Ranking The Disney Channel Original Sitcoms Of The Late '90s and '00s

If you haven't turned on the Disney Channel in a few years, you may be very surprised at what you see. Long gone are the days of That's So Raven and Lizzie McGuire, but you may be surprised to find out that recent Disney Channel original series like Wizards of Waverly Place and Hannah Montana have been replaced by series like Girl Meets World and Liv and Maddie — seriously, who knew? Of course, just because Disney Channel shows were part of our past doesn't mean that they were all created equal — check out this ranking of the Disney Channel original series of the late '90s and '00s, from the duds to the greats.

Images: Disney Channel

by Kaitlin Reilly

#16: 'JONAS L.A.' (2008-2009)

The Jonas Brothers comedy was known simply as Jonas in the first season before creative changes brought the brothers to L.A. The show was a somewhat autobiographical series about the life of the boy band, and though the brothers tried their very, very hardest to act, they should have probably stuck to singing. If you’re craving some more Jonas action, tune into Married To Jonas on E! instead.

#15: 'Suite Life On Deck' (2008-2011)

This spinoff of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (which received a far higher place on this list) had a wacky premise, but that wasn’t enough to save the lackluster comedy. Instead of a calling the Tipton Hotel their home Zack (Dylan Sprouse) and Cody (Cole Sprouse) went to high school on a cruise ship — kind of like a semester at sea, but for high school students and forever. The Sprouse twins tried their best — as did the rest of the cast, which included original Suite Life actress Brenda Song as London Tipton — but ultimately the Suite Life on Deck sunk.

#14: 'Cory In The House' (2007-2008)

Yet another example why Disney Channel spinoffs just don’t work very well. This series, which starred Kyle Massey reprising his role as Cory on That’s So Raven, just wasn’t quite as fun as its predecessor, mainly because we were busy wondering just where the heck the rest of the Baxter family was.

#13: 'The Wizards of Waverly Place' (2007-2012)

This Disney Channel series was about three siblings who learn that they have magical powers and must learn how to use them responsibly, which of course they never do. Though it launched Selena Gomez’s career, the show never really had the spark of a Disney Channel classic. But maybe it was the terrible CGI that threw me off.

#12: 'Sonny With A Chance' (2009-2011)

The Demi Lovato vehicle was sort of like the 30 Rock of tween TV, though I mean that in the absolute lightest way possible. It starred Lovato as a midwestern teen named Sonny who gets the chance of a lifetime when she is picked to star on variety show So Random! '90s kids may have noted that the show was a wink to fans of Nickelodeon series All That — unusual, considering the fact that Sonny With A Chance was on a competing network. Lovato left the series in 2011 but the rest of the cast carried on with a series that depicted the actual variety show So Random! — unfortunately, that basically killed the clever concept.

#11: 'In A Heartbeat' (2000-2001)

Not exactly a sitcom, but an original Disney Channel series nonetheless. In A Heartbeat centered on the lives of high school EMTs (it’s apparently a thing?) who save lives while also dealing with common teenage issues. It was ambitious and a little darker than most Disney Channel series, which is probably why it didn’t last very long on the “the lighter the better” cable network. Had the show had time to find its footing, it may have ranked higher on the list — but as for now, it just feels like the weird step-cousin of these other shows.

#10: 'Good Luck Charlie' (2010-2014)

Good Luck Charlie was created as a series that entire families — not just children — could enjoy, which is probably why it’s the least exciting sitcom on this list. The Charlie in the title refers to the youngest daughter of the Duncan family, whom the eldest creates video diaries for. Though Good Luck Charlie is a perfectly cute family sitcom, it lacks the bite of other Disney Channel series — there’s simply not much to it other than cuteness, and it’s not enough to sustain its “meh” premise.

#9: 'Phil of the Future' (2004-2006)

The fish out of water story — about a family from the future — is cute, though upon re-watching (the entire series recently aired as a part of Disney Replay) you may find the jokes don’t hit quite as well as they did in the first place. What saves Phil of the Future from being a very average Back to the Future is the family’s daughter Pim (Amy Bruckner) who is quite possibly the most conniving and ruthless of any little brother or sister on a sitcom.

#8: 'Hannah Montana' (2006-2011)

You can make all of the “Hannah Montana’s dead” jokes you want (looking at you, Miley Cyrus) but let’s not forget that this show was a particularly clever tween sitcom. Cyrus and her pals, which included Young & Hungry star Emily Osment (above) were highly likable actors with great comedic timing — and the music didn’t suck, either. Of course, it wasn’t always perfect — I could have done without the whole “Brooke Shields as Miley’s dead mom” thing, especially considering that Cyrus’ own mother is alive and well — but it certainly had more pluses than minuses.

#7: 'The Suite Life of Zack & Cody' (2005-2008)

The far superior of the two Suite Life series was about Zack and Cody’s adventures living in the Tipton Hotel with their singer mother. It featured High School Musical alum Ashley Tisdale as candy clerk Maddie and Brenda Song as Paris Hilton parallel London Tipton. (You know, back when that was a relevant joke.) The Sprouse twins played a likable “odd couple” who just happened to share DNA and made us wish we could live in a hotel of our very own.

#6: 'The Jersey' (1999-2004)

This sports-centric series was based on the Monday Night Football books and was about a group of friends who find a jersey with magical powers. Anytime someone puts on the jersey, they were transported into body of a professional athlete, often just in time to teach them a life lesson. It featured many professional athletes as guest stars, which would probably be cooler for people who actually knew stuff about sports. I rank The Jersey highly on this list because I don’t care about sports in the slightest and still found the program thoroughly entertaining — yes, even the game sequences.

#5: 'Even Stevens' (2000-2003)

Even Stevens was a family sitcom that mostly focused on the relationship between Type A Ren (Christy Carlson Romano) and goofy Louis (Shia LaBeouf). The show depicted some of the problems that happen when you have two very different people living under the same roof — something that anyone with a college roommate will understand. The show was energetic and very funny, and though sometimes Louis’ actions did veer into obnoxious territory, it still deserves its high-ranking spot on this list for making us laugh out loud.

#4: 'That's So Raven' (2003-2007)

Raven (Raven-Symone) has psychic abilities that only further complicates her life, mainly because she has no idea how to not try and change the future. The talented comedian Symone makes the show, and the series gets points for including storylines about real world problems, like racism and bullying.

#3: 'So Weird' (1999-2001)

The short-lived series was basically The X Files for tweens, and it deserved a far longer life than it got on Disney Channel. The show was about a teenage girl who, while on tour with her musician mother, explores the supernatural in each new town they hit. It was creepy and surprisingly dark for a Disney Channel series and deserves to be looked back on as fondly as series like Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps.

#2: 'The Famous Jett Jackson' (1998-2001)

In this show-within-a-show, Jett Jackson (the sadly deceased Lee Thompson Young) is a TV action star who makes his series move to North Carolina so he can spend time with his friends and live a somewhat average life. The show was smartly written, using the fictional series Silverstone to parallel Jackson’s life offscreen. Perhaps the best part of the series were the guest stars, which included Britney Spears, Beyonce, and a yet-to-be-discovered Rachel McAdams.

#1: 'Lizzie McGuire'

If you didn’t consider Lizzie your spirit animal while watching Lizzie McGuire, than you were absolutely a Kate and I don’t know if I want to talk to you. The series, about a middle-of-the-road student navigating her middle school years, didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but likable characters, relatable story lines, and a particularly fun recurring cartoon sequence made the show the reason to tune into Disney Channel.