6. Beverly Hills 90201/Melrose Place
Full confession: I have never seen a single episode of either of these shows, although my college roommate was crazy about them. I just remember that they both were basically responsible for creating the “rich, entitled California teenagers who are actually played by 30-year-old actors” genre. And 90210’s Dylan McKay was so dreamy and stuff. I’m also convinced that every episode of Melrose Place was devoted to one full hour of a guy fixing his motorcycle by poolside.
Errrrrr (that’s how I prefer to pronounce the show) is simply one of the most well-written, well-acted shows of all time. Therefore, it’s no surprise that ER often commanded an audience of 50 million, which is something you will never see today thanks to Netflix and other services which have basically killed TV viewership. Think about this for a second: without ER there would be no George Clooney. In other words, the world would be a pretty dark place.
8. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where he spent most of his days.
Before he was mega movie star Will Smith (but after he was just the Fresh Prince who put out a couple of fun rap albums), he spends a few years as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air! Things sure got real at times. There was a “very special” episode in which Will gets shot and ends up in the hospital, which convinces Carlton to get himself a gun for protection and it’s implied that he would use it for revenge. Will persuades him to hand over the gun. As Carlton is leaving, Will opens the gun, discovers that it’s loaded, causing him to burst into tears. Yikes.
9. That 70s Show
The second-longest running show in the history of FOX (behind Married…With Children), the premise behind the show – 70s nostalgia – was a winning one. Plus we were all introduced to Mila Kunis for the first time, for which we should be grateful for all eternity. During the height of the show’s popularity there was an attempt at creating something of a companion show called That 80s Show, but it only lasted 5 months because screw the 80s.
10. The Sopranos
Okay, so the greatest drama show of all time didn’t make its debut until January 1999, but that is still technically the 90s, so it counts. I’ve seen the entire series 4 times. Sure, there were a few episodes that fell kind of flat. But the idea of Tony Soprano as this ruthless mafia boss who is trying to balance his family life and sees a psychologist to deal with his anxieties is pure genius. Anybody who has seen the ending knows that it left us all feeling puzzled, but it’s doubtful that this kind of show could have ended with complete closure.