The 1990s was a great era and a groundbreaking decade for so many reasons. Music, art, and popular culture took a giant leap forward with the boom in grunge, hip-hop, and rap music. The movies got a huge makeover as technology took over the big screen and CGI pushed movies into never-before-seen special effects. As well as this, the 90s saw the birth of the Internet and social media which suddenly made everything seem possible and it paved the way for the new millennium.
As well as all of that, the 90s also saw the birth of what we now call “binge watching.” Made more popular today by companies such as Netflix, “binge watching” TV shows in the 90s was all about the box sets. Being able to watch our favorite TV shows all in one sitting brought joy to so many. Because of this, TV shows started to really push what they could do and it raised the standards of TV higher than it had ever been.
There was really a TV revolution in the 90s, with so many hits flooding our screens every week that ended up going down in history, like Friends, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and so many others. The TV landscape of the 90s left such a mark on pop culture that today’s TV execs are looking back to yesteryear and reviving many of the old TV shows that we loved. With that in mind, we look at 15 90s TV shows that we think deserve to be back on our screens.
We start our list with a typical sitcom, well, except for the fact that all the characters were puppets and dinosaurs! First airing in 1991, Dinosaurs was a show like so many others before it. Portraying a “typical” American family, Dinosaurs focused on the Sinclair family, Earl and his wife Fran, and their three children Robbie, Charlene, and Baby Sinclair.
The show itself tackled the usual issues and themes concerning everyday family life, albeit with a prehistoric twist, and more often than not, the show would involve a moral tale or end with a lesson to be learned. Many people saw Dinosaurs as being the inspiration for The Simpsons, which actually debuted on our airwaves in 1989. In fact, The Simpsons played around with this and often parodied Dinosaurs in some of their early episodes.
14. Saved By The Bell
Our next entry is a classic piece of early 90s pop culture. Centred around Bayside High school, Saved By The Bell focused on high school students Zack Morris, AC Slater, Lisa Turtle, Kelly Kapowski, Jessie Spano, and, of course, Screech.
Following the students through school, Saved By The Bell was a lighthearted romp and we all wished we had friends like these and that we could go to Bayside High too. Although it was lighthearted and silly, Saved By the Bell did touch on serious subjects from time to time, such as peer pressure, drugs, and even death. If TV studios or possibly Netflix are looking back through the TV schedules for their next hit, then Saved By The Bell should be near the top of their list. We know that Saved By The Bell had a few spin offs throughout the 90s so if they didn’t want to follow on with the same characters, then a complete reboot would be fine with us. As long as they kept the same theme tune of course!
13. Home Improvement
During the 90s, family sitcoms dominated our TV screens, and there were three dads that had us rolling around with laughter on a weekly basis: Homer Simpson, Al Bundy from Married With Children, and Tim “The Toolman” Taylor from Home Improvement.
The show focused on Tim Allen‘s character, who was cleverly named Tim! The host of a cable tool show called Tool Time, Tim is obsessed with all things tool related, and anything that has some serious power. Tim was accident prone, a complete clutz, and not always the best friend to his co-host Al, but he always put his family first, with a little help and guidance from his neighbor Wilson, who never showed his face.
With all the sitcoms around at the moment, you may well be wondering why we want Home Improvement back on screens? Well, that’s simple. Not only was it a funny and entertaining show but it’s also proof to this generation that once upon a time, Tim Allen was funny!
12. Kenan & Kel
As you may well see from this list, a lot of these entries are shows that were aimed at younger viewers. That’s mainly because we were younger back in the 90s but it’s also because the youth programming back in the day had more substance to it, and could be enjoyed by anyone of any age. A great example of this was the sitcom Kenan & Kel.
The show followed the adventures of high school student, and part time grocer Kenan, and his best friend, the dim witted but lovable Kel. The two would often get into ridiculous adventures and mad cap schemes, often involving orange soda at some point! The show had everything and constantly made us laugh, in particular the opening and closing scenes in which Kenan and Kel would address the audience and explain their mad cap schemes, which led to Kel’s infamous catchphrase “Aww, here it goes.” Not only was Kenan & Kel one of the best kid’s show in the 90s, it was one of the best sitcoms.
11. Clarissa Explains It All
Our next entry gave Melissa Joan Hart her first taste of TV stardom. Clarissa Explains It All depicted the life of a teenage girl, Clarissa, and how she coped with being a teenager. The show touched on subjects that all adolescents go through, such as school life, family life, dating, preparing for leaving school, getting your driver’s license and everything in between. What was different about Clarissa Explains It All that no other show was doing, is that Clarissa spoke to the audience. In the ultimate “fourth wall” break, Clarissa would sit down and tell us all what was going on in her life and why people do what they do.
In a pre-Bridget Jones’s Diary world, Clarissa Explains It All was way ahead of its time. Not only was her communication with the audience a very “diary” like way to tell a story but it was also a very “social media” way, and that’s before social media was even a thing. In this modern age, Clarissa could easily be the voice of the youthful generation once again.
10. Eerie Indiana
During the 1990s, kid’s TV shows were filled with mystery, spooking goings on, and were just downright scary! While Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? were worthy and enjoyable shows, and actually lasted a lot longer that the short lived Eerie Indiana, it’s Eerie Indiana that we feel was the best of the bunch and deserves a reboot.
The show focused on mystery solver Marshall Teller, whose family relocates to the town of Eerie, Indiana. Soon Marshall discovers that Eerie is the centre of all things bizarre and weird. As well as the town being filled with all sorts of strange people, like Elvis being alive and living there, plus people that don’t age because they sleep in Tupperware. Marshall and his friend Simon are faced with spooky mysteries on a weekly basis. The show was smart, funny, and scary. Think X-Files for kids.
During the 90s, there were many great animated shows surfacing on our TV screens. It was the start of a little known show called The Simpsons (which hit screens at the end of 1989), but the decade also produced many other great shows which are sadly no longer with us. Ren and Stimpy, Rugrats, and Hey Arnold! were at the top of this pile. However, one of Nickelodeon’s first, and in our opinion best, produced shows was Doug.
Douglas “Doug” Funnie is a 6th grade kid who is new to the town of Bluffington. The show followed his life, as Doug makes friends and falls in love with his classmate Patti Mayonnaise, all while trying not to look like a loser to his peers. The show tackles all the usual themes that school focused shows do such, as bullying, self-esteem, dating, and general teenage life. In a Clarissa Explains It All kind of way, Doug would document everything he’s learned and been through that week. Although he didn’t talk directly to the audience, he instead wrote it all down in his journal and narrated it back to us.
For those of you out there that are either too young to remember the 90s or weren’t even born, Mayim Bialik will probably only be known to you as the clever, and very tolerant, girlfriend to Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. But long before The Big Bang Theory was even conceived, Bialik was making a name for herself on the sitcom Blossom.
Blossom Russo is an Italian-American teenager whose mother has just walked out on her. Leaving her to take care of the family, Blossom lived with her father and two brothers. Being the only girl in a house full of men, Blossom mostly dreams about what her life would be like if she was “normal.” Not only a dreamer, Blossom would also fantasize about celebrities, who would often give her advice about that week’s show subject. Blossom was a quirky, lighthearted show that made us all feel warm and happy inside, and that was just for Blossom’s fashion sense!
7. The Secret World Of Alex Mack
Alex Mack was just a typical, ordinary teenager, whose only focuses in life was high school and boys. That is until she was walking home from school one day and a truck, carrying the toxic chemical GC-161, crashes and covers her completely in this unknown substance. From that day on, Alex Mack had superpowers, including telekinesis, shooting electric bolts from her fingers and the ability to transform her shape, often dissolving into a puddle. Trying to fit in with her everyday life and being a normal teenager, Alex hid her powers from everyone and tried to conceal them especially as the owners of The Plant, the place in which the chemicals had come from, tried to find out who got contaminated so they could experiment on them.
6. Sabrina The Teenage Witch
Our second entry on this list for Melissa Joan Hart and arguably her best and most famous role to date! Loosely based on the Archie Comics series character, Sabrina The Teenage Witch tells the tale of Sabrina Spellman and how, on her sixteenth birthday, she discovers that she’s a witch with magic powers. Living with her two aunts, Hilda and Zelda, because her mother wasn’t allowed to see her as she is mortal and would instantly turn into a ball of wax! The two aunts, plus that talking cat Salem, guide the young Sabrina as she is introduced into the world of magic and tries to get her witch’s license.
Over the seven seasons that Sabrina The Teenage Witch ran for, the show tackled all kinds of teenage issues. It also saw Sabrina leave high school, go to college and enter the working world. Although by the time the show ended an animated spin-off series had been created, we would still love to see the original Sabrina and gang back on our TV screens.
For many years, a popular choice by TV executives to keep their show alive is to take a popular character from the show and give them a spin-off. Most of these shows don’t do well at all, let alone become as popular as the original source they came from. We’ve all forgotten Joey, right?
However, very rarely, and we do mean very rarely, does a spin-off show not only become popular but will eclipse the very show that birthed it. One such success was Frasier. Taking Frasier out of the bar on Cheers, moving him to Seattle with his elderly father and younger brother Niles. The show was pure class and raised the bar of what sitcoms could be. The high brow and witty dialogue, particularly between Frasier and Niles, was pure comedy gold. Although the show ended on its own terms and with a seemingly wrapped up feel to it, with Frasier following his heart and leaving Seattle for Chicago, it would still be a nice treat for us all to revisit the Crane family and see how they are all doing.
4. The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air
“In West Philadelphia, born and raised, in the playground is where I spent most of my days…” Come on, we know you all know the words to this! We must be honest with you and say we can’t actually believe that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air hasn’t yet been rebooted or revisited. In fact we should be watching this right now!
We all know the show that kick started Will Smith‘s career and led him on the path to mega stardom. Taking a young man from the streets of Philadelphia and moving him in with his rich family in Bel-Air was a classic take on the “fish out of water” theme. The two opposing sides of the family, Smith’s street smart poor kid and the Banks’ rich and high society lifestyle, was comedy gold. Every year there seems to be some talk about a reunion or reboot of this show but as of yet it hasn’t happened, but it really needs to.
3. My So-Called Life
Set in the fictional high school of Liberty High, My So-Called Life told the stories of the trials and tribulations, loves and losses, of its students. Tackling all the heavy issues of the time, including drugs, alcohol, homophobia, abuse, and homelessness, My So-Called Life was a brilliant portrayal of what it was to be a teenager in the 90s. Not only that, but it also launched the careers of Claire Danes and Jared Leto.
When we look back at My So-Called Life, the most surprising thing about this is that it only ran for 19 episodes. Being a critical and popular success, we still can’t believe how this show got cancelled and why it was never really given a second chance. On top of that, the season ended on a cliffhanger and we never got a follow up or resolution, which is why the TV executives need to revisit My So-Called Life and bring it back to, well, life.
During the 1990s, there were two giants of the sitcom world. The beginning of the decade saw the groundbreaking and genre changing Seinfeld, and although it might be nice to catch up with the Seinfeld gang, we also think that Seinfeld was a brilliant sitcom for its time and therefore should stay there. However, the other giant of the sitcom world was Friends. Anyone that was alive during the 90s couldn’t escape the phenomenon that was Friends.
Following six New York friends as they navigate the world, find love, and try to grow up, Friends became a huge hit around the world and one of the most popular sitcoms in history. Ever since the show finished, there has been much talk about a reunion show and a Friends reboot. With each year that, passes we seem to get a bit closer but we are yet to have anything concrete. No matter how long we have to wait, we know that we’ll tune into anything they decide to do with the show.
1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
“In every generation there is a chosen one… She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.” That should say “In every generation a TV show is chosen…” That’s how we feel about this classic 90s show.
The number one entry on our list of 90s TV shows that we wish would come back is none other than Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Telling the story of Buffy Summers, a typical high school student that just happens to be a vampire slayer. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had everything: action packed scenes, comedy, horror, love, heartbreak, and a bucket load of butt kicking martial arts. Since the show left our screens, fans have been dreaming and begging for the show to return. In recent years, there has been talk of a reboot to the franchise, although creator Joss Whedon has said he hasn’t been involved in it. But it’s about time we revisit The Slayer and her team and have Buffy The Vampire Slayer back on our screens. There is one thing that we need though, if a reboot does happen then Joss Whedon needs to be involved.
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