What would childhood be without TV shows? Sure, there will be no better substitute for children playing with their peers, learning to interact with people their own. For those kids, however, who choose to spend a lot of time watching television, here are some of the best shows created for them:
1. Sesame Street
The granddaddy of the modern kid TV shows. It was fun, it was informative, it was innovative, and it was fast. The producers of Sesame Street are aware that the children’s shows before them failed for one major reason – they were boring. One segment could stretch for minutes–not good, when your target audience has a median attention span of three seconds. If kid TV shows were auto races, Sesame Street was either F1 or NASCAR, its competition was the Paris-Dakar Rally. Broadcast on TV since 1969, Sesame Street has received more Emmy awards than any other TV series.
2. The Electric Company
Produced by Children’s Television Workshop (now the Sesame Workshop), the same people who did Sesame Street, Electric Company was like the teenaged sibling of the grade-schooler Sesame Street. Smart enough to anticipate that their audience would have to change their TV-watching tastes as they grew older, CTW did the Electric Company. Its humor was more mature than Sesame Street’s, so were its teaching methods, graduating from the numbers and letters of Sesame Street to words, phrases, and multiplication/division of Electric Company. It aired 780 episodes from 1971 to 1977.
3. Blue’s Clues
Another innovative kids’ TV show, Blue’s Clues pushed the envelope in its genre. With a combination of technology and a brilliant narrative format designed for preschoolers, Blues Clues was critically acclaimed and commercially successful, winning nine Emmy awards in its 10-year run and became the most commercially successful show for preschoolers. Its most famous characters were host Steve Burns and the animated dog Blues.
4. Art Attack
Misleadingly simple but extremely entertaining, Art Attack was a resourceful British children’s show that focused on one thing only: how to do art. It involved illustration, painting, paper mache, T-shirt dyeing, and “Big Art Attack,” wherein host Neil Buchanan would come up with ingenious art pieces done on a football pitch, a tarmac, or a basketball court. Buchanan would have children guests who would show off their art and what would follow is an instructional program where Buchanan would demonstrate how to do art from beginning to end. The show ran from 1990 to 2007.
5. Barney and Friends
Starting in 1992, this show starring a purple dinosaur (tyrannosaurus rex) is still going strong. A constantly happy (and some would say irritatingly optimistic) character involved in continuous song and dance routines, this show has puzzled critics with its longevity. It was created in 1987 by Sheryl Leach and proved to be a mildly regional success in her native Texas. After Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) picked up and overhauled the show in 1992, it became a national phenomenon despite critics pointing out its alleged lack of educational value for preschoolers. Supporters, on the other hand, say that it is a very age-appropriate program.