Maybe it was because it replaced the beloved Melissa Joan Hart show Clarissa Explains It All, but somehow, The Secret World of Alex Mack has never received the level of love that many other '90s Nickelodeon shows have gotten over the years. While '90s kids didn't have all the Marvel films that exist today, we had Alex Mack and her superpowers. With a mix of normal kid drama, sci-fi elements, and conspiracy theories, The Secret World of Alex Mack is the '90s Nickelodeon TV show that deserves more respect than it gets.
Some TV shows for kids stay on past their prime, but not Alex Mack, which lasted just four seasons, thanks to its star Larisa Oleynik. According to the Huffington Post, Oleynik was offered to do a fifth season and even a movie, but the wise beyond her years actress turned it down not only for her own sake, but for Alex's. "For me, she was starting to grow up and that last season, she gets a boyfriend," Oleynik told the Huffington Post in 2012. "I don't know, there was something about it and I just kind of wanted to keep it innocent."
Because of Oleynik's decision, The Secret World of Alex Mack is perfect for nostalgia because it's exactly what you remembered it to be. Kids from the '90s don't have to worry that they'll look back on the show and realize there was a weird college season they forgot about or that Alex became a character they no longer recognized. When you rewatch old episodes, Alex is still that relatable girl who just happened to be involved in a chemical spill that gave her superpowers.
While The Secret World of Alex Mack has not been forgotten, it usually comes to mind after shows like Clarissa, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, and The Adventures of Pete & Pete, but I'm here to say that it should be included in that list. If you still aren't convinced that The Secret World of Alex Mack deserves your '90s kid love, here are a few other reasons to get you on board with this undervalued gem.
It Starred Larisa Oleynik
Larisa Oleynik owned the '90s — not only on TV, but in movies as well. She was Dawn in The Baby-Sitters Club, Shawn Hunter's girlfriend Dana on Boy Meets World, and — of course — Bianca in 10 Things I Hate About You. (Fun fact: She played Joseph Gordon-Levitt's girlfriend in 10 Things I Hate About You and on 3rd Rock from the Sun.) Since The Secret World of Alex Mack was only Oleynik's third professional acting credit, it's where her '90s glory began.
Reliving the awkward and wonderful '90s fashion is another reason to look back on shows from your childhood. While Alex may not have been the most stylish character overall, her absurd amount of hats made up for it. From baseball to bucket, she had them all. The costume designer for the show told Huffington Post that this was intentional to make Alex both hide and standout. Who knew the hats held such deep meaning!
Annie Was A Role Model
Alex's older sister Annie had a mean streak, but this super smart character was kind of a feminist icon for '90s girls when you look back on it. She was the brains behind the operation and she was proud of how intelligent she was.
Jessica Alba Was In It
Jessica Alba got her acting start as the mean girl Jessica, who bullied Alex at school in Season 1. Need I say more?
Those Sweet Special Effects
You have to admit, that no matter the quality of the special effects, you wanted to be able to move things with your mind and shoot electricity out of your fingers. While the morphing sequences are inevitably hokey, the effects they used to make Alex take back her normal form shockingly aren't that bad even today. Plus, The Secret World of Alex Mack made the idea of becoming a puddle of ooze appealing.
Alex Was Just A Regular Kid
At the end of the day, even after she got her powers, Alex was a girl who went to school, had good friends (shout-out to Ray with honorable mentions to Robyn and Nicole), and was close with her family. Although she was miraculously pretty chill with becoming a superhuman, Alex was just the type of person you could relate to growing up.
So next time you reflect on your favorite Nickelodeon show, don't forget about The Secret World of Alex Mack because she was a special type of superhero for '90s kids.