I could tell you tons of things that should be on Netflix that aren’t. Oh, wait, I DID do that here. But let’s instead focus on some of the shows from the ‘90s you SHOULD be re-visiting immediately because they are available on Netflix. In between playing with hilarious toys, I spent much of the ‘90s watching TV. I was lucky: it was a decade of brilliant series—both for kids and grown-ups. Thankfully, Netflix has a vast array of those wonderful shows in their archives now. Some of those shows hold up, others just harken back to an era before laptops and streaming video—and that alone makes them fun to watch.
1. Twin Peaks
My love for Twin Peaks is well-documented and even shown permanently on my left wrist in the form of a tattoo that says “wonderful & strange.” But I was a small child when the show actually aired so I mostly experienced it at that point through Twin Peaks references on shows like The Simpsons and Northern Exposure (which I loved). It’s a great show (for the most part) and worth watching, especially if you like spotting tons of familiar faces.
2. The X-Files
Another lifelong favorite is The X-Files. Call me crazy, but I apparently love quirky FBI things. Also anything involving David Duchovny, it would seem. Anyway, X-Files is great for Netflix because there IS a through line on some of the stories (the conspiracy-related ones) but a lot of the best episodes are just the Monster-of-the-week episodes so you can jump around with a little bit of reckless abandon—which is always fun.
Another good reason to pick it up now is Kumail Nanjiani from Silicon Valley recently started a podcast called The X-Files Files where he and a guest go through the episodes in order and discuss the show. I’ve been listening to it a lot lately and it’s really wonderful and fun so just, everyone get on board with X-Files, please! Also, the episode of The Simpsons called “The Springfield Files” was a life-changing moment in my young life. It was when I first felt I willed something into existence.
This is actually a show I need to re-visit because I have not seen it since the ‘90s. It’s one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen and definitely one of those shows where you sit around being incredulous it ever existed. (Spoiler alert: it did.) Even as I’m typing this, I still can’t believe a live action show about a family of dinosaurs existed and I watched it obsessively. Let’s all discuss once you start watching.
4. Saved by the Bell
I assume Saved by the Bell airs on TV, most likely at 7am still, but why wait for that when you can pick and choose which episodes to watch? Because honestly, some episodes are too emotionally draining for me to watch that often (prom episode where it cuts between Zack and Kelly and Jessie and Slater singing in the gym is one of those episodes). But you can happily re-live all of Zack’s antics and schemes from the comfort of your home, or, you know, sneakily, at work or school.
I’m currently in the middle of a Wings re-watch (up to season 7 now from last summer). It’s been a long journey but one that is fun to take. Note: some of the jokes on Wings do not hold up in the (relatively) progressive year of 2014, but you can try to enjoy it at a wow-I-can’t-believe-we-still-joked-about-that-then kind of level. Bonus is seeing Steven Weber and Tim Daly, as the adorable Hackett brothers. And just the idea of a show being centered around a Nantucket airline is pretty hilarious in hindsight.
I always read a lot as a kid and often my books of choice were from the Goosebumps series. So when there was a TV series based on these books, I was PSYCHED.
Someone please buy me a briefcase with R.L. Stine embossed on it. The intro kind of makes it look like Ghostwriter which I also loved and then the show itself was also kind of like Are You Afraid of the Dark? which was, at times, too scary for me to handle. This is another show I personally need to also re-visit. ASAP.
7. Dawson’s Creek
Dawson’s Creek is a show that changed my life. I can’t guarantee that it’s something you can get into if you don’t already feel the love for it. But I CAN guarantee that there are some great episodes of this show that will be entertaining to watch whether you believe their vocabulary was realistic or not.
If you haven’t watched Buffy, I need you to stop everything and watch it immediately.
If you have watched Buffy, I need you to stop everything and re-re-watch it immediately.
It’s a great show, it’s SO very ‘90s, and Buffy Summers is one of the best female characters we’ve ever had. She’s allowed to be: pretty, tough, smart, flawed, sad, strong, and everything in between. AKA she’s allowed to be an actual human being. Watch now!