What You Watched On Disney Channel Then Vs. What Kids Are Watching Now
The good 'ol Disney days that '90s kids love and know will never truly be duplicated. With shows like That's So Raven and Kim Possible to movies like Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century and Halloweentown, Disney Channel always had a knack for stretching viewers' imaginations and giving them some warm and fuzzy feels along the way. The good news is that hasn't really changed much. But with time, the audience grew and the shows changed with it.
Tons of '90s kids look back at the series they fondly remember with happy memories. It was a simpler time back then. Special effects weren't great and animated alter egos were exciting. And between that generation and the current generation of shows were ones like Hannah Montana, Sonny With a Chance, Wizards of Waverly Place, Jessie, Austin & Ally, Liv and Maddie, and Shake It Up. At this point, '90s kids began to outgrow the Disney Channel and stars their age like Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, and Miley Cyrus rose to fame.
Now, the new kids are in town. With shows like Andi Mack and K.C. Undercover, it's clear that Disney hasn't lost its whimsical touch with many strong females as leads of its shows. Still, it'll never be the 90's or 2000's. Here's what the kids are catching on Disney these days.
I won't beat around the bush: Disney Channel Original Movies were iconic, and they will never be replaced nor replicated. From Halloweentown to Zenon and Life-Size to Brink!, DCOMs showcased a plethora of highly unrealistic scenarios, but filled with hope and badass chicks, nonetheless.
Lizzie McGuire (2001-2004)
I don't know what's more of the mood: Lizzie McGuire (Hillary Duff) and her teen angst or her kooky parents. I shamelessly loved watching Lizzie and her pals Gordo (Adam Lamberg) and Miranda (Lalaine) navigate the treacherous middle school halls — from bullies to cute boys — all while dealing with Lizzie's annoyance of a little brother. Ugh. It was all so relatable, as was her animated alter ego who would tell it how it is.
That's So Raven (2003-2007)
Raven Baxter is a one-of-a-kind chick. In this comedy, Raven-Symoné played a high school student who was also psychic and carried out wildly hilarious antics without giving one single damn. She had her family and two best friends Chelsea (Anneliese van der Pol) and Eddie (Orlando Brown) by her side, who all had brilliant comedic timing. Hopefully the upcoming spin-off Raven's Home will do the show justice.
Kim Possible (2002-2007)
Kim Possible was never shy of kicking some bad-guy butt. Disney's household name Christy Carlson Romano starred in the animated show that proved seemingly average high school cheerleaders can also save the world in their double life. The theme song "Call Me, Beep Me" by Christina Millian was classic in and of itself.
Even Stevens (2000-2003)
This show was for the kids who could never quite fit in, whether in school or at home. Louis Stevens (Shia LaBeouf) started trouble and shenanigans while trying to find his place and mess with his over-achieving sister Ren (Christy Carlson Romano). Louis was the black sheep who did is own thing and was totally entertaining along the way.
The Proud Family (2001-2005)
Going through junior high school can be a pain, and Penny Proud (Kyla Pratt) gets it. Amidst the chaos of being a teen, Penny also has her huge family and their crazy antics at home, in this show that portrayed the ups and downs of being around the people who know you best.
Girl Meets World (2014-2017)
After 10 years of watching Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) and Topanga Lawrence's (Danielle Fishel) romance blossom on Boy Meets World, fans watched their daughter Riley (Rowan Blanchard) go through teen life herself (with her dad as her teacher). While mostly dealing with themes of family and friends, many familiar faces came back in this nostalgic return which included a balance of comedic and heartfelt moments. Although the show was cancelled earlier this year, its loyal fanbase started hashtags like #GirlMeetsNetflix to keep the series going, and the show was generally well-received.
K.C. Undercover (2015-present)
This Zendaya-led show portrays a not-so-average teen who leads a double life. K.C. Cooper is pulled into a top-secret government organization of spies that her parents and siblings are a part of. Meanwhile, K.C. tries to keep her secret from her bestie. Think Kim Possible, but with up-to-date special effects.
Andi Mack (2017-present)
One of Disney's newest shows sticks to the network's theme of finding one's place in the world. But in Andi Mack's case, she's finding her place in her own family. Just before Andi turns 13, her "older, cooler" sister Bex returns from a trip abroad when Andi learns Bex is actually her mother and Celia (who she thought was her mom) is her grandmother. The heartfelt show portrays three generations of strong, Asian-American women who discover their identity while also sticking together.
Another one of Disney's latest shows portrays a theme '90s kids may be unfamiliar with on TV: online vlogging. The show's theme song is "Let's Go Make Some Videos" as the series tells the story of two best friends who create online videos and fight their way to be at the top of the blogger totem pole and become online celebrities. The times, they're a-changin'.
A spin-off of an earlier Disney show Jessie, New York-bred Ross kids (who Jessie used to nanny), are thrown into nature as campers and counselors of a summer camp. Bug Juice will always have a special place in '90s kids' hearts when it comes to summer camp stories, but this one isn't too far off.
Best Friends Whenever (2015-present)
Things get especially loony in this fantasy-comedy about two teens who time travel, both intentionally and unintentionally, after a science project goes south. The girls use their new ability to learn about teen life, fix mistakes of the past, and even glimpse into the future for kicks. Sounds ideal if I'm being honest.
Things may have changed from the TV shows I remember as a kid, but Disney's heart and wild imagination seem to have remained the same.