With all the channels and streaming options, there's always something to watch no matter who you are or what your age is. I imagine that families with kids could all be in a room together but watching stuff that's totally different on various devices. That's different from when I was a kid and the television was just kind of on and we'd all be watching the same thing — even if it was just Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune during dinner. Today, streaming now, there are many '90s shows on Netflix you watched with your parents as a kid that you can revisit as an adult.
Everyone's experience was probably a little bit different. I doubt many parents were into Buffy The Vampire Slayer or All That or even "classic" '90s animated shows like Hey Arnold or Rugrats. My parents wouldn't let me watch My So-Called Life (which is streaming on Hulu anyway, not Netflix at the moment) with them, so I discovered the magic that is Ricky, Rayanne, Brian and Angela, Claire Danes crying, and Jared Leto leaning when I was a bit older.
There's just something special about watching stuff that isn't necessarily "children's television," even though we had a ton of that in the '90s as well, with the adults in your family. It brings you together as a unit. Here are some shows that may spark those memories.
1. Bob Ross: Beauty Is Everywhere
Having crunchy NPR parents in the '90s meant watching a ton of "happy little trees" and feeling safe whenever he was painting.
2. Keeping Up Appearances
Those same parents, who probably made you dread PBS' fundraising drives, also watched the adventures of Hyacinth Bucket (it's pronounced bouquet) because "British humor is just so clever."
Were Sam and Diane your OTP before you knew what 'shipping even was? They shoulda been. Norm!
4. The Wonder Years
Or Full House, or Family Matters, or The Facts Of Life. You know. Family sitcoms used to be all the rage.
5. Everybody Loves Raymond
I'm pretty sure I know more about that show than I think, just from being in the room when it was on.
6. 3rd Rock From The Sun
I used to confuse this with Frasier all of the time, which I know makes no sense as an adult, but stuff blends together when you're a kid!
That said, you can also watch the Cheers spinoff (and maybe appreciate it for the first time as a spinoff) on Netflix.
8. The West Wing
Late '90s still counts — though it wasn't until after President George W. Bush was elected in 2000 that my parents started calling this very liberal show "the news" as a means of escape.
9. Star Trek: The Next Generation
Raise your hand if you put your headband over your eyes and pretended to be LeVar Burton, too. When I was a kid watching this show with my parents, I thought it was "very serious" — watching it now on Netflix, I learned that that wasn't... entirely accurate.
10. Quantum Leap
Another for the children of geeks out there. Oh boy.
11. Murder, She Wrote
The type of show that was always on in the afternoon, no matter what day.
12. Freaks and Geeks
If this was your family, I'm insanely jealous. Not because I wasn't allowed to watch My So-Called Life with mine, but because you had some very hip, on the pulse parents. Did you actually watch Firefly when it was on, too? Geez...
If you've ever had that moment of "oh that's why I know that weird thing about lobsters" or "oh that's how I know Jon Favreau," it's because you grew up watching Friends with your family.
14. The X-Files
The procedural element of this show combined with the supernatural made it kind of perfect for kids and their parents.
15. Saved By The Bell
16. A Different World
Look, Denise is the best Huxtable, and we all know it.
OK, this show was still on in the 1990s even though it started in the 1970s, and I technically wasn't allowed to be watching the wry Peter Falk murder mystery series with my parents — but you know I did anyway.
If you're feeling nostalgic, or want to know what the shows you watched with your parents as a kid were really all about, it's awesome that so many are available to revisit streaming!
Images: NBC/Netflix; Giphy (15)