The top 10 TV kids shows of our generation

Quinn Dekker, Staff writer

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Many of you are probably familiar with the term 90s kid — a generation born in a time full of colorful clothes, old Nickelodeon cartoons, and Pokemon. It is great that 90s kids have so much pride in their generation, but the trends in the next generation deserve some attention too.

The 2000s kids (born 2000-2009) should be remembered for getting exposed to the internet through Webkinz, sporting up to 20 Silly Bands at a time and knowing the best meals are served on Zoo Pal plates.

This list will be counting down the top TV shows for kids born in the 2000s decade, be completely based on my opinion, and will only be including shows which I have seen enough that I feel I can rank them accurately, which for the most part is all of Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel from 2006-2018 (sorry Cartoon Network fans). Nostalgia will be taken into account, but I will also be considering how well these shows hold up today.

10: ANT Farm: ANT Farm is a decent show, but it suffers from the same major weakness that several other entries on this list have. All Disney Channel live-action shows are pretty much the same. A group of diverse kids/teens dealing with stereotypical high school troubles, the jokes are terrible, the laugh track is overused and one of the characters can sing. The only difference between the Disney shows is one gimmick which the show is based. What I think makes ANT Farm better enough than the average Disney show to earn a spot on this list is that the gimmick of a group of kids going to high school early due to their Advanced Natural Talents (ANT) is open-ended enough that the show is mainly based around the characters. The show has a large number of side characters and I found Lexi, Paisley, and Cameron particularly funny.

9: Big Time Rush: Big Time Rush is not the funniest show, and it does not have the most intriguing plot or the most relatable characters. What Big Time Rush does have is its own style. It is one of the few children’s sitcoms not to contain a laugh, and it is filled with sound effects that would normally only be put in cartoons. These changes give the show a distinct charm that goes well with the often over exaggerated plots. What this show lacks in some departments it makes up for in personality. Oh, and the theme song is pretty amazing too.

8: Wizards of Waverly Place: Wizards of Waverly Place is another formulaic Disney show. The gimmick this time around is based around a family of wizards. What sets this show apart from the other by-the-numbers Disney shows is Selena Gomez’s character, Alex Russo. This character ditches the typical diva highschooler trend in favor of a lazy, carefree and relatable high school teenager who doesn’t even sing. Gomez, along with the rest of the cast, worked pretty well together, and the show even featured some multiple-episode plot threads that viewers engaged.

7: Good Luck Charlie: Yet another live-action Disney show, Good Luck Charlie is a show that just focuses on a family, and it does that very well. The gimmick of Teddy making a video diary of life lessons for her little sister Charlie takes a back seat to build a strong character for each member of the Duncan family. The singing in this show feels a little forced, but they do not emphasize it too much. The standout character this time is Leigh-Allyn Baker’s Amy Duncan. This attention seeking, overly dramatic character ties the whole show together and provides good laughs for all ages.

6: The Suite Life of Zach and Cody: This is the last live-action show on this list, and it is truly the best. This has the best gimmick out of the Disney shows because the hotel setting consistently provides good storylines full of mayhem that really lets the Sprouse twins shine as Zach and Cody. The relationship between the boys and the hotel manager Mr. Moseby is some of the best chemistry Disney has had between characters in live action. The supporting cast also stands out, especially Brenda Song’s London Tipton.

5: Spongebob Squarepants: A lot of readers may be surprised that this did not get a better spot on the list, but despite this show’s unmistakable quality, I did not find it quite ambitious enough to give it a higher ranking. This is by far the most iconic show from this era. You can reference any moment from the first 3 seasons and chances are at least one person in the room will get it. The show excels in good laughs and well-developed characters. Squidward, in particular, has an arrogant yet deeply depressed personality, unlike any other cartoon character. This show is a master of using a simple concept to the greatest extent imaginable; unfortunately, that is also what holds this show back because the rest of these shows manage to achieve a similar level of quality while taking a greater risk. Not to mention the majority of the fanbase completely disregards everything after season 3.

4: Gravity Falls: What the Disney Channel lacks in the originality of their live-action TV shows, they make up for with their cartoons. Gravity Falls does a phenomenal job at mixing comedy with a good story. Especially compared to other Disney shows, all of the characters on Gravity Falls have  well-developed personalities that click with one another for great comedy that works on all ages. This show also has a lot of mystery elements. The viewer is constantly asking questions, and future plot points are constantly being teased. This show got me hooked with its comedy, and then kept me coming back after I had outgrown the Disney Channel to see how the story ended.

3: iCarly: iCarly is the first show on this list produced by Nickelodeon legend Dan Schneider. He has made many other shows on the network such as Drake and Josh, which was omitted from this list due to my not having seen much of the show. All of his shows have a distinct personality that is just flat out hilarious. iCarly focuses on 4 main characters (Carly, Sam, Freddie, and Spencer) starting an internet show together. Each of these characters is extremely well developed. iCarly, as well as other Dan Schneider shows, scraps the idea that kids shows should teach children lessons, so they can focus on comedy instead. Sam Pucket has to be the most ambitious kids show character ever. She is lazy, aggressive, and frequently beats people with a sock full of butter and rarely shows remorse. I knew several people at the time — myself included — who were banned from watching iCarly because Sam was such a terrible influence, but Nickelodeon did not care. All the main characters combine with the excellent visual and situational comedy to work together flawlessly and make a truly incredible show.

2: Phineas and Ferb: Every episode of Phineas and Ferb follows the same basic format. Phineas and Ferb build something, Perry the Platypus fights Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Candace tries to bust her brothers, a song in the middle, and Perry accidentally causes Doofenshmirtz’s invention to get rid of what Phineas and Ferb built before Candace can bust them. The show takes this basic formula and builds on it with every episode. This requires each episode to be extremely creative on how it goes about this formula. The show is filled to the brim with inside jokes and fourth wall breaks. The characters are very well developed, and Doofenshmirtz is a personal favorite. The jokes are hilarious for all ages and the soundtrack is the best out of all the Disney shows. The show creates its own world, but viewers can not help but love.

1: Victorious: This show does all the right things iCarly did on steroids. This show contains 6 main characters, and it is an absolute joy seeing them interact with each other. The characters are a bit more outlandish than on iCarly, but they each feel extremely unique, not just from each other but from all of television. The goofy but extremely hilarious Dan Schneider brand of comedy is stronger than ever in this show. My favorite episode is titled the Breakfast Bunch, a parody of the Breakfast Club. I loved this episode long before I ever saw the original movie, because of how much I loved seeing all these amazing characters do nothing but interact with each other in a room for 40 minutes. Although the premise of aspiring pop stars is heavily overused in children’s media, the music in this show is great and not just by child standards. I have watched reruns of this show with old friends, and each episode never ceases to make us crack up at the amazing humor and fond memories of watching this show as children.

 

1 Comment

One Response to “The top 10 TV kids shows of our generation”

  1. Ivy on January 23rd, 2019 11:23 am

    First of all, Quinn, you missed some of the best shows of our generation. Drake & Josh paved the way for Victorious, iCarly, and others. Ant Farm is the worst televised children’s program you could’ve added, and worst of all this is Rugrats and Hannah Montana erasure.

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