Nickelodeon, Thank You!
After so many years of rumors and pleading, Nickelodeon finally gave in to the power that is 'Retro'. A few months back, they launched "The 90's Are All That"on TeenNick. What a cause for celebration! Finally, we can watch the shows we all know and love. The shows that defined our childhood, our generation. No longer are we stuck surfing YouTube for small pieces of our favorite shows. Or worse, full episodes, taped on a video camera that was taping a TV screen.
A symbol of victory!
Given, the block starts at midnight on a channel that isn't accessible to everyone. Hell, I had to actually order TeenNick as a part of my cable package, which for someone in their mid-twenties wasn't at all embarrassing. Here we are a few months later, and as much as I wanted to come here and immediately write something great and pop the bubbly, I decided not to. I wanted to wait and see if this lasted. Like I said, this is a late night block stuck on a cable TV station that is probably overlooked more times than not. Call me a pessimist, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. But now my friends, I feel like I can finally do this properly. Today, I want to discuss what I like, what I dislike, and where I see this going. I'll wrap with a nice thank you message to the good people at Nick. Who knows, maybe they'll read this someday.What do I like about "The 90's Are All That"?
To say that I am excited every time I tune in would be an understatement. So many years went by where I couldn't relive this part of my childhood. Thanks to DVD and ITunes, I was able to purchase old TV Shows, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tailspin, Ghostbusters, Inspector Gadget, Fraggle Rock, and Tiny Toons, just to name a few. What you'll notice about this is that NONE of these shows were exclusive to Nick. Some of these were shows that Nick grabbed in syndication. For years, we all asked the same question: Why doesn't Nickelodeon release their old shows on DVD?
We heard a number of answers, ranging from "They're coming soon" to "There isn't enough interest". It almost seemed like a doomed dream. How often did you check back to see if Salute Your Shorts was being released on Amazon, only to be disappointed? But then, out of nowhere, the announcement came. Our shows would be back on TV. Even better, some of our shows are finally being released on DVD! That's a really long build up to this: I like the fact that this exists, because it gave retro a chance. Even more so, it gave us a chance. We've all vented here about how we hear crap from people who think that we can't let go of the past. It's not that we can't, we just choose to respect it. That's exactly what Nickelodeon said when they made this decision. They said, "We are with you".
Another thing that I like about it is the fact that they really did this right in regards to paying tribute to what Nick was in the 90's. The bumpers and ID's were as memorable as the shows themselves, and it's nice to see them being used during this block. It truly was a beautiful touch. I love that Stick is back, and that they made him grow up too. Gotta love watching him down Red Bulls and get you ready for the weekend. For me, it said, "Be a kid, but don't forget that you grew up, and so did we". Maybe it's just me, but its little thing that I love. I feel a real connection.
And I think I would be negligent if I didn't talk about that feeling I get when I see all of this again. When I watch these shows, these ID's, it brings me back to a time in my life that I long for. I remember the sleepovers, and the Little League games. I remember the food, and playing with my toys. I still get butterflies in my stomach and a bit of uneasiness when I think back to staying up past my bedtime, and what would happen if I was ever caught. It's a feeling that I didn't think I would ever have again.
This logo still gives me the chills.
Let's be real, this goes without saying: the shows are what I like the most. To me, they are as funny now as they ever were. They were well written, well executed TV shows. It's an art that has gone by the waist side, in my opinion. TV shows come and go so quickly nowadays. I can't tell you how many shows I really enjoyed, and got cancelled halfway through the first season. Or worse, shows that had good ratings, good characters and a solid story, and got cancelled for seemingly no reason. And then there are some shows that I watch and they scream, "We don't care". These shows never felt that way, that's why they were special. It's because they cared.What do I dislike about "The 90's Are All That"?
First and foremost, I really dislike the time slot. When this first started, it would come on earlier. I think it actually started at 10 PM EST in its initial run. In my opinion, it's hard to really give this thing a chance and get a real feel for how many people are tuning in when you start it so late. Most people are asleep because they need to be at work in the morning, and probably aren't interested in being up that late to watch TV. Maybe I'm wrong, but it just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
Another thing that I REALLY dislike about it is the lack of flavor during this block. Don't get me wrong, I love All That, Hey Arnold, Rugrats, Doug, and Keenan and Kel. They are all classics without a doubt, but there were so many more great shows on the network. Initially, they also showed Hey Dude and Clarissa Explains It All. Last I checked, these shows are no longer being shown. Also, the block really only runs in a 2 hour segment, it just happens to air that segment twice. So by 2 AM, you're watching the same thing you saw only 2 hours ago. If you are going to show 4 hours of programming, show us 4 hours of programming. Insert new shows and some different episodes. I fear that this is going to get dry quickly if this is how they plan on running the show. It's cool that they let you pick episodes for the Friday night block, but it's not enough variety.Where do I think this is going?
There are two directions I think this should (and will) go in. The first place would be a new Nick Network dedicated to Retro Nickelodeon. This is probably the most unlikely scenario, but it is one that makes sense. As kids, we all wanted to know what our parents watched on TV. Any time we got the opportunity to catch these older shows on the tube, we would watch to see if it was still funny, and how different the times were. That could certainly work as a selling point because, for better or for worse, we are slowly becoming the re-generation generation. It's our turn to have kids and keep civilization going. I think it would be great for our families to see these shows for what they were, and get the chance to enjoy them the same way that we did. Let's not forget, kids who love Nickelodeon, LOVE the network. If you did a sort of, "This is where we were, and this is how we got here" type of thing, I believe it would work.
Now, only a few seconds ago did I talk about how we would watch the same shows our folks did. Where did we watch a majority of these shows? Nick at Nite. The more likely scenario here, and the one that I think Nick should have explored YEARS ago, was making Nick At Nite into OUR generations Nick At Nite, and showing the old Nick shows. Given, they started showing Full House, Fresh Prince, Home Improvement, etc. Yes, those shows were important and beloved by our generation, but how great would it be if "The 90's Are All That", turned into Nick At Nite? This of this: How many "superstations" already have these shows running a few times a day? This version of Nick At Nite would offer something completely different.
However, if they did it, they would have to do it right. Old school Nick At Nite had a number of shows that run for either 30 minutes or an hour. They wouldn't show the same program for 2 or 3 hours at a time. They would have to keep it going, keep it fresh. I think it would be great if there were 8, 9, 10 different shows that played throughout the night. Let's be real, if you want to watch 3 hours of a show, you're going to probably toss in a DVD, pick the episodes you want, and skip the commercials. Since the old Nick shows are slowly getting released, this is totally possible to do. Run a bunch of different shows, different episodes all night.
Hell, rotate the shows every few days. That way, if, say, Welcome Freshmen is showing at 12:30 AM on a Monday, have it play at 10 PM on a Thursday. This will give us the opportunity to see ALL of our shows at a reasonable hour, for those who can't stay up late that is. I think you would also obtain a truer calculation of how many people are willing to watch. The standard Nickelodeon/ Nick At Nite channel is offered on basic cable, and that means everyone gets it. You open up the audience that way, as well as offering the programming during a more appealing time, and you will really be on to something. I bet you anything, your ratings go through the roof. More so than what you are seeing on TeenNick in the middle of the night, and definitely more than the 6th episode of Full House where Joey and Jesse make a mistake with the kids while Danny is on a date. I love Full House, but it is safe to say that the plotline I laid out to you is slightly larger than a microcosm of the series.
Forget Jenny! For a good time call Danny!My Letter to Nickelodeon:
Dear Viacom Executives,
Thank you so much for hearing us. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to relive our childhood. There are millions of people who visit sites like Retro Junk every day who have been waiting for this day to come. It's only fitting that this network made it happen for us. My only wish is that you continue to work with us, and allow this to grow into something bigger. Again, I thank you for your support of the Retro World. I'm as thrilled as I ever was to relive these memories, and I look forward to reliving them for a long time.In conclusion:
Thanks for sticking with me through this long one boys and girls. It's been a while since I gave you something, and for that I am sorry. Life gets busy. Life gets in the way. I don't want to make blind promises to you. All I can say is that I will give you all I've got, as often as I can. I love this site, and being able to connect with you all on this level. It's not something I forgot about. It's not something that I don't care about. Honestly, I've had a number of articles waiting to be clicked through for the better part of a year, but I won't insult you by tossing crap on the site. If it's going up, it's going up the right way. I hope that you have all been well since we last spoke, and hopefully, it won't be so long this time.
I swear, I never left.
-Born In The 80's Oh, I can't leave you without one of my signature questions!
What do you think of The 90's Are All That? What would you change? Where would you like to see this go?