Who they are: Gifted youngster Malcolm, played by Frankie Muniz, is the voice of sanity in a dysfunctional family in the half-hour show, which won seven Emmys and was nominated for seven Golden Globes. Jane Kaczmarek plays the strict mother and Bryan Cranston, the boyish father. Malcolm has a younger brother and two older brothers at the start, with the family growing by the time the show ended. What the kids like: At some point or another, almost every kid has felt that he or she is the only intelligent, sane person in the family. In the midst of chuckle-inducing chaos, Malcolm frequently broke the fourth wall, talking directly to the camera (and the kids), which helped make him a very relatable character. What the parents can't get enough of: Multi-layered comedy that doesn't pander to children. Though the show was certainly a hit with older children and young teens, the clever humor appealed to older watchers, touching on adult themes without coming off juvenile or preachy. Parents also related to the everyday struggles of the lower-middle-class family.
Chris Cuffaro / FOX