A tour of TV?s best era for kids

As I was watching a basketball game on TV during March Madness, a commercial for South?west Airlines caught my eye. It was the one where a boy is visiting colleges with his dad and replies ?I love it? to each one.

I immediately thought, ?I know that guy!? I saw it again awhile later and realized why he looked familiar. It was Jake Thomas, the actor who played Matt on ?Lizzie McGuire,? one of my absolute favorite shows as a young girl.

I could be biased, but I really believe Disney Chan?nel was at its prime during my elementary and middle school years. The shows I grew up with were funny, taught life lessons and promoted good values.

For fun, I looked up some of my favorite childhood shows and took note of their air dates. I?m now even more convinced that the decade from 2000 to 2010 was one of the greatest periods in family-friendly television programming.

Before I jump into my nostalgic timeline of TV shows, I can?t forget to mention a few quality shows that premiered before the turn of the century.

?Boy Meets World,? which ran from 1993 to 2000, is a classic that, while I was too young to watch during its original run, I watch reruns of to this day. I love the way this show can tackle difficult topics in hilarious yet heart-felt ways.

Another great show that began at the end of the ?90s was ?Zoom,? which aired on PBS. PBS was my go-to channel as a kid growing up without cable TV in my home (my Disney Channel fix was filled at my grandma?s house). It was one of my childhood dreams to be on the cast of ?Zoom,? although I never quite mastered the language of Ubbi Dubbi.

This column would probably be way too long if I went in depth about why I love all of the following shows, so I?ll do my best to get through this without rambling.

Beginning in 2000, the tidal wave of great shows for kids started with Disney Channel?s ?Even Stevens.? It was cheesy, it was sometimes over the top, but it was oh so entertaining.

The year 2001 brought us several great shows. This was the year we were introduced to Lizzie McGuire and her crazy, lovable friends and family. I think ?Lizzie McGuire? might have been my first TV show obsession.

While not a TV show, one of my all-time favorite movies, ?The Princess Diaries,? also hit theaters in 2001.

In addition, ?The Amazing Race? premiered in 2001. From my ?Amazing Race? themed birthday party in sixth grade to my sister?s and my shared dream to compete on the show together once she?s old enough, ?The Amazing Race? has been my long-standing favorite reality show.

The animated Disney Channel show ?Kim Possible? premiered in 2002. This show about a crime-fighting high school student who made classic lines like ?so not the drama,? ?call me, beep me? and ?what?s the stitch? a part of my daily vocabulary for a time.

?That?s So Raven? and ?Lilo and Stitch? premiered in 2003. I never was a huge fan of ?Lilo and Stitch,? but ?That?s So Raven? is definitely in my list of favorites. It had some of the most meaningful and influential episodes I?ve ever seen on Disney Channel, and it was extremely funny too.

?The Lizzie McGuire Movie? also was released in 2003, and I could go on for hours about how great that movie is. I still totally jam out to the movie?s soundtrack on long drives.

Nickelodeon?s ?Drake and Josh? and Disney Channel?s ?Phil of the Future? both premiered in 2004. Again, these shows were top-notch.

Three more awesome shows premiered in 2005: ?Zoey 101,? ?Life with Derek? and ?The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.?

The infamous Disney Channel show ?Hannah Montana? premiered in 2006. ?Wizards of Waverly Place? and ?iCarly? premiered in 2007. Also, the Disney Channel short show ?As the Bell Rings? got its start in 2007. For some reason, I absolutely loved this five-minute show that would play in between full-length shows.

To round out the decade of great shows, ?The Suite Life on Deck? premiered in 2008 followed by ?Sonny with a Chance? in 2009 and ?Good Luck Charlie? in 2010.

I?m still waiting for the day that either there is a channel launched specifically for these throwback shows or that all of them are put on Netflix. For now though, if, like me, you grew up with most of the shows I?ve mentioned, I hope you?ve enjoyed this walk down TV memory lane.

If you?ve had no clue what I?ve been talking about this entire column, then I?m impressed you?re still reading and I?m also sorry you missed out on some really great television.

Bailey Kaufman is a Hills?boro High School grad currently attending Kansas State University.