The television we watch as kids will always be formative. Edge writers have come together to catalogue the shows that shaped them, from Disney Channel to Cartoon Network.
Take an everyday item of clothing (a watch), turn it into a shapeshifting device for ten different alien skins and watch kids go berserk over it. That is the nature of Ben 10, Cartoon Network’s triumphant first series between 2005-2008. This was the show I dashed home from school for: to see Grandpa Max and his Rustbucket, Kevin Levin and Vilgax, Four Arms and Diamondhead. With a highly memorable theme song and a host of terrific creature designs that generated fabulous merchandise, this show of a ten-year-old saving the galaxy is still a joy to return to. The episodes were undeniably formulaic, but the novelty comes from seeing which creature Ben would slap into his wrist and if any new ones would be added (Cannonbolt is the greatest). The later series, Alien Force and Ultimate Alien, were solid enough continuations of the characters as they grew older, but it’s pre-pubescent Ben and the classic aesthetic of the creatures that still sticks in my mind. And Ghost Freak still haunts me.
– Jacob Hando
Disney Channel Games
Imagine it. The summer of 2007. You switch on the television and what do you see? Miley Cyrus singing ‘Life’s What You Make It’ to groups of Disney Channel stars wearing four different coloured shirts. There’s Dylan Sprouse! Corbin Bleu! Emily Osment! Welcome to the Disney Channel Games, a unforgettable and unmissable event for the hottest months of ’06-’08.
The competition was hosted by The Suite Life‘s Mr. Moseby and caretaker Arwin, and had four teams compete to win £25,000 for their respective charities. There were inflatable obstacle courses, dunk tanks, and a bunch of jealousy emitting from the other side of the screen. It was competitive and exciting.
What was so special is how real it made people that usually felt so far away from us. 2006’s event had Zac Efron, for crying out loud! Troy Bolton is a real person, just like me? It was a very special thing for any child to watch, and still holds a little bubble in the back of my mind.
– Emily Dennis
House of Anubis
I’m guilty of watching House of Anubis a few too many times, but the teenage-aimed show that aired back when I was a mere high schooler was just that good. It combined the teenage drama of the classic childhood programme yet its British roots allowed it to be both quirky and experimental; blending romance with science fiction with crime and cults, and much more!
Nickelodeon’s House of Anubis featured a diverse ensemble cast which was brilliant to fulfil that need to identify with a specific character – as it had a *lot* of characters. From the smart Nina (Nathalia Ramos) to the confident Patricia (Jade Ramsey) all the way to the cheeky Jerome (Eugene Simon), the show explored a range of issues that targeted teenage struggles through a gripping narrative involving a creepy school and a cult of God-fearing teachers.
– Katie Evans
Gravity Falls is one of those Disney shows from the 2010s that just seemed so overly strange from trailers, and didn’t make any sense. Not that it changed watching the show itself, mind you. The first series premiered in 2012, around the time when I was super into puzzles and decoding – so Gravity Falls having layer upon layer of little details to uncover made perfect sense to watch and rewatch every evening after school.
Almost a decade on, the supernatural summer twins Dipper and Mabel still make one of my favourite shows of all time. For both the execution of its story and how it could connect people. I was roughly the same age as the twins when it premiered, and creator Alex Hirsch created something genius. With the foreshadowing and clues, you could argue it’s the kids version of Lost – only good and with an ending that makes sense. Knowing about the ending can make everything in earlier episodes change in their impact.
Now with the entire series ready and waiting on Disney+, travelling back to the Mystery Shack for Weirdmageddon all over again is easier than ever.
– Louise Chase
Hannah Montana centers around Miley Stewart, a teenage girl living a double life as a famous pop singer, Hannah Montana, an alter ego she adapted. Hannah Montana birthed the wonders of the blonde wig which each hardcore fan (including myself) had in their wardrobe. The show had some absolute power bangers such as ‘Nobody’s Perfect’, teaching us the message that sometimes its okay to be a little crazy. I was completely obsessed with this show as a kid and would spend my days wishing I could live this double life, and to this day the show is watchable and still quite hilarious. Hannah Montana was the staple of my childhood and many others. I demand a reboot.
– Morgan McMillan