The nineties were an incredible decade of television, producing several hit shows spanning various genres. Recently someone stated, “I'm looking for some good 90s shows, pretty much any genre. What suggestions do you have for a good binge?” Of course, we all know of the nineties classics such as Friends, That '70s Show, and Seinfeld, but here are other top-voted recommendations.
1. Beverly Hills 90210 (1990 – 2000)
Beverly Hills 90210 was a pop culture phenomenon that resulted in Jason Priestley and Luke Perry posters on almost all teenage girls' walls. The show's initial story focused on twins Brandon (Priestley) and Brenda Walsh (Shannon Doherty) from Minnesota, moving to Beverly Hills and attending West Beverly High.
However, it evolved into college years and a soapy twenty-something drama for ten seasons of awesomeness to die-hard fans. The show tackled racism, gun violence, sexual assault, suicide, poverty, and drug addiction. It also starred Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green, and Ian Ziering (Sharknado) as the original cast.
2. ER (1994 – 2009)
ER is the second longest-running primetime medical drama in TV history, behind Grey's Anatomy. Set in a fictionalized version of the Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. It centers around the emergency room (ER) staff facing critical issues, relationship drama, and dealing with hospital politics.
The ensemble cast stars Anthony Edwards as Dr. Mark Greene, George Clooney as Dr. Doug Ross, Julianna Margulies as Nurse Carol Hathaway, Sherry Stringfield as Dr. Susan Lewis, Noah Wyle as medical student John Carter, and Eriq La Salle as Dr. Peter Benton.
3. Twin Peaks (1990 – 1991)
Twin Peaks is a mystery serial drama and 90s pop culture phenomenon with everyone on the edge of their seats to find out who killed Laura Palmer. David Lynch‘s distinct cinematography, surrealism, and offbeat humor made this a groundbreaking show. In addition, the eccentric characters and hauntingly beautiful score had the world tuned in.
It follows an investigation into the murder of Twin Peak's homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). The lodge and waterfall in the opening scene are from the town of Snoqualmie Falls in Washington state, portrayed as the fictional town of Twin Peaks. It stars Kyle MacLachlan as FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper and Michael Ontkean as the local Sheriff Harry S. Truman.
4. Ally McBeal (1997 – 2002)
Ally McBeal is a legal comedy-drama starring Calista Flockhart in the titular role. Ally is a peculiar daydreaming lawyer working in the Boston law firm Cage and Fish, where her ex-boyfriend and first love, Billy (Gil Bellows), works. The other lawyers are eccentric, with unique quirks that keep the show fun, humorous, and dramatic.
Additionally, the lawyers congregate in the bar downstairs after work, where many sing incredibly, and a few sing not so well. The firm's cases are engaging, but I'd avoid season five altogether. The first four seasons are brilliant. It also stars Robert Downey Jr., Peter MacNicol, Lucy Lui, Portia de Rossi, Greg Germann, Jane Krakowski, and Lisa Nicole Carson.
5. Daria (1997 – 2002)
Daria is an adult animated sitcom that aired on MTV during the nineties from the creators of Beavis and Butthead. It centers around the title character Daria Morgendorffer, a cynical and intelligent high school student going through the motions. Daria is mostly misanthropic but has a best friend, Jane Lane (Wendy Hoopes). Jane is an aspiring artist who skeptically observes the world with Daria.
6. Will & Grace (1998 – 2006)
Will & Grace is an LGBTQIA+ sitcom centering around the friendship between best friends Will Truman (Eric McCormack), a gay attorney, and Grace Adler (Debra Messing), a hetero-Jewish interior designer in New York City. Despite the initial critique of gay stereotypes, Will & Grace was a groundbreaking show that portrayed homosexuals positively.
The show won 18 Primetime Emmy Awards and 83 nominations. It also starred Megan Mullally as Karen Walker, an alcoholic, pill-popping socialite. And Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland, an eccentrically gay actor and Will's long-time friend from college.
7. NewsRadio (1995 – 1999)
NewsRadio is a hilarious 90s sitcom centering around the work lives of the eccentric staff of WNYX, a fictional AM broadcasting all-news radio station in New York City. The show starts with the arrival of a new station director, Dave Nelson (Dave Foley), who is entering the already-established friendships between his staff.
NewsRadio stars an ensemble of Maura Tierney, Vicki Lewis, Joe Rogan, Stephen Root, Andy Dick, Khandi Alexander, and the legendary Phil Hartman in his final role before his untimely death in 1998. Jon Lovitz joined the cast after Hartman, but it was never quite the same, and they only survived one more season.
8. Home Improvement (1991 – 1998)
Home Improvement is a comedy sitcom centering around the Taylor family. Tim the Tool Man Taylor (Tim Allen) hosts a fictional Detroit cable television show, “Tool Time,” with his mild-mannered co-host and friend Al Borland (Richard Karn). Despite his passion for home improvement, Tim frequently makes hilarious mistakes after gut-busting mishaps.
Fortunately, Al knows what he is doing and carries the show. The show stars Patricia Richardson as Jill Taylor. Their three sons are played by Zachery Ty Bryan, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and Taran Noah Smith.
9. The X-Files (1993 – 2018)
The X-Files is a sci-fi drama revolving around Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). Agents Mulder and Scully investigate X-Files, which are deprecated, unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena.
Initially, Mulder believes in the existence of aliens and the supernatural. However, Scully is a medical doctor and skeptic. Over the years, the agent's close friendship evolves into a romantic relationship.
10. 3rd Rock From the Sun (1996 – 2001)
3rd Rock From the Sun is a chucklesome sitcom following four extraterrestrials on an expedition to Earth, posing as a human family observing the nature and behavior of the species. John Lithgow stars as Dick Solomon, the High Commander, family provider, and physics professor at Pendelton College.
His alien “family” consists of Harry (French Stewart) and Sally (Kristen Johnston), twenty-somethings navigating crummy jobs, and Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a high school student evolving into college years.
Honorable Mentions: Party of Five, Felicity, Coach, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We hope you enjoyed this Reddit picks list of nineties sitcoms to binge. Also, check out these forgotten television gems from the 80s and 90s.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.