20 '90s TV Shows You've Completely Forgotten About
From the decade that brought you Friends and Seinfeld, some more obscure series...
The TV landscape is much different than it was back in the ‘90s. Not only are there more channels to choose from when you’re flipping around, but there are also tons of streaming services putting out their own original shows. There's no question that 25 years ago, it was much easier to be aware of everything that was happening on television. The most famous series have probably stuck with you, but what about the obscure ones? To jog your memory and activate your nostalgia, we’ve put together this list of 20 ‘90s TV shows you’ve completely forgotten about.
From a failed Baywatch spinoff with David Hasselhoff to a show about a woman who can literally see into criminals’ brains, here are some totally '90s shows that didn’t live on in our minds — or on our reruns — once the new millennium hit. How many did you watch? And for more '90s nostalgia, check out 30 Movie Quotes Every '90s Kid Knows by Heart.
Do you vaguely remember people balancing on platforms and trying to knock one another off with long foam-covered poles? Then you’re picturing the right show. American Gladiators aired from 1989 to 1996 and involved contestants facing off against each other and the show's resident “Gladiators” (who had stage names like Nitro, Sabre, and Turbo) in a series of stunts in order to win money. The Gladiators’ costumes in particular are really a blast from the past. There was an attempt to recapture the magic in 2008, but the reboot only lasted two seasons.
This show (1995-1997) is exactly what it sounds like: a Baywatch spinoff that takes place at night. A crime drama centered around a detective agency, it was meant to be grittier than the beach-based original. In the second (and last) season, a paranormal expert joined the squad to investigate sea monsters and the like. The series stars David Hasselhoff and Gregory Alan Williams from the original series, who were joined by new cast member Angie Harmon.
The Ben Stiller Show
Years before starring in huge movies like Meet the Parents, There’s Something About Mary, and Zoolander, Ben Stiller had a sketch comedy show named after him that aired first on MTV, then Fox, from 1992 to 1995. While the show was short-lived, it features some of the most popular names in comedy as writers and actors: Judd Apatow, Janeane Garofalo, David Cross, Bob Odenkirk, and Andy Dick, among others.
Big Bad Beetleborgs
Everyone remembers Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but what about Big Bad Beetleborgs? It resembles Power Rangers in that it involves Japanese fight scene footage being edited into a story anchored by American actors. But this particular story, which ran from 1996 to 1998, is about kids with the power to turn into big bad beetle-like robots. Obviously.
Boston Common aired on NBC and is about a sister (Hedy Burress) and brother (Anthony Clark) who moved to Boston from Virginia so she can go to college and he can stick around and annoy her. That’s pretty much all there is to it, which might explain why it only lasted for two seasons (from 1996 to 1997). The creators, David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, also came up with Will & Grace, so things worked out pretty well for them.
The Lawrence brothers were a big deal in the ‘90s. Joey Lawrence had Blossom. Matthew Lawrence had Boy Meets World and Mrs. Doubtfire. Youngest brother Andrew Lawrence was a child star and voiced a character on Recess. So, perhaps it’s no surprise that one point all three ended up starring in a series together. Brotherly Love features Joey as the other siblings’ half-brother, who comes back into their lives as a father figure. Like many other shows on this list, it lasted two seasons (1995-1997).
Caroline in the City
The NBC comedy Caroline in the City (1995-1999) stars Lea Thompson as a successful cartoonist, Caroline, with a love life that's all over the place. She and her colorist, Richard (Malcolm Gets), have a thing for each other and can never get the timing right. In fact, after four seasons, the show was cancelled and ended on a cliffhanger with Richard showing up at Caroline’s wedding to someone else.
You probably don't need a refresh on Clueless the movie. It’s a classic. But did you forget that there was also a Clueless TV show that featured some of the cast? Stacey Dash, Donald Faison, and Elisa Donovan came back as Dionne, Murray, and Amber, respectively, but Alicia Silverstone was replaced by Rachel Blanchard as Cher. Clueless survived for three seasons on TV, from 1996 to 1999.
Cybill stars Cybill Shepherd as Cybill Sheridan, a somewhat successful actor and mom to two daughters, who is looking for her big break. Christine Baranski co-stars as Cybill’s best friend Maryann, which was a huge breakout part for her. While the show was well-received at the time and won several awards, including Golden Globes and Emmys, it’s still not a series that comes to mind much these days.
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
It’s hard to imagine a Western about a woman doctor in the 1860s getting greenlit today, but in the ‘90s we got six seasons of just that. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993-1998) stars Jane Seymour as a woman who moves to the wild west to heal people, find love, and prove herself as a physician.
During the ‘90s, NBC aired shows aimed at teens in a Saturday morning block called TNBC. One of the shows featured was Hang Time (1995-2000)—a Saved by the Bell ripoff about a group of high school basketball players. Daniella Deutscher starred as Julie, the boys team’s sole girl player. Given that the show was six seasons long, there’s some confusion about how old these teens were supposed to have been.
Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper
From one basketball show to another: Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper (1992-1997) stars Mark Curry as Mark Cooper, a man who was very briefly in the NBA, but after being cut moves in with a childhood friend (Dawnn Lewis) and her roommate (Holly Robinson Peete), and becomes a high school P.E. teacher and basketball coach. Raven-Symoné also starred as Mr. Cooper’s adorable younger cousin.
Hey Dude is a Western teen comedy (yep, that was a thing) that aired on Nickelodeon from 1989 to 1991. Somehow five seasons aired within this time. The main concept is that a New York City man and his son relocate to a dude ranch, with the storylines being primarily about the teens who come to work on the ranch in the summer.
In the House
In the House stars LL Cool J as Marion, a former NFL player who quite literally has to have people “in the house.” Facing financial issues, he rents out part of his home to a family, including a mom played by Debbie Allen. During its five seasons (1995-1999), the show also brought on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Alfonso Ribeiro and In Living Color’s Kim Wayans.
Just Shoot Me!
Unlike some of the other shows on this list, Just Shoot Me! was very popular when it aired on NBC for seven seasons (1997-2003). It just hasn't shown the staying power of its TV sitcom siblings Friends, Seinfeld, and Frasier. This one revolves around a fashion magazine and its employees, including the owner (George Segal), his journalist daughter (Laura San Giacomo), the fashion editor (Wendie Malick), and the receptionist (David Spade).
The Parent ‘Hood
The Parent ‘Hood is a comedy that stars Robert Townsend and Suzzanne Douglas as married couple living in a very big house for New York City with their two teenagers and two younger children. Like many family shows of the time, it features life lessons about violence, dropping out of school, and more. It aired on The WB (which is also long gone) from 1995 to 1999.
Airing on NBC from 1996 to 2000, The Pretender refers to Jarod (Michael T. Weiss), who is capable of convincingly taking on any identity thanks to his childhood in a creepy facility that experimented on children. The thing is, he escaped as an adult and now uses his skills against the creepy experimenter people who are after him.
Like The Pretender, Profiler aired as part of NBC’s “Thrillogy” block from 1996 to 2000. In fact, there were multiple crossover episodes between the two shows. Profiler centers on a forensic psychologist, Sam (Ally Walker), who can put herself in the psyches of criminals, which really comes in handy in her profession.
Suddenly Susan was a part of NBC's Must-See TV Thursdays (the Friends and Seinfeld primetime block) from 1996 to 2000 and stars Brooke Shields as — you guessed it — Susan, a magazine writer who leaves her fiancé at the altar and is suddenly Susan alone, no attachment to anyone else. The show follows Susan’s dating life and her relationships with her coworkers at the magazine played by Kathy Griffin, Nestor Carbonell, and Judd Nelson.
Last up on our list of forgotten ‘90s shows is Veronica’s Closet, which is led by Kirstie Alley as the owner of a successful lingerie company. (The title is supposed to remind you of Victoria’s Secret, you see.) Veronica begins the series married, but leaves her cheating husband to set out on the single life. As you can see, single women learning to live it up was a common theme in the ‘90s—along with genius detectives and hardworking teens.
Additional reporting by Diana Bruk.