These '90s Stars Need Another Breakout Role

by S. Atkinson

If you thought we would have reached peak nostalgia by now, think again. There's one key exception to this rule no matter how oversaturated you are with '90s media; when it comes to the celebrities who used to dominate the entertainment world, so many of our favorites have disappeared from the spotlight. So, there are at least 13 '90s stars that need to make a comeback. Sure, you haven't seen them in a while, but, way back when, they were all you could think about.

Yeah, sure, everybody's rocking chokers, plaid, and brown lipstick like they went into a time machine and collectively raided the shops two decades ago. And, yes, Pokemon has spent the year dominating the headlines (again). Heck, if everything goes well we could even have a Clinton in the White House by the end of the year. But it's the celebrities of our youth that really deserve our attention.

Because the cliche is true: fame is a fickle beast. Just because these faces have disappeared from our collective consciousness doesn't mean that these people aren't crazy talented. So let's start a petition. Tweet your favorite tastemakers, directors, producers: let's get these names back into circulation. If I don't see a film with Freddie Prinze Jr. in it over the next year, I'm going to lose it.

1. SisQó

OK, so SisQó only just made it into this '90s list: he released his debut solo album (the one with Thong Song) in November 1999. But this guy made the catchiest pop music around. Admittedly, he's still recording music: SisQó recorded a duet with Marie Osmond this year for her Music Is Medicine album. But what about an album of his own?

2. Melissa Joan Hart

She was Clarissa (Clarissa Explains It All), she was Sabrina (Sabrina The Teenage Witch), and then things fizzled out a little. While, between 2010-2016, Melissa Joan Hart starred in her own sitcom Melissa & Joey, it didn't get much press and eventually got cancelled. Whatever — Melissa Joan Hart was and is a prodigious talent, and I'd like to see her in something with some punchy comedic writing in. The world of television is that much sadder without her in it.

3. Freddie Prinze Jr.

Easy-on-the-eye thesp Freddie Prinze Jr. was in everything in the '90s. I Know What You Did Last Summer, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, She's All That. Now, according to his wife Sarah Michelle Gellar's Instagram account, he chills at home eating cupcakes. I both love and applaud this, but this doesn't compensate for the Freddie Prinze Jr.-shaped hole in the entertainment industry. Please come back to the world of rom-coms and slashers and be the distinguished silver fox love interest.

4. Kel Mitchell

When Kenan & Kel ended in 2000, the plan was for Mitchell to continue doing his thing: filming and making comedy for TV. Both Mitchell and his co-star Kenan Thompson competed for a spot on Saturday Night Live in 2003, but his co-star won the spot. While Mitchell does have a Nickolodeon show on the air again, the sitcom Game Shakers, it's not particularly high-profile. Here's hoping this talented comic gets a big break soon.

5. Calista Flockhart

Flockhart was the leading star in the legal dramedy of the decade: the unforgettable, wonderfully weird Ally McBeal. But, nowadays, despite her role as Cat Grant in Supergirl, she seems most well-known for being married to Harrison Ford. Give Flockhart another big TV show, please. I wouldn't even mind a Cat Grant spinoff.

6. Tia And Tamera Mowry

The twins from Sister Sister were smart, funny, and exuded charisma, but seemed to totally disappear after the show ended. In the meantime, they've both dabbled in reality shows. There was the 2011-2013 show Tia & Tamera, Tamera Mowry had her own talk show The Real, and Tia Mowry has her own cooking show Tia Mowry at Home. But let's face it, these guys need to share a sitcom again.

7. Neve Campbell

Campbell ruled the '90s. She fronted everyone's favorite goth-teen movie The Craft and was Sidney Prescott in Scream (plus its three sequels). While she's continued working post the '90s, her efforts haven't been as high profile. A comeback's definitely in motion — we saw her play a recurring character in House of Cards Season 4 this year. But here's my vote for Campbell fronting her own show.

8. Alfonso Ribeiro

Ribero played Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and, while he's done plenty since, including winning Season 19 of Dancing With The Stars, I'd like to see Ribeiro in a non-reality TV context. The guy had enough charm to compete with basically the most delightful human being that exists, Will Smith. Somebody give him a movie deal, now.

9. Tiffani Thiessen

Thiessen was Rihanna-famous in the '90s thanks to shows like Saved by the Bell and Beverly Hills 90210. While, yes, she is still working (in the legal show White Collar, if you're interested), it's nowhere near as high-profile work as her '90s shows. And I, for one, want to see more of her.

10. Ryan Phillippe

Phillippe was the hunk-to-hire of the '90s, playing in movies like Cruel Intentions, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and 54 (along fellow '90s star Neve Campbell). But, somewhere along the line, things fizzled out a little. Unfairly, I'd argue, since Phillippe seemed pretty good at what he did. While he's still been working more or less constantly since the '90s, nothing he's been in has been particularly high profile. Somebody give this guy a comeback, stat.

11. Heather Locklear

Heather Locklear was in Melrose Place for six years during the '90s, as well as appearing in films like Money Talks and Body Language. She currently guest stars on the political thriller Too Close To Home, but I'd argue this is too minor a role for Locklear. She's a leading lady, through and through.

12. Jonathan Taylor Thomas

Remember Home Improvement's resident heartthrob, Randy aka Jonathan Taylor Thomas? But he wasn't just big on TV; he also appeared in a wide array of Disney films, from The Lion King (in which he voiced Simba) to live action films like Man of the House, Tom and Huck and I'll Be There For Christmas. When he grew up, Taylor Thomas decided that his priority wasn't entertainment, but education, and he studied at Harvard, Columbia and St Andrews. While he appeared in four episodes of Last Man Standing between 2013 and 2015, here's hoping we get a proper helping of Taylor Thomas on our screens soon.

13. Devon Sawa

Skip the part to where cute animated ghost Casper gets to assume a human form for the night... remember this childhood crush? Sure you do. Devon Sawa had a similarly ethereal quality as '90s Ricci. But what happened to Sawa? While there was a few key moments for him post the '90s — namely, his role in Final Destination and his role as Stan in Eminem's music video of the same name, things simmered down a lot once 2000 had been and gone. From 2010-2013, he had a recurring part on the spy show Nikita, but, hey, 2013 was a long time ago. We need more Canadian charisma on our screens.

Forget hating on '90s nostalgia: the list above just goes to show how replete with talent our favorite '90s stars were. So embrace the retro. Indulge your nostalgia. These guys are too good to forget.

Images: Nickelodeon; Giphy (4); Viacom Productions; Miramax Films; 20th Century Fox; NBC Productions; Columbia Pictures; CBS Television; putineer; jackofalltwists/Youtube (2)