Must-Know TV Series: 90’s Edition

Welcome! El and I are comin’ atcha live with all of our fav tv shows. She’s the KWEEN, and I am just her apprentice. Anywho – enjoy!


Hi guys, I’m back! Jaim knows I need to be writing, so yesterday she asked if I had anything brewing in my head. And you know I did, so here I am.

When thinking about what I wanted to write about, the first words I thought were words like loss, disappointment, and heartache, ’cause that’s just who I am this week (and honestly who I’ve been since high school when I wore lime green skinny jeans and bows in my hair and thought I was scene). But I’m not going to write about my missing earring back, the cool zit on my chin, or how my sock slid down my foot ONE block into my ten-block walk to work today. Nope! We’re going to hit 48° F in Minneapolis today, the sun isn’t setting until 8:02 tonight, and I can feel my seasonal depression packing its bags. I’m here to talk about happy things.

Like 90s television.

I’ve picked out four of my must-watch favorites, the only criteria being that the show had to begin airing between 1990 and 1999. (Side note: You’ll notice the quintessentially-90s Friends isn’t on my list. That’s because 1. You don’t need anyone to tell you to watch Friends and 2. I’ve never seen Friends. So…)

There’s one other thing worth mentioning about 90s (and early 00s) TV before I begin – the music. Networks paid a pretty penny for rights to songs they used when episodes aired. But upon releasing for syndication, DVD, or streaming purposes, they didn’t want to pay for the rights. So the music is almost always different. It’s the worst and I can barely talk about it because watching it back it feels like they killed off a character. Just something to be aware of. Anyway, onward.

1. Dawson’s Creek (1998-2003)

Dawson's Creek

This six-season show was created by Kevin Williamson (ScreamThe Vampire Diaries). IMDb breaks it down in one sentence: “Four friends in a small coastal town help each other cope with adolescence.” Those four friends are by played James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson, and Michelle Williams. I’m sure you’ve never heard of them.

I first remember catching episodes of this show at a friend’s house when I was probably like ten. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I watched through all 128 episodes. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that Dawson, Pacey, Joey, Jen and their friends are the kind of characters that you will absolutely love but will at times frustrate the crap out of you.

It was filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, which you’ll recognize if you’ve ever seen A Walk To RememberEmpire Records, or One Tree Hill. It has everything you want in a good TV show – beautiful scenery, love triangles, love rectangles, Joshua Jackson (more like #paceyscreek, am I right?), and a killer theme song (Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want To Wait”).

Currently, you can stream it on Hulu or you can buy the box set on Amazon for less than $30 (aka A STEAL and the best investment you’ll ever make).

2. My So-Called Life (1994-1995)

MSCL

One of the biggest tragedies of our time is that we only got a single season of this masterpiece. Nineteen episodes! That’s it! Baby Claire Danes and baby Jared Leto. Need I say more? Like she won a GOLDEN GLOBE at FIFTEEN for her performance in this show.

At its heart, this is another show about navigating high school and adolescence. But the thing that sets this teen drama apart from the others, in my opinion, is the writing. The Dawson’s Creek kids are loquacious, palaverous, and pleonastic. (Yes, I just used my thesaurus for that and no, I’m not sure I used them correctly. Basically, they’re wordy and speak like scholars.) In My So-Called Life, we get sentences that come straight from a teenager’s brain. Specifically Angela Chase’s. Her observations are hilarious and, like, profound. Or something. (Lol.)

E.g.,

“Jordan Catalano was having…a conversation with me. Like, on purpose.”
“But won’t popping it cause a scar?” “Anything causes a scar. Living causes a scar.”
“Then everything started to seem perfect, for some reason. The feel of his shirt against my elbow. The fact that I still had an elbow.”

You get the idea. There’s an entire Twitter page devoted to quotes from this show. It’s amazing. If you’re going to start in on anything from my list, start here! If only because it’s short. It’s available for streaming on Hulu. I’ll be your virtual shoulder to cry on when it’s over.

3. Felicity (1998-2002)

Felicity

Picture: A beautiful, sunny day in California. Your high school graduation day. You’re in your cap and gown and you’re holding on to your yearbook. You finally work up the nerve to go up to your crush that you’ve never talked to before and ask them to sign it. They take your yearbook, ask if they can have a minute, sit down in the grass, and write the most perfect thing that’s ever been written in a yearbook. So, what do you do? Change your entire future to follow them to college in New York City, obviously.

That’s Felicity in a nutshell. Keri Russell, Scott Speedman, and Scott Foley each play a character involved in yet another love triangle. (Is the love triangle trope as common IRL as they make it seem on TV?! I hope not. So. Many. Triangles.)

The series follows them and their strange-ish group of friends attending the fictional University of New York for the next four years. I’m still shocked that it’s a J.J. Abrams creation. Yes, the J.J. Abrams of Lost, Star Wars, Alias, Star Trek, and Westworld. Nuts. This show is nothing like those. There’s a lot of Sarah McLachlan, a big haircut, and we get one of the weirdest series finales of all time (I like to pretend the last five episodes never happened, because they didn’t, right J.J.?). But it’s so good.

“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can pretty much change your life forever.” So make the small decision to watch Felicity (streaming on Hulu).

4. Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000)

BH90210

Ok, I’m technically not an authority on this one. Yet. I’m at the end of the fourth season and I still have six to go. BUT. Jaim’s seen it, so I’m sure she’d back me up on this one.
A set of twins from Minnesota (what, whaaat) move to Beverly Hills during high school. And of course drama follows. I don’t know what else to say except that I’m not even halfway through and I’m so obsessed. I need you to watch it and let me know if you’re a Dylan or a Brandon.

Two things.

  1. The theme song.
  2. The fashion. It’s incredible and it’s amazing how many things have come back around. You could go into a Target and rebuild like any of their looks. I love it.

I won’t/can’t say much else about it now, but maybe after I’ve polished off all 292 episodes Jaim and I can blog about it together. You can find BH, 90201 on Hulu or you can find me posting clips of it on my Instagram stories (@elliegeraets).

Happy 90s TV watching!

[ br(eakfast) + (l)unch ]www.brunch.com-5

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