GUTS (Nickelodeon, 1992-1995)1 of 10
If you were a kid in the '90s, you dreamed of conquering "The Crag." In case you don't remember (how could you not?), GUTS was basically American Gladiators for kids. Three young contestants are pitted against each other in various competitions based on extreme versions of regular sports, culminating in a race up a fake mountain through foam rock avalanches and confetti snowstorms. I totally could've dominated The Crag, if I'd only been given the chance...
The Jersey (Disney Channel, 1999-2004)2 of 10
A magical old football jersey that can crawl around and climb on you to temporarily transfer you into the body of a world-famous athlete: TV gold! The show featured four teenage friends who loved sports and would inevitably learn valuable life lessons by becoming professional athletes for a few minutes each week. I remember feeling totally vindicated as a young pro wrestling fan when one episode saw two of the characters transfer into the bodies of professional wrestlers to settle an argument they were having. "SEE! It is a real sport! The Jersey says so!"
Legends of the Hidden Temple (Nickelodeon, 1993-1995)3 of 10
The premise of Legends of the Hidden Temple was along the same lines as GUTS, with a little bit of trivia mixed in. Teams of two compete against one another for a chance to complete The Temple Run, a two-level obstacle course filled with booby traps and hidden guards. Even as a 29-year-old, I'd still love to take a run at that course. Can we all agree the Silver Snakes was clearly the coolest team name? I really want a Silver Snakes T-shirt now. Long live Olmec!
Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series (ABC, 1996)4 of 10
Rising from the popularity of Disney's live-action Mighty Ducks movie franchise, this short-lived series featured a group of humanoid hockey-playing ducks from the alien planet known as Puckworld. While pursuing the evil Lord Dragaunus through a dimensional gateway, The Mighty Ducks end up on planet Earth and set up a secret crime-fighting headquarters beneath the ice of "The Pond" arena where they, of course, play in the National Hockey League. With a name like Wildwing Flashblade for the lead character, how could this show not be awesome?
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (FOX, 1993-1995)5 of 10
We're talking about the original Power Rangers here, not the space police or whatever heresy your kids might be watching. Let's get straight to what everybody wants here: my definitive Mighty Morphin Power Rankings:
1 - White Ranger (obviously)
2 - Green Ranger (same guy, different Ranger, still cool)
3 - Black Ranger (coolest uniform + the Mastodon Dinozord)
4 - Pink Ranger (*blushes*)
5 - Red Ranger (too basic, bro)
6 - Yellow Ranger (did she ever even have a storyline?)
7 - Blue Ranger (obviously)
ProStars (NBC, 1991)6 of 10
Of course the best athletes are also superheroes, because OF COURSE! Starring cartoon likenesses of Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Bo Jackson, ProStars somehow only lasted 13 episodes. How did that not pan out?
Recess (ABC, 1997-2001)7 of 10
I always wanted to play a game of kickball after watching an episode of Recess. I didn't know it at the time, but Third Street Elementary's playground-as-a-microcosm-for-society-as-a-whole did a lot to prepare me for the real world. I learned some real valuable lessons from T.J. and the gang.
Rocket Power (Nickelodeon, 1999-2004)8 of 10
Surprisingly, this is the only kids' show I can think of that really capitalized on the growing popularity of extreme sports in the late '90s. The show highlighted the daily lives and shenanigans of four California kids who love anything that involves wearing a helmet. The series is best remembered (by me at least) for the friends' not-so-secret handshake where they wiggle their fingers in each others palms while saying, "woogity, woogity, woogity, woogity."
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (CBS, 1987-1996)9 of 10
I put this list in alphabetical order so as to avoid rioting, but I think we can all agree which show would be No. 1 on this list if it had been ranked. Again, for the record, the version your kids are watching now doesn't count. I'm talking about the original, 2-D cartoon that inspired my love of pepperoni pizza. But it also made me want to learn martial arts. WARNING: Don't ever let your child swing a real pair of nun chucks. They will get hurt.