Nickelodeon Shows 2000s: 16 of the Best
Without Nickelodeon, the world would be a very different place. The groundbreaking channel created vital series that launched careers and gave kids something to watch. Since the network first went on air in 1979, generations of kids have watched hours of entertainment on the channel.
During the 2000s, Nickelodeon continued innovating and discovering new talent. It was during that time that some of Hollywood’s biggest stars today got their breaks. The network has a reputation for producing a wide variety of series, and since children are the primary demographic, animation is still the bread and butter of the network.
Nickelodeon is famous for cartoons aimed at young children that teach important lessons. Nickelodeon also has a reputation for producing edgy animated series that push the limits of what’s a kids’ show. The network has a knack for creating the best live-action sitcoms, sketch series, and game shows, as you will discover below.
1. SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-Present)
SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the most popular cartoons of all time. It’s one of the longest-running animated series in America. The series first hit the airwaves in 1999 and became a cultural phenomenon in the 2000s. It follows the life of SpongeBob and his friends living in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom.
The success resulted in a beloved media franchise featuring two spinoffs, Korals: SpongeBob’s Under Years and The Patrick Star Show. Furthermore, the franchise includes several feature films, such as The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Sponge out of Water, and Sponge on the Run. The series elevated Nickelodeon to a new level, becoming a staple of the network.
2. Unfabulous (2004-2007)
The teen sitcom Unfabulous remains one of Nickelodeon’s most-watched series. The series focused on Addie Singer (portrayed by Emma Roberts) and her best friends as they navigate their way through middle school. The series debuted in 2005 and was a massive hit with the ten to 15 age group.
The popular series also helped launch the career of Emma Roberts. Roberts became one of Hollywood’s biggest stars with roles in Scream 4, We’re The Millers, American Horror Story, and Scream Queens. Unfabulous is easily one of Nickelodeon’s best shows of the 2000s.
3. The Fairly Oddparents (2001-2017)
Ten-year-old Timmy Turner is a regular kid, just like everyone at his school. Well, except he has his two fairy godparents, Wanda and Cosmo, to help him out with his problems. But his fairy godparents often have a way of bringing their problems to Timmy.
The beloved Nickelodeon series The Fairly Oddparents hit the airwaves in 2001. It instantly became one of the network’s most popular shows. After a brief hiatus, the series returned in 2008. In total, the beloved series aired for ten seasons to universal praise. A live-action series debuted on Paramount + in 2022.
4. Blue’s Clues (1996-2006)
The innovative program for pre-schoolers, Blue’s Clues, was crucial to the growth of Nickelodeon. It was famous for its simple and interactive approach. With extensive research, the groundbreaking series changed children’s television forever.
The series hit the airwaves in 1996 to rave reviews and eventually became the highest-rated program for preschoolers. The success led to a world tour using the same techniques from the series. Blues Clues is undoubtedly one of the most critical series in Nickelodeon’s history.
5. All That (1994-2005)
In 1994, the sketch comedy series, All That debuted on Nickelodeon to rave reviews. The series became a staple of the network for roughly a decade. Nickelodeon’s goal was to create a kid-friendly version of Saturday Night Live.
It first became a hugely popular show in the 90s and continued that success into the 2000s. The popularity led to numerous spinoffs and launched the career of several young stars, including Amanda Bynes, Kenan Thompson, and Nick Cannon.
6. Danny Phantom (2004-2007)
After an accident involving a portal to the ghost world, Danny Fenton gains supernatural powers. With the help of his two best friends and sister, Danny battles evil ghosts and spirits.
The Annie Award-winning Danny Phantom aired for three seasons to critical acclaim. The series remains incredibly popular today, with fans signing several petitions to bring the show back.
7. The Amanda Show (1999-2002)
Amanda Bynes became a household name with her starring role in the sketch comedy variety series The Amanda Show. Bynes first gained attention on the sketch series All That, leading to her own spinoff.
Created by Dan Schneider, The Amanda Show debuted in late 1999, becoming a massive success in the 2000s. It featured the show within a show format and popular sketches lampooning Blockbuster video, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and Judge Judy. The series launched Bynes’ career and led to another spinoff, Drake & Josh.
8. Invader Zim (2001-2006)
Considered one of Nickelodeon’s best series, the critically acclaimed Invader Zim debuted in 2001. The series followed alien Zim from the planet Irk, who attempts to conquer Earth. The show was aimed at the 11 to 15 age group and pushed the limits for a children’s series at that time. Critics praised Invader Zim, with the show going on to win several Annie and Emmy awards.
Despite the success, Nickelodeon canceled the show before airing season two. The series gained a loyal cult following leading to the six completed episodes airing on Nicktoons in 2006. Based on the TV series, Netflix debuted Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus in 2019 to universal acclaim.
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9. Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide (2004-2007)
Ned Bigby is a typical seventh grader who’s just trying to survive. Luckily for the audience, Ned puts together helpful tips to steer through the unpredictable life of middle school. Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide hit the airwaves in 2004 to widespread praise.
It often mixed genres to present a compelling episode. Critics and fans praised the one-hour series finale made-for-tv movie. It remains one of Nickelodeon’s most popular live-action series.
10. The Adventure of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius (2002-2006)
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, aired for three seasons on Nickelodeon to much fanfare. The Annie Award-winning series followed the life of the brilliant Jimmy Neutron and his many adventures with his best friends, Carl Wheezer and Sheen Estevez. Despite being a genius, Jimmy’s brilliant gadgets have a way of backfiring.
The popular series was a sequel to the 2001 animated movie Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius. The success spawned a franchise leading to the spinoff Planet Sheen. With talk of a possible reboot, the Jimmy Neutron series is one of Nickelodeon’s most profitable franchises.
11. Kenan & Kel (1996-2000)
Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell were both popular cast members of All That. So Nickelodeon cast them as the stars in the sitcom Kenan & Kel. The series followed the two best friends as they went on many adventures.
The series hit the airwaves in the late 90s and left a lasting impression in the early 2000s. It remains one of Nickelodeon’s most memorable series.
12. Drake & Josh (2004-2007)
Drake Bell and Josh Peck starred in the popular teen sitcom Drake & Josh on Nickelodeon from 2004 to 2007. The popular series aired for four seasons and includes two made-for-tv movies. Despite their conflicting personalities, stepbrothers Drake and Josh learn to accept each other.
Actors Bell and Peck first gained exposure on The Amanda Show. Their on-screen chemistry impressed creator Dan Schneider, who decided to base a spinoff around them, leading to the highly successful Drake & Josh.
13. Hey Arnold (1996-2004)
The popular Nickelodeon series Hey Arnold follows the life of Arnold Shortman as he deals with everyday problems living in the big city of Washington. The series debuted in 1996 and remained a top-rated series in the 2000s.
While production wrapped in 2001, the series aired new episodes until 2004. The show’s popularity led to the 2002 feature film Hey Arnold: The Movie.
14. The Nick Cannon Show (2002-2003)
After Nick Cannon’s breakout performance on All That, he starred in The Nick Cannon Show. The first season debuted in 2002 but the second suffered due to low ratings. Cannon portrayed a fictionalized version of himself in the semi-scripted series.
Each episode followed Cannon as he gets involved in a situation and fails at trying to make it better. Despite only lasting two seasons, Cannon went on to become a notable celebrity now more famous for fathering ten children to six different women.
15. Double Dare 2000 (2000)
In early 2000, Nickelodeon revived the series that helped put them on the map in the 80s and 90s, Double Dare. The original series ran from 1986 to 1993 and helped revitalize the game show concept. Unlike the initial run, Double Dare 2000 teams consisted of two adults and two children. They would compete in a series of messy physical challenges.
While the revival did well in the ratings, it didn’t achieve the success of the original. It had a short run ending the same year it launched. The series returned again from 2018 to 2019 before being canceled for good.
16. The Angry Beavers (1997-2001)
The popular series The Angry Beavers continued Nickelodeon’s tradition of edgy children’s shows that pushed the boundaries. The series followed two brothers, Norbert and Daggett Beaver, who move out of their parent’s house to live like bachelors.
The writers often clashed with Nickelodeon’s executives over content and censorship, although that didn’t stop the series from becoming popular in the late 90s and early 2000s.
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