10 Live Nickelodeon Shows That Will Make You Nostalgic
It’s perhaps the number one kids’ network in the world, dominating the airwaves with some of the best TV shows of the past thirty years. But if anyone thinks Nicktoons are all Nickelodeon‘s got, think again. Nick has created some of the best live-action shows for kids, all of which discuss the trials and tribulations of being a kid or a teenager in the adult world.
They range from clunky and over the top to grounded and relatable. Their characters remained in the public’s mind for many years after they went off the air, and are embedded with those who grew up with them.
Big time Rush (2009-2013)
This one might be one of the channel’s most underrated series. Still, it has a strong cult following that is well worth it for any Nickelodeon fan. 4 Minnesota hockey players are chosen by loudmouthed mega-producer Gustavo Roque to become his next big boy band.
Together they navigate fame, friendship and goofy hijinks as they become LA’s hottest new boy band. The band Big Time Rush already had great music, while the show Big time Rush had a very quirky sense of humor and memorable characters.
The series that crossed over Fame with saved by the bell, Victorious takes place at Hollywood Arts High School in Los Angeles. The series follows teenage singer Tori Vega navigating the Hollywood Arts with the help of her talented friends; musician Andre, ventriloquist Robbie, sarcastic Jade, childish Cat, sweet Beck and her bratty sister Trina.
What separated Tori from the typical Nick protagonist was that she was more willing to break a few rules to get what she wanted – whether her friends liked her or not. Still, she found a way to make it shine more often than not.
Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide (2004-2007)
Are you struggling to pass college? Do bullies, evil teachers and gross food get you down? Afraid there’s no way to survive it all? Well, fear no more, because Ned Bigby creates the ultimate school survival guide. Each episode revolved around a specific theme covered in Ned’s book, such as detention, career week, bad hair days, etc.
These topics were linked and demonstrated not only with Ned’s experiments, but also with his best friends – tomboyish Moze and nerdy Cookie. With silly Janitor Gordy and intense Vice-Principal Crubbs, college has never been so crazy.
Zoe 101 (2005-2008)
It’s become one of Nickelodeon’s most notorious shows with a star-studded cast and memorable romantic storylines. Zoey Brooks and her younger brother Dustin attend Pacific Coast Academy and manage life with their wide assortment of friends; Athlete and flautist Michael, silly but kind Nicole, self-centered Logan, eccentric intellectual Quinn, budding movie star Lola and of course, Zoey’s best friend and secret admirer, Chase.
This series navigated a boarding school alive with teenage drama and romance as these characters became more than just friends to one another.
Drake and Josh (2004-2007)
2 half-brothers and their wacky misadventures surviving the world around them and each other. Drake Parker is a cool, guitar-playing womanizer, with a calm, laid-back demeanor. Josh Nichols is clumsy, anxious and unlucky, often becoming hyperactive under pressure.
They live in San Diego with their loving but gullible parents and evil sister-in-law Megan, while hanging out with their friends Crazy Steve, Gavin, and nerdy duo Craig and Eric. Not all episodes ended with their goals being achieved, but they grew closer as brothers at the end of the day.
All that (1994-2000)
A children’s comedy classic that can be considered Nickelodeon’s answer to Saturday Night Live – a series of skits performed by a set of talented and exchanged children, including names such as Amanda Bynes, Gabriel Iglesiasand Kenan Thompson. Some of the best characters included the ruthlessly loud librarian, delusional detective Dan, and his most popular character – Ed, Good Burger’s incompetent catering attendant.
The series was so popular that it finally got a revival starting in 2019, proving that true sketch comedy isn’t just for grown-ups anymore.
While the Paramount+ revival turned out to be a surprise hit, the original is the real gem. Operating out of an apartment building in Seattle, Carly Shay and her delinquent best friend Sam Puckett decide to create a web show called iCarly. They dedicate said show to any random topic, from bras telling ghost stories to cooking hot dogs on burning shoes.
With the help of tech guru Freddie, Carly’s sculpture-loving brother Spencer, and quirky classmate Gibby, they navigate the web show and typical teenage issues like boys, teachers and the wrath of occasional psychotic villains like Nevel and Nora.
Kenan and Kel (1996-2000)
Following their success on All that, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell have been paired up in this charming sitcom. Both play two teenagers named after themselves who survived high school in suburban Chicago.
Kenan is mischievous, intelligent, and irresponsible, always seeking to avoid trials and tribulations with his parents, boss, and other adults in his life. Kel is carefree but rather silly, accident-prone and often unwittingly foils his best friend’s plans. Before Drake and Josh, these two caused diversions as Nickelodeon’s first dynamic duo.
Are you scared of the dark? (1992-1996)
Submitted for Nickelodeon’s endorsement is this classic horror anthology. Are you scared of the dark was a scary sight in the same vein as Goose bumps and The twilight zone, and their influence is felt everywhere. It’s often gone to surprisingly dark places for a children’s series, getting very creative and genuinely scary, even for many adults.
All brought together by a group of kids around a campfire calling themselves the Midnight Society, with each member telling spooky tales of werewolves, pool zombies, ghosts, monstrous clowns, and more.
The Adventures of Pete and Pete (1991-1996)
Two brothers of the same name. The strongest man in the world. A tattoo named Petunia. And a mom with a plate in her head. Put them together and you have a true 90s classic.
Pete and Pete’s adventures combined bittersweet nostalgia with a heightened sense of childlike reality. Ice cream truck drivers herald the changing seasons, whole cars can be buried in the sand at the beach, and bullies are just real demons. A vision of childhood too real but far too stupid to be.
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