Wow, I feel super old for saying this, but the 90s was a better time for television, especially when it came to teen-centric content. That may be the nostalgia talking, but still, I have only fond memories for the teen dramas and comedies of the 1990s, even though I know most are kind of so-bad-they're-good.
The memory of plunking myself down in front of the tube to catch some of these shows will forever be engrained into my brain. You no doubt feel the same. And even though most of us don't want to relive the awfulness that was our tween/teen years, at least we can remember how these shows made us have all the feels every week.
So to take you back to the glory days of television, here are twenty teen shows (those that focused mostly on teen-characters and not a whole family or adults) from the 90s you religiously watched all the damn time.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Lets start this list off with the greatest teen show of all time, nay, the overall greatest show ever to exist in the realm of television, the iconic 90s series Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I could wax poetic on the amazingness that is Buffy for years, the show has that much substance, but lets just focus on the intense 90s-ness that was the wardrobe of some of the characters. Willow always rocked something that would never fly outside of the decade. Well, maybe in Montreal.
Before the darkness that was Tom Cruise descended upon her, Katie Holmes enjoyed teen-fame as Joey on Dawson's Creek. An iconic WB series that helped establish the network (now known as the CW), Dawson's Creek has never been truly forgotten. In fact, the recently released second season of Kimmy Schmidt even delved deep into Dawson's Creek lore, with Pacey (Joshua Jackson) making a cameo to talk about he and Joey's first time doing the dirty.
Day in, day out, that's what it's all about. At least, that's what the intro to Canadian teen dramedy Student Bodies drilled into all of our heads. Basically a cheesy romantic comedy made for tweens and teens, I will always remember Student Bodies for cast member Mark Taylor/Romeo, the single hottest person on the show.
Oh, Blossom, you were the early 90s teen show. Definitely not my favourite in the mix, people adored the misadventures of Blossom. Personally, I would only watch it to drool over Joey Lawrence, who was enjoying prime 90s hotness at the time.
Boy Meets World
Lets be real people, Corey and Topoanga were the love story of our generation. Proving true love truly lasts, the pair gave us all hope our teenage romances would stand the test of time. Of course, none would, because real life is too real like that, but at least we know Corey and Topoanga worked out. That is, until Girl Meets World aired and ruined our memory of the fated lovers entirely.
Before Degrassi: The Next Generation, there was the OG Degrassi High and its precursor Degrassi Junior High. Proof that Canadian teen shows dealt with some hardcore issues, Degrassi High pulled no punches with its storylines, covering intense topics like HIV, teen suicide, pregnancy, and a whack load of other drama you would only see on HBO.
Party of Five
Otherwise known as that 90s show Sidney Prescott, er, I mean Neve Campbell starred in, Party of Five was never on my to-watch list. But since it ran for 7 seasons, people obviously loved to see the Salinger siblings deal with life on their own after their parents died. Rough stuff, I know.
The Secret Life of Alex Mack
To this day, I truly wish that I will get exposed to radioactive chemicals and gain superpowers just like Alex Mack. Sure, I would probably just contract leukemia, but it would totally be worth it for the chance to be able to melt into water and slip through door cracks whenever the hell I damn well please.
After the success of the movie (which starred a very young Paul Rudd), network executives thought it would make them some more money if a Clueless TV show came out, and they were right. More entertaining than the movie in my opinion, I will always remember Clueless for that one Halloween special where a Scream-like serial killer murders all the main characters. In the end, it would all be an elaborate prank, but that didn't negate the fact that the entire two-parter scared the shit out of me.
Ryan Gosling, my, how you've changed. Back in the day on Breaker High, hottest-man-alive Gosling was the scrawny-funny dude no girls wanted to get with, save the shy and awkward brunette. So even though Breaker High only lasted two season, it will forever be a testament to how ugly folk can get real hot once they hit adulthood.
Ready Or Not
The theme song for Ready Or Not will forever ring in my brain, for lord knows what reason. Set in the 6ix before Drake made it cool, Ready Or Not covered all the classic teen issues, like any good Canadian show did. Interestingly enough, the Google description for the show says the story follows "40 men and women as they undergo the most advanced training in military history." Yeah, not quite the Ready Or Not I remember. Maybe it was all a metaphor.
Freaks & Geeks
Judd Apatow's first memorable foray into the land of television, the cast of Freaks & Geeks was seriously stacked, even though no one knew it at the time. Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, Linda Cardellini, and Jason Segel well before they were famous, the fact that Freaks & Geeks only lasted a season is a true travesty. Ahead of its time in every way, perhaps the world simply wasn't ready for the awesome that was Freaks & Geeks.
Big Wolf On Campus
Yet another Canadian teen show, Big Wolf on Campus was super silly but still incredibly entertaining. I also had a huge crush on the lead character Tommy Dawkins, who still managed to make immense amounts of wolf-like facial hair look good. And now I'm realizing this article may as well be a list of "shows with hot dudes I was into before I knew I was into dudes," which pretty much sums up the 90s for me anyway.
Ryan Murphy's first foray into TV land, Popular has all the trademarks of the Glee and American Horror Story creator, namely lots of drama and plotlines that start strong but fizzle out towards the end.
There was almost nothing original about the premise of Sister, Sister, since the whole "twins who look alike but are so different" thing has been done to death. But Tia and Tamera made it work, and I know I watched the show for years. What T&T are doing nowadays, the gods of TV only know.
After Breaker High came Young Hercules for the now-famous-and-buff Ryan Gosling, who was definitely still in his scrawny teen phase of life during filming. Imagining skinny-Gosling as a young Kevin Sorbo (who played the OG Hercules) was a huge stretch, and maybe it was too much for some to believe given how the show barely lasted a season.
Sabrina The Teenage Witch
Starting off strong, Sabrina The Teenage Witch incorporated so many things I love, namely teen drama, magic, and a sassy gay man in the body of a black cat (and no, it was never confirmed, but Salem was totally queer. No straight man can throw that much shade). So it was kind of sad to see the show seriously dip in quality once the college years hit, making me mentally end the series after season four.
On the surface, Teen Angel was a lighthearted comedy about a teenager who's best friends with an angel. But then you think about how this guy's best friend in the entire world was tragically killed at such a young age (it was kind of his fault, no less), and while they would still hang out and stuff, his friend would never again walk the land of the living. Dark, right?
"Aliens trying to be human" pretty much sums up the premise of Roswell, with tons of teen angst thrown in because this was the 90s, after all. Honestly better than it sounds, Roswell will forever remain as the only thing Katherine Heigl has acted in that wasn't a rom-com.
That '70s Show
When I realized That '70s Show aired in the late 90s, I couldn't help but put it on this list while also being super surprised. Maybe it's because it was set in the 1970s, or the fact that the show aired well into the 2000s, but nothing about it screams 90s-ness, save for the memories of its first couple seasons. Still classic today, That 70s Show remains one of the best teen-centric sitcoms ever.