Between Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon, television producers in the 2000s were coming out with kids’ shows that ranged everywhere from adorable to straight-up strange.
While some argued that the 2000s were just a continuation of the cultural movements of the 1990s, the decade’s contributions to the history of music, movies, television, and consumer culture proved that the 2000s had a character all its own.
The kids’ shows of the 2000s were diverse and plentiful, offering programs for every kind of kid from the aspiring popstar to the troublemaker to the black-clad goth. Nickelodeon was moving away from slime-themed game shows and diving deeper into the world of CGI, Cartoon Network was continuing to churn out quirky animated gold, and Disney Channel was putting out their happy-go-lucky, heart-warming teen comedies.
With so many amazing shows that came out of the 2000s, it’s hard to narrow it down to the absolute best. The list of 2000s kids shows that have gained notable mental real estate among the generation that lived through that era could go on forever. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the standouts. These are the 2000s kids shows that defined the decade:
With Miley Cyrus now being a pop music sensation, legal marijuana advocate, and the star of some pretty controversial music videos, it’s easy to forget that she got her start as the lead role in Hannah Montana.
This iconic show premiered March 24, 2006 on the Disney Channel and from the first episode, it had teenagers and preteens all over the world singing the theme song. The show went strong for four seasons before Miley Cyrus outgrew her role as Miley Stewart and decided to focus on her music and acting careers.
Hannah Montana deals with the real-world issue of growing up as a child star who has the paparazzi constantly on their back. Hannah Montana is an alter ego created by Miley Stewart so that she can live her life as a famous pop star but also have a normal upbringing when she takes her blonde wig off.
Through her experiences with her father (who is her father in real life), country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, her best friends Lilly and Oliver, and her brother Jackson, she learns valuable lessons about family and friendship.
Codename: Kids Next Door
Even before Codename: Kids Next Door premiered on December 6, 2002, every child under the age of 14 wanted their very own treehouse. However, when the show came out and we 2000s kids saw the high-tech treehouse that the members of Sector V were operating out of, that desire grew even stronger.
Plus, when we saw the incredible crime-fighting abilities of Numbahs 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, I think we all secretly hoped that the Kids Next Door would show up on our doorsteps and recruit us to their organization.
Throughout the many operations conducted by the Kids Next Door, we got to see their ingenious technology made from household items, each of the five members of Sector V showed their individual skills, and all of us young viewers were inspired to stand up against the forces of evil despite being too young to drive a car or vote.
As a youngster, my friends and I would watch a few episodes of Codename: Kids Next Door on Cartoon Network and then run out into the backyard and pretend that we were characters in the show for hours. Sadly, I never had a treehouse.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
How could one possibly talk about iconic 2000s television shows without mentioning Avatar: The Last Airbender, especially with the resurgence in popularity that it’s recently enjoyed?
This show first popped up on Nickelodeon on February 21, 2005, and instantly became a cult classic. It was funny, intelligent, romantic, heart-warming, nerve-racking, and everything in between. The show drew from many Eastern philosophies to impart powerful messages upon our young minds through the journey of Aang and his friends.
The show takes place in a fictional world in which humans have the ability to manipulate one of the four elements: fire, water, earth, or air. Aang, who is born as the reincarnation of the Avatar, has the ability to manipulate all four elements and it is his responsibility to use his special power to keep the world balanced.
However, the Fire Nation has waged a war of destruction upon the rest of the world, and so it is Aang’s job to battle the Fire Lord and save the world from total domination. I have watched this series several times (as well as the sequel series The Legend of Korra) and it somehow seems to get better every single time.
Wizards of Waverly Place
Selena Gomez is another former Disney Channel star who has enjoyed massive success after getting her start in a 2000s kids sitcom. Wizards of Waverly Place premiered on October 12, 2007, making it slightly late to the party, but it was still so quintessentially 2000s.
The show followed the journey of Alex Russo, portrayed by Selena Gomez, a teenage wizard-in-training that lives in an apartment in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. She must learn how to be a wizard alongside her brothers, Justin and Max, both of who also have magical abilities.
Alex is supposed to keep her powers a secret. However, she frequently uses them to deal with situations in her everyday life as a normal kid in New York.
In the first season of the show, Alex even has to keep her powers a secret from her own best friend Harper. In the second season, though, Harper gets in on the secret and helps the Russo family as they try to conceal their magical abilities from the world.
While most of the shows already mentioned were American-made, you might be surprised to find out that Totally Spies! was a French creation. The show was produced by French animation studio Marathon Media and French broadcaster TF1.
Totally Spies! premiered on ABC Family on November 3, 2001, but moved over to Cartoon Network two years later. The show follows three female spies who live in Beverly Hills, California and lead double lives as both high school students and secret agents for the World Organization of Human Protection.
As spies, Sam, Alex, and Clover must battle villains who are threatening the very existence of the Earth and ensure that power does not fall into the wrong hands. As high school students, the girls battle Mandy, a snooty bully who is constantly ridiculing them for their appearances.
The girls also deal with normal high school problems like exams and relationships, all while slipping away once and a while to go fight crime. Sometimes the villains that they defeat as spies even try to exact revenge on them by sabotaging their personal lives.
The show was very cleverly made and was one of the first of the era to frame women as badass crime fighters. Totally Spies! was a phenomenal show for young male and female viewers alike.