The face of television was changing in the 1990s. Diversity was being acknowledged on and off the small screen. So, we saw more and more different types of shows. One format that continued to be popular was the sitcom. We still had the stereotypical family comedies, but things were changing there, too. Not only in terms of the actors being cast, but in terms of the stories and style of humor these shows utilized.
In the nineties alone, there were more sitcoms on the air than we can count. Many didn't make it past one or two seasons, and others lasted much longer. Some rose to fame whereas others never got their dues. So, let's revisit five underrated 90s sitcoms, as well as five that we find more than a little overrated.
10 Underrated: The Critic (1994-1995)
Jay Sherman is one of the most frank film critic around. No matter what, Jay sticks to his guns and is never afraid to say "It stinks" to a bad movie.
After ABC cancelled The Critic, Fox picked it up for only one season. It fared well with viewers, but that wasn't enough to keep this smart, self-aware series on the air. It barely had time to get started, and to this day, fans hope for a revival.
9 Overrated: Family Guy (1999-)
Set in the fictional town of Quahog, Rhode Island, this animated sitcom focuses on the outlandish antics of the Griffin family. It aired on Fox starting in 1999 before it was cancelled after three seasons. Due to the success of its reruns on cable, the show was revived in the mid-2000s. Since then, it's been a a staple of Fox's Sunday line-up.
Family Guy is one of those shows we have all seen and probably chuckled at once upon a time. The type of edgy, purposely offensive humor this cartoon was built upon doesn't always strike a chord today, however.
8 Underrated: Moesha (1996-2001)
Teenager Moesha (Brandy) was the one who kept her family together before her father remarried. Now, Moesha struggles with accepting the changes at home while juggling school and romance.
The fact that Moesha's lead was also a pop star did not help endear it to people. However, Moesha was a welcome alternative for lovers of teen sitcoms. While other shows targeting the same demographic often shied away from real-life problems young people faced, it boldly met them head-on.
7 Overrated: Family Matters (1989-1998)
The Winslows are an affable, middle-class family living in Chicago. Parents Carl and Harriette have three (later two) children. They also have an obnoxious neighbor, Steve Urkel, who pines for the Winslows' oldest daughter, Laura.
Family Matters could be seen as a better version of Full House. It felt more genuine and less saccharine. What dragged the series so far down was ultimately making the character of Steve Urkel so prominent. His catchphrase of "did I do that?" is something that should remain in the past. Not to mention, his Laura storylines could be more than a little uncomfortable.
6 Underrated: Parker Lewis Can't Lose (1990-1993)
Parker Lewis coasts by on his charm, and his utmost priority is staying cool. He and his friends Jerry and Mikey get tangled up in zany schemes, but they are regularly thwarted by the school principal or Parker's little sister Shelly.
Parker Lewis Can't Lose was as surreal and stylish as a sitcom could be back in the early to mid-nineties. Sadly, the series had to cut back on the weirdness in the final season. Nevertheless, Parker Lewis Can't Lose is a self-aware, risible winner of a teen comedy that's like Ferris Bueller's Day Off for the small screen.
5 Overrated: Boy Meets World (1993-2000)
Sixth grader Cory Matthews is finding his place in life, with the help of his best friend Shawn, his true love Topanga, his mentor Mr. Feeny, and his adoring family.
Millennials have fond memories of this sitcom. It's constantly brought up when waxing nostalgic about the nineties. But when we remove the rose-tinted glasses, Cory was an annoying, exhausting protagonist. The way he poorly treated Topanga should also be brought up, too. Nevertheless, fans got themselves a spin-off called Girl Meets World that lasted for three seasons on the Disney Channel.
4 Underrated: Wings (1990-1997)
Joe Hackett owns a single airplane at a dinky airport called Sandpiper Air. His brother Brian returns to Nantucket Island to help Joe with the family business, but he's not met with open arms. After all, Brian did elope with Joe's fiancée. Now, the two brothers make amends while dealing with the quirky residents of the island.
Wings was part of the Cheers universe, but crossovers were not common. This workplace sitcom is not as wholesome as the plot suggests; it's rather odd on occasion. However, it's the perfect, down-home show for anyone who likes colorful characters and slice-of-life laughs.
3 Overrated: Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005)
A successful sports writer and family guy named Raymond "Ray" Barone is often caught up in the feud between his wife and his mother, who lives across the street with Raymond's father.
Everybody Loves Raymond is a critically acclaimed show. It was eventually a huge success for the CBS network, too. That's good and all, and the praise is not totally undeserved. In fact, the actors involved are all talented. But in hindsight, Raymond and his family were all exasperating to watch. We can't even imagine what it would have been like to be part of this tiring, over-dramatic family.
2 Underrated: Living Single (1993-1998)
Three women steer through life in Brooklyn while living in a brownstone apartment. They are regularly visited by their other female friend, a lawyer, and the two long-time male friends living on the floor above them.
Living Single does not get enough credit for establishing the formula that shows like Friends, How I Met Your Mother, and The Big Bang Theory are based on. While Living Single was ground-breaking in several ways, it was also a smart and funny series.
1 Overrated: Friends (1994-2004)
Six friends living in New York City — Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross — experience a series of misadventures after Rachel runs out on her wedding. She moves in with her friend Monica, whose brother Ross has a lifelong crush on Rachel. There's also the eccentric musician Phoebe, sarcastic business man Chandler, and struggling actor Joey. Together, they work through life's hardships while using humor as a coping mechanism.
Despite being off the air since 2004, Friends is one of those shows that will outlive us all. Its constant place in pop culture is almost uncanny. As talented as the cast is, the show's fandom can be a deterrent whenever trying to get acquainted with this overvalued sitcom. It's showing its age for sure, with some distasteful storylines and situations.