And now for some hidden gems from our childhood – here are 10 random TV shows I enjoyed growing up.
We all have those popular shows that we have fond memories of. I recently saw a topic which resurfaced the other day about the restoration of a classic Australian morning TV show known as Cheez TV. Anyone remember that one? It had like 3 or 4 of the best shows that all the kids were watching, and then in between the gaps and the ads they would do some cool segments about outdoor adventures or new video games or little sketches. It was a great time and one of the most popular shows here in Aussie Land, and the reason many kids were late for school some mornings.
But then I think of some of those other TV shows I watched growing up that weren’t as commonly appreciated. Sure, there were those super popular shows I enjoyed like Dragon Ball Z, Dexter’s Laboratory, Spongebob and even Veggie Tales. Growing up I had a mix of Free to Air TV (in Brisbane, Australia – woohoo!) and eventually we made the upgrade to Foxtel (cable provider in Australia). As a result, at a whole bunch of different ages, I got to enjoy a whole range of different shows.
So here we go – a trip through my youth. This isn’t a definitive list, this is just 10 shows I can think of off the top of my head that I remember enjoying. There were plenty more. For this list I thought I’d go down the path of the shows that weren’t watched by as many people, even though most of them had a decent measure of popularity, otherwise this list would look like pretty much every other one of its kind. So here we go – 10 random TV shows I enjoyed growing up.
Power Rangers Zeo
Everyone remembers the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, right? Megazord, Thunderzord, Rita, Zed, Ivan Ooze… I don’t even have to look them up to instantly recall them in memory. I had all the action figures and remember playing Power Rangers type games with my friends at school in Grade 1 and 2 (definitely not good when someone actually hits someone else though – oops).
But then the next series of it came out – Power Rangers Zeo. For some reason I remember less people liking this one. I dunno why. I liked the machines they got to ride in, the fighting was cool, and I seem to remember the Gold Ranger being the greatest thing a child has ever seen. Anyone else wish this one got some more love?
For those who haven’t seen it before, it’s Power Rangers. Every version of it is pretty much the same. 5-6 teenagers played by actors in their 30s who are also martial artists pulling off cool stunts and overcoming over-the-top villains who keep attacking their city for some reason. Fox Kids played this one all the time. RIP, old friend (Fox Kids).
This was the Japanese Godzilla movies, redone for kids.
I wanted to give a shoutout to one of the shows I watched on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, that is) during that morning timeslot that they played kids shows on the days you were sick at home and couldn’t go to school. It was the land of the educational TV show. You missed school, so they may as well make sure you’re still being taught something.
I couldn’t find a screenshot from this one, but this show was awesome. I remember it being about all the cool things that exist in the direction of “up”, whether that be in the weather or out in outer space. I just really remember that jingle… Look Up! Astronomy! Look Up! Space!
Haven’t seen this one in years or remember too much more in detail about it, but it stuck with me as one of the educational shows that was actually really good.
Sale Of The Century
Here’s one from good ol’ Channel Nine. Sale of the Century. Anyone remember this one? I remember this one and Burgo’s Catch Phrase as the game shows I really liked. But Sale was cool because the questions were interesting and the prizes and bonus rounds were really cool.
Unfortunately looking it up now you see the show was bathed in controversy, but my very young mind couldn’t comprehend that. What I do remember are the different suits of cards and lots of cool holidays being given away.
Now it’s getting real.
This one is a bit of a cheat, cause this one was on Channel Seven, and it was actually made up of several different shows. It was very similar to Cheez TV, only it happened on the weekend, and only featured Disney shows. I remember a lot of Darkwing Duck, and a lot of the Aladdin TV series during this block.
To be honest, I still watch this one.
One of my most memorable experiences with Nickelodeon, Invader Zim was and still is blisteringly funny. The characters were brilliant, the writing was sharp and witty, and the voice acting was hilarious. It was all about an alien race who sends out emissaries across the universe to conquer different planets, and as a joke, they send a reject of their race to Planet Earth. They give him an idiot robot named GIR who is constantly doing exactly the wrong thing, he goes to a school where no one knows or cares that he’s trying to take over Earth, and he has one student who knows who he really is but who is never competent enough to actually stop him. This one wasn’t massively popular but it would be one of those “cult following” type shows. Check it out if you haven’t, you won’t regret it.
Backseat Drivers From Beyond The Stars is still an excellent laugh, every single time.
Here’s one not many people would know. Found this one on Nickelodeon and I remember trying to watch it every night it was on. It’s a YTV sitcom about 5 teenagers who host a radio program in their school. It has all the common storylines and tropes of most sitcoms aimed at teens, but one of the actors, Vik Sahay, who plays the jock character Kevin, was such an overacting master of comedic timing that I tried to watch any episode he was in. I stumbled upon an old episode of Radioactive on YouTube the other day and Kevin still makes me laugh with almost everything he does. Greatness.
This was one I picked up as I started to hit the 14-15 years old mark. Cartoon Network’s late night anime section. It hosted a bunch of different shows and was on from about 9:30pm-10:30pm on certain nights, and was an awesome self-imposed reward for getting all my homework done. The shows I definitely remember from Toonami were Gundam Wing, Dragon Ball, Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny. They had some other shows, but these were the ones I loved.
Although not super popular at the start, I think Toonami is one of the big reasons why anime became so massive in the West as it is today. Cartoons exploring more mature themes around war, motives and friendships? Giant fighting robots in space with massive lasers acting initially as nuclear deterrents? Prince Vegeta amping up to fight the Androids? Sign me up.
Here’s one out of left field. I grew up in church, and we had a whole bunch of Christian themed TV shows that we would either own or watch on Sunday nights at church – Veggie Tales, McGee and Me, Adventures in Odyssey. Definitely on the lower end of the quality spectrum, but these shows were still pretty cool to me.
Superkid Academy was a show like that. I guess you would say this one was more like a mini-series, or a series of movies, but I guess it would still fall under the classification of a TV show. In particular, The Sword and Judgment were two episodes that explored very real issues of faith and choice that younger (and older) people struggle with, and did so with some memorable songs and even some emotional moments, especially for their target audience. Even today when I think of identity, my key thought on it I still hear in my head as a line from one of their songs – “Anointed, appointed, called, chosen”.
Law and Order: Criminal Intent
Here’s another one I started enjoying around that 14-15 years old mark, I think on Channel Ten and Fox 8 or TV1. Detective Goren and his psychological mind games interoggating crazy police suspects. This show was definitely less about the action and more about the thriller elements – how he would manipulate the suspect into revealing the truth, how they’d piece the evidence together, and even when they got it wrong.
And one from the Disney Channel. Everyone knows Shia LaBeouf from Transformers and I, Robot, but I remember him from this little known show on the Disney Channel which was hilarious. It follows some simple kids and their dysfunctional adventures through their teens – friendships, girls, boys, getting sick, dealing with your parents – all told in such a truly hilarious way. Out of all the shows of its type I remember watching as a kid, I remember this one actually making me laugh.
So there are some hidden gems of my childhood and youth. I think one of the most powerful ways to get to know someone is to simply find out what shows they grew up with. For better or worse, small or large, all these shows have reasons they’ve stayed with us, and can often reveal some interesting details about us. Have you seen any of these shows? What were some of the random shows you guys enjoyed growing up?