The 1990s was a generation that boasted some of the greatest television sitcoms of all time, and many feel that the quality of television shows has declined since the end of the decade. Networks were in heavy competition with each other, producing shows that resonated with fans and achieved critical acclaim. This fierce competition led to an incredible output of shows that remain cherished over two decades since they aired on television. Among the television slots that fans loved the most, TGIF was one of the pillars of 1990s television, and the list of hit shows that appeared on TGIF is nearly unrivaled by other networks during the decade. If you’re old enough to remember tuning into TGIF during the ’90s, then you remember the anticipation that each Friday night brought, promising to deliver the best entertainment on television. The shows were family friendly, and while that term may seem bad, TGIF made sure to pump out high-quality shows that everyone was able to enjoy.
Many of the actors that appeared on the TGIF lineup became celebrities during the decade, and many expected to see their faces for years to come. After all, who wants to live in a world where Urkel isn’t the planet’s biggest star? Sadly, these 15 performers found their success on TGIF, and despite their attempts to break it big in the industry, they’ll be best known for their performances in the 1990s. Get ready to take a stroll down memory lane because these 15 names are going to make you dust off some old VHS tapes.
15. Jaleel White
Not only was Jaleel White arguably the biggest star on the TGIF lineup during the 1990s, but he was also one of the biggest stars on television of all time. Family Matters was a show that started off with Jaleel as more of a recurring character, but as time went on, it became exponentially clear to viewers of the show and the directors that Jaleel’s character, Steve Urkel, was going to be a cultural phenomenon. Lo and behold, their expectations turned out to be true, and Jaleel White ended up appearing in 204 episodes of the beloved series.
This was the end of the road in terms of mainstream popularity for White, though, and despite his attempts at picking up projects over the years, nothing he’s starred in has come remotely close to achieving the level of success of Family Matters. The closest that White ever got to reaching a moderate level of success was hosting the series Total Blackout.
14. Rider Strong
Who didn’t watch Boy Meets World back in the 1990s? It was one of the greatest sitcoms of its time, and even now, people have nothing but incredible things to say about the show. While on the series, Rider Strong was tasked with playing the character Shawn Hunter, Cory Matthews’ best friend and childhood pal. The duo provided an excellent counterbalance to each other, and their relationship throughout the show’s run was something that many younger viewers were able to relate to. After Boy Meets World officially ended in 2000, Rider Strong continued to make his way in Hollywood, though he failed to ever reclaim the level of success that he reached while on Boy Meets World.
Looking through his filmography, you can see that his biggest film role came back in 2002 in the horror film Cabin Fever. Cabin Fever was a surprise hit at the box office, and it ended up pulling down $30 million during its theatrical release.
13. Will Friedle
For 157 episodes, actor Will Friedle portrayed the character Eric Matthews on Boy Meets World. Eric was Cory’s older brother, and his character’s drastic change in personality throughout the series remains one of the biggest head-scratchers of the 1990s. In the early going, Eric was an incredibly handsome ladies’ man who seemed more concerned with skirt-chasing than being a good older brother. As the show progressed, Eric turned into a complete buffoon, and he was stripped of the charm he had in the show’s earlier seasons. Despite his character’s trajectory, Will Friedle did an incredible job with the character, and he seemed poised to have a spectacular career in front of the camera.
While Friedle found success in the entertainment industry, it all came from behind the camera. He never became the actor that many thought he would be. Instead, he focused more on lending his voice-acting talents to various projects.
12. Darius McCrary
Tasked with portraying the character Eddie Winslow on Family Matters, actor Darius McCrary became a notable face during the 1990s. After all, Family Matters was one of the most successful shows on television during that decade. It ran nine seasons, and it aired a total of 215 episodes. For Mccrary, appearing on Family Matters was the biggest success of his career, and he went on to appear in all but seven episodes of the series. Once Family Matters reached its conclusion in 1998, McCrary continued to act in various projects, but they all fell short of the success of Family Matters.
His biggest success always came on television, despite a number of attempts to break into the film industry. His biggest success after Family Matters came back in 2005 when he appeared on the series Committed. The show only lasted for one season, and NBC quickly pulled the plug on the project.
11. Maitland Ward
Toward the tail end of Boy Meets World, the cast of characters hadn’t grown up and made their way to college, opening the door for an abundance of fresh new characters to interact with the original cast. At the time, Maitland Ward was a young actress who was cast as the character Rachel, and she spent a total of 45 episodes on Boy Meets World from 1998 to 2000. Rachel ended up being at the center of a love triangle between Jack and Eric, and she was a semi-popular character during her time on series.
A hit show can be the key to getting a young actor into the business, though not everyone will reap the same rewards as their co-stars. Despite Ward doing a good job while on Boy Meets World, her attempts at becoming a star in Hollywood ultimately fell short. Her appearance in the 2004 comedy film White Chicks gave the actress a drastically different look, and fans of the show Boy Meets World hardly recognized her. The film ended up being a financial success at the box office, but Ward never became a major player on the Hollywood scene.
10. Orlando Brown
There was once a period of time when Orlando Brown was a very popular actor. His more recent actions, however, have turned him into one of the most bizarre former celebrities in Hollywood. Most people may not remember this, but Orlando Brown actually appeared in 21 episodes of Family Matters. His appearances were relegated to the final years of the show. Afterward, Brown ended up finding a plethora of success on the Disney Channel as he lent his voice to the series The Proud Family and by appearing on the hit show That’s So Raven. But outside of the comforts of the Disney Channel, Brown had a much tougher time making anything happen in his career.
In recent years, Orlando Brown has attempted several times to hop back into the spotlight, but his bizarre and seemingly erratic behavior has dashed any hopes he had of becoming relevant again. His most recent film appearance came back in 2016 when he appeared in the movie Bloody Hands.
9. Lee Norris
One of the better components of Boy Meets World was its dedication to delivering characters we were all familiar with, and Lee Norris‘s character, Stuart Minkus, was a kid that we all went to school with. He was far too intelligent for his own good, and he seemed incredibly comfortable belittling Cory and Shawn for their antics. Norris was a main character who appeared in 22 episodes of the series. His time on Boy Meets World was relatively short-lived, but his character is one that many people still remember to this day. Interestingly, Lee Norris found his biggest career success on the series One Tree Hill in 2003, though most people remember that show for the actresses as opposed to the actors.
Once One Tree Hill shut down shop in 2012, Lee Norris continued to act, but his appearances have been relegated to smaller roles. He did appear in five episodes of the revival series Girl Meets World, much to the delight of fans who grew up with the original series.
8. Trina McGee
Much like the case of Maitland Ward, Trina McGee’s character, Angela, was another character that was introduced in the latter part of Boy Meets World. Angela was the love interest of Shawn Hunter, and Trina ended up spending a total of 60 episodes on the series from 1997 to 2000. Angela was good friends with Topanga, and a lot of episodes centered around her and Shawn dealing with more serious issues for older audiences. After her time on Boy Meets World, Trina McGee continued finding work on television, though her attempts at landing a role on a hit sitcom were for naught.
She was able to land roles in several films, including the comedy Friday After Next, but Trina will always be best known for her time on Boy Meets World. Of course, being part of one of the greatest sitcoms in television history is quite the achievement. Much like Lee Norris and a slew of other former cast members, she’s appeared on the revival series Girl Meets World.
7. Mark Curry
The 1990s had a weird fascination with living in the Bay Area, and while the show Full House took place in San Francisco, the hit comedy series Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper took place across the Bay Bridge in Oakland, California. Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper centered around the ex-basketball player who became a teacher, and it was one of the funniest shows during his time in the 1990s. Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper ran from 1992 to 1997, and it aired a total of 101 episodes over the course of 5 seasons.
Mark Curry played the lead character in the series, and it was the biggest success he found in his career. He has continued to work over the years, and his biggest success came on the Nick At Nite series See Dad Run. While he’ll be best remembered for the series Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, anyone who’s heard his stand-up comedy will tell you that he’s hilarious.
6. Rachel Blanchard
Does anyone out there remember that Clueless ended up becoming a television series? That’s right — the smash hit film that spawned some of the most irritating catchphrases of the 1990s ended up becoming a television show that debuted on the TGIF lineup. It goes without saying that Clueless wasn’t a memorable show, but it did last for a surprising amount of time on television. The show ended up lasting 62 episodes throughout 3 seasons, and Rachel Blanchard was the anchor of the series. She had appeared in plenty of other projects before her time on Clueless, and had the show been a huge success, Blanchard could’ve become a major star.
The show was a moderate success, and even though Blanchard ended up finding work throughout the years, she never became the star that the show had set her up to be. In recent years, Blanchard landed a lead role on the comedy series You Me Her, so there’s still time for her to claim a spot at the top of television acting.
5. Beth Broderick
Running from 1996 to 2003, Sabrina the Teenage Witch was one of the most popular shows of the 1990s, and it even spawned several television films. Even now, Sabrina the Teenage Witch boasts a massive cult following, which is a testament to the writing and the acting throughout the series. Beth Broderick starred in the role of Zelda Spellman on the series, and she appeared as that character for 141 episodes. Despite the massive success that the show achieved, this ended up being the biggest project that Beth Broderick took part in during her career.
She had already been in the entertainment industry for nine years before landing the role of Zelda Spellman, and she continues acting to this very day. Ever since Sabrina the Teenage Witch ended its run, Broderick has appeared in other projects such as Lost, ER, and Leverage. Her roles in these projects all come as minor characters, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch still remains her biggest project to date.
4. Jenna Leigh Green
Much like her former co-star Beth Broderick, Jenna Leigh Green has yet to find the same level of success that she had when she appeared on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She appeared in 75 credited episodes during the show’s first three seasons, but in reality, she only made appearances in 46 episodes. Green had only been in the entertainment industry for two short years before landing the role of Libby Chessler, and this proved to be a massive opportunity for her. She absolutely nailed the role, but the success of the series did very little to help her throughout her career.
Green found herself being featured in a number of successful projects, but her appearances were few and far between, and each role that she took on was nothing more than a one-off character. Most recently, she appeared in an episode of the series Quantico as the character Emily Meyers.
3. Staci Keanan
Unlike other shows that took place in the Bay Area during the 1990s, the series Step by Step chose to be featured in a Wisconsin town. Despite comparisons to other shows on the air during the time, Step by Step was able to stand on its own, and it proved to be a success. The story of having two families blend together had been done in the past, but this modernized version resonated with fans. Staci Keanan starred as the character Dana Foster on the series, and she appeared in 159 episodes of Step by Step from 1991 to 1998. While on Step by Step, she made an appearance on Boy Meets World in 1996.
She continued to act sparingly throughout the years, though she has very few projects of note. One hit television show hardly guarantees to sustain success in the entertainment industry, and Keanan is a perfect example of this. Despite appearing on two hit shows, her success was limited to the 1990s.
2. Christine Lakin
As a member of the other family to be featured on Step by Step, actress Christine Lakin portrayed the character Alicia Lambert for 160 episodes. Her character was the middle, tomboy sister who preferred going by the name “Al.” She found herself being quite the opposite of her older sisters, and she was more inclined to roughhouse with the guys than go shopping with the girls. Al was a very popular character on the show, and Christine Lakin became a popular name thanks to her role on the series.
Unlike most child stars who slowly fizzle after their hit show is canceled, Christine Lakin has remained insanely busy since Step by Step shut down production. Her most recent role came in the comedy series Hollywood Darlings, a show centered around former child stars from her generation. So far, the show has only aired 8 episodes, and Lakin has yet to become as popular as she was in the 1990s.
1. Sasha Mitchell
Unlike most Hollywood tough guys who only pretend to be skilled in various forms of martial arts, actor Sasha Mitchell is a legitimate black belter in Taekwondo, though you would’ve never known this judging by his character in Step by Step. He was cast as the character Cody on the show, and he appeared in 114 episodes of the series. Cody was a guy who was an airhead with a laid-back demeanor, hardly giving the impression that he was capable of disarming you at a moment’s notice.
After being cast on the series, Sasha Mitchell appeared in several installments of the Kickboxer franchise, playing the character David Sloane. Mitchell has continued acting through the years, but his roles are very few and far between. His last television appearance came in 2005, while his 2017 film appearance marked the first time he was on the big screen in 14 years.
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