As I woke up on Saturday morning and turned on the TV, I realized something. Children’s television has severely declined in quality. I was flipping through the channels and I saw the likes of “Hannah Montana”, “The Suite Life”, “That’s So Raven”, and other Disney Channel generic programming that seems to be the same shows, just with different stars.
It made me think of all the shows I watched when I was a kid, and for some reason they seemed a lot better than what’s on now. And I wondered to myself, Why? I thought about it for a while and it finally came to me. Violence is the key. Now that may sound bad at first, but nothing is more interesting to a kid than good guys beating up on bad guys. It was simple, it was interesting, it was awesome. So I decided to take a look back at some of the best violent children’s television shows that have ever been made. In my opinion of course.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993-1995)
Seeing as how there is seemingly a new installment of Power Rangers every year, I haven’t exactly kept up with the show. But I do remember the first, and perhaps best version called Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. When evil alien sorceress Rita Repulsa is accidentally freed from captivity, it’s up to five human teenagers from Earth to stop her. This show was filled with huge, ugly monsters and a LOT of alien henchmen getting the snot beaten out of them. We knew what was going to happen in every episode, and yet we still tuned in to see it. Not to mention we loved to see all the cool martial arts that the Rangers used, and every color Ranger had a unique personality that applied to every type of kid. I don’t know if you had a real childhood if you’ve never seen any episode of Power Rangers.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1988-1996)
Nothing says childhood like four anthropomorphic fighting turtles taking on armies of ninja-thugs. Even the title is interesting. Teenage: hey, I’m a teenager! Mutant: that just sounds cool. Ninja: does anything else really need to be said? Turtles: in the words of Zombie Kid, I like turtles! This children’s television show was full of awesome battles between the Turtles and the ultimate supervillain Shredder, and it was one cool show. The Turtles had it all. Cool weapons, surfer-dude laid back attitudes, masks, and they loved pizza. I think pretty much every kid could relate.
X-Men: The Animated Series (1992-1997)
A children’s television show featuring the lives of teenagers and young kids who were outcasts in the world they lived in really hit a sweet-spot with a lot of people back in the day. I think everyone at one point or another has daydreamed about having a super-power, and using that super-power to save the world from power hungry bad guys. If you ask any kid who their favorite X-Men member is, the majority of them say Wolverine. Is it any wonder why? The guy does what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. Oh, and he has freakin’ metal claws that extend from his knuckles. Some of my best memories as a kid come from watching Wolverine and his arch nemesis Sabretooth wail on each other. (I was a lonely boy.)
Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995)
Nothing makes a children’s television show more interesting than cool villains, and Batman has some of the coolest. Penguin, Catwoman, The Riddler, Two-Face, Scarecrow, and The Joker are just a few. Batman’s rouges gallery undoubtedly makes this a show worth watching, and if you think the bad guys are cool, the way Batman defeats them is even cooler. Batman made us believe that even we could be a superhero, if only we had billions of dollars worth of awesome gadgets. Being one of the only superheroes without powers, Batman gave the rest of us hope, and made our fantasies that much more believable.
Jackie Chan Adventures (2000-2005)
The funny thing about this particular children’s television show is that Jackie Chan didn’t actually play Jackie Chan. His character was voiced by James Sie. Did we care? Absolutely not. Was it violent? You better believe it. I remember that the very first episode of Jackie Chan Adventures was almost a twenty minute long fight between Jackie and “The Dark Hand”, a group of high profile criminals being led by an ancient Demon. If that doesn’t hook you in right away, check your pulse.
Children’s television shows nowadays could really take a lesson from the past. I mean come on, pretend violence never hurt anybody. And even though I’m older now, I’m still tired of seeing previews where Zack and Cody “get into trouble.” They live on a cruise ship, how bad can it be?
So there you have my list of the best violent(ish) children’s television shows of all-time. If you disagree with any of them, or think I should have included another one, let me know in the comments section.