Nickelodeon has defined an era of iconic animated movies and children’s variety programs, ranging from SpongeBob SquarePants to Dora the Explorer to even the Kids’ Choice Awards. But now, the 40- year-old channel has to face bigger challenges of the modern time like the streaming wars dominated by Netflix, Disney+, and the like. The majority of fans of Nickelodeon’s content seem to be admirers of its old classics like the aforementioned SpongeBob and Avatar.
Despite its iconic status, the children’s TV network had had its share of misfires and low points too as is evident from the following shows.
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10 The Adventures Of Kid Danger
Henry Danger was a decent live-action superhero comedy series that aired on Nickelodeon for five seasons, garnering a dedicated fanbase. The show got an animated spinoff in the form of The Adventures Of Kid Danger. The show became one of Nickelodeon’s most panned series with many fans of the original feeling its premise and goofiness to be too forced.
The animation style also seemed to be a tad bit outdated, giving a low-budget feel to the cartoon. With just one season of 12 episodes, the show never aired further.
Breadwinners had a silly premise even though it showed some potential to be a goofy joyride, considering that the show was the brainchild of Steve Borst (the writer behind several episodes of Teen Titans Go!). Breadwinners deals with two ducks who delivered bread crumbs to their fellow ducks in an underwater world. The concept was originally a one-off that was screened in short film festivals.
However, as it developed into a full-fledged series, Breadwinners became a tiresome watch even for younger viewers. The main criticism was towards its sloppy writing and increasing reliance on bread puns and toilet humor. The show was eventually canceled after two seasons and went to show how Nickelodeon toons were becoming quite forgettable with time.
8 Butt-Ugly Martians
A show that aired first in 2001, Butt-Ugly Martians revolves around the three titular Martians landing upon Earth, preparing for an invasion on the orders of their Emperor. However, after making some teenage friends, the Martians end up being addicted to American culture. They continue to stay on the planet while fooling their Emperor that they are ruling over earthlings in a barbaric fashion.
Butt-Ugly Martians‘ animation might not have aged well but its bizarre humor still had its moments, making the show a good-enough guilty pleasure. In fact, it even inspired a Hasbro toy line and three video games. However, the show’s legacy never lived on that well and now, it’s considered to be one of Nickelodeon’s lowest-related shows.
7 How To Rock
How To Rock joins the list of Nickelodeon shows that were cancelled in the same year as its release. The live-action sitcom gets increasingly cheesy with its typical plot of a girl’s struggles with popularity in high school, a trope that viewers have seen in a hundred other teen shows and movies. The problem with the show was however the dated stereotypes that it presented.
For instance, it reinforced the notion that every ‘nerd’ is just a bespectacled girl with braces, along with other elements like the dumb blonde girl and the even dumber and handsome sports jock. The show stars singer-actress Cymphonique Miller as a popular student who loses her friends after she temporaily sports the ‘nerd’ look. She finds her solace as a singer in a school band as she encounters a series of one-dimensional characters.
Fatherhood has definitely been an embarassment on Nickelodeon’s part in the current times. This is mainly for the fact that Bill Cosby served as the program creator, adapting the show from his own book. The show was been removed from all online platforms in 2014 after sexual allegations against Cosby surfaced.
Fatherhood was Nickelodeon’s first venture for its nightly service Nick on Nite that aimed to provide content for mature audiences. Fatherhood was a sitcom that dealt with a scientist and high school teacher who attempts to be a model father to his three kids who struggle with adolescence. While the show gained a lukewarm response, it couldn’t elevate Nick on Nite’s status as compared to its competitors like Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.
5 Glen Martin DDS
Glenn Martin DDS was the second effort by Nick on Nite but again couldn’t garner much popularity. The show yet again charted the territory of family sitcoms. This time, the show focused on a dentist taking his family on a cross-country trip. Just like other Adult Swim shows in its time, this Nickelodeon comedy featured similar stop-motion animation.
The show’s raunchiness seemed a little forced. A recurring gag that was increasingly criticized was zooming on the family dog’s anus again and again. The adult nature of the show didnt’t come naturally and ended up looking too goofy, with some pretty overdone sitcom cliches like a background laughter track.
The concept of AwesomenessTV could have roped in several teenage viewers for the network. But it turned out to be a failed experiment for Nickelodeon, ending up as just another cliched teen drama with unecessary laughter tracks and superficial characters.
In its defense, the show did have potential as it was based on a series of online skits that had gained a massive following on YouTube. AwesomenessTV starred several real-life YouTubers but maybe its choppy editing and repetetive plotlines didnt’t suit the TV format. The show was axed eventually after a run of two seasons.
3 Fred: The Show
Just like the aforementioned AwesomenessTV, Fred: The Show was another misfire by Nickeloden to adapt a YouTube series into long-format sitcoms. The titular character is YouTuber Lucas Cruikshank who was known for his YouTube persona Fred. Fred is an awkward six-year-old boy who narrates the weird daily encounters with his friends and dysfunctional family.
The show however couldn’t retain the charm of Cruikshank’s videos and ended up being a tad bit too bizarre. The performances and plotting were also criticized and not well-received, even by fans of the original YouTube channel.
2 Planet Sheen
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius is one of Nickelodeon’s most acclaimed shows. However, its spinoff Planet Sheen failed to hit the mark. The show was an embarassingly cringe-inducing show filled with uncessary gags. The series revolved around Neutron’s hilarious sidekick Sheen Ezteves as he takes his friend’s spaceship for a spin and ends up in a planet a million light years away.
The plot seemed to be fun-filled in the start but it ended up being too stretched in the further episodes. Fans of the original series found it to be tonally inconsistent as Sheen lacked the smartness of Jimmy Neutron for all the negative reasons.
1 Fanboy & Chumchum
Fanboy & Chumchum can be a guilty pleasure for some but its oddball humor won only a few fans, despite airing for five seasons. The two protagonists are fun-loving children who daydream of becoming fantasy characters and superheroes. They often wear their underwear on the outside and superhero costumes while exploring their made-up world, often antagonizing their teacher as a zombie or an ice giant.
The titular characters tried sporting the tone of other goofy Nickelodeon characters like the best friends SpongeBob and Patrick. But unlike the latter’s wholesome naivety, Fanboy & Chumchum would easily be pretty irritating for viewers. In fact, a good alternative to this show would be The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants, as it also deals with similar tones and imaginary adventures.
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