By Cecily Doakes
It’s no secret that 1990s nostalgia reigns supreme in pop culture right now. Most current trends in fashion, music, and films include nods to the days of scrunchies, overalls, and metallic makeup. Fortunately, while we’re at home for a while longer, you can relive the decade by streaming your favorite ‘90s television series through a variety of services. Check out my list of totally tubular TV shows that aired new episodes throughout the 1990s.
1985: The Golden Girls
Grab a cheesecake and your three best friends to settle in for a marathon of good-natured ribbing and unexpected pearls of wisdom. As roommates living in Miami, Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia’s friendship quickly transforms into a tight-knit family. Navigating the challenges of motherhood, past relationships, and the next chapters of their lives, the girls share victories and setbacks with dignity, poise, and hilarity that we can only hope to emulate. Exclusively streaming on Hulu, ABC’s sitcom was an explosion of ‘90s girl power, important life lessons, and enviable fashion. Ending in 1992 after eight epic seasons, The Golden Girls remain cultural icons to which almost everyone can relate. To find out which character matches your personality, take the quiz and post the results on your social media.
1987: 21 Jump Street
1980s heartthrobs Johnny Depp, Richard Grieco, and Peter DeLuise starred alongside many talented young actors to bring a gritty teen drama to television in the late ‘80s. Part of a team of adult undercover agents posing as teenagers, Depp and the cast tackled tough situations like drug trafficking in local high schools. Streaming on NBC’s new platform Peacock, 21 Jump Street offers a throwback to big hair, leather jackets, and intense smoldering (I’m looking at you, Brad Pitt). The series ended in 1991 but saw a feature film reboot in 2012 starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in the lead roles, plus Ice Cube as the famously tough-but-fair Captain Dickson. In the 2014 sequel film 22 Jump Street, you’ll enjoy a surprise cameo from some of the show’s original cast members — but you’ll have to watch it to find out who shows up.
1990: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
🎵 “In West Philadelphia”... you know the rest. Having grown up in Philly throughout the ‘90s, imagine my absolute delight when I upgraded to the new HBO Max service and found all six seasons of The Fresh Prince. Relocated to his aunt and uncle’s home in the swanky Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles in hopes of a safer life with better opportunities, a 17-year-old Will Smith shakes things up with street smarts, outrageous fashion, and flawless dance moves. Ahead of its time, The Fresh Prince presents wholesome teachable moments that address racial profiling, discrimination, and the trials and triumphs of being a young Black American. You’ll love cameo appearances from a baby-faced Hank Azaria, Tyra Banks, Boyz II Men, and Denver native Don Cheadle. Right up until the show’s finale in 1996, Smith, his friends, and the Banks family enjoyed “chillin’ out, maxin’ out, and relaxin’ all cool.” Bop along to game-changing music from legendary composer and producer Quincy Jones and join the bromance that is DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince — still a better love story than Twilight, if you ask me.
1990: Supermarket Sweep
The ultimate celebration of crunchy perms, mom jeans, and ugly sweaters — all ‘90s trends that are being resurrected for better or worse — Supermarket Sweep offered a unique take on reality game shows. Try not to drop your jaw when you see the prices of your favorite supermarket brands from back in the day. If you haven’t already, consider downloading Netflix Party so you and your buddies can watch the show together in real-time to exchange colorful commentary. Although the series ended in 2003, former Saturday Night Live superstar Leslie Jones will host the reboot coming to network TV in 2020. As this is one of the first shows to return to production during the COVID-19 pandemic, the premiere date is currently unknown. Follow the show on social media for updates and your chance to compete in the sweep!
1996: Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Although an animated version of the show premiered in 1971, let’s talk about the Melissa Joan Hart adaptation from the ‘90s. Sabrina the Teenage Witch is among the impressive lineup of retro shows you can view on CBS All Access. Featuring creative animatronics in the form of Sabrina’s sassy cat Salem, hilarious hijinks, and guidance from her aunts Hilda and Zelda, Sabrina traverses high school with wicked and witchy power. 15 years after the show’s end in 2003, Netflix premiered a darker version of the classic in 2018. Thriving in her early 40s — and currently working on a Clarissa Explains It All reboot — fans would love to see Hart make a cameo appearance in the modern version of Sabrina. Maybe there’s a potion to make it happen?
Whether you wear parachute pants or a crop top, put on your comfiest outfit and hit the couch for a phat throwback binge-session. These ‘90s bangers are guaranteed to make you laugh, cry, and inspire you to incorporate the fashion and lingo of the times into your daily life. Enjoy — and “Thank you for being a friend!”
Copywriter and Social Media Community Manager Cecily Doakes loves all things ‘90s. You can find her jamming to everything from The Spice Girls to TLC, watching all of the aforementioned TV shows (again), and continuing her search for the perfect pair of jellies.