This is going to be fun. I have compiled a list of 10 little-known TV shows I watched as a kid. Instead of spouting off dry facts about them, I have written about them based solely on my memories of watching them years ago. I’m sure I’m way off about the details of several of them, so it will most likely be funny for you to compare my imperfect memories with the truth about these shows.
I am so excited. Let’s explore 10 forgotten TV shows I loved as a kid.
1. 3-2-1 Contact
3-2-1 Contact’s theme song sounds like it belongs to a Quinn Martin production. It’s incredibly groovy. But man, I loved this show. It was all about learning and exploration. And who could forget those fantastic Math Man adventures at the end? Math Man would go around a maze and try to solve simple math problems and if he got them wrong, he was in danger of dying, a la Pac-Man. Sometimes he made it to the end and sometimes he died. This show helped me develop an interest in nature and science.
2. Bobby’s World
Remember when Howie Mandel had cool, curly hair? I sure do. In the early ‘90s he made a cartoon show about a little boy named Bobby and his family. It’s Rugrats meets The Wonder Years. Every episode would start and end with an animated Bobby talking to a real-life Howie Mandel about what we should learn from the episode. I remember them singing a catchy song about how “Fish don’t stink underwater” in one episode. And another time Bobby got lost at a park or store, and he and all the other lost children realized how much they missed their parents.
Bobby usually disobeyed and also took statements too literally. He had a funny uncle who sounded like he was voiced by John Candy. I think Bobby had a girlfriend named Gosalyn or something like that. At one point Bobby started a club and refused to allow his girlfriend to join, but later he got jealous of her hanging out with another boy. And Bobby’s mom blew his mind when she pointed out that she and his overly affectionate aunt are both girls, just like his girlfriend.
3. Denver, the Last Dinosaur
I don’t really remember much about this show, except that it starred a big green dinosaur named Denver who somehow winds up in the 1980s. I do recall that he was always funny and friendly. And there’s no way I could forget his insanely catchy theme song.
4. Eek! The Cat
I remember this show vividly. Eek! The Cat is a parody of Garfield and Friends. I remember several episodes pretty well, like one where Eek gets stranded on a raft and sings the “1 Million Bottles of Milk on the Wall” song all the way down until there are just two bottles of milk left. And then there’s the one where he gets mistaken for a James Bond-type spy named “The Cat,” and he gets a beautiful female spy to fall in love with him. And then there’s the Squishy Bears theme park episode with butter on a stick and a robotic version of the park’s owner who carries away Eek’s female owner like King Kong.
Eek has a huge girlfriend named Anabelle, who everyone says is fat, but Eek never understands why. She has a dog named Sharky, who loves to hurt Eek. And Eek’s catchphrase is, “It never hurts to help.” But it usually does. This show was brilliant.
5. Eerie, Indiana
Now this was a show that lived up to its title. Eerie, Indiana was creepy and yet funny, if I remember correctly. Kids would get into all sorts of trouble with things that go bump in the night, but I don’t think anyone ever died or anything like that. I think there was an episode about a mummy wandering around the town, though I could be mixing that up with Amazing Stories – another great TV show. Eerie, Indiana starred the kid who would later go on to star in Hocus Pocus. Great casting, if you ask me. He’s often at his wit’s end in both of them.
I was an early riser as a child. Part of my motivation for getting up so early was to squeeze in a few cartoons before catching the school bus. One of the cartoons that I was absolutely riveted by was Exo-Squad. It was about a bunch of blue Martians who rise up against their human masters and enslave the entire human race. A few brave warriors hook their brains into giant mechanical space suits to do battle against overwhelming odds. They team up with space pirates on Planet X, a hidden planet outside Pluto, and eventually defeat the Martians on their home territory: Olympus Mons.
There was some serious drama along the way. They didn’t sugarcoat the subjugation of humanity. In one episode, they showed a news reporter being censored and beaten into submission. In another, a commander of a large vessel sacrifices himself to destroy a bunch of enemy vessels. Characters would die, betray each other, and narrowly escape death all the time. I especially liked the relationship between the pretty blonde girl and the Martian she shared a suit with. You never quite knew where his loyalty was. Such a thrilling show.
I tried to explain the premise of Noozles to my wife, and she said it sounded like I was describing a bizarre dream. As best as I can remember, a young woman gets a koala bear stuffed animal as a present, and it magically comes alive and transports her to another world full of koalas. Whenever she visits that world, she has to disguise herself with a mask in order to avoid detection, despite the fact that the rest of her body looks nothing like a koala. And then there’s a pink little koala that tags along and tries to convince the little girl’s koala to leave her and come back to their home world permanently. Eventually, she succeeds, I believe, and the girl has no proof to convince a boy she likes that it was all real.
8. Shirt Tales
Shirt Tales was basically Superfriends with cute little animals instead of people. My memory is really shaky on this one, but I think a bunch of zoo creatures get magical shirts that let them do superhuman feats, and they form a team to help other animals. The only episode that really sticks out in my mind is one where a villain takes their shirts away so that they don’t have their powers anymore. But it turns out to just be a nightmare. Whew!
9. The Snorks
Everyone remembers The Smurfs, but do you remember the underwater version of that cartoon called The Snorks? Yeah, this one’s not terribly original, but it makes up for it with a great theme song and a lot of fun with its underwater setting. I remember the Snorks would travel on seahorses and use the pipe on their heads to make music or something like that. The one episode I clearly remember is the one that copied the classic Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man.” A couple of seaweed monsters trick the Snorks into going for a vacation where they instead get captured and nearly eaten. If you could live underwater, who would you know? The Snorks, of course.
10. Today’s Special
I couldn’t even think of the title of this show for the longest time. All I remembered was that it had a mannequin in a department store that would turn into a human when they put a cap on his head, or something like that. This show was similar to Sesame Street to me. It had puppets, songs, and fun little life lessons. I was always worried that the guy would turn back into a mannequin, and I remember that he always had a very friendly way about him.
I should note that these aren’t the only shows I enjoyed watching when I was younger. They’re just some of the lesser-known.
Feel free to leave a comment telling me where I completely got details wrong about these shows. It could be fun to compare. And I’d love to hear what obscure TV shows you enjoyed watching as a child. It’s fun to look back and see what we used to like.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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