you actually looked at this list (and I hope you did cause I’m sure you’ll find a show or two you’ll remember), you will notice that not all of these shows were on the same channel. Many channels would have a humongous lineup of shows on Saturdays like YTV, Teletoon, ABC, CBC, FOX and even PBS, so you had a great choice of shows on the weekend. Even during the week CBC, PBS, Teletoon and YTV had many shows for kids and teens. (YTV and Teletoon being children programming only).
If you think about it, PBS had a fantastic lineup of kids’ shows that had a great story and were appropriate for television. Arthur, Bill Nye the Science Guy, The Magic School Bus and Shining time station were amazing shows and I would purposely buy each box set so my future children could actually see good TV. Shining Time Station was dare I say a shining example of good T.V. with a life action story, two Thomas the Tank Engine stories (Narrated by Ringo Star, or George Carlin) and a song or two from the jukebox.
In the 90’s Teletoon was not the strongest channel out there, the real juggernaut kids’ channel (at least in Canada) was YTV. I mean YTV was so popular in kids’ terms it could be compared to the American Network NBC which was the American Juggernaut of the 90’s. YTV had a good knack for showing new and old shows that you see on the list, but managed to keep it fresh and exciting. YTV also did a fantastic job with holiday specials, especially when Halloween and Christmas came around, you got to see some primo specials that were old and modern.
YTV back then was also a great channel for showing Canadian Content and Canadian made shows, shows such as Shadow Raiders, Uh-Oh, Student Bodies, Radio Active, Reboot and Beast Wars. I was not a big fan of Student Bodies, but enjoyed it from time to time and it had a great line “Hey it’s not Real Life its Highschool” the others I loved with a passion and many of you reading this that grew up in the 90’s had at least one Beast Wars Toy. Yes I do realize that at the beginning I bad mouthed live action T.V. shows, but Radio Active was a Canadian gem and yes it was not a million dollar show, but they made it actually funny and worth coming back, my favorite character to this day is George, mainly because of his hair and the stuff he got to say. Also do not forget about the kids Canadian Game show Uh-Oh with our host WINK YAHOO and the Punisher.
YTV also had the Hit List, a show that was basically MTV meets Much Music meets content suitable for kids and young teenagers. Ok… it might not have been the most suitable videos out there; some of the Spice Girl songs could be considered over the top and oh yeah, do you remember B4 4 and their song Get Down? If you do not, then I suggest that you youtube it and tell me if their lyrics are proper for kids to hear. Anyway the Hit List was a great way to show popular music of the time for that generation.
Groups and singers like Eiffel 65, Soul Decision, Five, Prozzak (remember them!?) S Club 7, Cereal Joe, Nsync, Weird Al, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Moffats, Hanson, O-town Back Street Boys, Spice Girls and many more.
Today most of these people are not my kind of music although Prozzak might make it on my ipod and Weird AL also, but most of the videos on the air were not that bad visually, it was most of the lyrics that were the uh… problematic. Either way it was a very popular show until some point in early 2005 when they had to close up shop. One of the reasons was that they were not allowed to air some of the most popular songs of the time because of the fact that visual content was not proper for a large portion for the audiences’ age group and that would slowly be the end of that show.
YTV also had “The Zone” which still airs today, but is not nearly as good as they were in the past. Along with some good hosts and that weird purple thing called Snit (which I thought he looked like a bunch of grapes) they had a strong line up of shows that at one point or another consisted of Digimon, Uh-Oh, Hey Arnold, Rugrats and the show that millions of kids loved, Pokemon. The Zone had kids hooked from 3-6 with some of the best shows around and they were very good at promoting holidays and Canadian related things going on in Canada.
YTV was not just great with the holiday content it had great themes during the week too. One of the themes was the Dark Corner, which aired on Saturday so if you did not like Hockey or scary content then the TV was most likely off. The Dark Corner showed shows such as Goosebumps, Are you Afraid of the Dark, Freaky Stories and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, not a bad line-up for “darker” shows. YTV also had a good and bad knack for showing new episodes of long standing series during long weekends. The channel would get back-to-back new episodes of Pokemon, Digimon, Dragonball Z and other shows and show them for one day, promoting to kids all around that their favorite shows would have new episodes very soon. There was a flaw in this plan of course, every time they got new episodes they would reset the whole series then add the new episodes. The best example I have is Dragonball Z, the amount of time it took to get to the point of a series was baffling it took years to end the series in Namek and took weeks for Goku to power up. One episode would be Goku screaming “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH,” Next Time on Dragon Ball Z “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” as annoying as that was I kept coming back and so did a lot of kids.
YTV in the 90’s back then was fantastic and paved the way for Teletoon and had great competition with the American Networks on Saturday, which gave us the loyal viewers, a lot of content to watch and enjoy. Unfortunately today YTV as I mentioned before is not the same, frankly it is terrible. Teletoon has taken the reigns in Canada for best childrens channel and they have also done the brilliant idea of coming out with another channel called Teletoon retro which shows many fantastic shows that we all knew and loved from the 80’s and 90’s, the down fall is depending on your service provider you might have to pay a lot more money to get it which is unfortunate and another story for another day.
YTV has fallen from grace so much so that it is not even a basic channel anymore, you have to add it to your bill if you want to watch what they have and trust me from what I saw except for the odd show like Pokemon which is still on the air it is not great. Thankfully the Internet and Netflix can help you relive some of the shows you used to watch in the glory days. You know how a lot of people say “back in my day this and that was better” well sadly I have to say it back in my day, or even your day in the late 80’s 90’s and early 2000’s television shows for kids and teenagers were a lot better than the crap shown on television today. I look back at my childhood fondly and although a portion of it was in front of the television I am still happy enough to say that I enjoyed a lot of the shows that I watched. So thank you 90’s for having fantastic content, now I invite you to reminisce about some of your favorite shows you saw as a kid.
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