I did not grow up in the ‘80s and perhaps was too young to understand English in my growing days. It was only when I was in junior college that I got introduced to ‘foreign’ content, especially TV shows and what followed was an unhealthy amount of content consumption. Be it Friends or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I watched everything I could get my hands on. I can give up everything in order to experience these shows again in life but knowing that is not a possibility, I can at least recommend them to you. Here are some of the best TV shows from the ‘80s and ‘90s you can binge-watch right now –
1. THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR (1990-1996)
“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” is a timeless classic that brought the infectious charm and comedic genius of Will Smith into our living rooms. The show’s premise of a streetsmart teenager, Will, moving from a tough Philadelphia neighbourhood to live with his affluent aunt and uncle in BelAir, provided endless humour and heartwarming moments. With memorable characters like the lovable butler Geoffrey and the preppy Carlton, the show was a masterclass in blending comedy with social commentary. It addressed issues of race, class, and family dynamics, making it as relevant today as it was in the ‘90s. Will Smith’s charisma and comedic timing remain a highlight, making this show an enduring favourite. Too bad the reputation of our Fresh Price Will Smith has now been tainted by the infamous Oscar incident and the tumultuous relationship with his wife but the show remains amazing nonetheless.
2. FRIENDS (1994-2004)
RIP Matthew Perry! “Friends” is the epitome of a show that has stood the test of time. This beloved sitcom about a group of friends living in New York City has been a cultural touchstone for multiple generations. With its relatable characters, witty humour, and exploration of the ups and downs of adult friendships and relationships, “Friends” continues to be a bingewatching favourite on streaming platforms. The show’s themes of love, loyalty, and the search for one’s identity are universal and continue to resonate with viewers today. Its iconic catchphrases, such as “How you doin’?” and “We were on a break,” are still part of our everyday lexicon.
3. THE X-FILES (1993-2002, 2016-2018)
“The X-Files” was a groundbreaking series that blended science fiction, horror, and paranormal investigations. The show’s core duo, FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, had a dynamic that was both intellectually stimulating and emotionally compelling. Their pursuit of unexplained phenomena and government conspiracies kept viewers on the edge of their seats, and the show’s “Monster of the Week” episodes allowed for endless creativity and suspense. “The X-Files” showcased a perfect blend of scepticism and belief, exploring themes of trust, the unknown, and the pursuit of truth. Even after its initial run, the show returned for two revival seasons, proving its enduring appeal.
4. THE GOLDEN GIRLS (1985-1992)
“The Golden Girls” is a prime example of a show that transcends time and age. This classic sitcom featured four older women living together in Miami, providing viewers with a refreshing and hilarious perspective on friendship, ageing, and life’s challenges. The show’s witty writing and strong performances from its leading ladies, including Bea Arthur and Betty White, still make it a hit today. Its discussions on important issues such as sexuality, ageing, and relationships were ahead of their time and remain relevant in the 21st century. “The Golden Girls” continues to warm the hearts of audiences young and old, proving that good comedy is truly timeless.
5. THE SIMPSONS (1989-PRESENT)
“The Simpsons” is an animated juggernaut that has been entertaining audiences for over three decades. The satirical show follows the lives of the Simpson family in the fictional town of Springfield and provides incisive commentary on society, politics, and pop culture. With its vast array of memorable characters and clever humour, “The Simpsons” has remained a cultural touchstone, adapting and evolving with the times. It has tackled various societal issues while maintaining its iconic humour and irreverence. The show’s creators have managed to keep it fresh and relevant, making it a beloved staple of television for multiple generations.
HONORARY MENTION: TWO AND A HALF MEN (2003-2015)
While “Two and a Half Men” doesn’t hail from the 1980s or 1990s, it’s worth an honorary mention for its significant impact on television during the 2000s. This popular sitcom, created by Chuck Lorre and Lee Aronsohn, featured the comedic talents of Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and Angus T. Jones. The show’s humour and often risqué content made it a memorable part of the television landscape during its 12-season run. Though it came a bit later, “Two and a Half Men” still holds a special place in the hearts of viewers who fondly remember the comedy of the 2000s. The 1980s and 1990s delivered a treasure trove of television shows that, like fine wine, have aged with grace and continue to captivate audiences. Whether you’re in the mood for heartwarming sitcoms, gripping mysteries, or mind-bending science fiction, these two decades offered a diverse array of timeless classics.