The Top Ten PBS Children`s Shows of All Time (After Sesame Street)

The 40th Anniversary of Sesame Street has NPT Media Update Children’s Programming Correspondent and Sesame Street enthusiast Erin McInnis thinking again. This time, it’s about the plethora of OTHER great PBS children’s shows over the years. She’s compiled her favorites. Let the reminiscing (and debating) begin!

By Erin McInnis

Sesame Street kicked off its 40th year yesterday, sponsored by the number 40 and the letter H (I choose to believe the “H” is for “Happy Birthday”). If you didn’t know that Sesame Street was experiencing a milestone this year, you must be living under a rock. Even if you didn’t know an exact date, thanks to a multiday parade of Sesame Street Google images, appearances on daytime shows such as Today, and articles dedicated to the show’s relevance and staying power, Sesame Street is once again part of the public conscious. Not that the show has ever really not been, it’s just pushed to the side, particularly for those of us who don’t have small children in our immediate everyday lives.

There is no denying the staying power, the charm, or the relevance of Sesame Street. But all this attention has me thinking about all the other great children’s programming PBS has had over the years. Many of them obviously will not have the staying power of Sesame Street — how can a couple of seasons compare to generations of influence — but they carry on Sesame’s tradition, educating thousands of children in literacy, science, math, history, and literature. In honor of Sesame Street’s 40th Anniversary, I have come up with a list of what I feel are the top 10 PBS children’s shows of all time, present company excluded and in no particular order, of course. I’ve dug up clips for each. Feel free to correct me or add your own!

If you’re on the blog home page, click “read more” below to access clips. If not, they’re right here:

1. The Magic School Bus (1994 – 98)

2. 3-2-1 Contact (1980 – 88)

(Bloodhound Gang – part of 3-2-1 Contact)

3. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (1991 – 96)

4. Wishbone (1995 – 98)

5. The Electric Company (1971 – 77)

6. Ghostwriter (1992 – 95)

7. Reading Rainbow (1983 – 2009)

8. Square One TV (1987 – 92)

(ok this is Mathnet – a section of Square One. My FAVORITE. I just had to put it in here)

9. Mister Rogers (1968 – 2001)

10. Bill Nye the Science Guy (1993 – 2002)

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