High school and college were popular settings for 90s TV shows. Today it may hard for young people to understand why millennials have so many stories about television. Just chat with them about some 20-years-old sitcoms and you’ll see them splitting into camps and arguing ferociously and then end up in teary-eyed nostalgia.
Can you imagine that high profile professionals aged 30 used to run home after school or sports practice to be on time for their favorite show? Binge watching was not a thing back then. Networks broadcasted only 1 to 5 series on weekdays.
Still, there was enough content, so kids preferred TV to any essay. They had essay writers for hire back then to cover up falling out of their schedule. Especially if networks broadcast episodes only once a week.
TV served as an easy-accessible entertainment back then. It explains why kids in the 90s could sacrifice hanging out if their favorite episodes were on. Let’s go back some 20 years ago, shall we?
1. Beverly Hills, 90210
Can anything nail perfection like this series did? A group of teens who live in heaven on earth. They have it all: style, money, friends, family, and yet there’s not a single trace of vanity in them. It made their characters so lovable for everyone worldwide.
Their personal drama kept millennials from third grade through college glued television screens in the 90s. A decade of the show brought up a lot of issues: friendship issues over romatic relationships, struggles with responsibilities at school, getting in college, complicated relationship with parents, basically every teenage issue.
However, this show also mentions “grown-up” problems like pregnancy in college, struggling with business, and AIDS. The show claimed eternal love from millennials and had a large impact in the world of network TV.
2. Boy Meets World
This is another show that gained some serious love from its young audience. There’s less drama here than in Beverly Hills. Goofy characters attend school and deal with typical teenage stuff too. It lasted for an impressive 7 seasons.
The show depicted the last generation where friendship and interpersonal relations meant more than phones, gadgets, or blogging. This one helps to understand what millennials mean when they talk about being real — offline but glued to a TV screen. It’s fair to say that discussions of any episodes meant just as much as watching another episode.
3. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Young and brisk Will Smith stole a spotlight with this sitcom. The show is fun and enjoyable. Its main characters are teens with style. Here, the set up was not about school so much, but many real-life school kids adored it.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air featured numerous celebrity appearances and received many awards and nominations. The show ran for 5 years and was a head start of Will Smith’s career.
4. Saved by the Bell
This 4-seasons comedy revolves around 6 teenagers and their school life. There’s their favorite teacher, love triangles, and school events. The show produced many memorable moments for a large audience that enjoyed the show from 1989 through 1992. It was a great influence on many.
It showed the teens ways to deal with their own problems and possible consequences. All in comedy and not drama. Imagine watching a show about school right after a long day at your own school? It had to be quite entertaining.
5. Sabrina the Teenage Witch
To make the high school theme a bit unusual, the creators of Sabrina added a bit of magic and an extremely charismatic talking cat. They ended up winning the hearts of a large young audience immediately.
As we know today, the original series later became a video game, an animation and a creepy remake series in 2018.
The 90s even had a spot for adult animation. Daria aired in 1997 and was on until the beginning of 2002. Intelligent humor mixed with teenage problems became a centerpiece of this sitcom. The plot revolves around high school adventures of a girl in round glasses.
Her disposition is supposed to back up cynical and unamused ways of living a suburban life with her family.
The character of Daria Morgendorffer had appeared in another animated series, Beavis and Butthead, before receiving a show of her own.
Some Honorable Mentions
Though these series lasted only for a year, they made an impact in the scope of 90s teen dramas, My So-Called Life, and Freaks and Geeks.
My So-Called Life featured Clare Danes and Jared Leto whose careers sparked since 1995 after the show ended. Drama series about teenage angst, exposure to drugs and sex were typical in the 90s, but not so favorable on network TV.
Freaks and Geeks featured another star who is controversial but well-known today. It’s James Franco. Comedy found its way in a plot of this short-lived series.