Top 50 Must-See TV Shows from the 90s
Out of the 50 featured shows, 31 belong to Mill Creek Entertainment. One of Fox's original primetime-series, the 1987-1997 comedy "Married with Children" ran for 11 seasons, breaking new ground through its refusal to conform and even inciting boycotts. Despite its popularity, Amanda Bearse, who played the Bundys' neighbor Marcy, considered it a "mean-spirited and misogynist show," while Katey Sagal, who starred as matriarch Peg Bundy, felt it "completely exploited" its women characters.
Next up, Paramount Home Entertainment's beloved 1993-1996 Nickelodeon comedy "The Adventures of Pete & Pete" introduced us to Big Pete and his younger brother, Little Pete, in the leafy town of Wellsville. It was perfectly quirky.
Also noteworthy is Mill Creek Entertainment's inventive 1989-1995 series "The Kids in the Hall," featuring future sitcom fixture Dave Foley, originally broadcast on HBO (Seasons 1-3) and CBS (Seasons 4-5). It takes its name from the Canadian comedy troupe brought to U.S. audiences by fellow Canadian and "Saturday Night Live" impresario, Lorne Michaels.
Anyone who loves true-crime shows won't want to miss "Unsolved Mysteries" by FilmRise. Produced from 1987 to 2002, except when Robert Stack was ill and had to take a break, this classy reenactment show was revived in 2008, mostly featuring old cases with new intros by the late host, Dennis Farina.
Finally, Home Box Office Home Video brings up the rear of the five with an unmentioned show, concluding this summary.
Number 36 of 50: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
During its original run from 1988-1998, this Emmy-awarded TV-news comedy bravely tackled challenging topics such as alcoholism, single parenthood, breast cancer, and even then-VP Dan Quayle. The lead character's pregnancy was such a significant event that 38 million viewers tuned in to witness Murphy's delivery.
Number 37 of 50: ABC/Getty Images
For a particular generation of viewers, TGIF will forever evoke memories of the popular ABC family sitcoms that aired during a specific period, including an iconic sitcom from 1987-1995 that introduced the Olsen twins and inspired the popular Netflix spinoff, Fuller House.
Number 39 of 50: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Number 40 of 50: ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images
Perhaps parents didn't grasp the importance of the 1993-2000 sitcom about Corey Matthews (played by Ben Savage), his friend Shawn (Rider Strong), and his future wife, Topanga (Danielle Fishel), but their children certainly did. That's why when those kids grew up and became TV executives, they greenlit the spinoff, Girl Meets World.
Number 41 of 50: Fox
What can you say about an Emmy-winning sitcom that rose to pop-culture stardom almost three decades ago, has earned a place in TV history as the longest-running animated sitcom ever, and continues to produce new episodes? Perhaps there is nothing more to say, except: D'oh!
Number 42 of 50: NBC/Getty Images
As Funny or Die has taught us, the ostensible hero of this Saturday-morning sitcom from 1989-1993 is "trash." Even though we know that Bayside High's scheming Zach Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) was in the wrong and that Saved By the Bell was frequently sexist and occasionally offensive, we just can't stop watching. It's a part of us, probably due to the enormous cell phones of the time. Fortunately, a revival is on the horizon.
Out of 50 top TV series, "The Wonder Years" stands out for its ability to captivate both baby boomers and children of the 1990s alike, thanks to its inspiring storytelling. Notably, the Savage family can boast of having a second talent in the form of Fred Savage, adding to the show's appeal.
During the 1993-2002 era, "The X-Files" hit the screens and quickly gained popularity as an Emmy-winning series that earned recognition worldwide. The paranoia-fueled plot enthralled audiences, especially those fascinated by conspiracy theories.
"Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" became a hit in 1990-1996 as a pioneer sitcom that propelled Will Smith, a rising hip-hop star, into Hollywood's leading elite. Iconic moments from the show like "The Carlton dance" still linger in fans' memories today.
The 1993 Emmy-winning "Seinfeld" show was a significant cultural touchstone, created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. Although often described as "about nothing," the show's brilliance lay in its ability to reveal the idiosyncrasies of daily life, and ultimately, its ability to make us laugh.
"Twin Peaks," premiered on TV in 1990, stunned primetime audiences with its mysterious plotline and gruesome scenes. The highlight of the show was the discovery of Laura Palmer's body, wrapped in plastic, setting off a chain reaction of obsession and excitement unmatched on television at the time. The show's popularity remained, spilling over into other forms of media, including a feature film and a 2017 revival series.
All 50 images captured by NBC/Getty reveal an impressive milestone for Friends: the show's 25th anniversary in 2019. Surpassing the supposed ages of the Manhattanite characters at the beginning of the 1994-2004 series, Friends has stood the test of time like no other. Remarkable in its enduring popularity, the Emmy-winning comedy reigned supreme as television's most-watched show of 2001-2002. As the iconic theme song boasts, the beloved characters of Monica, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe have captured our hearts and will continue to do so.
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