Entertainment Industry Nostalgia: September 1993

Public unveiling of the Oslo Accords, an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement initiated by Norway, signed by Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres and PLO official Mahmoud Abbas. 1,000 Boeing 747 jumbo plane produced. Last Russian troops leave Poland (heheh, irony). LA/Anaheim Mighty Ducks (founded by the Walt Disney Company, later sold to Henry and Susan Samueli in 2005) play their 1st NHL pre-season game against Penguins. Tom Glavine (baseball pitcher) wins 20 games in 3 straight years. Supreme Soviet dismisses President Boris Yeltsin. A Transair Georgian Airlines Tu-154 is shot down by a missile in Sukhumi, Georgia. US General Colin Powell retires at 56. Raymond Burr, Canadian-American actor (Perry Mason, Ironsides, Godzilla), dies of liver cancer at 76. Snoop Dogg and his bodyguard are charged with the August 25 murder of a 20-year-old gang member in a drive-by shooting. A civil lawsuit is filed against Michael Jackson by thirteen-year-old Jordan Chandler and his parents, accusing the singer of sexually abusing the boy over the course of their friendship.




Music

Honorable mentions:

  • Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine: Post Historic Monsters
  • John Mellencamp: Human Wheels
  • Archers of Loaf: Icky Mettle
  • Counting Crows: August and Everything After
  • Cynic: Focus
  • Rickie Lee Jones: Traffic From Paradise
  • Machines of Loving Grace: Concentration
  • Melissa Etheridge: Yes I Am
  • Rick Astley: Body & Soul
  • Saigon Kick: Water

Donovan: One Night in Time (1?)

Effortlessly shifts from groovy, to soft & smooth.


Energy Orchard: Shinola (1?)

Atlantic City won me over.


Sepultura: Chaos A.D. (2?)


Paul Weller: Wild Wood (6)

My kind of rock. Sunflower isn’t half bad.


Iggy Pop: American Caesar (7?)

“Choice control, behind propaganda. Poor information, to manage your anger.” — quote from the Territory track.


Coroner: Grin (10)

Now this is the kind of metal I can get into. The Lethargic Age, Serpent Moves, Paralyzed, Mesmerized.


Dead Can Dance: Into the Labyrinth (13)

Hmph.


Nirvana: In Utero (13)

Their final album, with the standout Heart-Shaped Box. Album of the month.


Morphine: Cure for Pain (14)

Yeah, they’re not bad. Buena is groovy.


Meat Loaf: Bat out of Hell II: Back into Hell (14)

While I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) is the major hit on this album, I have a preference for Life is a Lemon (And I Want My Money Back). The title tracks can be mouthful, as you can tell. As for if I like it better than the first Bat out of Hell album… I’d say it’s more or less on-par.


Squeeze: Some Fantastic Place (14)


Fight: War of Words (14)

Looks like the lead singer of Judas Priest, along with the drummer, went and formed another heavy metal band.

Communication breakdown onto self destruction
Schizophrenic people breeding hate
Pessimistic thinking from a failed connection
Survival comes when we annihilate

Degenerating children with an opiate bullet
Poison flows from words out on the street
Trapped inside the home that has become the prison
Dissin’ everybody that we meet

Cultural collision in an endless frenzy
Numbing minds with threats of violence
Hopeless to the dream of any decent future
Running on sheer fear and ignorance

Nailed to the gun


Scorpions: Face the Heat (21)


Melvins: Houdini (21)

Fun metal.


Paradise Lost: Icon (28)

Remembrance won me over.


Ray Lynch: Nothing Above My Shoulders but the Evening (28)

Sometimes the classical stuff is very nice and refreshing to listen too. Her Knees Deep In Your Mind won me over.


KRS-One: Return of the Boom Bap (28)

Well, they did that little track you may have heard at some point, Sound of da Police.


Shotgun Messiah: Violent New Breed (28)

Holy shit. Where did this come from? The previous albums this band did were more on the bland and forgettable side in terms of glam metal. All of a sudden, they got pissed about their mediocrity status, and then release this beast which ramps up the “hard” in “hard rock” considerably to where it becomes industrial rock. And this is easily, without question, their best album. Probably the only album that matters in their short career. Unfortunately short, because just when they show how they can shine with their third album, it ends up being their last album. What the hell? Well, at least they went out with a bang. This makes me wish I could give them an album of the month recognition here, but I just can’t in good conscience give them the win over Nirvana, as much as I want to. If it’s any consolation, I would give them the win over Fight.


Duff McKagan: Believe in Me (28)


Gamma Ray: Insanity and Genius (28)

No single track that can outdo the track Heading for Tomorrow from their first album. Regardless, it’s overall their best album so far; all-around solid.




Movies

Honorable mentions:

  • Striking Distance. It’s probably too harsh giving this an honorable mention rather than a highlight, but this film just felt so bland and uninspired to me, especially for an 90s action/suspense film starring Bruce Willis.
  • Money for Nothing. Not interesting, in spite of the premise.
  • Undercover Blues. It’s ok, for a lighthearted comedy/action film. Dennis Quaid is surprisingly entertaining, but it still annoys me that Kathleen Turner is still trying (and failing miserably) to be an action star since V.I. Warshawski. She is decent in anything but that kind of role. Other than all that, this is just a barely passable fast food movie.
  • And the Band Played On. To be fair, it’s a better AIDS movie than Philadelphia, if only because it’s less preachy. Regardless, it’s still a by-the-numbers AIDS flick that is sympathetic to queers and critical of Reagan, based on a flawed book that couldn’t distinguish AZT poisoning from AIDS, a distinction that mislead scientists for a great many years. Plus, as expected, this film isn’t all that critical of homosexual behavior, and how the diseases spread from that behavior is to be primarily blamed on the homosexuals themselves via their actions. The only thing this film has going for it is that it’s a bit more on the procedural side, as opposed to the preachy side; but not enough to disguise the podium.
  • Bopha! One of those movies that you’ll know you’ll enjoy, or not, before you even start watching it.
  • Bethune: The Making of a Hero. I really wanted to like this movie. It’s not because it’s seemingly pro-Communist China (if anything, this should show that the movement started out well-intentioned before becoming corrupt, as many fascist/socialist/communist movements are prone to do; or just about any radical political movement for that matter). It’s not because the first 30 minutes seemed to highlight the hypocrisy and dickishness of Bethune, compared to his female love interest. No… rather, it’s because of all the goddamn time jumps that this movie does. Regardless, this shouldn’t be as obscure as it currently is.

Fortress (3)

This film is a mixed bag. Basically takes place in a “futuristic” prison that enforces an atmosphere of fascism and government control in all the typical ways. While in prison, you get punished for having certain positive thoughts (machines can read minds, including dreams).

Imprisoned if you have more than one child, because each couple is only allowed to give birth to one child (if you get a miscarriage, too bad, because that still counts towards the one child limit). But what about twins? Never addressed. Maybe that’s the exception? Though given how this film portrays the government, it would probably result in automatic imprisonment. It is for the sake of “population balance” after all. But get this: abortion is illegal. They want population control, but outlaw abortion. Seems like the system is designed every which way to make it as difficult as possible to live without committing some form of crime that will result in imprisonment, which also causes mental reform. Babies are property of the “Men-Tel” corporation. Men. You will own nothing and be happy.

Other than that, it has the typical bullshit of all the assholes in the prison being white guys. And, of course, the main significant lone black guy character is the nice one. Because of course. In this prison run by white guys and an AI (at least that one is voiced by a woman).

Yet I can’t help but have a soft spot for this film. Primarily because I’m a sucker for this type of setting, and this has a nostalgic factor for me. Plus, it’s difficult to hate on Stuart Gordon.


Kalifornia (3)

A decent and different kind of thriller.


True Romance (10)

Overrated, in my opinion. I get that this is a cult favorite that’s borderline classic. But I just can’t fully enjoy this film. It’s just not for me, for various reasons. Still though, it’s worth a watch. Just try to get the Director’s Cut version that has the extra violence. The theatrical version is just awkward with how they edit out some violent bits (especially during the finale).


Household Saints (15)

Not bad. It’s a bit thought-provoking with the ending. In that I’m not sure what to think. And this is a film that doesn’t steer you towards how it wants you to feel about the conclusion either. It’s pretty much up to the viewer to decide if the ending is that much of a tragedy, or if there’s happiness in it.


Airborne (17)

The first 3/4 of the film is so-so. Typical teen comedy that, while having some entertaining parts, would ultimately become forgettable. But then the finale happens, with one of the best and most intense rollerblading races ever done. The film that tried to make rollerblading bigger than skateboarding. The rollerblade fad was fun while it lasted, but it eventually faded into obscurity. At first I thought it was because people were getting injured at the ankles wearing those things, but apparently that’s not the reason. It’s because rollerblades are more durable than skateboards, thus resulting in a hobby that isn’t as profitable for merchants selling the parts. In any case, it’s nice that there’s at least one memorable film that indulged in the rollerblade fad that was unjustly killed off (which I’m sure skateboarders didn’t have a problem with, at the time).


Into the West (17; foreign, Ireland)

Not a half bad family film. A prime example that movies don’t have to be dumbed down in order to appeal to children.


By the Sword (23; limited release January 1992; foreign Canada)

Not too shabby, though fencers may find it questionable. But who cares about the accuracy of real-life fencing in something like this?


Dazed and Confused (24)

Now this is a classic coming of age film right here. A showcase of the 70s environment. Films like Superbad wish they were as good as this. Film of the month.


The Good Son (24)

The film where Macaulay Culkin is the villain. And that dipshit Elijah Wood is in it (I’m sorry, but I’m still not over him in that Huckleberry Finn movie; I hate young Elijah Wood).


The Program (24)

Pretty good college football film that aims to show the more “realistic” side of the sport. How it affects players on and off the field, the monetary interests college boards have in it


Warlock: The Armageddon (24)

I was expecting this to be terrible. Color me surprised. This turned out to be pretty damn entertaining. Seems to me like Wishmaster took inspiration from this film (and likely its predecessor).




Games

Honorable mentions:

  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula (September; NES, SNES, Genesis, Sega CD, PC, Game Boy). Most of these are different games, but they’re all mediocre.
  • Goofy’s Hysterical History Tour (September; Sega Genesis)
  • Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (September; Sega Genesis)
  • Super Widget (September; SNES)
  • World Heroes (September; SNES)
  • Alien vs Predator (September 4; SNES). Just wait for the arcade beat-em-up next year.
  • Tuff E Nuff (September; SNES). It’s not bad, but it’s a clear knockoff of Street Fighter II.
  • Mortal Kombat (September; Sega Genesis, SNES). While I won’t highlight this simply because the Arcade version is the more definitive way to play, it is worth pointing out the commercial that announced this game’s release.

The PC games must’ve gotten very jealous of the console hits last month. Because this month, PC gaming hits back with a fiery vengeance, putting out 3 of the greatest games of all time, in the same month of the same year. Console games weren’t all that weak either for this month.


Pioneer LaserActive game system released on September 13.

I have to admit, I never heard of this system until I looked it up for this month’s stuff. Considering the cost, and the finicky nature of its compatibility, I can see why this didn’t take off as big as, well, something like the 3DO (more on that in the future). Don’t expect very many game selections from this system being covered for this series.


Cadillacs and Dinosaurs (September?; Arcade)

This franchise should’ve been bigger.


Ridge Racer (September; Arcade)

A pity the original arcade experience hasn’t been recreated well-enough with those Arcade1Up machines that come out these days. Sitting in a seat that has vibration; nothing matches that experience. Classic racing game in the same vein as Outrun.


Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck (September; Sega Genesis, Sega CD)


Gunstar Heroes (September; Sega Genesis)

One of the best shmup games ever made. One of the best games on the Genesis. This gave Contra some serious competition.


Micro Machines (September; Sega Genesis)


Fantastic Dizzy (September; Sega Genesis)


Dracula Unleashed (1993; Sega CD)

It’s basically just a glorified remake of the original Dracula story (passing itself off as a sequel), with the exact same stuff happening, with similar characters involved, and characters from the first story showing up again too (Dracula aside; at least it comes up with some explanation as to why he’s back and not completely dead). But, as far as “choose-your-own-adventure” genre FMV games go, this one isn’t all that bad.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (September 4; SNES)

Ignore the Genesis version, it sucks. On the SNES though, it’s fun.


Operation Logic Bomb (September; SNES)


Plok (September; SNES)

Surprising platformer, that rewards you if you stick with it. Better off emulated, just so you can force-implement save states.


Super Bomberman (September; SNES)

Nothing like the multiplayer experience for this.


Utopia: The Creation of a Nation (September; SNES, PC [1992])

The PC version is better. It’s a more obscure title that’s worth a look for those interested in this genre.


Yoshi’s Safari (September 3; SNES)

A Super Scope game.


Rocky Rodent (September 18; SNES)

This is such a product of the 90s, with the hair style gimmick. While the mascot and gimmick are great, the level design and enemies are not. Whether that’s enough to tip the scales towards your enjoyment, that depends.


Zombies Ate My Neighbors (September 24; SNES, Sega Genesis [November])

Such a fun cult-classic game that’s best with 2 players, best played in a beer & pretzels atmosphere.


Master of Orion (September 6; PC)

Game of the month. My personal favorite 4X game to this day (yes, even more-so than the sequel, though that could change one day). Game of the year contender, but it unfortunately won’t win. I already know what game is going to manage to top this and all other games released in 1993 up to this point. And it’s coming in December. The PC gaming scene is picking up steam, not running out of it. That all being said, this “civilization in space” game does show considerable age today in the graphics department (though Remnants of the Precursors is a decent fan-made remake of it that, if nothing else, improves them), but it certainly makes up for it with everything else. To this day, it’s considered to have one of the best, if not the best, AI system in video games, in regard to how the other races act towards you (and each other) when it comes to treaties, expanding, being aggressive or non-aggressive. Most 4X games just can’t get that right; but this one, one of the earliest 4X games created, nailed it. All that aside, I love the simplicity of it. This is a 4X game that doesn’t have micro-managing to the same extent most civ-4X games do (including the sequel), which allows more focus on all other aspects.


Wing Commander: Privateer (September 22; PC)

My point exactly. This is a fantastic spin-off of the Wing Commander franchise, going open wor– uh, open universe. Sandbox-like game where you have your ship and try to make your way in the universe.


Myst (September 24; Mac OS, PC [1994])

This is the point-and-click adventure game that defined the era and set the standard for most that followed. Others have come before it, but none which were quite this immersive in this first-person perspective. Personally, I think the puzzles are too difficult at times, especially that underground mine cart ride thing (that’s a bunch of bullshit). But aside from that, this has an interesting story that slowly unfolds. You learn more about it not just through reading books, but from observing scenery and thinking about the meaning of what you’re seeing and what the context of it means.


Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos (September?; PC)

The game some say is the superior version of Eye of the Beholder 2 (which set the cRPG standard before this one). Be warned though, the best version of this game would come out on CD next year. Until then, no talking.




Shows

Honorable mentions:

  • Daddy Dearest. The problem is that Don Rickles can’t be scripted and be at his best.
  • Theo
  • Running the Halls
  • Phenom
  • Moon Over Miami. This show really deserved a better chance.
  • Martha Stewart Living
  • Cafe Americain
  • All-New Dennis the Menace. I prefer the 80s show.
  • Harts of the West

Holy Mary Mother of God. This month is unbelievably epic for what tv shows that premiered. I don’t think it’s going to get any better than this in terms of quality and quality compressed into a single month. Hold on to your butts.


The John Larroquette Show (2; NBC)

First season was good. After that, well, wasn’t as good.


2 Stupid Dogs (5; TBS)

I enjoyed this as a kid.


Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (6; Syndication)

This was the Sonic series that aired more frequently than the other one (more on that in a moment), much to my disappointment. Because Sonic SaTaM was the one I saw first, and loved the most, and wanted more of. But no, it would be this one that aired more often, even after the other show disappeared off the air. Just wasn’t fair to me. But anyway, the “Adventures” Sonic show, in all honesty, it’s not that bad for a kids show. Hell, I’d take over the more recent Sonic Boom series (piece of shit that show is).


The X-Files (10; Fox)

You know, I’ve wondered if I would come across some show that I have or haven’t seen from this decade; some show that could arguably be considered the best of the decade. A show that is every bit as culturally impactful as it was decade-defining as it was quality. The X-Files is most likely that show. The series about two FBI agents Mulder and Scully, constantly coming across supernatural phenomenon, with shadow government agents around every corner inhibiting their efforts at bringing the truth to public light. Conspiracies about aliens, secret corporate/government projects. And how the truth is constantly suppressed. The layers upon layers of conspiracies, mysteries, and questions that they raise.

Sure, this series wasn’t perfect. There were some episodes each season that were weaker than others (especially in season 5, discounting what we got in the post-season 6 era). But the solid episodes tend to outnumber the weak ones, and the very strong episodes are very good. The series that everyone talked about after each episode aired. The series that popularized the line: “THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE.” And has that iconic opening theme.

90s television doesn’t get better than this. Hell, television in general doesn’t get much better than this. Show of the month, show of the year, possibly even show of the decade. One of the greatest of all time.


Bill Nye the Science Guy (10; PBS)

Ah yes. The education science-based show that competed with Beakman’s World (from September 1992). The more popular of the shows too (though arguably not as good). And back then, it was good and fun; before Bill Nye (who isn’t a scientist in real life) lost his mind and became ultra-SJW to the point where he became anti-science and had some of his episodes from this series censored (you know, to remove mention of inconvenient scientific facts that contradict today’s fantasy climate). Regardless, my misgivings of this quack today don’t make me enjoy this series any less.


Legends of the Hidden Temple (11; Nickelodeon)

My personal favorite kids competition show. Probably because I grew up with it, and watched it as much as I could.


SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron (11; TBS)

Yes!


Droopy: Master Detective (11; Fox [Fox Kids])

I don’t care what others say. I like this show. But it’s only good in short doses, which is fine in this case, considering each episode is less than 10 minutes each.


Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (12; ABC)

Honestly, even though this was too low budget for this to live up to the comics its based on (let alone hold up to the first 2 live-action films), even though it’s more of a soap opera (or drama/romance/comedy) with some typical superhero stuff in it, I have a soft spot for it. Plus, it was popular at the time for a reason. Maybe because of Dean Cain. It does make for an interesting polar opposite to Batman. And by that, I mean that Batman uses Bruce Wayne as a disguise for his true self. While Clark Kent is his true self, while Superman is an alter-ego who only appears when necessary.


SeaQuest DSV, aka SeaQuest 2032 (12; NBC)

Another case of a show that had a good first season, but what came after pretty much ruined it.


Madeline (12; The Family Channel -> ABC -> Disney Channel)


Animaniacs (13; Fox [Fox Kids])

Classic/iconic kids tv show. What Tiny Toon Adventures was revving up for.


Late Night with Conan O’Brien (13; NBC)

One of the better late night talk shows.


Bakersfield P.D. (14; Fox)

Allegedly, this ran for only one season because this was too close to reality for how Bakersfield really was; so when a local sheriff got killed, that hit too close to the makers of the show. Something like that, allegedly. But anyway, it’s not bad, and another tragic instance of a show that was cancelled too soon. Dare I say, I found this show to be (intentionally) hilarious.


Frasier (16; NBC)

The successful spin-off of Cheers.


The Sinbad Show (16; Fox)

I wasn’t expecting to like this. Lo’ and behold, I found it funny. And, once again, another decent show that only went for one season (not even that, given that an episode or two didn’t air from it).


Cobra (16; Syndicated)

The only reason this show is worth mentioning is because it stars Michael Dudikoff doing martial arts and stuff in semi-ridiculous situations, making it ironically humorous and entertaining. So basically, Dudikoff saw Walker Texas Ranger, and decided he wanted in on that action. Except this only lasted one season.


Rocko’s Modern Life (18; Nickelodeon)

I reviewed this series. It’s good, for the first 2 seasons (season 3 is ok, season 4 is generally bad). Classic series.


Sonic the Hedgehog (18; ABC)

The Sonic show fans deserved, and the one that got cancelled after 2 seasons. To be fair, if you ignore the last 20 seconds or so of the last episode, it wraps up rather well.


Cadillacs and Dinosaurs (18; CBS)

This is such bullshit. Why the hell didn’t this go past 1 season? You fucking people cancelling awesome kids cartoon shows. This show kicks ass, as do the games and comics.


Marsupilami (18; CBS)

The nostalgia is strong with this one.


CityKids (18; ABC)

Amusing as hell. Henson trying to get down and funky with urban teens.


Tales from the Cryptkeeper (18; ABC)

You know, because they wanted a more kid-friendly version of Tales from the Crypt.


Cro (18; ABC)

Before there was The Magic Schoolbus, there was Cro.


Exosquad (18; Syndication)

Oh hell yeah.


Biker Mice from Mars (19; Syndication)

Oh yeah.


Dave’s World (20; CBS)


NYPD Blue (21; ABC)

Well… this is it. This is the cop show that started trends and set standards that evolved into a lot of what we have today. You know that whole shakey-cam thing, where the camera sometimes zooms in and out of locations seemingly randomly, and moves around a bit here and there to make it look less professionally-shot? This show started that shit. It also stepped things up a notch in terms of what could be shown on regular television (ie not HBO), some nudity, violence, and language. The envelope pusher that is hailed as a classic because of how it not only pushed the envelope, but lead others into doing so to. Without this show, there would be no The Wire, or The Shield (both of which are pretty much the ceiling for pushing things, more or less).

Personally, I think it’s just ok. Envelope-pushing aside (which doesn’t mean much today when we’ve been living with shows where this sort of thing is the norm now, for better or worse), I found this to be just another average cop show. Thank God The X-Files came out this month, because that makes me feel no guilt whatsoever for not even considering putting this in the running for show of the month (it’s not even in the same league, in-spite of the camerawork-style this spawned, which has been abused to death since then).


Boy Meets World (24; ABC)

Classic. Another one of those shows that defined the 90s.


Acapulco H.E.A.T. (28; Syndication)

Guilty pleasure. Because of the bikinis, and stuff.


Grace Under Fire (29; ABC)

Another show that started out good, but then got terrible, primarily because of the actress playing the titular character. Still though, that show name really got around back then.


Edit (8-28-2022): Added By the Sword to Movies.

Edit (9-7-2022): Added Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos to Games.

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