Have you recently felt nostalgic about some of the TV shows that you used to watch back in the 90s? There was a special sort of simplicity about the style of such productions – the emphasis was less on special effects, and more on a relaxed, goofy sort of approach, even when tackling some of the more ‘serious’ genres. I expect to make a series out of this article, so today, I decided to focus on action series and thrillers. So, in no particular order, here are some of my highlights from the 90s.
This was the 1990s’ take on vampires, and conveniently finished about 2 years before the next big ‘fighting evil’ series came along – Supernatural. It is centred around Buffy Summers, a high school student who tries leading a normal life, all while also having to balance the responsibility of being “the chosen one” to fight the forces of darkness. Alongside her friends, she forms ‘Team Scooby Gang’, which is completely faithful to the 90s not taking themselves too seriously.
This show was one of the two series that introduced me to Greek mythology, with Xena’s tales being told in a simple, humorous and child-friendly manner. It features the black-haired warrior princess who, alongside her bard friend Gabrielle, finds herself fighting mortals, monsters and even gets involved in the various plans drawn by Olympian gods.
And Hercules was the other show that explored Greek mythology in a very light, corny, and action-packed way, just like Xena. So much like Xena, in fact, that the two protagonists actually met at some point in one of the shows. Again, it’s all about adventure, legendary creatures and angry gods – what’s not to like about that?
Twin Peaks remains one of my favourite TV shows of all time, and despite the release of a third season in 2017, I will stick to the original two seasons for this entry. The great things about David Lynch’s creation is that it sort of combines an almost soap opera sort of plotline with a murder mystery, comedy and draf, supernatural forces. It spanned a cult following, and judging by the success of its follow-up 25 years later, it still has plenty of potential for yet another reboot.
The X-Files ran uninterrupted for a number of years, and was the mainstay source of 90s alien plotlines, government conspiracy theories, and everything in-between. It is centred around FBI special agents Mulder and Scully’s numerous investigations of paranormal cases, some scary, others funny, some believable, others more grounded in the realms of sci-fi. It’s a fun mix, that has simply not been the same upon its two recent reboots.
Although I am cheating a little bit with this one, considering that it first aired in 1989, an overwhelming number of its episodes were released in the 1990s. This is a great dark comedy based on comic strips from the 1950s, and each episode is narrated by the one and only Crypt Keeper. Since this is a 90s show that, by definition, does not take itself too seriously, the ghoul’s narrative is spiced up with gallows humour and frquent puns.
The 74 episodes that this series offered over a 3-year run are based on stories for children, written by R.L. Stine. There are very few recurring characters, and even then they only have a handful of appearances, making the series more in line with productions such as The Twilight Zone. As with any anthology, some of them are good, others are not… although most are better than the two recent feature-length films based on Goosebumps material.
BONUS: Feel free to check this virtual time machine. Users get to choose their birth year and are instantly given a breakdown of the top movies, TV shows and songs that had the biggest impact on their formative years, ages eight to thirteen.