When you think of '90s TV, there are probably certain shows that come to mind right away, like Full House, Boy Meets World, and Saved By The Bell. All of those shows are high on the nostalgia factor, and have proved so popular that they've been brought back in unauthorized Lifetime biopics and even spinoffs featuring much of the original cast. But what about the other underrated '90s TV shows that don't get much love? Those shows will differ for each of us, but if you're anything like me, you probably grew up watching some weird stuff that's since been lost to the annals of TV history. How could we let them be forgotten?!
There are plenty of great TV shows on these days, and I watch a lot of them, but there was just something about TV in the '90s that was so... of its time, and it could never be recreated these days, at least not without raising millions of eyebrows. Maybe it's just that times were somewhat simpler, or that technology wasn't so advanced — I can't say for sure. What I can say is that the shows I grew up watching have remained embedded in my brain ever since, and many of the shows that have left the biggest marks on my memory are probably not the most obvious choices.
Hanging With Mr. Cooper
Hanging With Mr. Cooper was part of the classic TGIF block of programming, but I rarely see it mentioned on "Best Of" lists, and I'm not sure why. It had Mark Curry, Holly Robinson Peete, and even Raven-Symone. It was cheesy in that perfectly '90s way and just really, really good. I can't remember a single storyline from it, but I do remember being glued to the TV every time it was on.
I don't know a single person in my fifth grade class that didn't love Home Improvement, particularly because it gave us Jonathan Taylor Thomas, the ultimate '90s childhood crush. There was also the amazingness that was Tim Allen's weird wolf bark/howl and the fact that Wilson never showed his face over the fence. Tell me what show in 2015 would get away with that?
Truth be told, I didn't actually like Roseanne all that much when I was a kid, and I can't put my finger on why. Nevertheless, I watched it all the time and I remember it like it was just yesterday. I also related way too much to Darlene, which is ridiculous since I was way younger than her and totally not angsty at all at the time. This show was revolutionary for its time and I only came to truly appreciate it when I got older.
It's a little wild and a little strange, when you make your home out on the raaaaaanggeee! Oh, sorry, I got caught up there. Hey Dude was basically the Nickelodeon show of my LIFE, particularly because it was so random and weird but also so good. Also, Brad was hot and Mr. Ersnt was crazy but somehow it all made sense.
This may have been my favorite childhood TV show, period, and it wasn't even for kids. Martin Lawrence was a genius, and I loved everything about the show, from Martin's faux-rivalry with Pam, to the fact that Tommy didn't really have a job, to his relationship with Gina. It was pure genius. Don't even get me started on Bruh-Man from the fifth floor and Roscoe and Shaneneh.
Living Single used to come on right after Martin, at least on my UPN's syndication. I loved it. Queen Latifah was basically the most amazing ever, and the whole idea of these badass women living in Brooklyn and being super funny and smart was super appealing to me, even as a kid. I feel so nostalgic just thinking about this show. I wonder if it's out on DVD...
Star Trek: Voyager
A bit out of left field, maybe, but I was a geek and I have no shame in it. Captain Janeway was everything I needed in my pre-teen/teenage life and I was feeling Voyager so hard. It was definitely the show that launched my life-long love of sci-fi (along with The X-Files) and when I re-watched some of the series just last year, it totally held up... even if it was slightly dated. It's also where my intense love of Kate Mulgrew comes from, so I was more than ecstatic when she turned up in OITNB years later.
Images: Warner Bros. Television; Giphy (7)