This coming September, colleges will see an influx of new freshmen who were born in the early 2000s. At the same time, even the youngest ’90s kids have entered adulthood. This means that college will no longer be full of young people who remember Y2K, Furbies or their first Tamagotchi pet.
It also means that the wide variety of wonderful kids’ shows from the ’90s and early 2000s has more or less left the collective memory of teenage Americans.
Most of the 18-year-olds who enter college this year probably knew what an iPad was by the time they were in fourth grade, but they’ve probably never seen “Rugrats,” or “Hey Arnold!” or any of the other kids’ shows that their older siblings loved.
As a ’90s kid myself, I might have some bias; still, kids’ television shows are not what they used to be. Where “That’s So Raven” and “Even Stevens” used their 30 minutes of airtime to teach the audience lessons about life, newer shows like Bunk’d and “Bizaardvark” just don’t have the same influence.
With the contrast between the old shows and the new ones, it’s no wonder that so many ’90s kids are nostalgic for their childhood. And it’s hard to understand why most of those shows aren’t available on most streaming sites on Netflix.
If you’re nostalgic for the days when you used to watch Nicktoons on Saturday morning while you had your sugary cereal and apple juice, here are some ’90s kids’s shows that will remind you of the good old days. Too bad you probably won’t be able to find them on Netflix.
The cartoon was about a bunch of baby friends who went on adventures together. As kids, we saw the big, wide world as toddlers experienced it, through their eyes and as young children experience it.
In “Rugrats” the entire world was Tommy Pickles’s backyard; their main problems were finding out when nap time was and where they could find snacks. It might seem silly, but for a lot of kids it was the ultimate nostalgia.
“Hey Arnold!” (1996-2004)
The infamous cartoon about the boy with the football head was about the life of a fourth-grader who lived with his grandparents in the city of Hillwood. The show focused on his adventures of Arnold and his eccentric classmates, including his best friend Gerald, who knew everything about urban legends in the city, and Helga Pataki, a bully who was secretly in love with Arnold.
“Jimmy Neutron” (2002-2006)
Jimmy was the boy genius who could solve any problem with a brain blast. Along with his trusty robot-dog, Goddard, and his best friends Sheen and Carl, Jimmy was constantly exploring and inventing new things. Sometimes his inventions put the world around him in danger, but Jimmy and his friends would always be able to solve the problem by the end of the episode.
“The Wild Thornberrys” (1998-2004)
Eliza Thornberry and her family explored the world to research animals and the habitats. While the family did their research and travelled all around in their recreational vehicle, Eliza had a secret; she was able to speak to animals.
“Rocket Power” (1999-2004)
The show surfed its way into the audience’s heart with a bunch of cool kids who spent their days riding skate boards and waves while occasionally grabbing burgers at their dad’s burger bar. Otto, Reggie, Twister and Sam were always up for any adventure thrown their way, living a life ’90s kids could only dream of.
“Drake and Josh” (2004-2007)
These stepbrothers were forced to live together when their parents decided to get married. Even though they didn’t always get along, they learned a lesson in each episode which would bring them together as brothers — even if their evil little sister Megan got in the way.
“Kim Possible” (2002-2007)
Kim was a high school cheerleader living a double life who was out to save the world. Every time she heard her call, she was out of cheerleading practice and off to save the world or Bueno Nacho with Ron Stoppable. The duo was the only thing standing in the way of the crumbling of the world from all the villains trying to take it.
“That’s So Raven” (2003-2007)
Raven was a teenage girl with the ability to see into the future. With her best friends Chelsea and Eddie, Raven used her power to stop the unfortunate events where she could in order to change life’s little outcomes. The show tackled topics like race and body image issues, and Raven taught kids that the future could always be changed.
“Lizzie McGuire” (2001-2004)
Lizzie was just your average girl living an average life in high school. She had friends and the occasional frienemy that made school and life interesting. Unlike most teenagers, though, she also had a cartoon version of herself who narrated all her unspoken thoughts.
“The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” (2005-2008)
Twins Zack and Cody lived in the Tipton Hotel with their mother. With help from their friends Maddie, who worked at the hotel, and London, the hotel owner’s spoiled daughter, the kids got into all sorts of trouble under the manager Mr. Mosby’s nose.
“Wizards of Waverly Place” (2007-2012)
The magical TV show starred a family of wizards who owned a sandwich shop in New York City. Alex, Justin and Max worked together in the family shop while also training their magical powers and competing to see who would be the family wizard. They would always use their magic to solve problems in their family or in school, leading to all sorts of bizarre mishaps as they tried to hide their powers from their classmates.
“Hannah Montana” (2006-2011)
“Hannah Montana” was about a girl who lived a double life as a pop star. Hannah had a concert in every episode. Meanwhile, Miley, Hannah Montana’s everyday self, struggled with the challenges of keeping her alter ego a secret, along with the normal trials of being a teenage girl.
Netflix has always prided themselves on their wide variety of everyday TV shows; even kids’s shows from later in the 2000s are streaming on Netflix, along with kids’s shows which are on television right now.
However, they’re lacking in shows from the era of the ’90s kids. If you search for “Rugrats” or “Drake and Josh” on Netflix, you might get some related searches, but you probably won’t find what you were looking for. In addition, while Netflix doesn’t have many shows from the ’90s, neither do most other popular streaming websites like Hulu or Showtime.
In an age where you can find nearly any TV show on the internet, current or otherwise, it’s hard to see why ’90s kids shows wouldn’t be readily available. Possibly it’s because sites like Netflix believe that those shows have aged out and that they wouldn’t be as popular with the children growing up today.
However, with that assumption, they’re missing a significant market for those shows: nostalgic young adults from the ’90s.
Everyone misses the good old days of childhood, when all that mattered were whether or not it was nice enough to play outside and what flavor popsicle you would get after riding your bike around the block all day. And cartoons, of course. For a kid growing up in the ’90s, cartoons were a huge part of life.
We might not be able to spend our summer days and Saturdays playing kickball and jumping on trampolines anymore. Still, it would be wonderful to relive our childhood by watching Nickelodeon and Disney Channel reruns on Netflix — if only they were on there.