By: Zeila Edrial
As a ’90s kid, I have a soft spot for anything that reminds me of my childhood. Polly Pocket, Beanie Babies, Razor Scooters and Tamagotchis are some ’90s fads that I reminisce about fondly. Before it became the norm to stream shows online, I spent hours in front of the television when I wasn’t at school or doing homework. Netflix has a plethora of those same TV shows that I used to watch as a kid.
For anyone who wants to relive ’90s television on Netflix, here are some TV shows that are available on the streaming service:
Animaniacs was among some of the cartoons shown after school. It started on Fox Kids before moving to Kids’ WB. The comedy show was filled with short skits featuring multiple characters, but the stars of the show were the three siblings, Yakko, Wakko and Dot Warner. The Warner brothers (and sister!) were responsible for popularizing the phrase, “Helloooo nurse!” whenever they found someone attractive. Animaniacs also introduced Pinky and Brain, two genetically-enhanced lab mice whose plots to “take over the world” were so entertaining that they later earned their own spin-off TV show called Pinky and the Brain.
In middle school, one of my teachers played an episode that contained “Wakko’s 50 State Capitols” and had the entire class learn the lyrics. The song was catchy and helped many of us memorize the capitols to prepare for our state capitols test. Another song from the TV show, “Yakko’s World,” helped children memorize the nations of the world of that time. So although Animaniacs was full of silliness and some cartoon violence, children were able to learn a thing or two from the show.
The Magic School Bus
While we’re on the topic of educational cartoons, The Magic School Bus was a series that many of my teachers showed their class. The TV series was adapted from the book series that shared the name, authored by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen. The Magic School Bus was about an eccentric teacher named Ms. Frizzle who took her class on different field trips on her “magic school bus” to teach them science. The school bus could transform into different modes of transportation, such as a submarine or a spaceship. It could also increase and decrease in size.
In one episode, a student named Ralphie was sick, so Ms. Frizzle and the rest of the class took a field trip into his body to investigate the cause of his illness. While inside Ralphie’s body, the students learned about the immune system. Another episode showed the class venturing inside an anthill to learn about the creatures that resided in there. The Magic School Bus was a great tool to teach children about various topics while being entertaining.
While Nickelodeon had Are You Afraid of the Dark? to fit in the children’s horror TV shows niche, Fox Kids had the Goosebumps TV series. The show was adapted from the Goosebumps book series by R.L. Stine. Since I was a fan of the books, I embraced the chance to see some of my favorite stories come to life on the screen. I recently re-watched the TV show on Netflix and realized how cheesy some of the special effects were back then. But what do you expect from a ’90s children’s horror show, when compared to the technology that we have today? Nevertheless, the Goosebumps show maintained an air of creepiness and the paranormal. Each episode concluded with a plot twist, so you were always left guessing until the end.
Every time I hear the Friends theme song, I want to clap along. It was a popular sitcom with a memorable, feel-good opening. The show was around for 10 years (1994-2004) and followed the lives of six best friends who resided in the same New York apartment building. Its beloved cast was comprised of spoiled Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), obsessive-compulsive Monica Geller (Courtney Cox), awkward Ross Geller (David Schwimmer), sarcast Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), dense Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) and eccentric Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow). While Friends induced a lot of laughter, it also taught the audience important lessons about life and love. The show also introduced trends during the ’90s, such as “The Rachel” hairstyle that many girls were inspired to get at the time. Joey’s catchphrase “How you doin’?” was used in the same nature as the Animaniacs’ “Helloooo nurse!”
While I continued to watch Friends throughout the years, there was always one question that stayed on my mind: Will Ross and Rachel ever be together- permanently?
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys/Xena: Warrior Princess
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys was my first introduction to Greek mythology when I was a child. Its protagonist, Hercules (Kevin Sorbo), goes on adventures with his sidekick Iolaus (Michael Hurst) to fight evildoers and mythical creatures. Hercules is constantly hounded by the goddess Hera, who despises him for being born as a result of her husband Zeus’ infidelity with a human. Xena (Lucy Lawless) was a minor character in the show who garnered so much attention that she ended up with a spin-off show, Xena: Warrior Princess.
As the title suggested, Xena was a “warrior princess” who tried to atone for her past sins of killing innocent people by aiding those in need. She had her own sidekick, Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor), who traveled with her. The series became popular in the ’90s, no doubt due to Xena’s role as a strong female character.
Since Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess took place in the same universe, many recurring characters crossed over both TV shows. One such character was Ares (Kevin Smith), the Greek God of War. Another was “Joxer the Mighty” (Ted Raimi), a silly and clumsy character who was a source of comedy in both shows. To this day, I still remember remember the tune and first few lines of Joxer’s song, “The Ballad of Joxer the Mighty.” While he traveled, he would occasionally sing: “Joxer the Mighty- he roams through the countryside. He never needs a place to hide…”
Of course, these are only a few examples of television shows from the 1990s that are available on Netflix. There are other gems in the catalog, such as The X-Files and Pokemon: Indigo League.
Are any of your favorite ’90s TV shows on Netflix? Which ones would you recommend watching? Let us know in the comments below!