In a welcome response to ’90s nostalgia, PBS recently hinted that Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? could be coming back to TV. It’s exciting to think that a whole new generation of kids will be introduced to a show that made so many of us genuinely excited to learn. This got us to thinking about other shows from our childhood that could benefit from the recent wave of nostalgia. Here are ten picks from yesteryear that are also ripe for a revival.
Bill Nye the Science Guy
In a perfect world, Carmen Sandiego would open the door for the return of one of the other greatest educational shows of all time. Bill Nye’s fun, witty, deeply effective approach to science is still popular in classrooms across the country, and we imagine a comeback would be incredibly well received. In recent years, Nye has been most prolific in environmental politics, and he still makes a lot of appearances on television to talk about climate change.
The Baby-Sitters Club
People still love to talk about classic YA series like The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High, so a BSC revival would be another smart response to ’90s nostalgia. And its central clique still holds up, with diverse, complex characters that transcend their labels. Sure, they each have very specific interests, like fashion or sports, but the baby-sitters never felt like stereotypes — they felt like girls you really knew. The series was also unafraid of serious subjects, like Stacey’s diabetes, so it would be interesting to see which current topics a new BSC would cover.
Wild & Crazy Kids
Kids could really, really use encouragement to get outside, and what better way to do it than with a great physical challenge show? (Legends of the Hidden Temple was also awesome, but it was impossible to win and totally rigged in favor of the Silver Snakes) Wild & Crazy Kids was actually revived for a very short run in 2002, but surely Michelle Obama would support another reboot.
We haven’t heard from Pee-Wee since his Broadway show back in 2010, but thankfully a movie with Judd Apatow has been in the works for a while. We’d love to see Paul Reubens return to the Playhouse — perhaps a one-episode special on Adult Swim before the movie comes out?
The Muppet Show
The Muppet Show was kind of like a combination of Sesame Street and SNL. The Muppets are famously in tune with pop culture, so it was just as fun for parents as it was for kids. Long after Jim Henson’s death, The Muppets are still making consistently wonderful stuff, so even a one-off TV-show reunion special would be gold. Couldn’t we always use a little more Muppets in our lives?
Courage the Cowardly Dog
A lot of kids shows are discreetly disturbing, peppering in surprisingly creepy moments here and there. Courage the Cowardly Dog was mostly dedicated to these moments, a bizarre kids horror comedy full of images that would terrify adults. This was brave, weird, downright Lynchian TV, and it is still legitimately scary. We’d love to see a good, current response to this one-of-a-kind kids show.
All That was easily the coolest kids variety show, proving to audiences of various ages that kids can hold their own as comedians. Like Wild & Crazy Kids, All That was revived in 2002 for a three-season run. Of course, the new version wasn’t as good as original, but a third series doesn’t seem like a bad idea at all. Isn’t kids sketch comedy due for a comeback?
Clarissa Explains It All
Clarissa Explains It All is still one of TV’s most unique, influential depictions of adolescence. It was a clever look into the motivations of a teenage girl, and its use of animation made for creative, fun storytelling. The closest today’s TV has come is probably MTV’s Awkward, but that show’s introspective tone (and its fixation on boys) is closer to My So-Called Life. It’d be wonderful to see a teenage protagonist more inclined towards Clarissa’s flights of fancy.
The Adventures of Pete & Pete
Pete & Pete was like a Wonder Years for the flannel set: a smart, mature look at adolescence in suburbia that approached its young audience with respect and empathy. Kids today could use a show as weird, honest, and understanding as Pete & Pete.
The Amanda Show
God knows this would absolutely not be for kids, but we’d pay good money for an off-color revival of The Amanda Show. E! would be all over a concept like this, it’d surely be widely watched, and those ubiquitous dancing lobsters might actually make a lot more sense in the context of Bynes’ recent exploits.