While television has changed over the years, it’s remained a steady aspect of life for decades. Sure, we can now watch shows on Netflix instead of waiting for them to appear on some station’s scheduling. We can even purchase DVD or Blu-ray copies of certain shows. But however we’ve been viewing television, it has been a staple of life since before a good percentage of the current population was born.
Another thing that’s normal for people is to have a preference toward the entertainment that was out during your own youth. For a 90’s kid, that could be the songs that were regulars on Total Request Live and the TV shows that had spots on TGIF. You might be an exception to this rule, or you might find that your interests spill over from your childhood time frame to snatch something out of your era, but it could be a reasonable bet that whatever years were a part of your youth had some pieces of entertainment that you enjoyed—and maybe still enjoy!
With these two ideas combined, it’s safe to assume that if you have a former 90’s kid in your circle, giving them a DVD or Blu-ray set of a 90’s sitcom is a wonderful option for a present! Deciding which sitcom to go with could depend on the friend, but there are plenty of possibilities to sort through and choose from, some of which this post will explore—perhaps jogging your memory with one you’d forgotten that would be perfect for your friend or family member! As guidelines, this list will only cover sitcoms, and any show whose lifespan extended more than two years beyond the 90’s for its beginning or ending date will not be included.
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Well, of course this one was going to make the list! Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had a brilliant style of comedy and amusement, and not only from Will—the main character. Carlton Banks was what could be argued as the most notable supporting character in any of these shows, and who wouldn’t want a butler like Geoffrey? The show touched on important topics like violence, drugs, and parenting, but it’s comedic feel caused some of the most stand-out moments of the show, like the Carlton Dance. Since the series premiered in 1990 and ended in 1996, it qualifies, and any 90’s sitcom fan should love having a season or two of this one on their shelf!
Wings . While Wings might not have experienced the level of continued popularity that Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has, it was known and liked well enough to allow it to span from 1990 to 1997. That’s a pretty decent length of time for a sitcom, and for good reason! Wings primarily took place in an airport where a cast of characters interacted and worked, and some of those characters were notable, like the money-hungry Roy, the dense Lowell, and the unlucky Antonio. While it seems simple—and the basis was!—this show was capable of bringing a smile and a laugh out of the viewer with those character issues and interactions. Don’t overlook this one as a gift option!
Saved by the Bell . This show premiered in 1989 and only lasted until 1992 before some of the cast headed off for their College Years , but Saved by the Bell left a mark in the TV world. For this show, the focus was on the high school students of Bayside rather than their families at home, and the eclectic group that included a prep, a geek, and a jock were no strangers to awkward—and potentially amusing—situations. From Zack Morris’s tendency to talk directly to the audience to scenes of Jessie’s drug problem, this show came with many stand-out moments that a 90’s sitcom fan could enjoy revisiting!
Family Matters . Another show that sprang from the late 80’s (1989), Family Matters continued until its finale in 1998. The main character was Steve Urkel, the clumsy nerd who was obsessed with the not-so-nerdy neighbor girl and had a tendency to get on the nerves of people around him. Still, his lovely heart kept showing up throughout the series to reveal that beyond his tendency to break things and snort when he laughed, he was a guy who was admirable and likeable. This series represents the more wholesome side to 90’s television, but not without a healthy dose of nostalgia from a show that was a part of life for a former 90’s kid!
Boy Meets World . The popularity of Boy Meets World , unlike other ones on this list, is still keen enough that it had its own sequel— Girl Meets World —that was only recently cancelled. If that doesn’t speak volumes about how significant this 90’s show was to its audience, what can? It premiered back in 1993 when the main characters were children, and it followed them while they grew up, went to college, and (for two of them) got married, eventually ending in 2000. That seems to be a full look into their lives, if ever a show gave us one! The characters evolved to become very different representations of what they’d started out being—Topanga becoming less existential and Eric kind of losing his mind (in a good way!)—but the series only became stronger as the years rolled on. This still-relevant show is definitely one to keep in mind for your shopping list!
Home Improvement . This series could also be noted as one that televised young characters growing toward adulthood, but inarguably, the Taylor children weren’t the primary focus for the central premise of Home Improvement . That primary focus of was Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor who was the host of a fictional TV show where his accident-prone nature caused a number of amusing missteps. Tim dealt with his work life as well as his home life in his own bizarre ways, like grunting and talking with his neighbor by his backyard fence, and though it sounds simple enough, this truly was a comedy gem in the world of 90’s sitcoms, from its debut in 1991 to its end in 1999. Without a doubt, Home Improvement could make a wonderful gift idea for a 90’s sitcom fan!
3 rd Rock from the Sun . If the premise of any of these shows on this list stands out, it’s the one for 3 rd Rock from the Sun , which premiered in 1996 and ended in 2001. Rather than your typical plot of a standard family dealing with problems or normal children going to school, this one added in an alien twist. The Solomons were from outer space, and they were on earth to observe and learn—which took some effort on their part since at times, they simply didn’t understand people or trends. As the viewer watched the family try and make sense out of earth life, the confusion and naivety showcased was enough to spark laughter and incite smiles. Don’t hesitate to add this unique show to your shopping list if your friend or family member likes a science fiction twist in their fiction!
Seinfeld . So, what was this show about again? That’s a reasonable question since it was entirely possible to start an episode of Seinfeld two minutes late and already have little to no chance of catching up on what was happening! This really was a series that was just about living, and it was arguably the cast of characters who were doing the living that made it memorable—even down to the Soup Nazi. For whatever reason, Seinfeld seemed to have knack for giving the audience some of the smallest ideas and details, and expanding them to something that was interesting enough to have fans tuning in to watch—from 1989 to 1998! That’s impressive for a show that a person might contend was about nothing! Still, for amusement alone, this is a real gift possibility for the 90’s sitcom fan in your life!
Other honorable mentions include Martin , California Dreams , Step by Step , and Sister, Sister . Now, you’re armed with the names of several series! Get to shopping!
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