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25 Best Nickelodeon Shows Of All Time Ranked

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Nickelodeon has been producing animated and live-action series since the early 1980's, and while the network has long been dedicated to providing programming at turns relevant, educational and targeting audiences both young and old, the offerings have remained impressively fresh as the decades have gone past. Nickelodeon's slime-filled beginnings included zany cartoons, game shows, sketch shows, news segments, pre-school programming, and even their own magazine. 

If you ask anyone what their favorite Nickelodeon show is, there's a good chance it will be animated. The network has been always been a champion of developing unique animated hits since its earliest days. Nickelodeon continues that trend today, and has recently helped fuel the success of Paramount+, where you can find a catalogue chock full of their greatest series. Below, a list of the top 25 Nickelodeon shows to get you started.

25. Cousin Skeeter (1998 - 2001)

A fun series with a wacky sense of humor (creator Phil Beauman would go on to write the "Scary Movie" franchise), "Cousin Skeeter" was a brief shining light in the Nick universe, remembered today as a hidden gem, yet not even available for streaming.

Starring Rondell Sheriden, Robert Ri'chard, Bill Bellamy and a young Meagan Good, the series utilized puppets in telling the adventures of a loud-mouthed, manic teenage boy.

While some were inevitably turned off by the titular in-your-face puppet, others admired the late '90s series for its all-too-rare subjects and Black representation. Calling the show "A bit like an updated 'Leave it to Beaver," a 2019 Rotten Tomatoes article praised an episode teaching young viewers about interactions between black children and police officers, adding: "The lesson is imperative to their survival in a world that isn't always kind (but also doesn't have to be deadly)."

24. Unfabulous (2004 - 2007)

A relatable teen series that aired in the prime era of Teen Nick from the early to mid '00s, it was boosted by a catchy opening theme from Jill Sobule and was at one time among the most-watched programs in the US among children between the ages of 10 and 16.

Featuring Emma Roberts in her first major role, the series felt a bit like "Hannah Montana" without the fame storyline, telling the tale of an average teen girl navigating the world with her trusty guitar and best friend Geena. Also along for the ride were love interest Zach (Jordan Calloway), annoying older brother Ben (Brandon Kelly) and parents (Molly Hagan and Markus Flanagan) to help her find the way.

"Unfabulous" premiered to positive reviews, with Variety praising then-newcomer Roberts for her acting chops: "Roberts, daughter of actor Eric and niece to Oscar winner Julia, has a charm all her own as the savvy but awkward young Addie Singer."

Surprisingly, the series is not available on Paramount+ to stream, but you can purchase it on Amazon.  

23. Sanjay and Craig (2013 - 2016)

A return to Nickelodeon's zanier, early cartoons fueled by adult humor that wasn't afraid to go over the heads of younger viewers, this critically-acclaimed series The San Francisco Chronicle cheekily called "hysssterical" was comparable in its humor to the likes of "South Park" and "Family Guy."

According to TV By The Numbers, Sanjay and Craig premiered to nearly 4 million viewers, and made some history as one of the few series to feature an Indian boy (voiced by Maulik Pancholy) as the lead character. Executive producer Chris Viscardi (creator of "The Adventures of Pete & Pete") told the the LA Times how "Sanjay and Craig" marked Nickelodeon's return to "creator-driven things."

With adult-oriented humor and gross out scenarios that will tickle viewers of any age, those who have never seen "Sanjay and Craig" should give it a chance on Paramount+

22. True Jackson, VP (2008 - 2011)

Starring Keke Palmer as the title character, hired in her dream role as vice president for a fashion company where she manages the youth line, this series premiered to almost 5 million viewers (airing after the "iCarly" TV movie "iGo to Japan"), impressive for a basic cable TV show.

The jewel of Teen Nick's prime programming for its era, "Jackson" featured Palmer is a powerhouse role, and her talent was obvious from the first episode. When the series premiered, The LA Times applauded its fun approach to the fashion industry, and praising Palmer's potential. The series is currently streaming on Paramount+ for those who'd like to look back and see where the "Lightyear" and "Nope" actress got her big break. 

21. The Wild Thornberrys (1998-2004)

A unique series that was ahead of its time, "Thornberrys" was many young viewers' entry point into environmental activism. Eliza Thornberry had the gift of gab: the ability to talk to animals but it had to remain a secret. With her wacky family, she travels the world filming nature documentaries and helping living creatures in need along the way.

"Thornberrys" ignited a fire in kids by exposing them to the dangers impacting wildlife, including poachers and endangered species, and even partnered with the World Wildlife Foundation. The series received positive reviews and was praised for its feminist stories and dedication to environmental consciousness. It also notably introduced a generation to Tim Curry, via his larger-than-life Nigel Thornberry.

For those looking for a smashing good time, "Thornberrys" is now streaming on Paramount+. The feature film, along with "Rugrats Go Wild," is available on HBO Max.

20. Clarissa Explains It All (1991-1994)

"Clarissa" had it all: a rare television format, a surefire catchy theme song, and the magical 90's icon, Melissa Joan Hart. The series had an unmatched educational value in the title character's unquenchable curiosity for the world. It's like "Bill Nye the Science Guy" meets "Ned's Declassified," where Clarissa would have a problem, question, or assignment, and it would be up to her to utilize the resources and experts around her to solve it, thereby also teaching the audience.

The LA Times raved about the imaginative series and recommended it for those yearning for something fresh and new. Recently, "Clarissa" even inspired a Facebook group that used the series as an opportunity to educate, through memes, about white privilege and supremacy. In the era of reboots, given the popularity of the series, one could anticipate a "Clarissa" return. However, unfortunately Hart dashed any hopes of a new series. 

Though, there was a sequel novel published in 2015 titled "Things I Can't Explain" for those looking for more of Clarissa, while the original series, is now streaming on Paramount+.

19. The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius (2002-2006)

A TikTok sound-generating series with a long legacy at Nickelodeon, "Jimmy Neutron" followed a feature film and eventually spawned the spin-off series "Planet Sheen." 

The Oscar nominated film (best animated feature) was Nickelodeon's first to be all CGI, and was originally envisioned as a television series. However, Nickelodeon was so enthused by creator John A. Davis' pitch, they committed to produce a feature film. The art style and diverse characters set the series apart from other young adult programming at the time, which was appreciated by critics appreciating a protagonist whose superpower was intelligence and problem solving.

Series star Rob Paulsen (the llama loving Carl Wheezer) has been prone to gush lately over how much he loves the TikTok challenge, and has even teased a possible series reboot. "The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius" is currently streaming on Paramount+, and the feature film can be found on HBO Max. 

18. VICTORiOUS (2010-2013)

Launching Victoria Justice to fame as the titular Tori Vega, this Nick series depicted a singer/student enrolled in a musical academy. The show was Nickelodeon's first live-action musical series and was packed with bops, talented stars, a tons of slapstick comedy. It even produced the spin-off series "Sam and Cat," which co-starred Jennette McCurdy of "iCarly" fame.

In anticipation of the series' debut, The New York Times delved deep into the making of the series and discovered the sudden desire for a musical series at Nickelodeon. Following the success of series like "Hannah Montana" and "Glee," the network wanted to "follow where [the] kids are." It also showcased musical pop sensation Ariana Grande as spunky, red-head Cat — a girl with a vocal range to kill for. Though a reboot may not be imminent, series co-star Matt Bennett is currently DJ'ing nostalgia-fueled hits on tour. "VICTORiOUS" is available on Paramount+

17. Doug (1991-1994)

It doesn't get more classic Nickelodeon than this '90s animated hit; but did you know it wasn't exclusive to Nickelodeon? Doug" was only a Nickelodeon series for the first four seasons; after it went to Disney, it only found further success. 

A young boy navigating sixth grade with his best friend Skeeter and love interest Patti, the series that viewers about the healing power of journaling. It was also the beginning of Nickelodeon's specialty recipe series about young characters finding their way through school and navigating the challenges that come with it. Critics enjoyed the series and how it illustrated the importance of having characters like Doug, who struggle with fitting in and instead choose to stand out.

This endlessly amusing series is currently available to stream — though, given its divided ownership, you'll have to split your time between Paramount+ and Disney+ (where you'll also find the feature film).

16. Taina (2001-2002)

"Taina" was a groundbreaking series for Latinx representation, as well as a new-age format mixing musical performances with sitcom comedy. It boasted a catchy theme song and Christina Vidal in a charismatic performance as Taina Morales, attending the Manhattan High School of Performing Art and fearlessly pursuing her dreams.

"Taina" was a fiercely original series that paved the way for shows like "VICTORiOUS," "Glee," and "Hannah Montana." In 2021, the LA Times praised Vidal as a "pioneer of the Latina everygirl," even if despite the show's successes, it was canceled after two seasons. "Taina" isn't available Paramount+ however, you can sing-along with the entire cast on its official YouTube channel.

15. Rocket Power (1999-2004)

This series had kids running outside, woogity-ing their best friends, and picking up any board, to be as extreme as these four coastal kids. They were the epitome of cool and lived in dreamy Ocean Shores, California. Created by the same team behind "Rugrats," this series captured the sunny sides of being young while also exploring the darker sides of growing up and discovering the word around you. 

There was also some ahead-of-its time feminist representation in purple haired Reggie Rocket, who was never afraid to speak up. A thread in Slap Magazine highlights her significance and how she inspired countless female skateboarders. "Rocket Power" is currently streaming on Paramount+ however, the TV movie "Race Across New Zealand" is notably missing. Viewers dying to rewatch the epic Vegemite-filled special can purchase it digitally on Amazon.

14. Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide (2004-2007)

Middle school got infinitely better when "Ned's Declassified" premiered. The experimental series blended a fourth wall-breaking style with school-age sitcom scenarios, covering everything from first days of school, dating, money and getting older. There was really nothing else like it on TV, and the advice was helpful and relatable, especially in a hellish middle school landscape. 

The series featured Ned Bigby, Cookie, and Moze as the notable trio of eager and naive middle schoolers. When the series wrapped, The LA Times raved it "got straight-A's all the way." In the age of reboot fever, fans hoped "Ned's Declassified" would be making a return as an adult survival guide. However, according to The AV Club, there are no imminent plans — even if the three stars did recently have a touching reunion.

For those wishing to return to the halls of James K. Polk, "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide" is now streaming on Paramount+.

13. Danny Phantom (2003-2007)

"Danny Phantom" explores the duality of identity and the secrets kids sometimes keep from their peers and parents. Danny Fenton has the uncanny ability to change into a ghost form at will though, like Eliza Thornberry, he must keep his abilities a secret (especially from his ghost hunter parents). The series shares creator Butch Hartman with "The Fairly OddParents," and fans often theorize Danny is actually an older version of Timmy Turner.

"Phantom" is so loved by fans, it has its own revival petition with over 18,000 signatures. Recently, Hartman took to YouTube to reveal what the characters would look like ten years later, making fans crave Fenton's return even more. "Phantom" was a critically acclaimed series, as well as an avant-garde one. Fans can binge every episode now on Paramount+.

12. Rocko's Modern Life (1993-1996)

This offbeat animated hit was created by Joe Murray and has more than a few ties to everyone's favorite sea sponge. "Rocko's Modern Life" was co-created by Stephen Hillenburg (the marine biologist who would go on to mastermind "SpongeBob SquarePants"), and helped launch the career of "SpongeBob" voice actor of Tom Kenny. 

"Modern Life" aired during the heyday of Nickelodeon's prime animated programming and was revived for a TV movie on Netflix in 2019. Titled "Static Cling," it added a transgender storyline true to Nickelodeon's inclusive programming.

The series centers on an Australian wallaby, navigating a new landscape while toeing the line between mundanity and absurdity. Murray told Animation Magazine he wanted to "put something new and different on the air," which explains the unconventional main character. Critically, The AV Club lauded the series for being "relentlessly weird" and packed with adult humor. Every bonkers episode of "Rocko's Modern Life" is currently streaming on Paramount+.

11. iCarly (2007-2012)

"iCarly" was light years ahead of its time and perhaps served as some inspiration for an entire generation of social media influencers. Featuring Miranda Cosgrove and Jeremy Trainor of "Drake and Josh" fame, the zany comedy about a group of youngsters producing a web series became a smash hit. The popular series then ran for 6 seasons before inspiring a successful reboot on Paramount.

The reboot would be produced without any involvement from creator Dan Schneider, however, who is mired in controversy, but nevertheless manages to re-capture the magic of the original while offering something new, relevant, and insightful. Miranda Cosgrove recently teased a possible third season after the drama between her and Nathan Kress' Freddie. 

Time to whip up some spaghetti tacos and revisit the original, then catch up on the reboot of "iCarly" on Paramount+. 

10. The Loud House (2015 - )

Still going strong after more than 6 seasons, 149 episodes and a TV movie on Netflix, "The Loud House" was originally picked up to series by Nickelodeon after launching as a successful animated short from the network's 2013 Animated Shorts Program.

Variety praised "The Loud House," saying the series hearkens back to Nickelodeon's classic animation style. "The Loud House" and Nickelodeon together made network history in 2016 as the first Nick series to feature a gay married couple. The series is currently streaming on Paramount+.

9. Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1990-2000)

Don't worry, we'll keep the lights on for this one; we're still scared, too. "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" originally ran for a terrifying decade and viewers consistently watched each episode from either under a blanket or nervously through their fingers. The series was an episodic anthology, where cast and viewers huddled around the campfire for a genuine tale of terror from The Midnight Society. 

Co-creator D.J. MacHale relishes in the variety of programming on Nickelodeon in the early 1990's and reveals how he originally pitched the series. The diversity of programming was a huge factor in attracting viewers to Nickelodeon, one of the many characteristics that kept the network refreshingly unique. The authentic scares kept fans engaged and even raised generations of rising horror fans. The opening sequence itself is unsettling and rivals ghastly titles like "Goosebumps" and "American Horror Story."

"Are You Afraid of the Dark?" was revived in 2019 and has been renewed for a third season. You can scare yourself silly with both the original and revival on Paramount+. 

8. Hey Arnold! (1996-2004)

"Hey Arnold!" is most loved for the earnestness of the football-headed Arnold Berman and the diverse group of city kids he's constantly running around with. The series also tackled valuable life lessons and emphasized the importance of keeping a strong community full of support. 

Slate digs into the cultural impact of "Hey Arnold!", which opened young viewer's eyes to the destructive power of capitalism and gentrification. The series often challenged authority, whether it was setting a majestic turtle free from the zoo or trashing the community field the elder residents stole from the kids (after they cleaned and cleared it). It set a profound example for young kids about the importance of free thinking and standing up for what you believe in. 

Creator Craig Bartlett expressed his gratitude to fans and detailed how their support made the legacy sequel "Hey Arnold: The Jungle Movie" possible. The original series is currently streaming on Paramount+, and both the theatrical release and "Jungle Movie" can be streamed on Paramount+ and Netflix

7. You Can't Do That on Television (1979-1990)

Only OG Nick fans may remember this one, but as the series responsible for Nickelodeon's singular green slime, and a trailblazer that would set the network's tone to this day, "You Can't Do That on Television" was an essential series. First airing on an Ottawa affiliate in 1979, this irreverent sketch-based series would soon join forces with Nickelodeon, growing alongside the young channel while setting a tone for child-empowering Nick series to come, making viewers feel like they were getting away with something.

The series was notable for featuring a young Alanis Morissette in 5 episodes in 1986, as well as blazing a trail for early Nick hits including "Double Dare" and "Figure It Out," and to this day that green slime is a key component of everything from the Kid's Choice Awards to the recent Slime Cup.  If you want a peek at how Nickelodeon began, you can stream slime-filled episodes of this offbeat series on Paramount+.

6. The Brothers Garcia (2000-2003)

Nickelodeon has always been a consistent defender of diverse storytelling. "The Brothers Garcia" was an authentic representation of your everyday Mexican-American family, similar to other family comedies with a house full of kids and more than enough love to go around. Each episode was heartfelt and frequently reminded viewers of the importance of family. 

USA Today hailed the series' depiction of Hispanic representation and co-creator/producer Jeff Valdez emphasized the need for quality diverse stories. "The Brothers Garcia" is so cherished that it was recently rebooted as a legacy sequel by HBO Max with six of the original members returning. The series has yet to be renewed for a second season, though the cast has teased what they hope for next. 

Shockingly, the original series is currently unavailable to stream, but you can catch up with "The Garcias" in paradise on HBO Max. 

5. The Fairly OddParents (2001-2017)

This wildly inventive series coincided with the birth of mainstream internet access, and the combination seemed to help invent meme culture with its endless references and silly snippets of humor. Slate applauded the series' early seasons for comedy that transcended generations, and the music presented effective earworms (even earning some Emmys) on a regular basis. 

"The Fairly OddParents" currently exists as a live-action series on Paramount+ subtitled "Fairly Odder," but has been poorly received by fans, who have given it an egregious 2.3 rating in IMDb. If you'd rather revisit the original series, consider your wish granted; all 10 seasons are available on Paramount+.

4. Rugrats (1991-2006)

These adventurous babies inspired viewers to never give up and never grow up. "Rugrats" was a series that made children feel seen by centering them as the stars and their parents as supporting characters. The series was imaginative, unabashedly showing new ways to look at the world. The New Yorker enthusiastically reviewed "Rugrats" and the creators' ability "to be surprising and risky enough to get children's attention but safe enough so that parents felt comfortable with letting their children watch the show." "Rugrats" even educated young viewers about the Jewish faith, including holidays like Hanukkah and Passover. 

The success of "Rugrats" produced three theatrical films, countless television specials and the spin-off sequel "All Grown Up!" Then, the babies returned in 2021 for a CGI animated reboot series alongside many of the original cast members. Recently, the "Rugrats" reboot was renewed for a second season, exclusively on Paramount+. 

Fans can revisit their favorite wobbling toddlers by streaming the original, spin-off, and reboot series on Paramount+ and the first, second and third theatrical films on HBO Max.

3. All That (1994-2000)

A groundbreaking sketch-comedy series that opened the door for Nickelodeon's diverse and long-lasting live-action entertainment, "All That" debuted in 1994 and has continued in various iterations and revivals ever since. The success of the series launched Kenan Thompson, Amanda Bynes, Jack De Sena, and Nick Cannon, as well as inspired series like "Kenan & Kal," "The Nick Cannon Show," "The Amanda Show" and "Drake & Josh."

The Atlantic dived deep into the subversive series, celebrating the original "All That" and its relationship to kids without being condescending. The series also excelled at showcasing their stars' individual sensibilities, such as Lori Beth Denberg's random but vital advice or Amanda Bynes' easily irritable Ashley. You can now watch both the original and revival on Paramount+. 

2. SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-)

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? You already know: it's "SpongeBob SquarePants." The one-of-a-kind series is absolutely Nickelodeon's biggest hit by far, with its porous inspiring lead brimming with imagination and relentless optimism. "SpongeBob" has transcended basic television programming and evolved to become a colossal worldwide phenomenon.

Currently, "SpongeBob" holds the World Record for the most popular children's show — an astonishing statistic, as it's 47 times more popular than the average series. The massive global popularity of "SpongeBob" has continued to grow for over 20 years, with the series becoming a cornerstone of cultural media. "SpongeBob" has inspired countless TikTok trends and sounds, as well as populating the internet with an endless supply of memes. With 305 episodes, it's no surprise the series is fundamental to the success of streamer Paramount+. These statistics led to the production of Paramount+ exclusive "SpongeBob" content, with even more on the way.

There's an ocean full of "SpongeBob SquarePants" content on Paramount+, where you'll find the original series, spin-off, and the first, second, and third feature film. SpongeBob's best friend Patrick Star even has his own show.

1. Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra (2005-2008), (2012-2014)

"Avatar: The Last Airbender" was a completely new and original kind of series for Nickelodeon. It was a dedicated serialization enveloping the grander story of the Avatar's journey to master all four elements (earth, fire, water and air). "Avatar" was also extremely action heavy, with a lot of mythical lore and world building. The series' originality struck a deep cord with viewers who have been passionately dedicated fans since they first met the boy in the iceberg. 

Since the finale aired, fans have been begging to return to the mystical world of Avatar. In 2012, the series returned as the spin-off "The Legend of Korra" with a new Avatar in a new setting. The series finale of "Korra" was revolutionary and praiseworthy. Vanity Fair highlighted the trailblazing queer representation proudly on display in the finale.

Fans can prepare to return to the world of Avatar very soon, as Nickelodeon confirmed there's more to come from Avatar Studios. For now, you can master the elements on Paramount+ and Netflix, where you can also stream Korra on both. The official podcast hosted by Janet Varney (Korra) and Dante Basco (Zuko) is also available, featuring exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.