I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the ’90s are kind of cool again. Certain parts of it anyway.
The drink Surge? Cool. VHS? Not so cool. Winona Ryder? Cool on Stranger Things. The Clintons? You know what, let’s not go there right now. This is my first time contributing to this site, and I’d prefer not to break the comments section.
It’s undeniable that nostalgia for the ’90s has finagled its way into modern pop culture. There is no clearer example of this than in film and television.
In May, a cinematic adaptation of Baywatch hit theaters (and then ended up drowning). In December, audiences will be treated to a remake of Jumanji. Both Baywatch and Jumanji star Dwayne Johnson, coincidentally. Fingers crossed that his remake of The English Patient is right around the corner.
Television is experiencing the 90s renaissance even more so than film. Charmed, Roseanne, Sister, Sister, Twin Peaks, Will and Grace, and The X-Files are some of the shows that premiered in the ’90s that have already been or are slated to be revived.
No word yet if the commercials attached to show will be from the ’90s. Seriously, who doesn’t want to double the pleasure or double the fun with a refresh of the Doublemint gum commercials? I apologize profusely if that jingle is now stuck in your head.
The ’90s comeback on television has two primary causes. First, children of the ’90s have grown up and assumed positions of power in Hollywood. Second, there is a television bubble that is demanding more, more, more, and even more content. If that means having to dip back into the ’90s well, that’s what needs to be done.
And I’m hardly complaining about that. I love that the ’90s are coming back to television. In fact, I would like to see more of it. So, here are a list of shows that premiered in the ’90s that should be revived.
This is an example that *could* actually happen. Cast members have given statements saying that they are interested in a potential reunion. Personally, I won’t believe anything until we get confirmation from the moose.
Northern Exposure was one of the more refreshing and interesting shows of the ’90s. Whereas most shows in the previous decades tended to stay in their comedic or dramatic lanes, Northern Exposure took a more honest approach; an approach that built a lasting influence. Every episode of the show mined through the serious and humorous elements of daily life and culture effectively and endearingly. Indeed, the show won several Emmys in the drama categories, even though the show’s producers insisted that they considered the show to be more of a comedy. And that’s precisely what made the show so compelling and so unique for its time. It wasn’t a drama and it wasn’t a comedy; it was just human. And moose.
3rd Rock from the Sun
Incoming message from the big giant head: 3rd Rock from the Sun was one of the funniest shows of the decade. I might even go as far as to argue that it featured the best ensemble for a ’90s sitcom after Friends. Stars John Lithgow and Kristen Johnston won a combined five total Emmys for their hilarious work. The show, about a group of docile aliens disguised as humans on a mission to study earth and humanity, also starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Yes, *that* Joseph Gordon-Levitt. If you don’t believe me, I don’t know what I can do to make you believe.
Maybe that worked.
Of course, Gordon-Levitt’s career has soared since his days as a child actor, and deservedly so. Making time in his schedule for a revival might be problematic. Same goes for John Lithgow, who has seemingly been in a dozen movies per year since the 12th century. But any attempt at a revival would be entirely welcome.
With the exception of Veep, shows about politics have lived in the realm of cynicism for the last few years (I wonder why). Spin City, the clever sitcom about the dysfunctional office of the inept New York City mayor, wasn’t cynical. Nor was it particularly political, really. It was just funny. Sometimes really funny.
The show went through two phases, the Michael J. Fox years and the Charlie Sheen years. It’s debatable which phase was best, except of course the answer would be the Fox years. Sorry Charlie, you’re not always “winning.”
Of course, Fox left the show due to health concerns, concerns that still tragically beleaguer him to this day. And Sheen is… Sheen. Factor in that Connie Britton’s career has taken off, and the likelihood of a revival seems to be next to nil.
My So-Called Life
Before Claire Danes took on a character that stretched credibility to the extreme on the otherwise entertaining Homeland and Jared Leto won an Oscar, they were both stars of the regrettably short-lived My So-Called Life.
If you had just judged on the marketing and the surface, My So-Called Life looked like just another 90s primetime soap about affluent teenagers. Anyone who actually watched the show–and that wasn’t too many people–will tell you that simply wasn’t the case. On a regular basis, the show tackled societal third rails that the so-called adult shows wouldn’t dare to address. It was smart, touching, and always beautifully acted.
There are some expressions of beauty that transcend the term “art.” Think Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, or Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.
Cop Rock, the show that depicted the processes of police work and the criminal justice system in musical form, is the exact opposite of those aforementioned examples. It might just be the most ridiculously awful show that ever somehow lasted more than ten episodes (sorry, Jersey Shore). And that’s precisely why I want it to come back.
Some people think our justice system would be improved if you removed judges from the electoral process. Others think it would benefit from tort reform to limit the volume of unnecessary lawsuits. In reality, our justice system is in most dire need of musically trained jurors. Exhibit A:
The defense rests.