As a 90’s baby, one could argue that I’m not even qualified to write an article on throwback television. However, I have spent a lot of time watching television, and, even more embarrassingly, a lot of time watching television with my parents. And therefore, I feel qualified to present to you with a list of what I deem the eight best throwback TV shows that you should watch instead of zoning out in front of a marathon of NCIS. They’re just as good, and you’ll feel a lot less creepy watching them.
1) Friends (1994-2004)
I could list reasons why Friends is amazing all day, but I’ll limit it to just a few. First of all, every characters manages to be likeable and relatable, without being too cliché. Sure, Phoebe and Joey are a little out there, but still manage to remind us of someone in our lives. Which brings me to my second reason why Friends is so great: you get to play the game in which you decide who in your group of friends is each character. You can spend hours doing this, especially because everyone always fights over Chandler. And finally, the Ross and Rachel storyline is everything a sitcom romance should be (Although, of course, the best TV sitcom romance is Jim and Pam from The Office). Many TV romances that are that drawn out end up dragging the show down, but through all the obstacles (remember the time Ross forgot to tell Rachel they were still married?), you never quit rooting for them.
2) The West Wing (1999-2006)
The West Wing is the greatest TV political drama ever. Don’t get me wrong, I like Scandal, and House of Cards is fine, but if you want to watch a witty, funny and touching drama that will restore at least some semblance of faith in the United States Government, then go watch The West Wing. Also, it has the ridiculously good-looking Rob Lowe.
3) The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
Bill Cosby playing Cliff Huxtable is definitely in the running for being the greatest TV Dad of all time. The Cosby Show strikes a difficult balance between being funny and sweet without being too sappy or obvious. The show broke down cultural barriers in portraying an African-American family as well educated and financially successful. My favorite scenes are any ones where Ruby’s sassy, which is just about all of them.
4) Seinfeld (1989-1998)
Seinfeld’s genius is that it manages to be a fantastic show that completely lacks any real point or story. Instead, each episode is like one very long, very funny SNL skit. The great thing about Seinfeld is that because there’s no over-arching theme or storyline, there’s no need to worry about missing or skipping episodes, or not finishing the whole season or series. Instead, just enjoy it for what it is—
which is hilarious.
5) Sex and the City (1998-2004)
In case anyone had doubts, Sex and the City proved that a TV show revolving around just women can be really, really funny. There’s something incredibly empowering about SATC. It makes you feel more independent and self-assured. If Carrie can survive a post-it break up, surely I can make it through my Friday schedule. There are also lots of great nuggets of personal and relationship advice, sprinkled throughout the show. And, like Friends, one of the benefits of SATC is that you get to play the “Which character are you game?”—although I warn you that everyone will say that they’re a Carrie.
6) Boy Meets World (1993-2000)
There are people who would say Boy Meets World is dorky and sappy. I would say those people are right, but that they should be quiet and watch it anyway. If you’re ever looking for a wholesome sitcom with an overly drawn out but still engrossing teen romance, then check out Boy Meets World.
7) Law and Order (1990-2010)
The fact that Law and Order was on for 20 years, and generated so many successful spin-offs should speak for itself, but in case it doesn’t, I’ll convince you to watch it. Like many other crime shows, Law and Order is perfect for rainy days when you just want to curl up and zone out in front of a marathon. There’s something so great about being able to figure out the perp before the detectives do. By the time you’ve watched a few episodes, you’re pretty sure you have what it takes to be a detective too. Bonus points if you can keep track of all the different detectives and DA’s.
8) Seventh Heaven (1996-2007)
Seventh Heaven is about the Camden family, who, as far as I can tell, fell off of a Hallmark card and into their own television show. There’s something so nice about watching a show that gets tied up neatly at the end of each episode, with a moral on top. It’s like the Aesop’s Fables of TV shows, if you will.
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