The Best '90s Shows to Rewatch in Quarantine
There's nothing more comforting than revisiting a series that you already know you love.
With the world feeling scary and hectic, the last thing you probably want to do when you sit down at the end of a long day of working from home or helping your kids distance learn is to put yourself even more on edge. You want to watch something that's comforting and safe—something that will help you unwind. That's one of the best reasons to turn to the series you already know and love, so it may be time to relax with some old favorites. Lucky for all of us, there are tons of '90s shows streaming that will get you through quarantine, and we've rounded up the best of them for you right here. And for more '90s nostalgia, revisit these 20 '90s Shows You've Completely Forgotten About.
The world feels pretty off-kilter right now, so why not stream a classic series that's all about the unexplained? Across 11 seasons and two feature films, The X-Files tracks the efforts of FBI Special Agents Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) to solve the strangest cases, get to the bottom of widespread government conspiracies, and—oh, yeah—prove the existence of aliens. The latter seasons (including the two of the recent reboot) vary in quality, but the original '90s run is solid overall. Hulu has the whole TV series available to stream, as well as the 2008 movie, The X-Files: I Want to Believe. You'll have to rent the first movie—1998's Fight the Future—from your favorite service, unless you have Starz. And for more epic recommendations, here are The 17 Best Movie Marathons You Can Stream Right Now.
The West Wing
The West Wing is political wish-fulfillment—a whip-smart series about overwhelmingly honest and hardworking people on both sides of their aisle doing their best in Washington, D.C. Set mostly during the administration of Martin Sheen's President Bartlet, The West Wing will appeal to you whether you're already obsessed with the inner workings of government or have avoided PoliSci entirely. Some fans will tell you that it wasn't as good after creator Aaron Sorkin left at the end of Season 4, but there's plenty to appreciate in the last three seasons as well, including Jimmy Smits' candidate, Matt Santos. The whole run is streaming on Netflix.
Sex and the City
It may be dated in a lot of ways, but rewatching the HBO comedy about four single gals living in Manhattan will remind you of the impact it had on the TV landscape. (Girls, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Mindy Project, and Broad City all owe a debt of gratitude to Sex and the City.) There are bad dates and even worse boyfriends, but it's the core friendship of the show that's really comforting. Just make sure you schedule a video chat with your pals for after your HBO Now or HBO Go marathon—you'll certainly be missing them. And for more acclaimed series, check out these 23 Emmy-Winning TV Shows You Can Stream Right Now.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
There's nothing more wholesome than a family sitcom—the fact that The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is still hilarious is a bonus. Back when he was known primarily as a rapper, Will Smith starred as a teen from West Philadelphia who went out to the West Coast to live with his wealthy aunt, uncle, and cousins. Shenanigans, celebrity cameos, and "The Carlton" dance ensue. You can stream all six seasons on DirecTV.
Daria was introduced on Beavis & Butthead as the smart, laconic girl in class. So it tracks that the animated seres that centers her is a little more, uh, mature than that other MTV cartoon. Her deadpan humor is timeless, but Daria is a time capsule of the '90s in lots of other ways, from her crush on her best friend's brother/garage band lead singer Trent to her sister's pre-influencer obsession with being a teen model to the of-the-moment soundtrack. You can stream all five seasons of Daria on Hulu.
Set in the emergency room of a fictional Chicago hospital, ER was the medical drama of the decade. You can embark on a 15-season binge on Hulu or DirecTV, which will take you through many cast changes (goodbye, George Clooney!), bizarre medical mishaps, and hospital hookups. ER long-outlived the '90s, but its best years were arguably its first few. And for more marathons that will keep you busy, discover The 20 TV Shows Streaming on Netflix That Have the Most Episodes.
Beverly Hills, 90210
What better way to distract yourself from the real world than to immerse yourself in the petty drama of a group of beautiful, rich, and popular high schoolers? If you haven't seen Beverly Hills, 90210 since you were watching it over the phone with your best friend and tying up the line, it may be just the hit of nostalgia you need to make it through quarantine. Catch up with Kelly, Donna, Brandon, Dylan, and the gang on Hulu.
Mr. Show with Bob and David
David Cross and Bob Odenkirk created and starred in this cult classic sketch comedy show, which ran for four seasons in the '90s. Come for the offbeat humor and stay for the guest stars, which include Sarah Silverman, Jack Black, and Scott Aukerman. Rewatch it all on Amazon Prime, and then check out the Zoom cast reunion charity benefit streaming on May 13. And for more laughs, here are 17 Underappreciated TV Comedies That Are Available to Stream Right Now.
The '90s birthed a lot of formulaic, nearly indistinguishable sitcoms. NewsRadio was not one of them. Another slightly overlooked gem, this workplace comedy is set in a talk radio station run by a wacky cast of characters, including Phil Hartman's arrogant host Bill McNeal, Joe Rogan's conspiracy theorist Joe Garrelli, and Andy Dick's socially inept reporter Matthew Brock. Two seasons are streaming on Crackle and the Roku Channel, while all five can be bought on Amazon, Google Play, or Apple TV.
Chances are, you've heard our new pandemic normal be referred to as "Lynchian" at least once since this all started. That's reason enough to revisit Twin Peaks, the quirky Northwestern murder mystery that even David Lynch super fans haven't been able to thoroughly unravel. You can stream the first two seasons on Netflix and Hulu to find out who killed Laura Palmer. You'll have to rent or buy the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me unless you have the Criterion Channel. The acclaimed (but even stranger) 2017 revival season is also available for purchase on the usual sites. And for more unsettling recs, check out The 18 Best Horror Movies on Netflix Right Now.
Admit it—you're already hearing the theme song in your head. Dawson's Creek was the subject of a lot of discussion when it premiered in 1998, as some parents found its sexuality to be a little too frank for its young intended audience, which seems almost quaint now. Either way, it launched the careers of James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams, and Joshua Jackson as four teen friends pursuing love, sex, and their dreams in their small Massachusetts town. It's streaming on Hulu in its entirety.
Living Single premiered in 1993, just like that other sitcom about six unattached friends. This one centered mostly around the women in the group. Queen Latifah, Kim Coles, Kim Fields, and Erika Alexander play professionals and pals who are living their best lives in Brooklyn, with T.C. Carson and John Henton as their neighbors (and occasional love interests). You can stream all five seasons of Living Single on Hulu.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Miss watching bad movies with your friends? Hurling jokes and insults at the screen can be more fun (and cathartic) than paying attention to the plot, which is the whole premise of Mystery Science Theater 3000. With your buddies out of reach, you can borrow the residents of the Satellite of Love, who've been trapped and forced to watch some of the silliest and most amateur movies ever made. Fortunately, they know how to make the most of their situation. You can stream full episodes—and marvel at terrible filmmaking—on the Shout! Factory website.