Okay, let’s get serious here for a second – it’s a proven fact that everyone, absolutely everyone, loves a good throwback. When that movie comes on in a late-night re-run, when that song comes on the radio that you used to jam to in your youth, there’s a powerful sense of nostalgia and happiness that comes rushing in. After all, a lot of pop culture is tied to our memories, and throwbacks remind us of simpler times.
When it comes to television, each year brings countless new shows that most of us watch and then forget. Sure, every now and then a breakout hit stuns audiences around the world and becomes a part of our pop culture memory, but for the most part, a lot of television is forgettable. However, there are some shows that, if you bring them up to anyone born in vaguely the same generation as you, they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about – and probably be equally as obsessed. From the theme songs that we sang along to, to the characters we wanted to emulate or date, throwback television is a sacred thing.
Plus, it’s becoming increasingly popular, with new, re-vamped continuations in shows like Girl Meets World and Fuller House. Sure, everyone with a Netflix account has a pretty serious addiction to Orange Is The New Black, but we’re equally likely to get hooked on a marathon of any of the following ten shows.
We’re not sure why they’ve become such a huge part of our lives and memories, but they have. Here are 10 throwback television shows that we all still know and love.
10. Married… With Children
Many of the main stars of popular sitcom Married… With Children have gone on to have hugely successful careers in film and television – Katey Sagal and Christina Applegate have had countless leading roles over the years, both on the small screen and silver screen, and Ed O’Neill has returned to screens around the world as Jay Pritchett on Modern Family.
When it comes down to it, we all have a soft spot for the Bundy family, and seeing the characters on any other show still seems a bit strange. Rumor has it that there’s a new show in the works focusing on the Bundys’ boy, Bud – and, believe it or not, his hugely successful co-stars are willing to reprise their former roles, at least in an episode or two.
9. Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Okay, back when Sabrina The Teenage Witch was on the air, every girl was obsessed. We all wanted a snarky talking cat. We all wanted cool aunts who could get us out of any magical situation. We all wanted a hunky boyfriend like Harvey. And, most importantly, we all wanted magical skills like Miss Sabrina Spellman!
From her high school years to her college trials, we tuned in season after season. The ultra ’90s fashion, the wholesome dilemmas, the magical solutions to high school problems… there’s just something about this show. It’s like we were all enchanted. One thing’s for sure – no matter how old Melissa Joan Hart gets, she’ll always be Sabrina to us.
8. Sister Sister
Everyone loves shows about twins, but this one launched the careers of Hollywood’s most notorious twins apart from the Olsens – Tia and Tamera Mowry. The Mowry twins have gone on to moderate success in both film and television, but honestly, they peaked in this delightful 90s sitcom. The premise? They were wrenched apart during a crazy, complicated adoption (who could forget – it was quasi-explained in the credits, after all) and eventually found one another one day. They were as different as oil and water, and their over the top reactions to all of life’s little dilemmas was so 90s.
7. Dawson’s Creek
Admit it – in high school, everyone wanted to live in Capeside. The idyllic setting, the strong friendships, the drama… everyone knew all the inner workings of Joey, Pacey, Dawson and Jen’s lives. Sure, you had to pretend that the way they spoke wasn’t incredibly mature for 16 year olds, but apart from that, the show was basically flawless.
Whether you were a troublemaker, a bad girl, a goody two shoes, or a guy with a big dream, you found someone to identify with. Plus, everyone on the cast was ridiculously good looking. It’s basically what you wished your high school was like back in the day.
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is undoubtedly one of the biggest cult hits ever. Plus, it was bringing vampire culture to screens around the world before there was Twilight or The Vampire Diaries or any of those lighter versions of this teen classic.
Sure, there was some romance, but the focus wasn’t on who Buffy was in love with – it was on what a badass she was. She rocked Sunnydale, bringing us into her crazy world week after week. The 90s fashions strike a note of nostalgia in all of us, but when it comes to the plotlines and sassy dialogue, it’s as fresh and enchanting now as it was when it first aired.
5. Boy Meets World
Let’s just get one thing straight – Cory and Topanga are the best couple to ever be on television. For crying out loud, we got to see them flirting in middle school, dating in high school, and eventually getting married. It basically set a ridiculous standard for love that no one could find in real life, but that’s beside the point.
Everyone loved the entire Matthews family, Mr. Feeny, the romances, the bro-mances… it had absolutely everything a good show should have. Fans got exactly what they were waiting for recently when Girl Meets World, a show starring Cory and Topanga’s daughter as the lead, started airing.
4. Saved By The Bell
“When I wake up in the morning, and the alarm gives out a warning”… everyone knows the rest of the words to this iconic theme song. Saved By The Bell made all of us wish we were at Bayside High rather than our own regular schools.
From the nerdy Screech to the hunky jock A.C. Slater, from cheerleader Kelly Kapowski to the dreamy Zack Morris to the first feminist we met, Jessie Spano, the show was absolutely filled with characters we grew to love. If you doubted the enduring popularity of this show, just take a look at the reunion that happened recently on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – quite simply, everyone went nuts to see the Bayside crew on their screens once again.
3. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Everyone remembers this sitcom, a tale of how a certain young boy’s life got flip-turned upside down after some guys who were up to no good started making trouble in his neighbourhood (admit it, you have the theme song stuck in your head now – you’re welcome).
Will Smith went on to have an incredibly successful movie career after this sitcom, but let’s be honest – everyone’s favorite Will Smith character is forever going to be the Fresh Prince. From Will’s hairstyles and wardrobe choices, to Hilary Banks’ over-the-top antics, we all loved tuning in to see what this family was up to week after week. The fact that it’s frequently in the Netflix most popular list, despite having been off the air for nearly a decade, speaks wonders.
2. Full House
Nowadays, television is dominated by gritty dramas and reality television shows, so why on earth are we still so obsessed with this wholesome family hit? Who knows – but for whatever reason, everyone still enjoys checking out what’s going on in San Francisco with Danny Tanner, Uncle Jesse, Uncle Joey, and all the girls. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are probably the most successful cast members of this show today, but we still love seeing what everyone is up to. Doubting its enduring popularity? We’ve got news for you. In case you’ve been living under a pop culture rock, Netflix is going to be releasing a spin-off called Fuller House. The premise? D.J., the oldest daughter, becomes widowed and asks her sister Stephanie and best friend Kimmy to move in and help her. That’s right – it’s basically the exact same as the original Full House premise, just with a different gender. We absolutely cannot wait.
Friends has been off the air for more than a decade. Let that sink in for a moment. It’s been over ten years since you tuned in every week to see the antics of Ross, Monica, Joey, Chandler, Rachel and Phoebe. The reason it doesn’t seem like that long is probably because there are constantly reruns on television, and – admit it – you’re constantly playing that DVD box set you picked up when the show finished. We all want a Central Perk to hang out in, Rachel’s wardrobe, Monica’s love of cleaning (our apartments would look so nice, all the time!), Chandler’s sarcasm, and much more. There’s absolutely no doubting that people still adore this television show. It’s become a huge part of our pop culture and even ten, twenty, thirty more years down the line, we don’t see it fading into obscurity.