Before All That, there was its hyperactive step-cousin: Roundhouse. Debuting as part of the original Snick lineup in 1992, Nickelodeon clearly had high hopes for the sketch comedy series. The show was bizarre to say the least. Centering around the Anyfamily, the cast of teens and adults performed a series of sketches, musical numbers, and spontaneous dance-offs. All of this was performed in pretty much one take on a set that resembled an old, abandoned factory in front of a live audience. It was very difficult to follow what exactly was going on, ever. Despite this, it was all strangely amusing, and the clips are now an absolute goldmine for everything awesome about the ’90s.
12. The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo
Let’s make one thing clear now: Nancy Drew had nothing on Shelby Woo. This show centered around a teenage girl who works as an intern at a police department, and often gets her nose into some serious detective work. Though she never dabbled in homicide, she has successfully cracked cases in vandalism, poisoning, robbery, hit-and-runs, kidnappings, and arson. Pretty impressive, right? Well naturally the police don’t appreciate it at all because “she is only a teenager.” No respect. Oh, and did I mention that her grandfather is THE Mr. Miyagi?!
11. What Would You Do?
AKA Marc Summers’ mistress. This game show unfortunately always felt second fiddle to Double Dare. It was basically a half-hour of Marc Summers asking children to do whatever he wanted to see them do. Naturally, pies and slime were frequently involved. He would often go out on the streets, asking kids to put themselves in crazy, often uncomfortable situations. The studio audience then had to guess what the kid would do. Nobody would ever really win anything. Why? Because Marc Summers said so.
10. Welcome Freshmen
Very few recall the existence of this show, yet it ran for a healthy three seasons in the early ’90s. It started off as a series of loosely connected sketches all taking place in a high school. Sometime during the second season, the writers decided just to change the format to a standard sitcom, because they must have figured nobody would remember it anyway. It did have some pretty clever moments, mostly thanks to a time traveling teacher named Mr. History. Mr. History taught the audience tales of the high school’s past, all while sporting a pipe and a powerful mustache. Mr. History pretty much justified the existence of Welcome Freshmen.
9. The Journey of Allen Strange
Allen Strange is an alien who is stranded on Earth and adopted by a single dad and his two kids. Allen takes on a human form and has all sorts of zany quirks and powers, including the ability to read a book by simply placing his hand on it. He also has an odd fetish for canned cheese. All Allen wants to do is get back to his home planet, but he cannot. Presumably out of loneliness, Allen frequently brought a mannequin to life to be his “Earth father.” Bizarre? Yes, but not nearly as bizarre as…
8. Cousin Skeeter
Cousin Skeeter may very well be one of the most baffling Nick shows ever. It follows Bobby, a seemingly normal, chill kid whose life gets thrown upside down when his weird cousin, Skeeter, comes to live with his family. Skeeter is also a puppet. Nobody ever acknowledges this. EVER. If that wasn’t bizarre enough, Skeeter also speaks with the voice of Bill Bellamy and is apparently good pals with Michael Jordon and Dennis Rodman. One thing the show really had going for it was its oddly groovy theme song, performed by the completely forgotten R&B group 702.
7. My Brother And Me
Nobody ever seems to even vaguely remember this show. The show lasted only 13 episodes, but they were 13 glorious episodes. It centered around two brothers who just sort of lived life. The goofy best friend, aptly named Goo, mostly just stole the show and injected life into it. There weren’t really any quirks or outrageous situations. There was actually an entire episode centered around a bad haircut. Former Hornets starter Kendall Gill made an appearance once, and it was pretty memorable in that it was likely the first and only time most kids had heard of Kendall Gill.
6. Nick News
Hats off to you, Linda Ellerbee, for having the longest running show ever on Nickelodeon. It was no doubt a crushing disappointment for 95% of children in the ’90s whenever Nick News came on. For those who begrudgingly watched it though, it was actually quite informative. This show had/has (STILL on the air) balls like no other, tackling the toughest and most controversial of issues for kids. Who can forget the legendary Magic Johnson episode? The show also had a mega cool segment where kids would show off their awesome backyards, strictly to make viewers jealous. Linda Ellerbee, you are an icon, and I’m sorry I found you boring when I was a child.
Like Goosebumps, Animorphs was an extremely popular book series that kids collected more than they actually read. It made the inevitable jump to television series in the late ’90s, and no one seemed to care. The reasoning for this escapes me, the show was pretty kick-ass. Kids morphed into animals. What more do you want?? To be fair, the show was very sci-fi loaded, and often walked a fine line between corny and cool. Never forget: Before he was Iceman, Shawn Ashmore was and will always be Jake.
KaBlam! was truly the greatest (and only?) animated sketch comedy show ever. The show was hosted by Henry and June, who were either siblings or lovers. It is mainly remembered for the Action League Now! sketch. Action League Now! needs no explanation because everyone remembers The Flesh’s super naked body. It’s important, however, to remember the other memorable sketches, like Prometheus and Bob, which featured the genius pairing of a clueless caveman and an alien who tries to share his knowledge of ice skating and toilets. KaBlam! was basically just sugar in television form, and it was glorious.
3. Nick Arcade
Coolest game show ever? Obviously. Nick Arcade had contestants answer trivia questions about video games, and if they were good enough they got to BE IN a video game. Like, physically run through a video game, Tron-style. This was absolutely mind-blowing in 1992. Phil Moore was the hilarious and possibly unqualified host, who mostly just said outrageous things and danced at inappropriate times. The show did not last long and was very much ahead of its time, but running through that virtual reality obstacle course still looks more fun than an Xbox Kinect ever will.
2. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
When it comes to ‘90’s Nicktoons, Aaahh!! Real Monsters always seems to be the one neglected from conversation. It follows three young monsters as they make their way through monster school, learning to scare humans effectively. You’re welcome, Pixar. The strict headmaster of the monster school is The Gromble, who is pretty much Tim Curry in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The show was often hilarious, a little scary, and frequently disgusting. It even had a Rugrats crossover episode! For whatever reason though, it just never seemed to stick as well as other Nicktoons did.
1. Space Cases
There can be no other #1. Space Cases was everything. Nobody seems to remember watching this show though. Nobody. It even had a slot in the coveted SNICK lineup! Space Cases followed the adventures of a bunch of kids from all different planets stranded in space on a ship, the only one from Earth being the Black Power Ranger. It was essentially Star Trek for kids (and even had a George Takei cameo). The story was so enriched in science fiction mythology that kids definitely had no idea what was going on, but that didn’t matter because it was super cool. There was also plenty of cheesy dialogue and really bad special effects to top it off. Despite all this, it has somehow been largely forgotten.