When we say only Canadian ’90s kids will remember these shows, we mean it. We’re not talking about the ever-popular Are You Afraid of the Dark?or stuff that every ’90s kid saw, such as Breaker High. We’re talking about stuff very specific to this sometimes funny country of ours. Check ’em out.
Did other countries have talk shows created by the national broadcaster and aimed at teenagers? We’re not sure. We’re just glad we had Jonovision, hosted by TV personality Jonathan Torrens, who went on to play J-Roc in Trailer Park Boys. Here’s Jonovison hosting some original cast of Degrassi, for peak Canadiana.
Your non-Canadian friends might be forgiven for thinking they had YTV’s third-longest-running show in their country too. After all, there was no shortage of kids’ game shows that had slime dumped on kids in the ’90s. But our version had a wacky host named Wink Yahoo. And big groups of kids competing. And a guy in a weird leather suit and hockey mask called the Punisher who dumped the slime. Wait, really? Upon re-watching, this show was weirder than we remember.
If you were a Canadian preteen, you probably thought that being a mallrat was the coolest thing ever thanks to the animated show 6Teen. A smart sitcom that didn’t condescend to younger audiences, 6Teen took place in a mash-up of West Edmonton and the Eaton Centre . . . but like, we all know that West Edmonton is way cooler, right?
You probably remember it for its super striking (and, we admit, very odd) animation, which had the characters’ faces look like black-and-white photographs and construction paper stop motion. But you probably watched the show to see the increasingly creative ways Angela would daydream about taking out her revenge on her enemies.
Between Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Tales from the Cryptkeeper, and Goosebumps, you’d think that the kids’ horror genre would be saturated, but you’d be mistaken. Canadian children in the ’90s also had Freaky Stories to scratch the scary itch. Hosted by two puppets (a maggot and a cockroach), Freaky Stories was basically Twilight Zone for kids.
Tales from the Cryptkeeeper
Oh, did you think this was an American import? Nope. This animated show was based on the classic 1950s horror comic Tales from the Crypt, which of course was adapted into a live-action show in the late eighties. The show was on HBO, which gave it some gravitas and was famously uncensored. Naturally, Canada saw this and decided it should be an animated children’s show.
Mona the Vampire
There can’t be too many shows that only existed in Canada, France, and Hong Kong, but Mona the Vampire is one of them . . . and maybe the only one? Anyway, it features the titular Mona, who refers to herself as Mona the Vampire and likes to fight against supernatural monsters, even though there’s usually a rational explanation for her imaginings. But that explanation is rarely real estate developers, making this show’s premise different from Scooby Do.