"The Simpsons" may have a higher profile, but Nickelodeon's Doug and Rugrats are attracting their own audiences with a similar formula: animation and wry humor.
"Doug," entering its fourth season along with the "Rugrats," chronicles life through the eyes of its 11-year-old protagonist as he continues to travel through a world of silly-sounding names and naive adventures. Like Walter Mitty before him, Doug gets through scrapes with the aid of his vivid imagination. He envisions how he, as superhero Quailman or Secret Agent Smash Adams, would handle a situation. In half-hour episodes, Doug often is helped by his dog Porkchop, his best friend Skeeter, his sister Judy and is hindered by school-bully Roger Klotz.
The Emmy-Award winning "Rugrats," also a half-hour, looks at the skewed world through the perceptive eyes of miniature kids Tommy Pickles, Tommy's cousin Angelica, pal Chuckie and the twins from next door. In true baby-boom style, Tommy's parents Stu and Didi Pickles are raising their kid with a library full of contemporary how-to books on child care.
"Doug" airs Sundays at 10 a.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. "Rugrats" airs Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Nickelodeon. For ages 2 to 8.
MORE FAMILY SHOWS
"Student Health and Well Being" is the subject in this week's Teacher TV (Sunday 3-3:30 p.m. Learning Channel), which examines concerns of most parents, including the way to get kids to make healthy choices and how to get them to say no to sex, drugs and alcohol. The show will go to a school in Colorado that teaches students refusal skills. Also featured is a look at teaching AIDS awareness. For parents.
Punky Brewster (Sunday 8-8:30 p.m. and weekdays 6-6:30 p.m. Family Channel), with her colorful wardrobe and mentor-dad Henry, returns to cable. For ages 4 and up.
Kids today have an increasing interest in the environment and how to save it. Assignment Discovery (Monday 9-10 a.m. Discovery) looks at "Earthfile: New & Renewable Energy," featuring a magazine-style show with segments about global environmental topics. Spotlighted: a nuclear fusion reactor in the United Kingdom that experiments with the energy of the sun and the stars; recyclable cars and electric cars; the resurgence of interest in the camel as an energy-efficient way of travel; a look at space agencies in Europe involved in a global effort to monitor the Earth's environment. For ages 9 and up.
Guests from the sports world cavort in sketches interspersed with clips from Disney sports cartoons in All-American Sports Nuts (Wednesday 7:05-8 p.m. Disney Channel). Hosted by David Leisure, Martin Mull and Susan Ruttan, guests include Brian Boitano, Janet Evans, Bruce Jenner, Danny Sullivan, Bill Shoemaker, Tracy Austin, James Worthy and Bubba Smith. For ages 4 and up.