TV Shows That Defined My Childhood

It’s no secret that I absolutely love TV. I like watching it (obviously), analyzing it, listening to countless DVD audio commentaries, reading critic reviews, and discovering a new series to binge on. But, my love for TV is nothing new – I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember. Here are the 10 shows that defined my childhood.

Land of the Lost

This is not the Land of the Lost from the 70s, or the Will Ferrell movie from a few years ago. This series aired during the 90s (sadly for only 1 season), and my dad and I would watch it together every Saturday morning. This show made me want a dinosaur playmate so badly, and had me daydreaming about being transported to the land of “triple moons”.

All That

All That was pretty much SNL for kids, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I’d be lying if I said I never used the line, “Ask Ashley, thaaaaat’s me!”. Oh Amanda Bynes, why’d you have to go crazy?

Figure It Out

Figure It Out was kind of like Wheel of Fortune, but instead of guessing Before and After phrases, the panel guessed crazy things that contestants could do, and slime was involved. I totally wanted to go on the show to have the panel try to guess my double jointed finger tricks, but it never happened.

Boy Meets World

How could I not include Boy Meets World in this list? I used to watch it during the TGIF lineup, and then eventually, I would watch the reruns every day after school. I wanted a love like Cory and Topanga’s (but I think I got a better one, since TJ never kissed a girl at a ski lodge), I wanted a teacher like Mr. Feeny, and I definitely still hold the horror/school murder episode as one of my all-time favorites.

Clarissa Explains It All

Clarissa was pretty much the coolest teenager ever. I mean, she had a pet alligator, a best friend that came through her window on a ladder, and the best fashion sense around. Her annoying brother Ferguson also helped to remind me that I was lucky to be an only child. For the Christmas of 1995, I got a couple episodes on VHS, and my life was complete.


I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always been a bit of an old soul, and that’s why I felt like I could relate so well to Doug. I mean, the kid wore a sweater vest for crying out loud. Full disclosure: I still routinely have the lyrics to “Killer Tofu” stuck in my head.

Hey Arnold

I always thought that Arnold’s grandfather looked a little like my own grandfather, and I thought that was so cool. Also, I love the signs outside Arnold’s building – “No Kids” and “Pets Ok” – that pretty much sums up how I live my life.

Are You Afraid of the Dark

This show was nothing short of terrifying. I usually made my dad watch it with me, otherwise it was a little too much to handle. I think I still have a few episodes of this on VHS too. Remember those orange tapes?!?

Hang Time

Ok, yes, Saved By The Bell was amazing, but I feel like Hang Time is often overlooked, and I really did love it. I was convinced that it was an accurate version of what high school would be like, and it kind of made me want to get into basketball.

Sister Sister

Sister Sister had me convinced that I had an identical twin out there somewhere that my parents were hiding from me. Every time I went to the mall, I was on the lookout out for an identical-looking girl named Abby or Annie, or any other name that kind of sounded like Ashley. Man, wasn’t WB just the coolest network back in the day?

What TV shows defined your childhood? Are any of them the same as mine?

  • Janelle Vannice
    October 16, 2013

    Boy Meets World is hands down the best television show that has ever been made. I’m anxious to see how they pull off Girl Meets World next year!


  • Pinja
    October 16, 2013

    Ah! Boy meets world, one of the shows I just had o watch with my sister – even though I was a tad young to understand it all. It’s still a definite throwback!
    I don’t think I have hear any of the other shows, but I the picture of ‘Hang time’ seems familiar so I might have seen an episode or two of it.
    Other than Boy Meets World, my childhood was all about shows like Friends, 3rd Rock From the Sun, and of course Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I wanted to be a witch too when I grew up and have a closet that’s actually a magical teleport.

  • Nadine Lynn
    October 16, 2013

    I LOVED all of these shows!!! I had completely forgotten about Hang Time! They don’t make shows like this anymore. I also liked Rugrats, Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step, and Mama’s Family.

  • Pleas(e) and Carrots
    October 16, 2013

    Ahh yes these shows were awesome! Are you afraid of the dark used to scare the pants off me but I still watched every single episode! And Clarissa was so cool!

  • Ace CB
    October 16, 2013

    I LOVED the old TGIF Fridays’ line up. I didn’t have cable, so I only got to see the Nickelodeon shows occasionally, but I do have good memories of watching them with friends. Great list. =)

  • Ashley
    October 16, 2013

    Land of the Lost, Boy Meets World, Doug, and Sister Sister were all favorites of mine too! We didn’t have cable tv growing up so some of these shows I only saw while I was at a friend’s house. I really miss TGIF line ups: Family Matters, Dinosaurs, Step by Step, Full House, Perfect Strangers, etc.

    Also, I might be strange but I really liked Golden Girls when I was younger. 🙂

  • Jordan
    October 16, 2013

    All of these except Hang Time… I don’t think I ever heard of that one? Rugrats played a big role too! Awesome blast from the past!

  • Kate
    October 16, 2013

    OH YES. Sister Sister, Hey Arnold, Doug, Clarissa, Boy Meets World… all awesome shows! And Are You Afraid Of The Dark? Well that was just incredible and I loved how it’d feature actors from other shows I liked too!

    Kate | Diaries of a Essex Girl

  • Lauren @ Love is the Point
    October 17, 2013

    DOUG! I’d give anything for Doug to be back on the air. I’d be a loyal viewer, that’s for sure!

  • Chandler
    October 17, 2013

    I never heard of Land of the Lost or Hang Time, but other than that I watched all of these!!! OMG now all I want to do is watch 90s TV shows!

  • Erin LFF
    October 17, 2013

    Sooo many good freakin’ shows, haha! I TOTALLY forgot about Figure It Out, but I loved that one too! Doug and All That were my far my faves!

  • Vicki Garrett
    October 23, 2013

    I love all those shows!! Now I’m upset that I can’t watch them anymore. Thanks! haha

  • Meghan
    January 23, 2014

    Figure it Out was one of my favorites!

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