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‘90s TV Shows That Are Probably Better Than You Remember


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by Xtreme HD IPTV

Full of sitcoms and mystery shows, the 1990s were a very important decade in television. Satellite TV allowed basically everyone around the world to access primetime television of high quality, and syndication licenses were easier to access. American TV shows became a cultural staple, with sitcoms becoming the rule and establishing the groundwork for the upcoming decades of modern TV.

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However, it wasn’t exactly ideal for all shows. Just like it happens in today’s much more rocky territory of television, TV shows were greenlit and canceled all the time. Perhaps the survival of your personal favorite was a decision made by a studio executive who believed in the concept and followed up on an idea that no one liked. The dynamics of TV production were different, but at the same time, they were geared to the pace of the public’s perception of new ideas.

Though streaming services were still a thing of the future, there was still an abundance of TV shows, causing audiences to miss some underrated series along the way. In the case of the following, they were seen, but they aren’t regarded as ’90s peak television. But it’s not too late to try again. These are the ’90s TV shows that are much better than you remember.

10 Eerie, Indiana (1991-1993)

In Eerie, Indiana, a young teenager by the name of Marshall Teller moves with his parents to the town of Eerie, where the population is strangely set at 16,661. There he meets Simon, another boy who, just like Marshall, knows there’s something off about the place. Together, they run into all kinds of problems involving the bizarre characters that also happen to reside in their town. With a total of 19 episodes, the series made sure to leave its mark among young viewers in the ’90s.

Great Mystery TV for Children

The show was appropriate for young adults and children and barely drew the line when it was necessary. It presented compelling storylines in a space of 30 minutes, with situations that were always resolved somehow. It was comfort television, oriented towards horror, and belongs to an era of risky television we will surely never see return to the screens. The show is a great introduction to gateway horror for kids.

Stream on Freevee

9 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992-1996)

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles is a ’90s show created by George Lucas, co-creator of the franchise alongside Steven Spielberg. It portrays the story of iconic adventure character Indiana Jones since his childhood, when he started to get into trouble. Early on, it transitions into his teenage years with a short passage of adulthood that is connected with the movies featuring Jones against all kinds of villains. It ran for 28 episodes between 1992 and 1996.

Fun Family Show with All the Charisma You Needed

The show was great family entertainment, featuring a young Sean Patrick Flannery portraying the titular character with all the charisma necessary to make it a staple of modern adventure TV. It didn’t have any issues, but it was clearly an ambitious show that required a high budget to stay afloat with big set pieces, great stuntwork, and practical effects. The only problem is that it was never as popular as the movies, so ABC was forced to cancel it after three seasons. Regardless, it’s a must for fans of the franchise.

Watch the trailer for The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles here.

Rent on Prime Video

Related: 10 Memorable Celebrity Cameos in ’90s TV Shows

8 Millennium (1996-1999)

In Millennium, FBI Special Agent Frank Black (played by Lance Henriksen) has a very peculiar ability: he’s able to enter and read the minds of everyone. No longer working for the bureau, he started providing his talent to an organization called the Millennium Group, and we’ll just leave it at that to save you from spoilers. With his ability, he’s able to hunt down criminals, with a special focus on individuals obsessed with the end of the millennium.

One of the Most Underrated Mystery Shows of the ’90s

Created by Chris Carter, the mastermind behind The X-Files, Millennium was always overshadowed by the most prominent show about Mulder and Scully. However, Frank Black’s story is extremely interesting and follows a linear story that was restrained to stay under a general arc that worked in the end. It was very well-acted, and in just three seasons, it formed a bond with audiences to the point of turning into a cult series. This is one of the shows of the ’90s that still holds up.

Millennium isn’t available to stream today

7 Spaced (1999-2001)

In 1999, Edgar Wright directed a sitcom called Spaced during his long run on television before transitioning to movies with Shaun of the Dead. In the show, Daisy Steiner and Tim Bisley decide to move together without really knowing each other. They just believe they have to cut costs after she gives up after squatting for too long, and he gets kicked out by his girlfriend. Their respective best friends also enter the picture and ride along for their adventures in modern-day London.

The Best British Sitcom You Never Saw

Using the sitcom format, Spaced was an irreverent show that often went for a surrealist approach, which Wright cleverly adapted for modern audiences. Back then, there was no show like it on television. Spaced focused on its characters using recreational drugs, making pop culture references, and navigating every set of situations the writers could think of. Needless to say, it’s a show that probably wouldn’t be made today.

The show starred Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Jessica Stevenson, among others, and it was their first participation in the medium. What followed simply speaks for itself.

Spaced

Spaced

Release Date
September 1, 1999

Seasons
2

Stream on The Roku Channel

6 Parker Lewis Can’t Lose (1990-1993)

At the birth of the 1990s, Parker Lewis Can’t Lose arrived with its very peculiar style of comedy. Starring Corin Nemec as the title character, the show portrayed the adventures and misfortunes of the teenager while in Santo Domingo High School, where he faced the constant threats of bullies, school principal Grace Musso, and even his little sister, who didn’t exactly help him and his friends navigate the challenges of adolescence.

Satirical and More Clever than You Remember

Parker often breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience, and the show is based on a surreal style of comedy that, mixed with groundbreaking camera work, makes it a fast-paced sitcom unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Teenagers in the ’90s hailed the show for being open about their issues and the sugarcoating style of the plot, which often resolved everything in a space of 30 minutes. For those seeking a nostalgia-based experience, there’s nothing better than Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.

parker lewis can't lose

Parker Lewis Can’t Lose

Release Date
September 2, 1990

Cast
Corin Nemec , Billy Jayne , Abraham Benrubi , Timothy Stack , Maia Brewton , Anne Bloom , Gerrit Graham , John Pinette

Seasons
3

Stream on Philo

5 Wings (1990-1997)

In NBC’s Wings, brothers Joe and Brian Hackett operate their small single-plane airline company on Nantucket Island. Sandpiper Air is one of a handful of airlines that run their operations at the small airport. The Hacketts are often seen at the lunch counter located inside the airport, where manager Helen serves everyone and also tries to get Joe to fall in love with her. It ran for eight seasons on NBC, with a total of 172 episodes.

A Well-Acted and Endearing Sitcom

Wings complies with just about every single trope of sitcoms from the ’90s. It’s simply that kind of show with small changes and slightly shallow storylines that got solved in a space of less than 30 minutes. But still, the show was popular enough to stay on the air for seven years. It almost never left the space of the airport’s coffee shop because it didn’t need to. The characters were funny, engaging, and very well-performed.

Stream on Prime Video

4 The Wonder Years (1988-1993)

The Wonder Years started its run in 1988, but it got more attention in the ’90s when it flowed into more mature stories involving its main character, Kevin Arnold. Kevin is a teenager growing up in American suburbia in the late 1960s. Alongside his parents and siblings, he faces the challenges of transitioning to the teenage years and all that ensues. It’s narrated in flashback style by Daniel Stern, and it’s the pioneer of similarly themed sitcoms.

A Great Coming-of-Age Show

The show is one of those that has fallen off the radar of modern audiences and is radically different from what you remember. Everyone thinks it’s a “Fred Savage is a cute boy” vehicle, but it’s actually a much more grounded show. It often featured shocks of reality, all related to life in the ’60s and ’70s, a story element that wasn’t present in the series reboot of 2021. This reboot had poor results and was quickly canceled by ABC.

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Stream on Hulu

3 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001)

In 3rd Rock from the Sun, four aliens are exploring space. They find Earth, the third planet after the Sun, interesting and decide to land and study our species. To disguise their true appearance, they acquire human bodies and pose as a family in the suburbs of Rutherford, Ohio. The show stars John Lithgow, French Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kristen Johnston, and Jane Curtin. Without question, the best ensemble cast on this list.

The Extremely Funny Show That Not Many People Remember

Of the sitcom shows on the list, 3rd Rock from the Sun is probably the most rewatchable one. It’s very, very funny, and its humor is appropriate for every family member. No one would think the premise could work for so long, but it comfortably sat on NBC for six seasons of pure, heartwarming comedy, mostly led by Lithgow’s unusual but effective funny performance. It was often elevated by appearances by Saturday Night Live alumni.

Watch a clip from 3rd Rock from the Sun here

Stream on Crackle

2 The Larry Sanders Show (1992 – 1998)

The Larry Sanders Show ran for six seasons of pure comedy genius on HBO. It starred Garry Shandling as a late-night talk show host who must deal with the adversities of producing it alongside his producer and his partner on screen. Most of Sanders’ issues came from having to deal with celebrities and satirical and exaggerated versions of themselves as they accepted to appear on Larry’s show. If the concept sounds familiar, that’s because it is.

Comedy for Grown-Ups That Still Rules

Undeniably, one of the best sitcoms to emerge from the comedy-infested TV of the 1990s, The Larry Sanders Show, was HBO’s approach to intelligent comedy during an era where basic sitcoms had to follow too many rules. The cable channel posed no restrictions on language or content, so similarly to what you see today in Curb Your Enthusiasm (clearly inspired by this show), a visionary comedian made fun of the same industry he was part of.

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Stream on Max

1 The Ben Stiller Show (1990-1993)

The Ben Stiller Show is one of many sketch comedy shows that shaped the ’90s. It starred, of course, Ben Stiller and his friends, Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick, and Bob Odenkirk, who also participated in the writing of the show. It’s a regular sketch comedy show, sans the high budget and production value of other more prominent peers. It was based mostly on Stiller’s skill at pointing out pop culture references and funny offshoots that made for great sketches.

Clever Sketch Show Ahead of its Time

Ben Stiller and Judd Apatow created The Ben Stiller Show in 1989. It was featured as short segments that introduced music videos in the MTV era of experimental shows that always had to be associated with the channel’s purpose. Exactly the opposite of what you’d see today.

Apatow and Stiller’s comedic style speaks for itself and has been the basis of their careers and those of others that spawned from origins like these. So, The Ben Stiller Show is a great piece of their history, presenting sketches that bent the rules of what was acceptable at the time and would mostly be banned today.

Rent on Prime Video

To stay in the 1990s mood, here a video of the catchphrases from ’90s television that will surely bring a smile to your face:

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