Throughout the '90s, TV episodes ruled the world. That sounds like an obvious fact, but let me break something down for you about our current television landscape. Without Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and even TiVo, shows only existed on a week by week basis — which means that viewers lived and died by the schedule of '90s TV. You couldn't watch all of the episodes in a single sitting. You had to wait a full week to find out if Ross agreed with that 18-page letter. The horror! There's a reason you were so invested in your favorite '90s shows.
Because it's been so long since that mode of viewing reigned supreme, it's time to take a look back. It's time to remember just how affected you were waiting for answers, week by week. The dramatization of television was at an all-time high in the '90s, and even if the show wasn't meant to necessarily be dramatic, fans like me were eating it up on the edge of our seats. I'm talking coming home from school and soccer practice, dropping our backpacks by the door, forgetting to eat, and zoning in on the saga that was Joey, Pacey, and Dawson. Or whatever it was that had you hanging on for dear life.
Here are '90s shows that were serious business back then.
1. Friends (1994-2004)
Let's start out with the most obvious. Ross and Rachel — and whether or not they were on a break — was of utmost importance to us all. After 10 seasons of ups and downs, all fans wanted was for these two to figure things out.
2. Boy Meets World (1993-2000)
Speaking of people who were meant to be together on TV, let's talk about Cory and Topanga. They were solid for most of their romantic journey, but there was a point in time when it was unclear if they would make it to the end. Kind of. Fine, they were always super strong. Still, you needed them to feel better about Ross and Rachel.
3. Dawson's Creek (1998-2003)
The love triangle of Joey, Pacey, and Dawson will go down as one of the most perplexing and involving in all of TV history.
4. Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
The show might have been about slaying vampires, but the real pull was the relationships among the cast. Spike and Angel specifically, who were both in love with Buffy.
5. My So-Called Life (1994-95)
Angela's love interest, Jordan Catalano, was the most beautiful human to ever grace a teenage soap opera show. Admit it, you were heavily invested in what happened between these two.
6. Ally McBeal (1997-2002)
Ally and Billy. Billy and Ally. Either way you say it, the combo still stings. During the middle of season 3, Billy found out he had a brain tumor. Then, in the next episode, he dropped dead. What followed after was some consuming drama.
7. Party Of Five (1994-2000)
After the death of their parents, five siblings tried to figure out how to take care of each other. Every season, the Salingers confronted problems that typical families face — cancer, alcoholism, depression, unplanned pregnancy, etc. It was gripping.
8. The Wonder Years (1988-93)
The coming-of-age story resonated with a wide audience — adult and children alike. Perhaps because its themes were so universal. Themes involving first loves (Winnie), pre-teen angst, friendship, an evolving relationship with your parents, and so on and so forth. But, you probably tuned in every week to see Kevin try (and sort of fail) to get closer to his crush.
9. Melrose Place (1992-97)
It was so melodramatic and insane that it became everyone's guilty pleasure. We all tuned in, whether we liked to admit it or not. But, it was Allison's relationship with Billy that rocked our worlds.
10. Felicity (1998-2002)
Where to begin with Felicity. The hair cut that divided the nation? The Ben-Felicity-Noel saga? There was so much to lose sleep over when it came to Felicity.
11. The X-Files (1993-2002)
Not only was The X-Files a serious show, you were seriously wrapped around its finger. As in, all you wanted was for Mulder and Scully to just make something romantic happen already.
12. Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000)
Like the aforementioned Melrose Place, Beverly Hills, 90210 was rich people drama at its finest. You lived for each and every relationship on Beverly Hills, 90210. But the real question is, are you Team Brenda or Team Kelly?
13. The Real World (1992-Present)
As one of the first reality shows, The Real World was captivating. Not only was the drama intense, it was as the show suggests — real. Your thoughts and feelings on the group were just as real as it gets too.
It's been almost 30 years since most of these shows first aired, so be glad that you can put all these obsessions to bed now. Well, sort of.