It’s time once again for another Retro Round Table, and this time, we’re talking about our favorite television shows from the 90’s. The 90’s was a great decade for fun shows. It seems to me that there were more good comedies and quirky shows than serious ones, but that’s why we do these round tables…to get more than my own opinion. I’m joined today as usual by Hoju Koolander from the SequelQuest Podcast, Jason Gross from Rediscover the 80’s, Eric Vardeman from Eric V Music, and this week
So let’s get to it, and see what everyone picked as their favorite television show of the 90’s…..
There is no doubt about it, I watched way too much TV from 1990-1999. Not only did I watch too much TV live, I was recording it on VHS and re-watching these programs over and over again. So much so that at multiple times I burned out the family VCR. Most likely due to TV overload, I pretty much stopped watching network TV once the world survived Y2K and the last 18 years have been a blur. So what was my favorite boob tube experience from the decade where Urkel and Baywatch reigned supreme? Based solely on laughs that have lasted a lifetime, I would have to go with the short-lived prime time kamikaze mission The Dana Carvey Show. After winning our hearts as the nerdy sidekick, Garth in Wayne’s World, Dana Carvey somehow landed a 30 minute sketch comedy show on the ABC network in 1996 that aired after wholesome family sitcom Home Improvement. When I tuned into the cold open sketch where he appeared as President Bill Clinton addressing the nation from the oval office, my mind was blown as Carvey had live puppies suckle from multiple lactating nipples and this shocking bit of comedy instantly gained my loyalty. Each week pushed more boundaries of good taste and it’s no surprise that the show was cancelled after 8 episodes. Since our VCR was broken I had to record the shows on audio cassette, adding my own laugh track as I watched the hilarity unfold in sketches like Oscars Best Foreign Film Award and Nightline with Bob Dole. For years I cherished those tapes until the glorious day when Shout! Factory finally released the entire series on DVD in 2009. Those infamous 8 episodes are the absolute highlight of my 90s TV watching experience and no doubt shaped the warped sense of humor that has my wife rolling her eyes on a daily basis.
– Hoju Koolander
You can follow along with all of Hoju’s retro shenanigans on his twitter feed, @hojukoolander, read a lot of his his fine writing on a variety of retro topics at Retro-Daze, keep up with him at PopGeeks, and listen to his awesomely fun pod cast at SequelQuest Podcast where he and his cohorts craft sequels that we never got to movies that we loved! Be sure to check out his latest piece over at Retro-Daze, Retro Magazine Round: Black Belt!
If I had to pick 1 show as my favorite from the 1990’s, I’d have to choose “Saved By The Bell”. There are so many reasons why this show hit the right notes for me. The storylines were well-written, and the characters were very relatable. Growing up in New Jersey, it had all of the “California Appeal” (which probably added to me moving to LA in my 20’s lol). The Friendship of the characters was something I emulated with a few of my middle school & high school friends. The timing & message s of the show coincided with an amazing part of my childhood, so I’m going with “Saved By The Bell” as my favorite 90’s Show!
One of my absolute favorite shows of all time, let alone the ‘90s, is In Living Color. I grew up watching sketch comedy shows like You Can’t Do That On Television and Out of Control on Nickelodeon and The Muppet Show. I also began watching Saturday Night Live during my high school years in the early 90s so when In Living Color came along, it was a natural fit for my TV viewing. I think what I liked most about the show was that they made fun of everyone. It seemed nothing was sacred and I guess that’s why it was labeled as controversial during its run. But I feel like that’s what made the show so great was the cutting-edge subject matter combined with a talented, diverse cast.
So many hilarious characters came out of that show. Some of my favorites include Damon Wayans as “Homey the Clown”, “The Head Detective”, and the hardworking father of the Hedley family in “Hey Mon.” Jim Carrey also played many of my favorites like “Fire Marshall Bill”, Grandpa Jack on the “Dysfunctional Home Show”, and “The Background Guy” that did wacky things during live news reports. Many of the cast members also perfectly parodied celebs of the time including music artists in the frequent music video sketches. Some of my favorites were Jim Carrey performing Snow’s “Informer” and Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” as well as Tommy Davidson as Michael Jackson and Shawn Wayans as Shabba Ranks. While SNL has far outlasted any TV show that is primarily sketch comedy, I still hold In Living Color as my favorite and one of the best that came out of the ‘90s
– Jason Gross
Jason is the creative force behind Rediscover the 80’s and is always posting some of the best retro content you’ll find anywhere on the web. His twitter feed is a heavenly slice of the 80’s, so you should give him a follow there at @rd80s. He and I collaborated last year to compile out list of our ten favorite episodes of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Check out his five here, and then give my five favorites a look too!
Favorite TV show of the 90’s? Hands down, had to be ER. Started in 1994 and ran 15 seasons. It was one of the first shows I got invested in as an “adult” and, thinking back, it’s probably one of the reasons I love the city of Chicago so much. I made sure my kids were in bed my 9pm every Thursday and people knew not to bother with me during that time. It’s the show that made me the medical expert I am today. I could (and probably still can) rattle off that medical jargon just like Mark Greene, John Carter and Doug Ross. Of its 331 episodes, I’ve only not seen one. One. Last Fall, one of the throwback cable networks started showing the reruns. I had to force myself not to watch because I was losing HOURS of my life. Now the entire series is in Hulu. I’m a dead man.
“I’ve got a GSW to the chest. Give me an ABG, CBC, chem 7, cardiac enzymes, and coag panel.”
– Eric Vardeman
Give Eric a follow on Twitter at @Eric_Vardeman, and you can find his retro memories right here on Retro Ramblings! His new weekly feature here on Retro Ramblings, Music Mondays, is awesome too. He looks back at the songs gracing the Top 40 list from 35 years ago in 1983! He’s also a talented singer/songwriter, and you should check out his music at EricVMusic.
Until Seinfeld came on the air, I would have told you that Wings was my favorite show of the 90’s. Heck, going back a little farther than that, I would have said The Dukes of Hazzard. But when Seinfeld came along, I started watching, and in the beginning, it was just another show I would watch just to be watching television. When season 2 got rolling, the characters really got fleshed out with all their quikiness, and I quickly became hooked. From season 3 on, I don’t think there was a better show on the boob tube. The way the characters all plyed off of each other, combined with the out there story lines, and the recurring characters, combined to make the most entertaining show I believe I have ever seen.
When watching, it really felt like I was visiting friends once a week, as their stories didn’t seem too far fetched based on what my own life and friends were like at the time. While many folks will tell you their favorite character was Kramer, mine was George. His constant struggles at work, his unhappiness with his baldness, his love life, and the fact that he thought he was always the smartest man in the room, made a character with depth, and I loved following along with his unique story. I watched the new episodes every Thursday night, and I had two local channels that showed it in syndication, so I watched it every weeknight as well….two episodes from 7-8 pm, and two more from 11-12. Still today, I pull out the dvds and binge on it weekly.
– Retro Rambler
As always, my deepest gratitude goes out to everyone who joined me for the round table this week, and I ask that you show thenm all your support by visiting them at their homes on the web. But, they aren’t the only ones with strong opinions on this, so in the comments section below, let us know what YOU’RE favorite television show of the 90’s was.