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Best TV Shows From The 90's

24 Shows | by Paste Magazine

The Sopranos

The Sopranos

Drama

The Sopranos is an American television drama created by David Chase. The series revolves around the New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano and the difficulties he faces as he tries to balance the conflicting requirements of his home life and the criminal organization he heads. Those difficulties are often highlighted through his ongoing professional relationship with psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi. The show features Tony's family members and Mafia associates in prominent roles and story arcs, most notably his wife Carmela and his cousin and protégé Christopher Moltisanti.
The Simpsons

The Simpsons

Animation, Comedy

Set in Springfield, the average American town, the show focuses on the antics and everyday adventures of the Simpson family; Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, as well as a virtual cast of thousands. Since the beginning, the series has been a pop culture icon, attracting hundreds of celebrities to guest star. The show has also made name for itself in its fearless satirical take on politics, media and American life in general.
ER

ER

Drama

Explores the inner workings of an urban teaching hospital and the critical issues faced by the dedicated physicians and staff of its overburdened emergency room.
Frasier

Frasier

Comedy

After many years spent at the “Cheers” bar, Frasier moves back home to Seattle to work as a radio psychiatrist after his policeman father gets shot in the hip on duty.
Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks

Drama, Mystery

The body of Laura Palmer is washed up on a beach near the small Washington state town of Twin Peaks. FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper is called in to investigate her strange demise only to uncover a web of mystery that ultimately leads him deep into the heart of the surrounding woodland and his very own soul.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Comedy, Drama

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American television series which aired from March 10, 1997 until May 20, 2003. The series was created in 1997 by writer-director Joss Whedon under his production tag, Mutant Enemy Productions with later co-executive producers being Jane Espenson, David Fury, David Greenwalt, Doug Petrie, Marti Noxon, and David Solomon. The series narrative follows Buffy Summers, the latest in a line of young women known as "Vampire Slayers" or simply "Slayers". In the story, Slayers are "called" to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness. Like previous Slayers, Buffy is aided by a Watcher, who guides, teaches, and trains her. Unlike her predecessors, Buffy surrounds herself with a circle of loyal friends who become known as the "Scooby Gang".
Full House

Full House

Comedy, Family

Full House is an American sitcom television series. Set in San Francisco, the show chronicles widowed father Danny Tanner, who, after the death of his wife Pam, enlists his best friend Joey Gladstone and his brother-in-law Jesse Katsopolis to help raise his three daughters, D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle.
NYPD Blue

NYPD Blue

Drama

NYPD Blue is an American television police drama set in New York City, exploring the internal and external struggles of the fictional 15th precinct of Manhattan. Each episode typically intertwined several plots involving an ensemble cast. The show was created by Steven Bochco and David Milch and was inspired by Milch's relationship with Bill Clark, a former member of the New York City Police Department who eventually became one of the show's producers. The series was broadcast on the ABC network from its debut on September 21, 1993‚ and aired its final episode on March 1, 2005. It remains ABC's longest-running primetime one-hour drama series. In 1997, "True Confessions", written by Art Monterastelli and directed by Charles Haid was ranked #36 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 2009, TV Guide ranked Hearts and Souls, Jimmy Smits' final episode written by Steven Bochco, David Milch, Bill Clark, and Nicholas Wootton and directed by Paris Barclay, #30 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.
The X-Files

The X-Files

Drama, Mystery

The exploits of FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully who investigate X-Files: marginalized, unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena. Mulder believes in the existence of aliens and the paranormal while Scully, a skeptic, is assigned to make scientific analyses of Mulder's discoveries that debunk Mulder's work and thus return him to mainstream cases.
Sports Night

Sports Night

Comedy

The offbeat cast and crew of a sports news show as they deal with professional, personal, and ethical challenges while functioning in a pressure-cooker work environment.
Cheers

Cheers

Comedy

Cheers is an American sitcom television series that ran for 11 seasons from 1982 to 1993. It was produced by Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions in association with Paramount Network Television for NBC and created by the team of James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles. The show is set in a bar named Cheers in Boston, Massachusetts, where a group of locals meet to drink, relax, and socialize. The show's theme song, written and performed by Gary Portnoy, and co-written with Judy Hart Angelo, lent its famous refrain, "Where Everybody Knows Your Name", as the show's tagline. After premiering on September 30, 1982, it was nearly canceled during its first season when it ranked last in ratings for its premiere. Cheers, however, eventually became a highly rated television show in the United States, earning a top-ten rating during 8 of its 11 seasons, including one season at #1. The show spent most of its run on NBC's Thursday night "Must See TV" lineup. Its widely watched series finale was broadcast on May 20, 1993, and the show's 275 episodes have been successfully syndicated worldwide. Nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series for all eleven of its seasons on the air, it has earned 28 Emmy Awards from a then-record 117 nominations. The character Frasier Crane was featured in his eponymous spin-off show, which later aired up until 2004 and included guest appearances by virtually all of the major and minor Cheers characters.
Futurama

Futurama

Animation, Comedy

The adventures of a late-20th-century New York City pizza delivery boy, Philip J. Fry, who, after being unwittingly cryogenically frozen for one thousand years, finds employment at Planet Express, an interplanetary delivery company in the retro-futuristic 31st century.
Dawson's Creek

Dawson's Creek

Drama

Dawson's Creek is an American teen drama television series created by Kevin Williamson which debuted on January 20, 1998, on The WB and was produced by Sony Pictures Television. Filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, at EUE/Screen Gems studios and on location around Wilmington, Southport, and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Many scenes were filmed at UNCW, including William Randall Library and Alderman Hall, which served as the facade of Capeside High School. Other college scenes in the fifth and sixth seasons were shot at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. It portrays the fictional lives of a close-knit group of teenagers through high school and college. The program, part of a new craze for teen-themed movies and television shows in America in the late 1990s, catapulted its leads to stardom and became a defining show for The WB. The series ended on May 14, 2003.
Seinfeld

Seinfeld

Comedy

Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998. It lasted nine seasons, and is now in syndication. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself. Set predominantly in an apartment block in Manhattan's Upper West Side in New York City, the show features a handful of Jerry's friends and acquaintances, particularly best friend George Costanza, former girlfriend Elaine Benes, and neighbor across the hall Cosmo Kramer.
Homicide: Life on the Street

Homicide: Life on the Street

Mystery, Drama

Homicide: Life on the Street is an American police procedural television series chronicling the work of a fictional version of the Baltimore Police Department's Homicide Unit. It ran for seven seasons on NBC from 1993 to 1999, and was succeeded by a TV movie, which also acted as the de facto series finale. The series was originally based on David Simon's book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. Many of the characters and stories used throughout the show were based on events depicted in the book, which was also part of the basis for Simon's own series, The Wire on HBO. Although Homicide featured an ensemble cast, Andre Braugher emerged as the series' breakout star through his portrayal of Frank Pembleton. The show won Television Critics Association Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Drama in 1996, 1997, and 1998. It also became the first drama ever to win three Peabody Awards for best drama in 1993, 1995, and 1997. In 1997, the episode "Prison Riot" was ranked No. 32 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 2007, it was listed as one of Time magazine's "Best TV Shows of All-TIME." In 1996 TV Guide named the series 'The Best Show You're Not Watching'. The show placed #46 on Entertainment Weekly's "New TV Classics" list.
Friends

Friends

Comedy

Friends is an American sitcom revolving around a group of friends in the New York City borough of Manhattan. Episodes typically depict the friends' comedic and romantic adventures and career issues, such as Joey auditioning for roles or Rachel seeking jobs in the fashion industry. The six characters each have many dates and serious relationships, such as Monica with Richard Burke and Ross with Emily Waltham. Other frequently recurring characters include Ross and Monica's parents in Long Island, Ross's ex-wife and their son, Central Perk barista Gunther, Chandler's ex-girlfriend Janice, and Phoebe's twin sister Ursula.
Sex and the City

Sex and the City

Comedy

Based on the bestselling book by Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City tells the story of four best friends, all single and in their late thirties, as they pursue their careers and talk about their sex lives, all while trying to survive the New York social scene. 
Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Action & Adventure, Drama

Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry as part of the Star Trek franchise. The show is set in the nearby regions of the Milky Way galaxy, approximately during the 2360s and features a new crew and a new starship Enterprise.
Ally McBeal

Ally McBeal

Drama, Comedy

Ally McBeal is an American legal comedy-drama television series, originally aired on Fox from September 8, 1997 to May 20, 2002. Created by David E. Kelley, the series stars Calista Flockhart in the title role as a young lawyer working in the fictional Boston law firm Cage and Fish, with other young lawyers whose lives and loves were eccentric, humorous and dramatic. The series placed #48 on Entertainment Weekly's 2007 "New TV Classics" list.
My So-Called Life

My So-Called Life

Drama

The life of a 15 year-old high school student, whose angst-ridden journey through adolescence, friendship, parents, and life teaches her what it means to grow up.
Everybody Loves Raymond

Everybody Loves Raymond

Comedy

Everybody Loves Raymond is an American television sitcom starring Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts, and Peter Boyle. It originally ran on CBS from September 13, 1996, to May 16, 2005. Many of the situations from the show are based on the real-life experiences of Romano, creator/producer Phil Rosenthal and the show's writing staff. The main characters on the show are also loosely based on Romano's and Rosenthal's real-life family members. The show reruns in syndication on various channels, such as TBS, TV Land, and in most TV markets on local stations. From 2000 to 2007, KingWorld distributed the show for off-network syndication and Warner Bros. Television Distribution handled international distribution. In 2007, CBS Television Distribution took over King World's distribution. CBS only owns American syndication rights; ancillary rights are controlled by HBO and Warner Bros. Television.
NewsRadio

NewsRadio

Comedy

NewsRadio is an American television situation comedy that aired on NBC from 1995 to 1999. The series was created by executive producer Paul Simms, and was filmed in front of a studio audience at CBS Studio Center and Sunset Gower Studios. The show's theme tune was composed by Mike Post, who also scored the pilot. The show placed #72 on Entertainment Weekly's "New TV Classics" list.
Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks

Comedy, Drama

High school mathlete Lindsay Weir rebels and begins hanging out with a crowd of burnouts (the "freaks"), while her brother Sam Weir navigates a different part of the social universe with his nerdy friends (the "geeks").
Home Improvement

Home Improvement

Comedy

Home Improvement is an American television sitcom starring Tim Allen, that aired from September 17, 1991 to May 25, 1999. The show was created by Matt Williams, Carmen Finestra and David McFadzean. In the 1990s, it was one of the most watched sitcoms in the American market, winning many awards. The series launched Tim Allen's acting career and also was the start of the television career of Pamela Anderson, who was part of the recurring cast for the first two seasons.
The Sopranos

The Sopranos

Drama

The Sopranos is an American television drama created by David Chase. The series revolves around the New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano and the difficulties he faces as he tries to balance the conflicting requirements of his home life and the criminal organization he heads. Those difficulties are often highlighted through his ongoing professional relationship with psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi. The show features Tony's family members and Mafia associates in prominent roles and story arcs, most notably his wife Carmela and his cousin and protégé Christopher Moltisanti.
Dawson's Creek

Dawson's Creek

Drama

Dawson's Creek is an American teen drama television series created by Kevin Williamson which debuted on January 20, 1998, on The WB and was produced by Sony Pictures Television. Filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, at EUE/Screen Gems studios and on location around Wilmington, Southport, and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Many scenes were filmed at UNCW, including William Randall Library and Alderman Hall, which served as the facade of Capeside High School. Other college scenes in the fifth and sixth seasons were shot at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. It portrays the fictional lives of a close-knit group of teenagers through high school and college. The program, part of a new craze for teen-themed movies and television shows in America in the late 1990s, catapulted its leads to stardom and became a defining show for The WB. The series ended on May 14, 2003.
The Simpsons

The Simpsons

Animation, Comedy

Set in Springfield, the average American town, the show focuses on the antics and everyday adventures of the Simpson family; Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, as well as a virtual cast of thousands. Since the beginning, the series has been a pop culture icon, attracting hundreds of celebrities to guest star. The show has also made name for itself in its fearless satirical take on politics, media and American life in general.
Seinfeld

Seinfeld

Comedy

Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998. It lasted nine seasons, and is now in syndication. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself. Set predominantly in an apartment block in Manhattan's Upper West Side in New York City, the show features a handful of Jerry's friends and acquaintances, particularly best friend George Costanza, former girlfriend Elaine Benes, and neighbor across the hall Cosmo Kramer.
ER

ER

Drama

Explores the inner workings of an urban teaching hospital and the critical issues faced by the dedicated physicians and staff of its overburdened emergency room.
Homicide: Life on the Street

Homicide: Life on the Street

Mystery, Drama

Homicide: Life on the Street is an American police procedural television series chronicling the work of a fictional version of the Baltimore Police Department's Homicide Unit. It ran for seven seasons on NBC from 1993 to 1999, and was succeeded by a TV movie, which also acted as the de facto series finale. The series was originally based on David Simon's book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. Many of the characters and stories used throughout the show were based on events depicted in the book, which was also part of the basis for Simon's own series, The Wire on HBO. Although Homicide featured an ensemble cast, Andre Braugher emerged as the series' breakout star through his portrayal of Frank Pembleton. The show won Television Critics Association Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Drama in 1996, 1997, and 1998. It also became the first drama ever to win three Peabody Awards for best drama in 1993, 1995, and 1997. In 1997, the episode "Prison Riot" was ranked No. 32 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 2007, it was listed as one of Time magazine's "Best TV Shows of All-TIME." In 1996 TV Guide named the series 'The Best Show You're Not Watching'. The show placed #46 on Entertainment Weekly's "New TV Classics" list.
Frasier

Frasier

Comedy

After many years spent at the “Cheers” bar, Frasier moves back home to Seattle to work as a radio psychiatrist after his policeman father gets shot in the hip on duty.
Friends

Friends

Comedy

Friends is an American sitcom revolving around a group of friends in the New York City borough of Manhattan. Episodes typically depict the friends' comedic and romantic adventures and career issues, such as Joey auditioning for roles or Rachel seeking jobs in the fashion industry. The six characters each have many dates and serious relationships, such as Monica with Richard Burke and Ross with Emily Waltham. Other frequently recurring characters include Ross and Monica's parents in Long Island, Ross's ex-wife and their son, Central Perk barista Gunther, Chandler's ex-girlfriend Janice, and Phoebe's twin sister Ursula.
Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks

Drama, Mystery

The body of Laura Palmer is washed up on a beach near the small Washington state town of Twin Peaks. FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper is called in to investigate her strange demise only to uncover a web of mystery that ultimately leads him deep into the heart of the surrounding woodland and his very own soul.
Sex and the City

Sex and the City

Comedy

Based on the bestselling book by Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City tells the story of four best friends, all single and in their late thirties, as they pursue their careers and talk about their sex lives, all while trying to survive the New York social scene. 
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Comedy, Drama

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American television series which aired from March 10, 1997 until May 20, 2003. The series was created in 1997 by writer-director Joss Whedon under his production tag, Mutant Enemy Productions with later co-executive producers being Jane Espenson, David Fury, David Greenwalt, Doug Petrie, Marti Noxon, and David Solomon. The series narrative follows Buffy Summers, the latest in a line of young women known as "Vampire Slayers" or simply "Slayers". In the story, Slayers are "called" to battle against vampires, demons, and other forces of darkness. Like previous Slayers, Buffy is aided by a Watcher, who guides, teaches, and trains her. Unlike her predecessors, Buffy surrounds herself with a circle of loyal friends who become known as the "Scooby Gang".
Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Action & Adventure, Drama

Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry as part of the Star Trek franchise. The show is set in the nearby regions of the Milky Way galaxy, approximately during the 2360s and features a new crew and a new starship Enterprise.
Full House

Full House

Comedy, Family

Full House is an American sitcom television series. Set in San Francisco, the show chronicles widowed father Danny Tanner, who, after the death of his wife Pam, enlists his best friend Joey Gladstone and his brother-in-law Jesse Katsopolis to help raise his three daughters, D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle.
Ally McBeal

Ally McBeal

Drama, Comedy

Ally McBeal is an American legal comedy-drama television series, originally aired on Fox from September 8, 1997 to May 20, 2002. Created by David E. Kelley, the series stars Calista Flockhart in the title role as a young lawyer working in the fictional Boston law firm Cage and Fish, with other young lawyers whose lives and loves were eccentric, humorous and dramatic. The series placed #48 on Entertainment Weekly's 2007 "New TV Classics" list.
NYPD Blue

NYPD Blue

Drama

NYPD Blue is an American television police drama set in New York City, exploring the internal and external struggles of the fictional 15th precinct of Manhattan. Each episode typically intertwined several plots involving an ensemble cast. The show was created by Steven Bochco and David Milch and was inspired by Milch's relationship with Bill Clark, a former member of the New York City Police Department who eventually became one of the show's producers. The series was broadcast on the ABC network from its debut on September 21, 1993‚ and aired its final episode on March 1, 2005. It remains ABC's longest-running primetime one-hour drama series. In 1997, "True Confessions", written by Art Monterastelli and directed by Charles Haid was ranked #36 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. In 2009, TV Guide ranked Hearts and Souls, Jimmy Smits' final episode written by Steven Bochco, David Milch, Bill Clark, and Nicholas Wootton and directed by Paris Barclay, #30 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.
My So-Called Life

My So-Called Life

Drama

The life of a 15 year-old high school student, whose angst-ridden journey through adolescence, friendship, parents, and life teaches her what it means to grow up.
The X-Files

The X-Files

Drama, Mystery

The exploits of FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully who investigate X-Files: marginalized, unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena. Mulder believes in the existence of aliens and the paranormal while Scully, a skeptic, is assigned to make scientific analyses of Mulder's discoveries that debunk Mulder's work and thus return him to mainstream cases.
Everybody Loves Raymond

Everybody Loves Raymond

Comedy

Everybody Loves Raymond is an American television sitcom starring Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett, Doris Roberts, and Peter Boyle. It originally ran on CBS from September 13, 1996, to May 16, 2005. Many of the situations from the show are based on the real-life experiences of Romano, creator/producer Phil Rosenthal and the show's writing staff. The main characters on the show are also loosely based on Romano's and Rosenthal's real-life family members. The show reruns in syndication on various channels, such as TBS, TV Land, and in most TV markets on local stations. From 2000 to 2007, KingWorld distributed the show for off-network syndication and Warner Bros. Television Distribution handled international distribution. In 2007, CBS Television Distribution took over King World's distribution. CBS only owns American syndication rights; ancillary rights are controlled by HBO and Warner Bros. Television.
Sports Night

Sports Night

Comedy

The offbeat cast and crew of a sports news show as they deal with professional, personal, and ethical challenges while functioning in a pressure-cooker work environment.
NewsRadio

NewsRadio

Comedy

NewsRadio is an American television situation comedy that aired on NBC from 1995 to 1999. The series was created by executive producer Paul Simms, and was filmed in front of a studio audience at CBS Studio Center and Sunset Gower Studios. The show's theme tune was composed by Mike Post, who also scored the pilot. The show placed #72 on Entertainment Weekly's "New TV Classics" list.
Cheers

Cheers

Comedy

Cheers is an American sitcom television series that ran for 11 seasons from 1982 to 1993. It was produced by Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions in association with Paramount Network Television for NBC and created by the team of James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles. The show is set in a bar named Cheers in Boston, Massachusetts, where a group of locals meet to drink, relax, and socialize. The show's theme song, written and performed by Gary Portnoy, and co-written with Judy Hart Angelo, lent its famous refrain, "Where Everybody Knows Your Name", as the show's tagline. After premiering on September 30, 1982, it was nearly canceled during its first season when it ranked last in ratings for its premiere. Cheers, however, eventually became a highly rated television show in the United States, earning a top-ten rating during 8 of its 11 seasons, including one season at #1. The show spent most of its run on NBC's Thursday night "Must See TV" lineup. Its widely watched series finale was broadcast on May 20, 1993, and the show's 275 episodes have been successfully syndicated worldwide. Nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series for all eleven of its seasons on the air, it has earned 28 Emmy Awards from a then-record 117 nominations. The character Frasier Crane was featured in his eponymous spin-off show, which later aired up until 2004 and included guest appearances by virtually all of the major and minor Cheers characters.
Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks

Comedy, Drama

High school mathlete Lindsay Weir rebels and begins hanging out with a crowd of burnouts (the "freaks"), while her brother Sam Weir navigates a different part of the social universe with his nerdy friends (the "geeks").
Futurama

Futurama

Animation, Comedy

The adventures of a late-20th-century New York City pizza delivery boy, Philip J. Fry, who, after being unwittingly cryogenically frozen for one thousand years, finds employment at Planet Express, an interplanetary delivery company in the retro-futuristic 31st century.
Home Improvement

Home Improvement

Comedy

Home Improvement is an American television sitcom starring Tim Allen, that aired from September 17, 1991 to May 25, 1999. The show was created by Matt Williams, Carmen Finestra and David McFadzean. In the 1990s, it was one of the most watched sitcoms in the American market, winning many awards. The series launched Tim Allen's acting career and also was the start of the television career of Pamela Anderson, who was part of the recurring cast for the first two seasons.