The Disney Channel has grown significantly since its start in 1983. With a massive collection of shows, it's easy to forget about those older series that have since gotten swept under the rug. But just because they are forgotten does not make them any less incredible. Arguably, the Disney Channel's golden years took place in the late 90s and early 2000s. Many of the shows that aired back then proved to be far superior to the ones that Disney is airing now. Try as they might, the channel will never be able to recapture the magic of Wizards of Waverly Place, and they will never be able to recreate the success brought to them by the famous Sprouse twins.
So let's take a walk down memory lane, revisit Disney's golden years, and have a look some of their most incredible, but forgotten TV series.
10 Life With Derek (2005 - 2009)
Ten years after Life With Derek concluded its relatively short run on the Disney Channel, the only thing many people really remember about the show was the controversy that ultimately led to its demise. Viewers began to notice some rather uncomfortable romantic tension between series leads—and step-siblings—Casey and Derek, and this uproar prompted Disney to give Life With Derek the ax.
But putting that whole scandal aside, Life With Derek was actually a pretty decent show. It had the simple concept of a blended family figuring out how to live with each other, and it had that goofy, innocent tone that viewers remember so fondly when thinking of old Disney shows.
9 In A Heartbeat (2000 - 2001)
It's been nearly twenty years since this Disney medical drama wrapped up its very short-lived time on the air. The Disney Channel doesn't even let this one live on through reruns, so this little series is definitely buried deep in the channel's vault.
In A Heartbeat is set in Connecticut, and follows the lives of high school students who volunteer to be part-time EMTs. The show had a Degrassi-esque tone to it and had one of the most interesting, unique concepts of any Disney show. It's a shame this little gem is so forgotten that it's almost non-existent today.
8 Recess (1997 - 2001)
This animated sitcom can easily be called a sleeper hit. Airing six seasons and over a hundred episodes, by the time the series ended, many people began to realize how great it was. Recess had a very simple concept, following the lives of six young students and their farce adventures in middle school.
The series' success lived on long after the show itself had ended; in 2001, Disney released a film based on the show, titled Recess: School's Out. Following that, a second film titled Recess Christmas: Miracle On Third Street was released. Disney also created two more Recess films after this, and the characters even made an appearance in an episode of Disney's Lilo & Stitch series.
7 My Babysitter's A Vampire (2011 - 2012)
This show is a very easy one to forget all about. A movie by the same name aired on Teletoon in October of 2010, and the series premiered in 2011 and concluded in 2012. There is almost no evidence of the series' existence nowadays. My Babysitter's A Vampire was a campy horror-comedy, very much in the vein of shows like Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of The Dark?, though those shows focused more on tame horror elements than anything.
Unfortunately, that type of genre didn't exactly fit into the Disney Channel, especially since at that time, shows like A.N.T Farm and Austin & Ally were all the rage. But My Babysitter's A Vampire was still a pretty decent series, undeserving of such an early demise.
6 As The Bell Rings (2005 - 2007)
This is a series that is definitely buried very deep in Disney Channel history, as almost no one is aware of its existence today. As The Bell Rings aired two seasons of short comedy sequences. The series was not a hit, despite the fact that it even starred Demi Lovato in one season.
As The Bell Rings wasn't that bad, though. The problem probably came from the fact that it was simply overshadowed by the massive success of other shows that aired at around the same time, such as Hannah Montana and Phineas & Ferb.
5 Still The Beaver (1984 - 1985)
This series was also known as The New Leave It to Beaver, but on Disney Channel, it aired under the name Still The Beaver. It was, you guessed it, inspired by the 1957 series, Leave It To Beaver.
Still The Beaver began as a TV movie that featured a Leave It To Beaver reunion. This aired on CBS in 1983, and in 1984, a revival series was created. Still The Beaver aired on Disney Channel from 1984 to 1985. While it had a very short run on Disney, in 1986, TBS picked it up and the series went on to air until 1989.
4 Lizzie McGuire (2001 - 2004)
These days, it's easy to forget that Hilary Duff's humble start came as a quirky little comedy series titled Lizzie McGuire. This series was quite successful in its time, but since it had a fairly short life and is rarely ever seen in reruns, Lizzie McGuire is often forgotten.
The show followed Hilary Duff's character, Lizzie, in her everyday life. What made this series unique, was the fact that it frequently flipped to segments of an animated version of Lizzie saying and doing mundane things. Though Lizzie McGuire is often overlooked today, this little show was a gem in its time.
3 That's So Raven (2003 - 2007)
It's not Hannah Montana or The Suite Life On Deck, but That's So Raven was a truly exceptional little series. It spawned two spinoffs: Cory in the House, and a more recent series titled Raven's Home.
That's So Raven saw massive success, but because so many other shows came from it, people often forget about the original inspiration. That's So Raven followed Raven, a teenaged psychic who often had visions of the future in every episode. The series had a lovable cast of characters, hilarious episodes, and deserves a lot more appreciation than it gets.
2 The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (2005 - 2008)
It's pretty hard to forget the Sprouse brothers' time on the Disney Channel. But that said, most fans usually just remember The Suite Life On Deck when they think of the lovable Zack and Cody. The original show that started it all was The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody. It featured the humorous adventures of Zack and Cody and their chaotic lives in the Tipton Hotel. It's often forgotten in favor of its spinoff, The Suite Life On Deck, but the original series is just as good, if not even better.
1 Sonny With A Chance (2009 - 2011)
It's due to the controversy that this series is far too often forgotten. Demi Lovato starred as the lead in Sonny With A Chance from 2009 to 2011, and the show came to an abrupt end when the young actress was sadly sent to rehab. Demi Lovato has garnered huge success since her humble start on this little sitcom, so it's easy to forget just how great Sonny With A Chance actually was.
The show was one of the very few Disney series to take on the format of a show within a show. Sonny With A Chance took place on a TV set and followed the lives of actors who starred in a comedy skit show called "So Random." It's unfortunate that Sonny With A Chance ended so suddenly, as there was still room for some great material.