If there has ever been a time to capitalize on nostalgia, it is now. For the last several years, and continuing today, it seems anybody with skin in the game is trying to re-monetize successful properties. We have already seen continuations of popular TV shows such as Boy Meets World (with Girl Meets World), Full House (Fuller House), and the X-Files. But that’s not all. Pokémon Go is currently sweeping the nation, as some of the same people (and far more) that used to play the old Gameboy games, are now walking into walls (and worse) searching for their favorite pokémon.
We will soon be treated to a continuation of Twin Peaks, a Power Rangers feature film, and a rebooted Baywatch film. This past weekend, the Paul Feig helmed, and Melissa McCarthy starring, Ghostbusters hit theaters. We will also see McCarthy soon on Netflix’s revival of the 1990s cult classic, Gilmore Girls. And capitalizing on cult (or just former hit) properties is nothing new for the streaming giant. Netflix has already delivered a fourth season of Arrested Development and the return of the Tanners in Fuller House. This trend towards nostalgia got us thinking. What other great TV shows could Netflix successfully continue (because, you know, they need help coming up with great ideas)?
It turns out (surprising nobody) that the 1990s was a great time to be a television show. So many classics are still reaching millions through syndication, and generating new fans through streaming services. We decided to survey some of the best shows from the 90s, and help Netflix decide which ones to pick up. To avoid any confusion, we are not ranking the best shows from the ’90s (for instance, Seinfeld is not on this list). Rather, we are listing shows that we believe have room to be continued in a way that makes relative sense – essentially in the same way as Fuller House. The goal would be not only to reach new fans, but target the same demographics as the original series.
So, put down Pokémon Go for a few minutes (or at least don’t waste an incense) and check out these 15 90s TV Shows That Deserve A Netflix Revival!
15. Boy Meets World
Let’s get this one out of the way first. No, we did not forget about Girl Meets World. And this is not a knock on the quality of Girl Meets World, or the format in which they continued the popular TGIF show. But we are looking for continuations that not only stick with the spirit of the ’90s series, but also continue to target the same loyal fans of the original. Surely, many fans of Boy Meets World tuned into the Disney Channel for the series premier of Girl Meets World. Who didn’t want to see what was going on with Corey and Topanga (and Feeeeny!)? But Girl Meets World was not meant for us – those that grew up on Boy Meets World. It was meant for a younger generation.
In reality, Boy Meets World would be a perfect candidate to continue on Netflix. Much like Full House, millions of fans grew up on the show, and evolved with the characters. Storylines were able to mature not just while the characters aged, but the audience as well. In a way, Girl Meets World has just started over – but that doesn’t really help any fans of the original, other than the Benjamin Buttons. What we want to see is a mature storyline – much like the last few season of Boy Meets World. Maybe Topanga and Corey’s relationship is tested. Maybe the show could be more of a spinoff and just follow Mr. Feeney (though William Daniels is getting up there in age) teaching a new set of kids. Maybe it could just follow Shaun (who was always a darker character).
While it is unlikely to happen, Boy Meets World was a staple of many of our childhoods, and it would be awesome to see Netflix give it a proper continuation.
14. 7th Heaven
When Netflix decided to revive the Gilmore Girls, it opened up the possibility for other shows from The WB (now The CW) to be continued. And arguably, no show from The WB was more popular than 7th Heaven. Eight out of the show’s ten seasons on The WB, 7th Heaven was the network’s highest rated series. The show aired eleven seasons in total (one on The CW), no small feat for a televisions series.
The big question? How would 7th Heaven be continued? There are a few issues here. The show’s main star was arguably Stephen Collins. Collins played the Camden family patriarch, Reverend Eric Camden. In 2014, Collins was investigated for alleged sexual abuse, and has seldom worked since. It is unlikely that Netflix (or any network for that matter) would want to recast Collins as the morally conscious Reverend.
The best way for 7th Heaven to be rebooted is to focus on the Camden children. Perhaps the show could follow Matt Camden (played by Barry Watson) as he raises his children. Another scenario would be to focus on Lucy Camden (played by Beverly Mitchell) as she works as a minister while raising her children. No matter what the story, when you discuss shows from the 90s, 7th Heaven deserves to be in the conversation.
13. Keenan & Kel
Many of you probably spent considerable time in front of the TV as a youth (and if you’re reading this, you likely still do). More likely than not, Nickelodeon was one of the many channels you watched. Nick presented great options for young teens, such as All That, The Amanda Show, and Salute Your Shorts (and so much more). In fact, we probably could do an entire list on Nickelodeon shows that should be revived. But rather than flood this list with our favorite Nick series, we chose one of the most popular – Keenan & Kel.
Keenan & Kel starred none other than Keenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live) and Kel Mitchell (well, Keenan & Kel). The duo originally appeared together on All That where they created some of the show’s more popular skits, like Good Burger. Keenan & Kel was not a variety show, but a show about two friends who live in Chicago. The series was noted for always opening and closing with the two stars breaking the fourth wall. Kel was especially known for his many catchphrases, such as, “Aww, here it goes!” and his love of orange soda.
For a long time, it seemed like we would never get a reunion between Keenan and Kel. Keenan is currently starring on Saturday Night Live (a show Kel tried out but was not chosen for), and Kel is featured on Nickelodeon’s Game Shakers. Last year, the duo did reunite with Jimmy Fallon for a Good Burger skit, and their chemistry was on full display. The premise for Keenan & Kel would be simple. The two friends would still be mischievous, just older, and no more mature.
12. Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Last year it was announced that a Xena: Warrior Princess reboot was in the works. Xena: Warrior Princess is arguably one of the most popular first-run syndicated shows of all time. Lucy Lawless, who played Xena, has developed an enormous cult following, and the character herself enjoys a strong legacy in the LGBT community. But without Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, there would likely be no Xena: Warrior Princess. The Sam Raimi produced Hercules, was preceded by several made-for-TV movies, and aired for six seasons. It was on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys that Lucy Lawless first appeared as Xena (though in a villainous role).
Hercules starred Kevin Sorbo as the eponymous character, and Michael Hurst as his friend, Iolaus. The show usually revolved around the duo saving villagers from monsters or the wrath of the gods, and often included comedic action sequences. Hercules’ main antagonist was his stepmother, Hera, but he also faced threats from human warlords, and other gods, like Ares.
Much like Lucy Lawless, Kevin Sorbo has remained in pretty good shape, and even though it seems Lawless will not return as Xena, Sorbo could very well play an aged Hercules. Characters who are nearing the end of their heroism are often popular. For example, we saw an aged Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Returns, and more recently in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Perhaps a series revolving around a weathered Hercules, maybe one that is disillusioned with his role as a hero, could be compelling and complex. Even if Netflix did not want to revive Hercules: The Legendary Journeys as a show, we think the Greek demigod has at least one campy movie left in him.
11. Walker, Texas Ranger
Let’s get this one out of the way, because we haven’t fully decided whether this is a joke or not. Despite Walker, Texas Ranger never being intended as a comedy, the show has a relatively strong comedic following, largely due to Conan O’Brien’s use of the “Walker, Texas Ranger Lever” (if you do not know what that is, definitely google it).
Walker, Texas Ranger starred Chuck Norris as Texas Ranger Sgt. Cordell Walker, a Vietnam War vet, and accomplished martial arts expert (because that’s what Texas Rangers are). And honestly, the whole point of bringing back Walker, Texas Ranger is to bring back Chuck Norris. Norris (and his glorious beard) has become somewhat of an internet phenomenon with the many fan created “Chuck Norris Facts” memes. Some of these facts even got Norris’s attention, such as one that blames Chuck Norris not appearing on Mount Rushmore on there not being enough granite for his beard.
It is unlikely that Netflix (or any network/service) could seriously revive Walker, Texas Ranger. It essentially would only work as a caricature of itself. But would you not watch that?
10. Home Improvement
Home Improvement, starring Tim Allen, aired for eight seasons on ABC, finishing in the top ten with viewers each and every season. The series finale of Home Improvement was watched by over 35 million people, making it the twelfth most watched series finale ever. The show went on to be nominated for several Emmy Awards, and Tim Allen took home a Best Actor award at the Golden Globes. With that kind of sustained popularity, Netflix should take a serious look at a Home Improvement revival.
Home Improvement launched the acting careers of both Tim Allen (who starred as Tim Taylor) and Pamela Anderson (who recurred as Tim’s foxy “Tool Girl”, Lisa). The show focused on the family and professional life of Tim Taylor, the family patriarch and accident prone tool enthusiast. Each episode featured the show within a show “Tool Time”, where Tim Taylor and Al Borland (played by Richard Karn) show viewers how to use various tools. Of course, Tim often uses them in dangerous and inappropriate ways.
While Tim Allen was clearly the star of the show, a Home Improvement revival could be used to reintroduce fans to the Taylor children, Brad (played by Zachary Ty Bryan), Randy (played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas), and Mark (Played by Taran Noah Smith). While Tarn Noah Smith no longer acts, Zachary Ty Bryan and Jonathan Taylor Thomas occasionally reappear (the latter guested on Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing). No better way to get back in the game than by riding the coattails of nostalgia.
9. Sister, Sister
Sister, Sister aired for six seasons on ABC and The WB, and starred real life twins, Tia and Tamara Mowry. The premise was very similar to that of the Parent Trap. Tia and Tamara were two twins, adopted at birth by two separate families. Following a chance encounter at a department store, their families move in together, so the twins can stay united. The show also starred Jackée Harry as Lisa Landry (Tia’s adoptive mother) and Tim Reid as Ray Campbell (Tamara’s adoptive father).
Tia and Tamara, despite their appearance, were drastically different. Tia was portrayed as responsible and book smart, while Tamara was impulsive and out for fun. Ironically, Lisa’s personality aligned more with Tamara, while Ray, a responsible businessman, had more in common with Tia.
Both Tia and Tamara Mowry have stayed relatively active since Sister, Sister went off the air. Tia most recently starred in the Nick at Nite sitcom, Instant Mom, while Tamara can be seen on the syndicated talk show, The Real. A Sister, Sister continuation could feature the twins in their professional lives, likely in a big metropolitan city. Perhaps they become fashion icons (maybe that’s been done by twins before).
8. Are You Afraid Of The Dark?
OK, we lied, there was more than one Nick show on this list – but this is the last one. Are You Afraid of the Dark? was a horror anthology series that aired on Nickelodeon for seven seasons. The Canadian series revolved around the tales of “The Midnight Society” who would tell spooky stories around a campfire. The series would include monsters, ghosts, and other paranormal creatures, usually located in some desolate woodland.
This happens to be one of the few shows on the list whose continuation likely would not target fans of the original show, but rather the same age group that enjoyed the series. Why? Because while the themes in Are You Afraid of the Dark? were often mature, they were ultimately meant for a teen audience. Make it too dark, or too mature, and you lose the essence of the show.
Still, Are You Afraid of the Dark? maintains a solid fan base, and is looked at favorably, along with many of the 90s shows on Nick. There is little doubt that many would tune in to see what Netflix could do with campfire horror stories.
7. Sabrina, The Teenage Witch
There was arguably no teen witch more popular in the 90s than Sabrina (it is a bit of a niche description). Sabrina, The Teenage Witch starred Melissa Joan Hart as the eponymous witch, and focused on her maturation as she learned how to use her gifts. The show aired for seven seasons on ABC and The WB, and also featured Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick as Sabrina’s aunts, Hilda and Zelda Spellman.
Like other shows on this list, the series matured with the title character, and as Sabrina moved from high school, to college, and later a career, the themes aged with her. In addition to exploring Sabrina’s maturation as a witch, a significant theme in the show was her love life. Sabrina went through several boyfriends during the series’ seven season run, but none was more prominent than Harvey Kinkle (played by Nate Richert).
An easy way for Netflix to continue Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, would be to continue to follow Sabrina and Harvey, but perhaps place equal attention on their children. Maybe they have two children, one turns out to be a witch while the other does not – taking sibling rivalry to a whole new level.
6. Family Matters
It is hard to have a discussion regarding ’90s television shows without also mentioning Family Matters. The show was a staple for eight seasons on ABC’s TGIF lineup (it aired its ninth and final season on CBS), and focused on the Winslow family, though later became a show about their annoying neighbor. The Winslow’s consisted of police officer, Carl Winslow (played by Reginald VelJohnson), his wife Harriet Baines-Winslow (played by Joe Marie Payton), and their three children.
The Winslow’s annoying neighbor, Steve Urkle (played by Jaleel White), was introduced midway through the first season and immediately became a fan favorite. So much so, that the show entirely switched its focus, having later plots revolve heavily around Urkle and his antics.
Any revival of Family Matters would have to heavily feature Steve Urkle. After all, that is what the show became about. Maybe we get to see what Laura Winslow and Steve Urkle have been up to all these years.
Technically, Roseanne premiered in the late 80s, but most of its run occurred in the 90s, so we’re counting it. The show revolved around Roseanne Conner (played by Roseanne Barr), her husband Dan Conner (played by John Goodman), and their three children; Becky (played by Lecy Goranson and later Sarah Chalke), Darlene (played by Sara Gilbert) , and D.J (played by Michael Fishman). The series was immediately popular, and spent the first six seasons ranked as one of the top five most viewed shows.
The show was notable for its overweight lead characters, blue-collar living, and Roseanne’s loud and dominant behavior. Unlike many shows on this list, where the natural progression would be to see what is going on with the children, Roseanne needs Roseanne Barr. She cannot be the supporting character, she must be front and center, and on full display. The original series ended on a very strange note, with the reveal that the show was really just a story written by Roseanne. Perhaps there is room to determine what happens to Roseanne after she tells her story. As long as she yells a lot, there should be no problems.
4. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss Whedon, has enjoyed a legacy as a fan favorite. The show, which starred Sarah Michell Gellar as the title character, was consistently one of The WB’s highest rated shows, and arguably was one of the first to feature a strong female lead dealing with her supernatural life.
The series follows Buffy Summers (Gellar) who is chosen by fate as a slayer. She must go to battle against evil, supernatural forces, like vampires. The series also featured Willow Rosenberg (played by Alyson Hannigan) and Xander Harris (played by Nicolas Brendon). The vampire, Angel (portrayed by David Boreanaz) is Buffy’s love interest through the series’ first three seasons, prior to getting his own spin-off, Angel.
Despite ending in 2003 after seven seasons, the Buffy stories have continued through Dark Horse Comic’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Ten. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eleven is scheduled to be released in late 2016. Since the comic continuations are considered to be canon, the most logical place for a Netflix revival to start is where Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eleven leaves off.
3. Saved By The Bell
To be fair, Saved by the Bell is no stranger to revivals, retools, and spin-offs. Saved by the Bell itself was a retool of the late 80s Disney Channel original series, Good Morning, Miss Bliss. And, after its four season run, Saved by the Bell was continued with Saved by the Bell: The College Years and Saved by the Bell: The New Class. Throw in two made for TV movies and a few reunion skits on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and you have a cast that has been working together for a long time.
Saved by the Bell, starring, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Dustin Diamond, Lark Voorhies, Dennis Haskins, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkley, and Mario Lopez, was a relatively lighthearted series following the everyday comedic moments at Bayside High School. The show has remained fresh in many fans minds as its reruns are a mainstay on syndication.
As for how the revival would go, obviously things would have to change a bit. The characters are all way past high school and college life, but the show could evolve into series very similar to Friends – and there are worse shows to imitate.
Speaking of Friends, it would be hard to make any list regarding the 90s without including the most popular group of six friends in television history. Like Seinfeld, Friends is a show that comes up often when fans speculate on reunions or film adaptations of popular series. However, unlike Seinfeld, there are some directions a Friends revival could go, without it just being the same thing as before.
The show aired on NBC for ten seasons, and brought most of their storylines to their natural conclusion, in a finale watched by over 50 million people (a feat that has not been reached by a series since). Ross and Rachel are together, Chandler and Monica move out of their apartment with their adopted newborn twins, Phoebe and Mike are married, and we all know what Joey does (if you don’t, he moved to LA in the disappointing spin-off, Joey).
Since everything was so well finalized in the finale, there is actually (maybe paradoxically) quite a few ways to revive Friends. The series could focus on Monica and Chandler’s life as parents (their kids would be about High School age) with Uncle Ross and Aunt Rachel having a supporting role. Maybe we follow the crazy married life of Pheobe and Mike. It’s unlikely (not that any of this is likely) that another show would feature just Joey. Regardless of the path taken, fans will continue to clamor for a Friends reunion in some shape or form, and Netflix has proven to be a perfect platform for that sort of thing.
1. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Last year, rumors began to swirl that we may be getting a reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It was later noted that the show, being developed by Will Smith, would likely just be similar to The Fresh Prince, but not a full reboot. Well, color us disappointed. Many fans of Will Smith and television alike grew up on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. While there are those out there who disliked the show, you will be more hard-pressed to find them, than those that were fans. The series became the launching pad for Will Smith’s illustrious career, and provided generations of fans a go-to party dance, and one of the most quotable theme songs ever.
The show’s premise was simple. Will Smith (played by Will Smith) moves from the tough streets of Philadelphia to Bel-Air to live with his Aunt, Uncle, and three cousins. Will must adjust to a much different life than he is accustomed, as he goes to prep school, wears a school uniform, and lives in luxury. The series featured a great ensemble that included, the late James Avery (playing Uncle Phillip “Phil” Banks), Alfonso Ribeiro (as the Tom Jones singing, Carlton Banks), Karyn Parsons (as the ditsy Hilary Banks), Tatyana M. Ali (as Ashley Banks), and Joseph Marcell (as Geoffrey the butler). Will’s Aunt Vivian was played for three seasons each, by Janet Hubert-Whitten and then Daphne Maxwell Reid.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is another show that concluded many storylines. But with Hilary and Ashely moving to New York, Carlton going to Princeton, and little Nicky moving back east with his parents, there is plenty to build on.
Proposed Title: The Fresh Prince
The ’90s was an awesome time to be a television fan. With networks and streaming companies beginning to cash in on established series, what shows would you like to see receive a revival or continuation? Let us know in the comments!