The recent (and tragic) cancellations of the beloved hit series iCarly and vicTORIous has got the staff at Auditionsfinder.com thinking: what are the top 10 Nickelodeon shows that should have never been cancelled? After extensive research and fond reminiscing of every Nickelodeon program ever aired, we have complied what we believe to be the definitive list right here.
#10 – You Can’t Do That On Television
You weren’t supposed to be able to do the things they did on television but for 10 seasons they somehow got away with it. This pint-sized Canadian Saturday Night Live had a generation of fans in tears of laughter, joy and repulsion – sometimes all in the same sketch! The show that taught millions of fans to never say “I don’t know” (for fear of being doused with green slime) or “water” (for fear of being in doused with, well water – sometimes the comedy was in the simplicity) and introduced the world to the grotesquely hilarious (and all-inclusive) delicacies served at Barth’s Burgers, the good things that can come from being inside a school locker (like amazing rapid fire jokes told by the cast members in the recurring homage to old-time comedy shows) and how fun a firing squad could truly be. Unfortunately Nickelodeon cancelled this timeless classic before anyone could “stop the execution!”
A Star Is Born: Alanis Morrisette. Before she became a multi-platinum selling international recording artist, Morrisette was a featured cast member on YCDTOT for one season.
#9 – Drake & Josh
Long before Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly put their stamp on the concept of bickering Stepbrothers there was Drake Bell and Josh Peck in the top-notch Nickelodeon comedy Drake & Josh. A spin-off of another enormously popular Nick production, The Amanda Show, D&J followed the life and uproarious times of hip, ladies man musician Drake Parker (Bell) and nerdy, awkward Josh Nichols (Peck), two new stepbrothers who bound their way through four seasons and three movies of hilarious adventures and completely opposite personalities. An Odd Couple for a new generation, this show was a high water mark in a golden era for Nickelodeon.
A Star Is Born: Miranda Cosgrove. This Nickelodeon legend parlayed her breakout turn in the 2003 Jack Black box office smash School Of Rock into an unforgettable role as Drake & Josh’s manipulative little sister Megan, a role in the animated hit Despicable Me and the lead in iCarly. Even with the unfortunate cancellation of that series, this talented performer is sure to have many more hits in her future.
#8 – Rugrats
For a certain generation of Nickelodeon viewers two words can conjure up endless feelings of joy, love and laughter and those two words are Tommy Pickles. With 170 episodes, 3 feature films and 2 TV movies Tommy and the fantastic Rugrats gang have the biggest output of any show on our list, but that only leaves us wanting more. The incredibly entertaining experiences of Tommy, Chuckie, Dil, Susie, Kimi and the deviously delicious Angelica entertained millions of viewers around the world for 9 glorious seasons, at one point holding title of the number one children’s show on any channel and even becoming the highest rated show overall for males 18-31 during the summers of the mid-90’s. It’s that kind of transcendent storytelling that enthralled so many fans at the time and continue to do so today and the reason why it’s so upsetting that we have not been treated to new episodes in almost a decade. So why isn’t Rugrats higher on the list? That’s a good question. Read on to find out what tickled our fancy’s even fancier.
A Star Is Born: Elizabeth Daily already had a loyal following from her starring turns in 80’s film classics Valley Girl and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and from her successful pop music career but it was her turn as the voice of Tommy Pickles that would take her fame to the next level.
#7 – Are You Afraid Of The Dark?
Who didn’t want to be a member of The Midnight Society? A simple concept of a group of friends getting together each week to tell ghost stories became enthralling appointment viewing for hordes of fans over 5 seasons and 65 episodes. When Gary, Betty Ann, Frank Kiki and the gang headed out to the woods to try and out spook each other we were there with chilling bells on. The original series episodes aired from 1991-1996 until Nickelodeon decided to pull the plug. A reboot of the frightening franchise was produced in 1999 with an all new cast (the lone holdout being Daniel DeSantos’ as ‘Tucker’) and lasted only 23 episodes. The redux just didn’t have the same spark and with the exception of the very talented Elisha Cuthbert (who has gone on to star in such hit productions as 24, The Girl Next Door and the current critical hit ABC sitcom Happy Endings), the new players left a lot to be desired and once again only made us wish even more for a TV time machine. Are You Afraid Of The Dark? was a terrifically entertaining spookfest perfect for watching with groups of friends on an eerie Friday night. Who knew being so scared could be so fun?
A Star Is Born: JoAnna Garcia Swisher portrayed the shy and perpetually pining Sam. She belonged with Gary as much as Are You Afraid Of The Dark? deserved at least 5 more season. Luckily for JoAnna, her immense talents have kept her working steadily in a number of quality projects in both television and movies. A few of her post AYAOTD career highlights include roles on Freaks and Geeks, American Pie 2, Reba, Gossip Girl and the Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson comedy The Internship. With that impressive list of credits we can almost forgive her for marrying MLB weasel Nick Swisher. Almost.
#6 – Hey Arnold!
The second of 5 animated series to make our list is one that really kicked our love of all things Nickelodeon into overdrive. The awesome adventures of Arnold, Gerald Helga, Phoebe and the rest of the residents of Sunset Arms and the amazing city of Hillwood had us captivated for 20+ weeks a year for 5 incredible seasons and a big screen movie. The show was a perfect marriage of funny, well-paced storytelling, lovable characters and in hindsight, some really well placed messages and lessons of tolerance and doing the right thing. Hey Arnold had it all until Nick decided to give the boot to the fine characters of Hillwood in 2004. Hey Arnold! welcome to our list – unfortunately.
A Star Is Born: Dan Castellaneta’s star may not have been born of Hey Arnold!, his legendary work as Homer Simpson, Groundskeeper Willie, Barney Gumble and other unforgettable characters on The Simpsons will live on forever and began before he landed this show, but it’s hard to believe that this series would rank on our list without his amazing portrayal of Arnold’s lovable Grandpa for 78 episodes. Is there anything this guy can’t do?
#5 – Doug
Alright, now things are getting interesting. Coming in at number 5 with a bullet is the animated gem Doug. A thematic cousin to number 6 Hey Arnold!, Doug aired for 53 episodes over four seasons on Nickelodeon and it’s popularity still rings through in reruns to this day. The series focused on the life of Doug Funnie, a 6th grader who has just moved to a new town with his family, and the up and downs that Doug goes through as he tries to make new friends and keep his head above the social waters of the city of Bluffinton. Throughout the shows successful yet tragically short run we were treated with the antics of Doug’s parents Judy and Phil, his dog Porkchop, sisters Judy and Dirtbike, his friends Patti and Skeeter and a host of other colorful and endearing oddballs. After the incredible early success of the series Disney purchased the show from Nick and produced three new seasons under the Disney’s Doug title and a poorly received feature film. Yet another example of momentum lost and quality tainted after a Nickelodeon show is left too soon dormant. Que sera sera Doug fans, we’ll always have syndication…
A Star Is Born: Billy West, the man of a thousand voices, is one of the most talented voice actors of all time. With credits on such hit series as Pinky And The Brain, King Of The Hill, CatDog, Futurama and The Ren & Stimpy Show (did that one make our list? read on!), his work is unparalleled in the animation industry and it all started with his creation of Doug.
#4 – Clarissa Explains It All
This one of a kind sitcom stole the hearts of young girls and warped the expectations of young men everywhere for 5 seasons from 1991-1994. Every girl wanted to be like the wise beyond her years yet charmingly accessible Clarissa and every boy wanted them to reach their goal. Clarissa Explains It All followed all-American teen Clarissa Darling as she navigated her way through the turbulent waters of adolescence with he help of her friends and family. One of her biggest tools featured in her hilarious journey was her exceptional insight to the actions and feelings of herself and those around her which she would freely divulge directly to the camera for the benefit of the millions of viewers watching at home. With the bright star of Melisa Joan Heart shining throughout, this is the show that paved the way for the performers like Amanda Bynes, Miranda Cosgrove and Victoria Justice. Hart playing a strong, funny female lead at the center of a huge successful hit sitcom created a formula for the inspirations for this list, iCarly and Victorious. Clarissa could explain it all, except why Nickelodeon put this show to pasture so soon.
A Star Is Born: Melissa Joan Hart may have started her career with Clarissa Explains It All, but it certainly didn’t end there. With starring turns in the long-running Sabrina The Teenage Witch, the feature Drive Me Crazy with Entourage’s Adrian Grenier and her current hit series Melissa and Joey, Ms. Hart is still going strong.
#3 – Rocko’s Modern Life
This too short-lived animated series put a new spin on the classic fish out of water story concept. Rocko’s Modern Life followed the wild adventures of an Australian wallaby recently emigrated to The U S of A as he tried to assimilate to his new culture and make friends in his community. The wacky production tickled many a funnybone during it’s four season run from 1993-1996 and has developed a devoted following that remains strong to this day. Each week Rocko and his ragtag group of animal sidekick friends Heffer Wolfe, Filburt Turtle and Spunky would delight viewers with outrageous mishaps and mix ups and have them crying with laughter through it all. Even the most mundane of activities could turn into a hilariously entertaining adventure on Rocko’s Modern life and that coupled with it’s surprisingly subversive humor has made it a bonafide cult classic for comedy lovers of all ages and the number 3 show on our list.
A Star Is Born: Carlos Alazraqui has carved out quite a Hollywood career over the past two decades. He has made his mark with starring turns in SpongeBob SqaurePants, The Fairly OddParents, Handy Manny, Family Guy and Reno 911! (he was even the voice of The Taco Bell chihuahua!) and it all started with his role as Rocko.
#2 – The Ren & Stimpy Show
The demented humor, the even more demented violence, the sheer audacity of the concept – there is so much to love about The Ren & Stimpy Show that we unfortunately just don’t have enough space to go through every delicious detail here. Audiences were only able to experience the adventures of the insane chihuahua Ren and his blissfully dim-witted feline friend Stimpy for 5 seasons but the glory and artistry of this animated wonder has and will continue to live on for a long, long time. The series audacious humor and unforgettable characters raised the bar for both cartoon and live action programs and opened a floodgate for groundbreaking programming with similarly fresh comedic sensibilities like Bevis And Butthead and South Park. R&S was the godfather of them all and earns high praise at number 2 on our list. This outrageous opus makes us long for the simpler times when the world could be captivated by a small, creepy cartoon dog and his disturbing cat pal. There was no “Happy Happy Joy Joy” in Mudville when Nickelodeon decided to strike this incredible series out.
A Star Is Born: Cheryl Chase. A Star Is Born Number 5 Billy West has already been mentioned for his magnificent oeuvre above so this gives us an opportunity to recognize the incredible Chase. The voice acting dynamo was a recurring contributor on The Ren & Stimpy Show in a variety of roles and that led her to the role of a lifetime as Angelica C. Pickles in our #8, Rugrats for which she will be forever remembered and for which she and the cast was rewarded with a star on The Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
#1 – All That
We’ve seen a lot on the long road to number one. We’ve had a blast remembering all of the thrills and laughs that these Nickelodeon classics have brought us but when it came down to it, the one that gave us the most warm feelings and fond memories was the legendary sketch series All That. Lasting 171 glorious episodes, All That is the longest running series on our list but the stinging feeling from it’s cancellation in 2005 still lingers in our hearts and funny bones For 10 seasons over 11 years this Nick sensation showcased an amazing collection of incredible comedy sketches and introduced fans all over the world to some of the funniest people working in show business today. With unforgettable characters and outrageous comic scenarios being created each week, All That barely let you catch your breath and wipe your eyes from one laugh to the next. All of this and the awesome celebrity guest appearances from such stars as P. Diddy, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Mya and the favorite Nick stars of the time made All That appointment viewing for millions of loyal viewers. This comedy gem picked up where our number 10 entry You can’t Do That On Television left of and raised the bar for the attempts that followed such as Disney‘s So Random!. The amazing cast, quick-witted and original scripts and pure unadulterated fun that this show possessed was unsurpassed on television. Evidently All That wasn’t All That enough for Nick executives however, and in 2005 the series was cancelled. There was no other show in Nickelodeon history that has left it’s mark so strongly on fans, on the comedy landscape and on fans around the world. For these reasons we humbly present you with our number 1 Nickelodeon Show That Should Never Have Been Cancelled, All That.
So Many Stars Were Born!: With a lineup of so many talented players we couldn’t distill it into just one breakout star mention. The comedy stylings of Keenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live, Good Burger), Amanda Bynes (Easy A, What I Like About You), Jaime Lynn Spears (Zoey 101), Kel Mitchell (Kenan & Kel, Mystery Men) and Nick Cannon (America’s Got Talent, Drumline) were cultivated on the All That stage and the world is a better place for it.
So there you have it. Our list of The Top 10 Nickelodeon Shows That Should Have Never Been Cancelled. A overly long title, exhaustive research and sleepless nights – all of these elements and more went into our ode to memories and what may have been in the world of Nickelodeon. Some of these shows were brought back for short runs, even more were spun off into other series (like the upcoming iCarly offspring Sam & Cat) but they will never be the same as these original classics. TV is a distraction to some, a religion to others and a staple of childhood for all. These shows all made an impression on millions and were taken before their time. So as a tribute, a scrapbook and a (hopefully) entertaining read we have offered you this list. As we leave you take solace in this consolation – we will always have reruns…
What do you think of the list? What did we leave out? What should we have? What are your fond Nickelodeon memories? Leave a comment below.