8 TV Shows That Made After-School Time Fun
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8 TV Shows That Made After-School Time Fun

A blast from my past with eight shows from the 90s and 00s.

8 TV Shows That Made After-School Time Fun

News is spreading that Nickelodeon will launch The Splat!, a channel replaying the 90s cartoons our generation loved. I got pretty excited and nostalgic when I found out about this, and it'd be great if there was another channel showing non-animated shows from the 90s and early 00s too. Hearing about Nick's The Splat! made me remember the good ol' elementary school days, when I'd rush home after school to avoid missing my favorite TV shows. I didn't have cable like the cool kids, so the shows I frequently watched derived from popular networks like ABC and Fox. Below are some of the many hit series that ruined my eyesight—I mean—enjoyed watching when I was younger. I may have been too young to understand some of these shows' jokes, but I loved the characters and the shows anyways.


Of course I have to put this first! Loved by many, Friends follows the crazy adult lives of Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Chandler (Matthew Perry), Monica (Courteney Cox), Ross (David Schwimmer), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), and my personal favorite, Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow). They all experience break-ups, awkward dates, giving away their children, and losing jobs after college, but, regardless of the obstacles, the gang always sticks together. Keeping old friends is rare in a typical adult’s life, and I like that this show’s storyline makes that impossible. As a kid, I never stopped laughing at Monica’s fits, Phoebe’s weirdness, and just Chandler in general. Now that I understand the show’s humor more, I consider Friends as my all-time favorite show.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Some of the vampires in Buffy the Vampire Slayer gave me nightmares when I watched the show, but I always had faith that Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) would save anyone (even myself) from being bitten. I couldn’t wait to go to high school at that time, and the show made high school more exciting than it actually was. With the help of her friends, a.k.a. the “Scooby Gang,” and Watcher Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), Buffy destroys vampires, demons, and anything else from Hellmouth that cause destruction in Sunnydale. But Buffy is still just a young, ordinary gal trying to get by.

She falls head over heels for the “good” vampire, Angel (David Boreanaz). She makes enemies, like bleach-blonde Spike (James Marsters). She realizes that she has a sister (I pretend this never happened). Beneath all that stake-carrying, vampire-ass-kicking Buffy, she makes mistakes and wants to be loved like any of us, which is why I looked up to her.


The original trio: (L to R) Prue, Piper, and Phoebe

After I finished all of my homework on Thursday nights, I would beg my family to change the channel so my sis and I could watch Charmed, a hit series showing us that good witches exist too. Charmed focused on the Halliwell witches, who also happened to be sisters, and their battles against demons and other supernatural forces harming their loved ones and other innocent people around them. In addition to that, the sisters face relationship struggles, marriage struggles, and, you know, the typical life issues. They’re normal people too—but with supernatural powers. I nearly cried when the eldest sister, Prue (Shannen Doherty), died after the ugly demon Shax killed her. Half-sister Paige (Rose McGowan) replaced her when she joined Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), which took me a while to get used to.

The sisters with youngest sister Paige (right)

Though quite repetitive throughout the series, I loved how most episodes start by showing a beautiful view of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the Halliwell house. The show’s setting, along with the action, drew me into the story. I realized that attics aren’t so scary when the Halliwell sisters were around. In fact, they’re the coolest part of any two-, or apparently three-, storey house.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

I may have been a little too into witches and vampire slayers when I was younger. But it’s awesome that Sabrina the Teenage Witch is a quirky, comedic take on the dark supernatural realm. With the help of her immortal aunts, Zelda (Beth Broderick) and Hilda (Caroline Rhea), and talking cat Salem (voiced by Nick Bakay), teenager Sabrina Spellman (played by the ageless Melissa Joan Hart) embarks a journey to become a “licensed” witch, her magic powers transmitting from her pointing finger. Unlike Buffy and the Halliwell sisters, Sabrina mostly uses magic against normal people who bully her, not against demons or vampires. I remember Sabrina airing earlier in the afternoon, so this show was one I tried hard not to miss.

Aren't they adorbs?

The later seasons, which focused on Sabrina’s college years, lost some of the show’s charm in my opinion, but I still watched a good portion of them. Sabrina made college look fun, too. I can only dream of a dorm as spacious and cozy as hers. I like how the show’s humor works at a literal standpoint. For instance, Sabrina accidentally farts in class, and explains her embarrassment to her aunts by knifing through an actual block of cheese—taken from the saying “cutting the cheese.” And out of all the hotties Sabrina dates, Harvey will always be theone for her. Harvey and Sabrina forever.

Married…with Children

Despite being deemed as sexist and offensive, Married…with Children was a successful sitcom nonetheless, and actually ran for eleven seasons The innuendos in the show may not have been made for kids, but I watched it anyway. Married…with Children follows the story of Al , Peggy, Kelly, and Bud Bundy residing in Chicago and living off of Al’s income, which comes from selling women’s shoes. The unorthodox Bundy family and their neighbors add so much wit and humor to the stereotypical “American family” that the show is just too hard to resist. It’s hilarious if you don’t take the insults too seriously, and doesn’t necessarily promote anything in my opinion. My waist hurt from laughing too hard whenever protagonist Al (Ed O’Neill) and his ne ighbor Marcy Rhodes (D’Arcy) roast each other back and forth.

The Bundys also insulted one another, but they still stuck together like a true family. To this day, Married…with Children still lightens up my mood. Unfortunately, it isn’t on Netflix, so I buy the DVDs or watch re-runs of the show on FX whenever I have time. “You Better Shop Around: Part 2” of the sitcom’s fifth season will always be my favorite episode. Long live the Bundys.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Not only does The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air center on an acclaimed actor’s life, it also has one of the most memorable theme songs. I’m sure one of you once in a while will rap, or try to rap, the show’s theme. In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will’s (Will Smith) life “got twisted up and down” when his mother forces him to move to his Aunt Vivian and Uncle Phil’s luxurious mansion in Bel-Air, California, a place where he’ll supposedly better himself as he grows up. Will encounters the wealthy lifestyle, and we empathize with his struggle to fit in and become the man he should be. I appreciated (and I still do) this show as a kid because of its mixture of comedic and emotional scenes. Every situation Will goes through felt real, and many people could definitely relate to them.

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Malcolm in the Middle

Watching Malcolm in the Middle made me think about having a brother. Too bad I never got one. This hit show centers on genius Malcolm, played by the adorable Frankie Muniz, who is placed in a program for gifted students and has to deal with his dysfunctional family: his parents, Hal (pre- Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston) and Lois (Jane Kaczmarek), and brothers, Francis (Christopher Masterson), Reese (Justin Berfield), Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan), and, later, Jamie (James and Lukas Rodriguez). It’s great how each of the five brothers have their own personalities — Dewey h as always been my favorite, because he’s so cute and unique compared to his brothers. I also enjoy how Malcolm occasionally "breaks the fourth wall" by facing the camera and talking directly to the audience. I had never seen a show that incorporated an aside before, so I thought it was pretty cool.

Each character, likeable or not, brings charm to the show, and no matter how dysfunctional Malcolm’s family acts, they are all endearing and caring people. Reese might continue to beat up his little brother Malcolm, but he’ll save him if anyone else harms him. After all, blood is thicker than water.

Gilmore Girls

When talking about boys with your mom isn't so awkward after all.

After I recently binge-watched the entire Gilmore Girls on Netflix, I have a love-hate thing for young mother Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and her teenaged daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel). They have great taste of movies and books, but they tend to patronize others an d take advantage of everyone in their small town, Stars Hollow. When I was little, I idolized the duo, especially Rory, because she was clever, shy, hated parties, read everywhere, and won the hearts of all the cute guys around her. Who didn’t look up to her, really? What entertained me the most about Gilmore Girls was the fast-paced dialogue. Back then, I didn’t think any show would’ve done that better.

“Gilmore Girls” is a feel-good show, but a great one. I think the writer/creator Amy Sherman-Palladino did a nice job of pulling us into the small-town setting, and letting resentful daughters know that their mother could be a best friend, too. I could only dream of having all of that. I advise you not to watch the seventh season, which disappoints me so much. Luke Danes (Scott Patterson) is the best character of the show, and when you’re figuring out the man Perfect Miss Rory will end up with in the future, always go for #TeamJess.

Any shows I didn't cover? Let me know which shows made YOUR after-school the best in the comments below!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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