For a glorious period during the late '90s and early '00s, Ireland was introduced to staples of American teen culture through one TV channel - Trouble.
Sure, there might have been a few shows that overlapped onto RTE or E4, but Trouble introduced us to the likes of Moesha, My Wife And Kids, Hang TIme and the all-conquering That '70s Show. Trouble's heyday lasted until approximately 2005 and was, rather cruelly, shuttered in 2009 altogether.
Here's the nine shows everyone watched on Trouble in no particular order.
Random Moesha-related trivia! The dad from Moesha, William Allen Young, had a small role in District 9 as Dirk Michels, the CEO of evil corporation MNU. Beginning in 1996, Moesha ran until 2001 and had one of the best theme songs of the era because, well, Brandy sang it. Not only that, Brandy kept her mononymic brand in the credits as well. MO TO THE. E TO THE.
8. SWEET VALLEY HIGH
Speaking of excellent opening theme tunes, Sweet Valley High also understood that it needed a crackin' song to catch everyone in its net. Did anyone read the books by Francine Pascal? Probably not.
7. HANG TIME
Another one from Peter Engel, this time it was about a bunch of teens involved with a high school basketball team. Hang Time gets brownie points for being one of the few shows at that time that promoted gender equality as Julie (Daniella Deutscher) won a place (and became a key player) on the boys basketball team. Most of the humour came from from Anthony Anderson who's gone on to have great success in comedy since with the likes of Black-ish. Another notable cast member was Jay Hernandez who's currently lighting it up (literally) in Suicide Squad.
6. WEIRD SCIENCE
A TV spinoff of the 80s classic, Weird Science saw two high school nerds create the perfect woman in their computer and she somehow came to life and had genie like powers (it was even more ridiculous than that sounds). Lisa (played by Vanessa Angel) could grant the boys wishes but they'd only last for a short period of time before leading to a whole host of wacky scenarios. Weird Science had enough charm to run for five seasons but realistically those who tuned in were there to ogle Vanessa Angel.
5. MY WIFE AND KIDS
What was surprising about My Wife And Kids was that Damon Wayans, when he wanted to, could get pretty damn blue. More often than not, he was pawing over his wife and she usually was pawing over Terry Crews whenever he turned up as a guest star. Case in point.
4. CALIFORNIA DREAMS
Peter Engel, the man behind Saved By the Bell, produced California Dreams. What can we say about this show? Not much really. It was probably the most bland thing on Trouble. Like their band was called 'The Dreams'. How much more vanilla can you get? It did have its moments though, when you weren't subjected to extended musical numbers. Kelly Packard was the most notable cast member. She of course went on to star in Baywatch for three seasons shortly after.
3. THAT '70s SHOW
While That '70s Show may have launched the careers of Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Laura Prepon, it was really about Kurtwood Smith as Red Foreman. You either had a father like Red Foreman or you knew someone who had a father like Red Foreman. Nobody had a better detector for bullsh** than Red Foreman. It was incredible. He also had the best chemistry with Bob Pinciotti from next store. DUMBASS.
2. TWO GUYS, A GIRL AND A PIZZA PLACE
Many will claim Van Wilder as their first introduction to Ryan Reynolds but fans of a certain age will remember him first coming to their attention in a fun little sitcom called Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place. The show only ran for three seasons (though it felt like much longer) but it was definitely one of the best sitcoms Trouble had to offer during its glory days. It also provided an springboard for Nathan Fillion to launch his career as a cult favourite.
1. FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR
What's interesting about Fresh Princce of Bel-Air is that, although it was a vehicle for Will Smith, it wasn't even supposed to happen. Simply put, Will Smith was on the verge of bankruptcy after underpaying his income tax. When approached to star in his own sitcom, Smith signed up out of desperation and the rest is history. Random Fresh Prince of Bel-Air trivia time! Uncle Phil was the voice of Shredder in the '90s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.