Categories: Culture

19 Iconic TV Shows 90s Kids Used To Watch On Kids Central & Where You Can Catch Some Of Them Now

Iconic Kids Central shows 90s kids would remember


Picture this: You’re 10, you’ve completed your homework before Monday, and your parents have granted you the glorious right to watch Kids Central shows on television. If that unlocked a core memory, I’m sure we can all bond over Sundays watching our favourite episodes. 

Well, let’s take a trip down memory lane. Here, we revisit some of the most iconic TV shows we used to watch on Kids Central – we’ve even included links on where to find them now, just in case you’re feeling incredibly nostalgic. 

What was Kids Central?

If your year of birth starts with a “2”, we don’t blame you if you don’t know what Kids Central is. It was the most-watched children’s channel in Singapore, with programmes targeted towards children aged 4-12 years. It was part of Central, a Singaporean English and Tamil language free-to-air TV channel and shared time slots with Vasantham Central and Arts Central.

 

What happened to Kids Central?

Like some of our favourite old-school bands, Central disbanded in 2008 when Vasantham Central relaunched as a standalone channel, Vasantham. Arts Central and Kids Central then formed Okto, which was running as a standalone channel from 2008 until it shut down in 2019. 


– Local programmes –


1. We Are R.E.M. – A murder mystery? For kids?



Image adapted from: meWatch

 We Are R.E.M. revolves around 3 friends – Rachel, Ee Ching, and Mo – who solve mysteries with the help of their tuition teacher. For a kid’s programme, the trio tackled some rather serious plotlines. Season 1 saw them solve a murder, a case involving art theft, and there was even an episode with a decapitated head.  

If you think these topics were way too heavy for a kid’s show, you’d be surprised to find out that the show ran for another 2 seasons and was awarded Best Children’s Programme in 2008. The original series was then followed up with R.E.M.: The Next Generation, a more mature, grittier version starring Ming Bridges.

Stream 3 seasons of We Are R.E.M. on meWatch


2. Groom My Room – The show everyone wanted to be on



The show was a hit with kids and lasted for 11 seasons up till 2021.
Image adapted from: meWatch

Locally-produced reality TV shows were a rare commodity back in the day, especially for Kid’s Central. Groom My Room saw a different kid undertake the challenge of giving their room a makeover within 3 days – with a $500 budget and 2 lifelines to call on in a pinch. 

The show was a good way of educating kids about planning and budgeting, but we confess we were more fascinated by the total transformation of the rooms. Each kid was paired with an interior designer to bring their vision to life, some had pretty unique ideas in mind for their reno


One contestant even enlisted the help of the author behind the Mr. Midnight series for a horror-themed room.
Image credit: meWatch

Watching some of these episodes back now, it makes me wonder whatever happened to the boy who wanted an SAF-styled room or the girl who envisioned her own private butterfly garden. 

Stream 11 seasons of Groom My Room on meWatch.


3. Robbie And The Book Of Tales – The first kid drama to air locally



Image adapted from: meWatch

Picture this: It’s the year 2000, you’re watching Kid’s Central, and Robbie And The Book Of Tales comes on. 


Image adapted from: meWatch

For the uninitiated, Robbie was the guardian of Fairy-Tale Land, and it was his job to jump into stories to complete them when evil forces caused their endings to disappear. I remember him taking on the roles of famous characters from folk tales, like the mythical muscleman Badang. Watching Robbie’s adventures added an element of fantasy to my otherwise mundane Sunday mornings.


Wen Long (left) who played Robbie, now also edits
photos and videos while pursuing hobbies like coffee and music.
Image credit: @ho_wl via Instagram

It’s been over 20 years since the show first aired, and the show’s titular character is now a pilot-in-training. Michelle Chong, who played Robbie’s mum, has her own media agency. Time most certainly does fly. 

Stream 2 seasons of Robbie And The Book Of Tales on meWatch.


4. Ubin Boy – Slice-of-life kids drama from 2005



Looking For Nathaniel’s Millicent Wong also starred as Xiao Min, Steven’s romantic interest.  
Image adapted from: mewatch

As kids, going overseas during the June or year-end holidays was something everyone looked forward to. For Ubin Boy’s 10-year-old Steven, his highly-anticipated Hawaiian getaway turns into a month-long staycation with his grandma at her kampung on Pulau Ubin. Shag bro. 

His stay on the eastern island sees this city kid adapt to life on Ubin, while bonding with his estranged cousin Ah Boy and newfound crush Ah Min. Ubin Boy showed us how to appreciate the simpler things in life, and made me long for forest adventures with my friends.

Stream 3 seasons of Ubin Boy on meWatch.  


5. Wushu Warriors – 3 butt-kicking kids


 

The opening titles for Wushu Warriors.
Video credits: Christelle Taillens via YouTube 

Featuring 3 super ninjas-in-training, Wushu Warriors followed in the same vein as We Are R.E.M., with the trio solving mysteries revolving around their martial arts school. 

From tracking down missing medals to unearthing cheating at competitions, the part of the series that I remember most distinctly is their wise old mentor who spent most of his time doing paintings using nail polish.  

Wushu Warriors is currently unavailable for streaming. 


6. Whizzes Of The Void Deck – Did multiversal travel before it was cool



Image credit: mewatch

Before Spider-Man brought multiversal travel to the big screen, the ragtag bunch of geeks from Whizzes Of The Void Deck did it first. We saw them exploring alternate realities, deciphering coded messages, and travelling through time over 3 seasons. For a show that aired in the early 2000s, this programme was probably an introduction to the world of sci-fi for many of us. 

While the storylines strayed way beyond the boundaries of reality, they did include educational portions that taught viewers how to make their own bath bombs, invisible ink, and even encrypt messages using Morse code.   

Stream 3 seasons of Whizzes Of The Void Deck on meWatch.    


7. Looking For Nathaniel – She’s now acting on-stage in the UK



Image adapted from: meWatch

Contrary to what you’d assume, no, Nathaniel’s not a boy. Nathaniel’s a cheeky little girl with a charming smile living in a children’s home, getting up to mischief and having adventures with her friends. I remember the characters doing ridiculous things like stealing each other’s toothbrushes to scrub floors, and sharing their woes over Ribena packets as if they were sitting at a bar.

Hilarious and sometimes ridiculous, Nathaniel’s adventures left me giggling way too much.


Wong (bottom row, 3rd from left) alongside her castmates from Henry V
Image credit: @millicentwong_ via Instagram

Millicent Wong, who played Nathaniel, has since transitioned from screen to stage. She’s played roles in many theatre productions in the UK. Most notably, she starred in Henry V alongside Kit Harrington (Jon Snow from Game of Thrones) in 2022. 

Stream 1 season of Looking For Nathaniel on mewatch.


8. Art Factory – Crafted masterpieces from recyclables



Image credit: Box Yourself 

This was one of my favourite shows growing up. Making things out of cardboard rolls? Doodling cute cows all over walls? Learning drawing tips and tricks? My inner creative bunny was unleashed while watching this self-proclaimed Einstein do his stuff. 

If you’re wondering what happened to him, don’t worry, everyone’s favourite bald artist is still going strong. You can find him working his artistic magic on Instagram.


Kristiansen came back for a visit in 2015.
Image credit: @oisteinkristiansen via Instagram  

The host, Øistein Kristiansen, started out doodling for tourists along Clarke Quay while backpacking through Asia. Eventually, his big break came when he got a role as an extra with Mediacorp. The rest is, as they say, history.

Art Factory is currently unavailable for streaming. 


9. Jobs for Juniors – Internships for kids



Image credit: The Moving Visuals Co. Singapore  

What did you want to be when you grow up? A firefighter? A pilot? A zookeeper? A clown? Every week, this show gave 3 lucky kids an opportunity to experience their dream jobs, and to learn that it’s not necessarily as glamorous as it seems to be. It painted a more realistic image of many childhood fantasy occupations.

These days, kids might dream of making names for themselves as streamers or influencers. We wonder if a modern reboot might have contestants trying out some of the trendier professions we see nowadays.   

Jobs for Juniors is currently unavailable for streaming. 


10. Schoolhouse Rockz – A Singaporean High School Musical



Image adapted from mewatch

It’s 2006, and High School Musical was all the rage for Singaporean Tweens. Kids Central decided to try staging their own versions, with Schoolhouse Rockz and it’s subsequent sequel: Schoolhouse Rockz 2.

Local actress/singer
Fang Rong starred as Dawn in both Schoolhouse Rockz 1 & 2.

Image adapted from mewatch     

Some of us might have outgrown show tunes by 2008, but you have to admit, some of the tunes were quite catchy. With groovy guitar riffs and localised lyrics like “I do what I like, don’t play play” you wouldn’t be wrong to call it a Singaporean version of the Disney Channel classic.

Stream 1 season of Schoolhouse Rockz on meWatch.  


– International programmes –


11. Pokémon – Compulsory viewing on Saturday mornings



Ash achieved “Pokémon Master” Status on November 11, 2022 after 25 years.
Image credit: The Pokémon Company

It’s no surprise most of us can recite the OG theme song from memory alone, even though episodes only aired once a week, Pokémon was a must-watch. Yeah, kids these days might be able to stream episodes online with ease – but back in the day, we had to wake up at 10am sharp every Saturday just to follow Ash Ketchum’s journey to be the very best, the best there ever was.


The series’ protagonist(s) then (left) & now (right).
Images adapted from: The Official Pokémon YouTube channel via YouTube       

Initially marketed as a tie-in to promote the popular Game Boy title, the show featured Ash as the main protagonist for 25 seasons before handing the torch to 2 new fresh-faced teens. 

Our love for the beloved franchise hasn’t waned over time, being one of the few countries with a Pokémon Center outside of Japan, many of us are still poké-crazy.

 

Ketchum’s last victory was broadcast live on multiple screens across Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing
Image adapted from: The Official Pokémon YouTube channel via YouTube

You can watch select seasons of Pokémon on mewatch, Netflix, and YouTube.


12. Art Attack – Probably the reason you scored an ‘A’ in Art



Image adapted from: Moondog via YouTube

Art Factory wasn’t the only art-based show that taught you how to draw or paint back in the day, Art Attack had every artistic kid in a chokehold. Creator and host Neil Buchanan would deliver some serious arts and crafts knowledge each episode.   


Colossus of Constantine (left) and The Head (right).
Image credit: The MET & Old TV via YouTube

Neil Buchanan was Joined by The Head, a talking replica of the Colossus of Constantine, a real-life art piece. Neil would teach you creative techniques, like how to draw sea creatures as if you were viewing them from the seafloor, or how to build 3D projects with papier-mâché. 


Image adapted from: Moondog via YouTube.

Each episode featured easy-to-follow, step-by-step tutorials. There were even segments where Buchanan would make huge street art installations out of common everyday objects.   

You can watch episodes of Art Attack on YouTube.    


13. Blue’s Clues – A seriously keen-eyed blue Basset Hound



Steve and Blue.
Image adapted from: JSmon via YouTube

Before Bluey, an adorable puppy that’s popular with kids these days, Blue from Blue’s Clues was the original blue-coloured cartoon dog. Blue’s Clues had Blue and her – yes, Blue’s actually female – owner Steve navigate their animated world with viewers. While we aged IRL, the show’s live-action cast did too. Steve eventually left for “further studies” and his brother, Joe, took over the reins. 


Today, Blue has a more textured, 3D HD look, compared to her old 2D self.
Image adapted from: Blue’s Clues & You! Via YouTube 

Fun fact: did you know that in the show, Blue’s owner, Steve wanted to be a detective? In the latest reboot Blue’s Clues & You!, he now runs a detective agency – so it looks like all those 96 episodes searching for clues with viewers and Blue finally paid off.

You can stream Blue’s Clues & You on Netflix and find clips of Steve’s days on Blue’s Clues on YouTube.        


14. Winx Club – Earned a live-action series on Netflix



Image adapted from: Winx Club via YouTube

Winx Club fantasy, action, and adventure cartoon which ran from 2004 till 2019. It followed a fairy warrior named Bloom through her life at fairy school – Alfea College. Singaporeans will probably be more familiar with the first 4 seasons that ran from 2004-2009 on Kids Central. 

Fun fact: when the show got picked up by Nickelodeon back in 2011, Ariana Grande actually voiced one of the fairies. The show did so well that it actually made the leap to live-action in 2021 with Fate: The Winx Saga

Stream both seasons of Fate: The Winx Saga on Netflix and the original Winx Club on YouTube.     


15. Power Rangers – Cool kids don’t look at explosions



Image credit: eOne / Saban/Shout! Studios

Back in the day, the Power Rangers were everything to boys who would rush home from school just to watch these heroes suit up and battle the forces of evil. A franchise with 30 seasons since it’s debut, they’re still making new episodes and selling toys to this day.


Footage from the Japanese Super Sentai series is still used in the American-produced versions.
Image adapted from: rangersentaiguy2 via YouTube

Back then, even we didn’t know the series was actually an American adaptation of the Japanese Super Sentai series and part of an agreement that saw beloved comic book hero Spider-Man receive a Japanese-made spin-off of his own. 


The 30 year-old franchise is worth approximately 8 billion dollars and loved by fans worldwide.
Image credit: Bazil Irfan via Facebook

In 1993, Toei Company and Marvel Comics – yes, that Marvel – exchanged concepts and made shows for their respective audiences.

You can watch select seasons of Power Rangers on Netflix.   


16. Yu-Gi-Oh! – One of many Japanese cartoons that aired here



Animes like Yu-Gi-Oh! were probably our first steps towards becoming die-hard anime fans.
Image adapted from: Duel Academy via YouTube

Looking back, Kids Central definitely had a soft spot for Japanese animation with programmes like Crush Gear, Beyblade, Super Yoyo, and Card Captor Sakura taking prime weekend timeslots. One such anime was Yu-Gi-Oh!

Of course, as kids, we might not have known that these shows were meant to promote their trading cards or toys. The series follows a young Yugi Mutou, who after solving an ancient puzzle – basically an ancient Egyptian Rubik’s cube – unlocks a personality that helps him trump his opponents in a card game filled with monsters and traps.


Memorabilia from the original series still sells out today.
Image credit: Konami 

The game is still played by many today, with certain cards fetching prices that would shock you. 

You can stream the first season of Yu-Gi-Oh! on Netflix.   


16. Jackie Chan Adventures – Never actually voiced by the man himself



Jackie Chan appears in the intro and during the end credits to field questions from fans.
Image adapted from: 90sCartoonIntros via YouTube

Mum or dad might have learned of the iconic martial artist-turned-stuntman-turned-movie star through some of his blockbuster films. But our introduction to the beloved Hong Kong action film star Jackie Chan came through his cartoon series: Jackie Chan Adventures.

 In this animated action-adventure comedy, Chan plays an archaeologist turned special agent.

While Jackie Chan makes brief cameos in the opening credits, his on-screen character was actually voiced by James Sie.

You can find episodes of Jackie Chan Adventures on YouTube.


17. Bear in the Big Blue House – Had the best goodbye song. Periodt



“Goodbye. Goodbye, Good friends Goodbye” – The Goodbye Song.
Image adapted from: Disney Junior via YouTube

Besides Barney the Dinosaur and Sesame Street, Singaporean millennials also grew up with Bear in the Big Blue House. Produced from 1997-2006, this lovable bear sang and danced his way into all of our hearts on weekday mornings. 

The moment Bear “smelled” viewers through the television screen, you just knew the next 30 minutes would be filled with catchy tunes and delightfully exaggerated puppetry. Episodes were every bit as educational as they were entertaining, explaining things like the importance of sleep, and visits to the doctor.  

Every episode closed with the “Goodbye Song”, a duet between Bear and Luna the Moon and the song still gets us teary-eyed.  

Stream Bear in the Big Blue House on Disney+


18. Croc Files – R.I.P Steve Irwin



Image credit: Australia Zoo

I swear, this dude had every kid saying Aussie phrases like “crikey” and “g’day”. Steve – better known as The Crocodile Hunter – and Terri Irwin journeyed around the globe to showcase some of the planet’s most fascinating creatures in Croc Files

The husband-and-wife power couple brought viewers along on their expeditions to exotic lands, like the Australian Outback or African Savanna. Steve would wrestle with venomous snakes and huge Crocodiles, in his trademark sand-coloured button shirt and shorts combo.

The fact he treated these wild creatures with respect and love made it even more fascinating to watch. It’s nice to know his legacy still lives on through his wife and kids, who spread his message of animal conservation to the masses today.  

You can find clips of The Crocodile Hunter’s Croc Files on YouTube 


19. Hi-5 – Provided some certified preschool bangers



Image adapted from: Hi-5 World via YouTube

Many of us learnt to how spell the word “opposite” from this show, among other things. Every day at 5pm, I would have my dinner in front of the TV while watching Hi-5! The original quintet – Kellie, Kathleen, Nathan, Tim, and Charli – taught me many things, from spelling to dance steps to musical melodies, and I especially loved it when Jup-Jup, the funny purple alien living in the wall, played tricks on the characters.   

Bet you didn’t know some of their songs were written and composed by some of the cast members themselves, yep, they’re still receiving royalties to this day. At their peak, 96,000 kids tuned in to catch their highest-ever rated episode. For context: that’s nearly enough to fill the Singapore Sports Hub twice.    

You can find whole seasons of Hi-5 on YouTube


Rewatch these old-school Kids Central cartoons


We know there are definitely some cartoons we might have missed out, that’s because we tried to narrow our list down to shows we can still find online right now. It’s safe to say we’ve officially outgrown most of these cartoons and programmes. Nevertheless, we hope you enjoyed this trip down television memory lane.

For more grown-up reads:


Cover Image adapted from: meWatch

Stefanie Yeo and Nicholas Ong

Sometimes I think our human existence is futile, but then I eat a really good steak and things start looking up.

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