Those of us who were kids in the '90s were lucky to live in a plastic, colorful, playful world. There were the troll dolls, beanie babies, and of course, '90s children's shows. While I'm not really up on children's television these days, I feel in my heart that the '90s were a golden age of television. And there was a lot of it: I remember watching a lot of PBS while my friends and cousins spent a lot of their time on Nickelodeon. I also remember lots of colors, catchy theme songs, and wanting to one day be as cool as the kids on Rocket Power (this never happened).
There are the obscure shows that I don't really remember anyone watching, but then there are the ones that will make almost any '90s kid coo with affection and recognition. These shows were memorable for a variety of reasons: whether because they created a world we wanted to escape to, evoked warm fuzzies about friendship, family, and learning, or (in some cases) because they were just really weird. From the bizarre to the heartwarming, here are some of the best children's shows that we all watched in the '90s.
Maybe the most beloved '90s children's show (though it's still on air), Arthur always had a lot of heart. It might be the most recognizable because its excellent music, from the theme song to "Library Card," is still stuck in the head of every millennial.
2. The Big Comfy Couch
This strange Canadian show employed puppetry and clownery to teach lessons to preschoolers. The couch setting was comforting, as intended.
3. The Wild Thornberrys
I think this show really imparted a craving for nature and adventure to a lot of '90s kids. I was so jealous of their lives.
Many children's shows took place in the home or in fantasy worlds, so I liked that Recess centered on the many familiar scenarios of school, though it often heightened those scenarios into pleasantly surreal territory.
5. Sister, Sister
The show, aimed at a slightly older audience but definitely still a kid's show, had a great cast and felt more mature. I remember watching reruns on the Disney Channel.
The show did a great job teaching nature in a way that felt fun and inspiring, rather than boring.
7. Blue's Clues
The mysteries on the show were fun and easy to solve, and looking back, I think the collage effect was very artsy and innovative.
8. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
This animated show had a really cool, creepy aesthetic and was actually really clever. No wonder it still has an active following on the Internet.
Animaniacs felt like a classic cartoon, but not as lame or dated as others.
10. Rocket Power
OK, it's more of an early 2000s show, but it felt so cool when I was a kid.
Teletubbies were quickly made into a punchline for kids who were slightly too old for it, but I think it deserves appreciation for how truly weird it is.
12. Dragon Tales
I watched a lot of Dragon Tales as a child, even though I now realize I was too old for it. I liked the fantastical, escapist element (though I'm not sure what I was trying to escape from).
ZOOM was a remake of a '70s show that aired on PBS. Somehow, I thought it was cool, I think because it was interactive.
14. The Magic School Bus
I always loved when my teachers played episodes of The Magic School Bus in elementary school. It was educational programming, but it was always enjoyable to watch.
Doesn't listening to those old theme songs give you a pang of nostalgia? Whether or not those were the good ol' days, they certainly bring back memories.