10 1990’s Children’s Televsion’s Shows You May have Forgotten About
Saturdays mornings where the best time of the week. You had that feeling that the weekend would never end and you were miles and miles away from going back into one of those “forced child education establishments.” My Saturday mornings consisted of getting up mega early, “stupid o’clock” as my mum used to call it. Sneaking my way like a herd of water buffalo in mating season into my living room to sit in the dark just under one and a half feet away from the television screen, crossed legged and feeling comfortable in the butt groove I had been carving out of the floor over the last couple of years. Truly magical times full of wonder, whimsy and being completely ignored by my parents. Saturday mornings where something special.
Back then my television palette was immature and I would literally watch any old rubbish from any corner of the world just so long as it had bright colours and a few robots getting punched in the face. I was far from the (ahem) aficionado that I am now.
We decided to dig deep into the recesses of our mind to find you some of the television shows you might have blocked out from your otherwise blissful childhood. We’ve also stuck in a couple of our favourites for your internet trashing pleasure.
The “Earthworm Jim” cartoon series was short lived, too short if you ask me. It looked great, it was absurd and it was hilarious. It only ran for two seasons and produced a measly twenty three episodes but they were pure quality from beginning to end.
The cartoon series came out a year after the game did in 1995 and has boasts some tremendous voice talents in the likes of Dan Castellaneta who played Jim, he is also the voice of loveable slob Homer Simpson. Jeff Bennett who played “Peter Puppy” also became the voice of “Johnny Bravo” and Kath Souice as “Princes What’s Her Name” who was also Lil from “Rugrats.”
I can’t think of anything not to like about this mish mash of insanity. It was heavily stylised just like the game and had some of the strangest but bestest characters I can remember such as Professor Monkey for a Head, Queen Slug for a Butt, Evil the Cat, Bob the Killer Goldfish and Psy Crow.
How could it get any better. Well let me tell you. The theme song was awesome (and I don’t use that word much.) There used to be a rumour at my school that the song was sang by Weird Al Yankovic but it was actually written and performed by William Kevin Anderson who has also worked on My Little Pony and Biker Mice From Mars (more on them later.)
Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Menace
“Bucky O’Hare and the Toad Menace” (or The Toad Wars as it was known in America) debuted on our television sets in 1991 but Captain O’Hare had been around for a lot longer than that. He made his first appearance in the Continuity Comics “Echoes of Future Past #1” in May of 1984.
The television show was so popular it spawned two videos game and a series of action figures. I owned Bucky O’Hare, Dead Eye Duck and a disfigured Toad Borg because my friends dog chewed the arm off it. Needless to say we are no longer friends and his dog has long since passed. My only regret is the fact that it never apologised to me.
“Eerie Indiana” was my precursor to “The Twilight Zone” and “Tales From the Crypt Keeper.” It started in 1991 and for the life of me I can’t figure out why it only ran for one season.
The show follows Marshall Teller (Omar Katz who was also Max in “Hocus Pocus”) when he moves to the small town of Eerie in Indiana, explains where the got the name from. Eerie is a small backwater town with a population of 16,661 which includes Elvis Presley and a pair of twins that sleep in Tupperware boxes to keep themselves young.
Every episode told a new tale of something weird that was going down in Eerie. The show enjoyed a brief second wind which inspired a revamp called “Eerie Indiana: The Other Dimension” but as with its predecessor it only lasted one series.
Alex Hirsch the creator of “Gravity Falls” has said that Eerie Indiana was one of the main influences of his show.
Samurai Pizza Cats
“The Samurai Pizza Cats” was an American version of an anime series called “Kyatto Ninden Teyandee” (Cat Ninja Legend Teyandee) the Japanese version first aired on Tokyo TV. Rumour has it that the team behind “Kyatto Ninden Teyandee,” Tatsunoko Productions and Sotsu Agency hid the original scripts to force Saban (the company behind the English speaking version) to rewrite the dialogue rather than create a carbon copy. However the Japanese production team believe that the English version actually turned out better than the original. The show ran in America and Canada in 1993 for fifty four Episodes. It’s made its way to the UK sometime after where I devoured it at sporadic times on Channel 4.
The “Samurai Pizza Cats” work in a pizza joint by day and are ninja warriors by night which to be fair sounds like the perfect job depending on what the holiday time you get and if there is any pension plans available.
“Samurai Pizza Cats” was ridiculous, over the top and chaotic which quickly made the television show a cult favourite.
Biker Mice From Mars
Back in the 1990s we seen loads of cliche television programs trying to pick up from where the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (or Hero Turtles depending on where you live) left off. When I was younger that’s what the “Biker Mice From Mars” felt like for me but it actually goes a little deeper than that.
We all know that Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello all sprang to life from a comic book but Throttle, Modo and Vinnie had quite a big comic influence too.
The first season was actually made by Marvel Production and in actual fact the legend that is Stan Lee had and executive producer credit on the show. It’s amazing the things you miss when you’re a kid stuffing his face with sugary breakfast cereal.
The series which was about three Biker Mice from the planet Mars (believe it if not) that had to flee their home planet because their species was wiped out by the Plutarkians. They made their way to earth but find that the Plutarkians are already here planning to ransack us of all the natural resources and send them back to their dying home planet.
Sound complicated. Well it was but it was also incredibly satisfying.
Round the Twist
“Round the Twist” first aired in Australia on the 3rd of April 1989 but it never made its way to the UK until the 6th of April 1990 so I’ve managed to squeeze this one in by the skin of its teeth and I dont care what you say!
The series followed the Twist family who move into an old lighthouse only to find out that it is haunted. The show spawned only four seasons over the course of eleven years. Season one and season two aired in 1990 and 1993 while after a seven year break the show started again but this time with a lot of the cast being replaced.
Round the Twist was in the same vein as Eerie Indiana. It was a different story every episode and the first two seasons were all based on the fantasy stories of author Paul Jennings.
The Pirates of Dark Water
“The Pirates of Dark Water” aired from 1991 to 1993. It was another short lived children’s television series. Television shows never really got the opportunity to run for multiple seasons back then which could be attributed to the amount of E Numbers, sugar and mind rotting advertisements the average 90s kid consumed left them with the attention span of a carrot.
The alien world of “Mer” is being consumed by something known only as “Dark Water.” It’s up to our hero Ren to save the day and collect the thirteen treasures needed to rid his home word of this plague. Did he do it? We will never know because the powers that be cancelled the series after Ren had gathered only eight of them. The sad thing is that this was just a precursor to adult life when the men is suits would cancel gems like My Name is Earl and Firefly before reach their logical conclusion! The morons!
On another let it started the voice talents of Tim Curry as Konk.
Who said education and entertainment can’t go hand in hand. Edutainment as marketing professionals call it.
“Captain Planet he’s our hero going to take pollution down to Zero!” Echoed through my playground as we argued over who got to be who.
The earth is in peril due to ignorance and pollution. Five teenagers from around the globe are given special rings with the power of earth, wind, fire, water and heart to protect the globe but when combined they can summon the courageous Captain Planet to save the day. It was safe to say no one wanted the power of “heart.” What does that even mean? If you have the choice between shooting fire or shooting heart then choose fire folks.
Captain Planet ran from 1990-1996 spawning six seasons and one hundred and thirteen episodes. It was a total minefield of a program dishing out storylines about pollution, drugs and AIDS. There is also the little known episode where “The Planeteers” travel to Belfast to stop a nuclear bomb being set off in either a Catholic and Protestant neighbourhood (you’ll see what I mean in the video below.) You can see IRA and UDF Graffiti on the walls and it is truly is mind boggling.
Believe it or not Tom Cruise was originally going to be the voice of Captain Planet but he pulled out suddenly for unknown reasons. Probably for the best to be fair.
The Toxic Crusaders
Firstly if you haven’t seen “The Toxic Avenger” then you need to rectify that situation right now. It is a B Movie masterpiece but its is also pretty violent. A young man named Melvin who is a mop boy at a Tromaville gym is bullied relentlessly, until one day he ends up in a conveniently placed barrel of toxic waste transforming him into “The Toxic Avenger.” There is a point in this film where a baby has a shotgun pointed directly into its face, not by our hero Toxie of course but still some of the scenes are pretty grim which is why someone in their infinite wisdom decided that “The Toxic Avenger” would make a perfect adaptation for a Saturday morning kids television show.
The cartoon series follows the plot of the films and sequels to a tea (within reason no shotgun/baby scenes in this one) but Toxie is joined by a gang of rag tag mutants. No Zone has the power of radioactive sneezes. Major Disaster can control plants a bit like Gotham’s Poison Ivy, Head Banger is a hybrid of two people Fender and Dr Bender based on a characters from the film “Tromas War” and Junkyard Dog is a hobo/dog hybrid. Together they form “The Toxic Avengers” who plan to rid the world of the evil alien Dr Killemoff and his love for polluting the planet.
The Warner Brothers cartoon game was on point back in the 1990s (look at me using snapchat speak.) WB were churning out gems like The Animaniacs, Freakazoid, Pinky and the Brain and even Batman. The animation looked amazing, there was enough jokes and Easter eggs hidden in there for children and their parents and the voice talent they had on offer was stupendous. I mean Mark Hamill as the Joker and Kevin Conroy as Batman. To this day when I read Batman comics it’s their voices I hear in my head, but I digress.
One of the gems that Warner Brother put out in the 1990s was “Taz Mania.” The show followed much beloved whirlwind Taz and his family, friends and enemies. His dad was an obvious play of Bing Crosby although this was lost on me at the time. It wasn’t deep and meaningful with a message like some of the television shows on this list. There wasn’t and long running story arch where characters evolved and ran with storylines which spanned multiple episodes. It was just a cartoon which made me and my family laugh and at the end of the day that’s what a good cartoon should do. “Taz Mania” ran from 1991-1993, spanned four seasons and left us with 65 episodes which I can share with my children.