It feels like only yesterday that we would countdown the clock until it was time to tune into TGIF. Our Friday night line up was the highlight of our week. We would religiously follow some of the funniest and corniest TV shows on a regular basis. We got our chuckles from silly animation shows but kept it real with the high school and family dramas. To this day, these shows are still some of our favourite. Take a trip down memory lane and tune into 15 of the best TV shows from the 90’s…
15. ROCKO’S MODERN LIFE
This Nickelodeon cartoon ran from 1993-1996 and was one of the funniest hits ever. It revolved around an Australian wallaby, Rocko, and his friends facing everyday life. His group of friends included Heffer a steer, Filburt a neurotic turtle and Spanky his dog. They all lived in a place called O-town. The show was definitely on the edgy side, which is why Nickelodeon picked them up. The network wanted to branch out and Rocko was a perfect fit. The show embodied adult humour, innuendos and a satire type of comedy. Most of the jokes went over kids’ heads but satisfied the adult viewers. After four seasons the show ended and most of the cast went to work for Sponge Bob Square Pants.
14. SAVED BY THE BELL
This hit show ran on from 1989 to 1993 and is one that we will never forget. It surrounded the lives of a group of friends and their principal. It was light-hearted most of the time, but did not fail to touch on serious subject matters for time to time. For example, the friends faced issues such as homelessness, remarriage, drugs and DUI`s. In the show, the characters were so squeaky clean, it is hard to imagine these grown up actors any other way. Unfortunately, nerdy star, Dustin Diamond started getting into trouble with the law. And, our bubble was forever burst.
13. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
This show raked in the viewers because it had a different concept. It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies, but actually had some freaky story lines. It appealed to both men and women and kept viewers hooked. A young hottie, Sarah Michelle Gellar captured audiences. The awesome looks of the demons and vampires kept them hooked. The show follows a somewhat normal girl who finds out that her destiny is to become a vampire slayer. Despite her reluctance at times, she follows her calling and is trained by Giles, who is also her watcher. Time and time again, Buffy manages to keep Torrence High safe. She is not just a regular student, she’s a slayer and the school’s faithful protector.
This hit show ran from 1988 up until 1997. This show was so enrapturing because it portrayed the middle class American family. People found that they could relate to this family’s lifestyle and financial struggles. One could say it was very realistic. The Conners family included outspoken wife and mother, Roseanne; her husband Dan; and three kids Becky, Darlene and DJ. Roseanne and Dan later went on to have another son Jerry later in the series. The show was extremely successful and went on to win a Golden Globe for best TV series as well as a GLAAD Media Award for outstanding comedy series. Well deserved awards for a well thought out and funny show.
11. THE NANNY
Who can ever forget the nasal voice of the star Fran Drescher?! From 1993 to 1999 her voice was protruding from all of our TV sets. Whether is was her accent, her clothes or her attitude, Fran Fine was able to make everyone fall in love with her. This light-hearted show followed the life of a Jewish fashionista from Queens who becomes the nanny of three high society children. The children’s father falls in love with her and we are drawn in by the potential of this unlikely romance. This hilarious sitcom also had other fan favourites such as the butler Niles and the father’s business partner, C.C Babcoc. The witty repartee between these two kept the show upbeat and humorous.
10. ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK
This Canadian show was popular among youngsters and could actually be scary depending on the episode and the viewer’s fear factor. It was filmed in and around Richmond, British Columbia as well as in the Greater Montreal area. Before Nickelodeon picked up the show, it ran on the Canadian network YTV. Every episode surrounded The Midnight Society telling spooky stories usually involving paranormal phenomenon. The episodes usually finished with a happy ending, except for a few here and there. Some famous Canadian faces that appeared in the series included Ross Hull and Elisha Cuthbert.
9. SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH
This show was one of the few that was actually based on the original Archie comics. This created a lot of hype at its release. From 1996 to 2003, we followed the life of Sabrina Spellman. a young teen who finds out on her 16th birthday that she is a witch and possesses magical powers. Sabrina lived with her two 600 year old aunts Hilda and Zelda. Sabrina tries to balance having a normal high school life with being a witch. As we saw, nothing was ever normal, including having a talking cat named Salem. This “pet” always had something to say and provided quite a few chuckles over the years.
8. THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR
From 1990 to 1996, the Fresh Prince welcomed us into his new home in Bel-Air. Looking for a better life, Will travelled all the way from Philly to live with his aunt. The opening theme song, rapped by Will Smith himself, tells us the premise of the show. A true 90’s kid will forever know: “In West Philadelphia born and raised…”. The series included appearances by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the beautiful Tyra Banks. Audiences always anticipated a reboot after the show ended, but Smith clearly stated that it will not be happening, ever.
From 1994 to 2004, fans became emotionally involved in the lives and stories of these six friends. Each character was funny, loveable and distinct, making it easy for fans to identify with at least one of them. We related to their fights, friendships and romances. As the show went on, the characters grew up and audiences grew up with them. The actors in this show will always be remembered for the characters they portrayed despite having successful careers after the series ended. With re-runs still airing today, it is safe to say that this show was a huge success.
6. FULL HOUSE
This is where it all started for the Olsen Twins. As young baby twins who could not yet speak, these undeniably adorable girls stole the show. The storyline revolved around a widower as he tries to raise his kids with the help of “Uncle Jesse” and “Uncle Joey”. This extremely wholesome show always had positive messages and never ended on a bad note. Some might say it ranked high on the cheesy scale. But steadfast fans couldn’t seem to get enough of the cuteness from the twins to John Stamos.
5. THE SIMPSONS
It is amazing that this show started in 1989 and is still producing new episodes in 2017. It holds records for being the longest running animated series in television ever. It is easy to understand why. This show not only remains current but the clever writing and performances deliver the goods every time. It has a massive fan base and audiences have fallen in love with its hilarious characters. The Simpsons is also known for having celebrity guest stars on the show such as Phil Hartman, Kelsey Grammar and even Michael Jackson. (Although the latter was credited under a pseudonym upon Michael’s request.) It’s say to say that Bart’s mischievous antics or Homer’s beer belting burps are here to stay.
This show has been raking in the big bucks since its debut. It is a show that is literally about nothing. Audiences belly over laughing at the ridiculous every day lives of each character. They are all quite quirky and bizarre in their own way, which makes viewers feel all the more normal. This is one of the funniest shows ever to come to television. To this day, you can still find an old episode playing on some channel, somewhere. Each actor was massively successful due to this show and will be forever remembered as the lovable characters.
3. STEP BY STEP
For seven years this show welcomed us into its blended family’s home with its spot in the unforgettable TGIF line up. Suzanne Somers plays the hot mom who impulsively marries a man, Patrick Duffy, she just met on vacation in Jamaica. They return home together and try to blend their families. Both single parents with three kids each, the show is reminiscent of the unforgettable Brady Bunch. Great one-liners and a realistic portrayal of modern day family life made this show work. It was heart warming, well cast and enjoyed by many every Friday night.
2. MY SO-CALLED LIFE
This TV show was a bit different than what we were used to seeing in the 90’s. It was more of a drama than a comedy or not like your regular wholesome show. It followed the life of an adolescent Angela Chase played by Claire Danes. It wasn’t afraid to tackle difficult subject matters such as child abuse, drugs, homophobia, adultery and alcoholism. It was quite dark for its time but was praised for its successful portrayal of real adolescent life. The story lines continued from week to week and were wrapped up into a happy ending in the last episode of each season. Alicia Silverstone also auditioned for the lead, but was rejected because she was deemed too pretty for the role.
1. FAMILY MATTERS
How can we ever forget Steve Urkel? To this day, he is still referenced when implying someone is a big nerd or dressed silly. Urkel became the breakout star of the show and later became the main character because audiences responded to him so well. It was the second longest running sitcom that was predominantly African- American. Family Matters was also part of TGIF`s line up and audiences loved when Stefan Urquelle, Steve’s sexy alter-ego would appear. The show was unique and funny and definitely the epitome of 90`s television programming.