I may have missed a detail or two when going through the whole Entertainment Industry Nostalgia series. I may make little corrections here and there when I can. But there’s something I have to mention before moving on to the 1992 year. The television shows that premiered prior to the 90s, but still carried over into that decade. Shows that were hip and popular, and very much a part of the 90s culture (just as they were a part of the 80s culture too).
That being said, I’m going to avoid highlighting famous game shows like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Don’t want much focus to be on that stuff here. And I’m also only going to be mentioning ones I actually remember; doesn’t mean I had to have actually watched the show itself, just that I remember advertisements about it, or people in my community talking about it. Anything to indicate recognition. So I won’t be listing any shows I knew nothing about.
The best this series had to offer was well into the past at this point. 1st season easily the best, seasons 2-3 wasn’t bad either, season 4 it lost some steam, season 5 was horrible, season 6 breathed some life into it, and seasons 7-8 varied between season 4 and 5 quality; this show should’ve ended after 3 seasons. Regardless, it at least had the decency to end on a high note with the last episode, and was still a significant force for sitcoms. Primarily taking place at a bar (1st seasons stayed exclusively at the bar location, while each new season added one or more new locations in addition to the bar setting to mix things up), it’s about the owners of the bar and the regulars who hang out there. They’re lovable assholes, but by the 4th season and onwards they were less lovable and more asshole.
Night Court (1984-1992)
Only seen clips from this one.
The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
Ok, I’ll admit this was more of an 80s thing. But reruns of this series popped up so often (on Nickelodeon I believe) that for me, personally, it was also a contribution to the 90s as well.
Murder, She Wrote (1984-1996)
Man this show lasted a while. Something I always saw on the television when I visited my grandparents, or had some old babysitter.
Surely you’ve at least heard of the guy who can create deus ex machina materials out of anything.
The Golden Girls (1985-1992)
I don’t give a shit about this show, but others did.
Growing Pains (1985-1992)
The Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985-1991)
Missed out on this one, and I’m not sure why.
Another one of those shows whose name I heard more often than I watched. If I ever watched this, I don’t remember doing so.
Designing Women (1986-1993)
Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (1986-1991)
I must admit, I didn’t watch anywhere near as much of this as I should have. Iconic television show.
Too iconic at the time (even if the show quality was down in the dumps at this point) to ignore for the 90s decade. I haven’t seen that much of this show, but from what I have seen, the good episodes are very few and far between the bad.
Full House (1987-1995)
The good wholesome family show that may have been a little too wholesome at times. Still, there’s something about the innocence of it all that appeals to me.
Married With Children (1987-1997)
I must confess, I have not watched anywhere near enough of this show as I should have, now or back in the day. I’m not sure how consistent it is, but it does get pretty damn hilarious at times, and very politically incorrect. Be warned though, DVD versions still have some episodes censored. Spend some time with the Bundys. And for some reason, even back when I was a kid, there was something about the intro song and videos that made me want to watch this show even if much of what went on flew over my head back then. Like there was something great about it I wasn’t currently capable of appreciating. Well, now that I’m older, I appreciate it.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)
This was one of the main reasons I knew I had to make a post like this, if only to give this series a mention. I’m not sure it’s fair to compare this too much to the original show, mainly because of the fan debates over whether TNG altered the way the Federation works compared to TOS or not. However you compare it, there’s no denying the show is a little full of itself when it comes to a near perfect utopian society, with some of its political correctness (starting with changing the opening speech from “where no man has gone before” to “where no one has gone before.”), and some of these characters which can get so goddamn annoying at times (Deanna Troi, Guinan, and especially Wesley Crusher, that little prick who practically created the notion of Gary Stu). But despite its low points (pretty much anything before and after seasons 4-6; so you could say the 90s was when the series actually started to get good, aside from the historically famous season 3 cliffhanger) and alleged betrayals to the TOS series before it, the show’s high points definitely made up for them. Because when this show is good, it’s really fucking good. But when it’s bad, it’s really fucking bad too. However you view it, it brought about a resurgence in Star Trek popularity, re-igniting the fan base, and also causing two other spin-off shows to come afterwards that were also popular in their own way (though one is better than the other, and the overall quality of both varies depending on whose opinion you ask). And there’s no denying that Jean Luc Picard is a fantastically done character that defined Patrick Stewart’s acting career about as much as Captain Kirk defined William Shatner’s career.
The intro may be legendary, but it completely borrowed it from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).
Unsolved Mysteries (1987-2010)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987-1996)
You may have created this one 1980s, but this baby was all ours in the 1990s! That theme song will always stick with me.
This may have primarily run in the 80s with fleeting traces of it premiering in the 90s, but I’m still counting it! And you will never get that theme song out of your head.
21 Jump Street (1987-1991)
I never really got into this thing. Never really interested me. Still, it helped launch Johnny Depp’s career, and was referenced plenty during the 90s.
The Wonder Years (1988-1993)
I’m ashamed to admit I’ve only seen a few episodes of this great show. Then again, I’ve only seen episodes from the first seasons, so I don’t know if it suffers from a quality drop afterwards the same way Lexx did.
In the Heat of the Night (1988-1995)
Decent enough show based on a famous film.
Garfield and Friends (1988-1995)
This hasn’t aged well for me for the most part, but back in the day I watched this hell out of this show. I loved the Garfield character. I only really watched episodes from the latter seasons, because the opening intro in the earlier seasons is terrible by comparison (I can’t stand the fucking intro song from the earlier seasons, but absolutely love the intro in the later ones).
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (1988-1990)
See description of Ducktales.
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1988-1991)
See description of Chip ‘n Dale.
One of those popular shows I knew about more than I watched.
Murphy Brown (1988-2018)
Christ, how did this show last for so long?
The Kids in the Hall (1988-1994)
Wish I experienced this back in the day.
Quite frankly, I’m amazed I watched this show as much as I did. Not that I didn’t like it (I enjoyed it plenty), just that I actually ended up doing so.
Anyone who knows anything about the 90s knew this one was coming.
Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996)
Oh yeah, we had our little horror anthology series to rival that of The Twilight Zone. So what if it was cheesy and predicable? The Crypt Keeper character is a legend!
Ah jeez. This shit always seemed to be on some station. And everyone knew this theme song. If it wasn’t for this show or the theme song, the film Bad Boys probably wouldn’t have been made.
Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989-1993)
Again, one of those shows I heard about but never really watched.
Quantum Leap (1989-1993)
This could’ve been decent if it didn’t run out of steam, let alone be so preachy.
Saved By The Bell (1989-1992)
Man, the number of times I’ve heard the name of this show brought up during the 90s.
Family Matters (1989-1998)
Personally never cared for this show (they tried too hard to make the jokes funny), but it had such a presence during the 90s that one couldn’t ignore it.
One of the other reasons I knew I had to make this post. This was THE definitive 90s sitcom. It may have started in the 80s, but this was a 90s cultural icon through and through. Seinfeld, Kramer, George, Elaine, all memorable characters. The show proclaimed to be about nothing (false advertising in my opinion, but that’s what they went with).
Noteworthy Board Games
And now for one category that I completely glossed over. I aim to rectify that by mentioning the standout titles from various years leading up to 1992, along with a few that were pre-90s, but I still grew up with or played at some place or another, or at least saw it being played and wanted to join in but never had an opportune moment to do so (either because I was a dumbass or because of circumstances beyond my control). And believe me, back then, we didn’t have much to choose from. We didn’t have the Internet this early on to let us know about the existence of gamers that were better than whatever Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers put out.
Bats in Your Belfry (1964)
Believe it or not, I had this game. And yes, I played it. And yes, the components and castle worked perfectly and didn’t fall apart. It’s a simple game where you catch all the bats that pop up off the castle (they pop by way of a marble rolling down the castle), with these large green/purple plastic monster hands. One of my biggest regrets in life was selling this game off at a yard sale (not that I had any choice in the matter, I was too young to realize what I was losing, and my mother was in charge). Something I’ll probably never get again, knowing how much it sells for on eBay.
Dark Tower (1981)
I actually played this a couple times (didn’t own it). Pretty damn fun at the time (when I was younger), good for what it is, and quite thematic. The turning beeping tower is great. Not that deep, but definitely one of the best things ever for the time period, and still fun today if you can track down a fully working copy (good luck affording it). That being said, not looking forward to the reboot of it, considering what I’ve heard about it.
Fireball Island (1986)
Nope, never played this. But I sure wanted to.
Shark Attack (1988)
While I never owned it, I was lucky enough to be at some babysitter’s place with a few other kids, who had a copy of this game and allowed us to experience it in all its 80s and 90s heavy set electronic glory (as opposed to the cheap pieces of crap they make today for modern editions). This game was fun to us when we were young.
Electronic Mall Madness (1989)
Saw commercials, didn’t care to try it. But others did. And this is fucking demented, teaching girls to spend credit cards with reckless abandon. Guess that’s why so many of them are so fucked up today.
I see this game everywhere, without ever having my curiosity piqued at trying it.
Space Hulk (1989)
Oh hell yeah! The 1st edition rules are still the best for this classic. This is a game I wish I had experienced back when I was a teenager. Me and my friends would’ve played the crap out of it. Reliving the James Cameron Aliens film in our heads while we played (you bet your ass we found ways to see that R-rated movie; that’s why Dads are better than Moms). Anyway, this is a legit good game. 2nd edition didn’t interest me. Third and Fourth editions (which are basically the same, just that 4th edition has a few more components and missions) easily have the best component quality, at least when it comes to everything except the figures. The figures in those versions look great, but they’re not exactly something you’ll ever want to play the game with. They’re not exactly practical for a real-time game. Plus all the rule-changes, including how each scenario is played, is done for the worse. Which is why 1st edition is still the best, even if it would be nice to have those 3rd/4th edition tiles.
Heroquest and Advanced Heroquest (1989)
Now I can’t swear as to whether I’ve played Advanced HeroQuest, or the normal HeroQuest game (which came out the same year if my sources are correct), but this basically provided a more visual dungeon crawling Dungeons & Dragons experience where you didn’t have to use your imagination to see what was going on.
Ok, while this may actually have originated in 1973, the commercial advertisements back then made me believe otherwise. Played this a few times at a Day Care center. It’s a decent way to help develop developing minds. Pop goes perfection!
Don’t Tip the Waiter; aka Stretch Out Sam (1990)
Never played it, but I’ve seen it around. In fact, I may have seen others play it.
Back Off Buzzard (1990)
Again, never played it, but again, those commercials man… They really knew how to sell you on this stuff. Plus the whole electronic moving plastic stuff of the 90s is something sorely missing in today’s board games (and I mean of good quality that isn’t so cheap).
Space Crusade (1990)
So I’ll admit, this one I was entirely-absent minded about. But Games Workshop was on a serious role with board gaming at this point after striking gold with Space Hulk (in a cult classic kind of way). And that company wasn’t run by pricks back then. Oh, and damn you UK for actually getting a commercial for this game when the USA was left without!
Mr. Bucket (1991)
Oh man, the sex puns one can make with this game. Commercial stuck with me for my entire life, and I did actually manage to play this game once (a friend brought it over).
Electronic Dream Phone (1991)
Crocodile Dentist (1991)
Didn’t own it, but a friend did. And you bet your ass we enjoyed playing this game. The tension and fear of this thing chomping down on you. Apparently it scared publishers enough to release a smaller “less dangerous” version of it that had less biting power. Pussies ruining everything for the rest of us. Not once did any of my fingers get broken playing this game. Bring back the literally heavier version!
Guess Who? (1991; original version published in 1979)
This is not a game I would play today, despite me playing it back in Day Care. It’s too simple and too easy and too quick.
Tornado Rex (1991)
I wish I played this. Damn commercials making me want to play stuff.
For something deemed so Satanic, I’m amazed at the kind of commercials this got in the 90s. Made me curious to try it. Might be the one thing my mother was justified in prohibiting me from doing.
The classic that spawned a few sequels (Nightmare II and Nightmare III, all in 1991). But the best was yet to come (Atmosfear). Real-time 1 hour multiplayer roll-and-move take-that game that’s meant to be somewhat mindless and unfair yet fun in its own way. Despite the caveats, I enjoy this types of games that I would only play seasonally (as in Halloween season).
Modern Art (1992)
Seen it around, never played it. For a game made back then, it seems to have decent ratings nowadays. Makes me wonder if I missed out on something special.
Loopin’ Louie (1992)
Another one I wished I had played but didn’t. Probably wouldn’t do it today. Always get this confused with this one other game Gooie Louie or something (nothing about them is similar other than the sound of the title).
Don’t Wake Daddy (1992)
Vaguely remember playing this once. Another tension game sort of like Crocodile Dentist in that you hope your next move doesn’t cause a, uh, wake up call, to happen. Crocodile Dentist was more memorable, but this one also had a decent commercial to advertise it.
Grape Escape (1992)
Never played this, but it does look like fun. This had such a demented commercial.
Tyrannosaurus Rocks (1992)
I’m sensing a pattern here. The most memorable board games back then had that tension element where you’re just waiting for the jump scare to happen. And no, I never played this one.
The Omega Virus (1992)
Heheh, I may never have played this as a kid, but I did get the privilege of playing it with a grown man with other grown men at a comic shop. This game is great cheesy fun, with an 80s evil droid voice taunting you. The death sound it makes when (or if) you win is priceless. If you have a working version of this game, you’ve got a grail item on your hands (like that Dark Tower game from the 80s).
Eat at Ralphs (1992)
Never played this, but that commercial stayed burned into my mind.
Ask Zandar (1992)
Didn’t play, but that commercial made this seem like a Ouija board game thing. Kind of. More like an interactive Magic 8 ball. Nothing I was ever going to try, but the commercials were memorable. On that note…
It From the Pit (1992)
I wish I played this. In fact, this is something that my childhood missed entirely. Never even heard of it until I dug up the name through research. Or at least I thought so, until the commercial brought out some nostalgia vibes. Maybe I’ve forgotten about this one until now?
Forbidden Bridge (1992)
Hell yeah I played this! And the commercial is memorable as hell too. The game, like most of the games mentioned here, is just so-so. More for the style than the substance, as was the case for a lot of these. Still, you gotta love a game with a bridge that shakes your pieces off of it.
Legions of Steel (1992)
Let’s not beat around the bush here, this is a knockoff of Space Hulk. But it’s a fun knock-off, where you’re shooting terminators instead of aliens. This is considerably more complex than Space Hulk, so only try this one out if you wanted something more out of Space Hulk (aside from Space Hulk’s expansions).
Warhammer 4th Edition (1992)
Tabletop RPG. Do I even need to say anything about this? There is heated debates to this day on which of the first 4 editions are the best. From what I gather, 1st edition has the best lore and background to introduce players into Warhammer, 2nd edition has better gameplay mechanics (with some debate over which is better or if it was two steps forward 1 step back), most don’t seem to care for 3rd edition, and 4th edition is about as good as 2nd edition. More or less. As one who doesn’t really play T-RPGs, let alone ever played any of these editions of Warhammer, I can’t provide my own personal opinion on the matter. I’m just repeating what I’ve read in other forums from various websites.
Edit (1-5-2021): Added Nightmare to Board Games.
Edit (3-3-2021): Added Dark Tower to Board Games.
Edit (3-18-2021): Added Pee-Wee’s Playhouse to Shows.