What ‘90s genre shows did I miss?
February 9, 2020 9:20 AM   Subscribe

I love ‘90s tv because episodes tell a complete story but they were starting to experiment with light serialization. I hate modern “pile of shit that happens” tv that you feel compelled to binge through because each episode is unsatisfying on its own.

Shows from the ‘90s I love: X-Files, Buffy, Angel, all the various Star Treks, Stargate. So, what’s out there that I missed?
posted by Automocar to Media & Arts (34 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
ER (seasons 1-6, maybe 7-8)
posted by sallybrown at 9:22 AM on February 9 [9 favorites]

Homicide: Life on the Streets
posted by skewed at 9:24 AM on February 9 [20 favorites]

Babylon 5
posted by BrashTech at 9:25 AM on February 9 [11 favorites]

The first few seasons of Sliders was fun.
posted by cazoo at 9:33 AM on February 9 [14 favorites]

Space: Above & Beyond
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:38 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

posted by chbrooks at 9:43 AM on February 9 [19 favorites]

Stargate had a spinoff, Stargate: Atlantis. (Even) dumber despite a potentially intriguing premise, but with hotter characters, including a young Jason Momoa.

Due South.

Forever Knight.
posted by praemunire at 10:34 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Northern Exposure!
posted by tchemgrrl at 10:35 AM on February 9 [17 favorites]

Millennium. The first season, at least.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:41 AM on February 9 [3 favorites]

Maybe Alien Nation.
posted by jocelmeow at 11:29 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]

Thirty something
Twin Peaks
Party of Five
Saint Elsewhere
posted by waving at 12:05 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]

Fringe is somewhat more on the serialization side, but the individual episodes are still quite good.
posted by Etrigan at 12:05 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]

Xena: Warrior Princess.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:27 PM on February 9 [5 favorites]

NYPD Blue, especially earlier seasons.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:39 PM on February 9 [6 favorites]

Top tier:
Prime Suspect- the Helen Mirren years
News Radio
Sports Night.
Northern Exposure
Homicide: Life on the Streets- the OG and the best.

Mid tier:
Quantum Leap
Doogie Howser MD.
Ally McBeal.
JAG, the original and far superior version of NCIS.
posted by fshgrl at 12:57 PM on February 9 [5 favorites]

posted by hazel79 at 1:08 PM on February 9 [6 favorites]

If you like weird and campy but sometimes kinda afterschool-special-y, Popular (Ryan Murphy's first TV show.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:32 PM on February 9 [4 favorites]

Six Feet Under had two elements to each episode - the individual "Who are the Fishers burying this week?" story, which was self-contained in each episode, then the longer arcs of the characters - don't know if that fits with what you're after?
posted by penguin pie at 2:42 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

My So-Called Life!
posted by toastedcheese at 2:45 PM on February 9 [7 favorites]

Eerie, Indiana was kind of a mystery/horror thing, perhaps an attempt at a teen Twin Peaks. The last few episodes got a bit not-so-good, but the first few were excellent.
posted by scruss at 2:56 PM on February 9 [4 favorites]

I'd argue the second season of Millennium is worth a go if you liked the first season. If I remember correctly, Fox said mid-season the series would end at the end of season 2 instead of letting it do it's five year plan, so Chris Carter crammed the entire rest of the series into half a season. Things happen non-stop. It's like the plot equivalent of drinking Jolt while binge eating Fun Dip. Just, y'know, don't watch past the end of season 2.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:43 PM on February 9

So there was this producer named David E. Kelley. He made good shows, that were good for like a season or two, and then kept being made for many seasons after that.

You’d want to watch seasons 1 and maybe 2 of:
Doogie Howser, MD
Picket Fences
Chicago Hope
The Practice
Ally McBeal
Maybe Boston Public and/or Boston Legal, but now we’re in the 2000’s
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:10 PM on February 9 [4 favorites]

posted by Jubey at 5:08 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]

Gargoyles! My gf at the time was totally into it, it was serialized and had an adultish storyline.

nthing Babylon 5, which is glorious and terrible in equal measure.
posted by Sauce Trough at 5:16 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]

also the wonderful and short-lived Freaks and Geeks.
posted by Sauce Trough at 5:18 PM on February 9 [7 favorites]

Gross Pointe - if it was made today people would be all over it. It's a comedy about the behind the scenes shenanigans of a teen drama.
posted by Constance Mirabella at 6:50 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

The West Wing .. not really sure its what you're after but it *started* in the 90s and was great .. Also I kinda just want to write it here for posterity. Oh - also the 90s "Tales of the City" dramatization was terrific.
posted by elgee at 8:22 PM on February 9 [4 favorites]

Firefly, Due South, Black Books (British). Bones.
It's not old but you probably will like Death in Paradise, and season 1 of Shetland.
posted by Enid Lareg at 9:22 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

This Life, which was just repeated on BBC4.
posted by plep at 5:16 AM on February 10

Long runners (UK) :


The Bill.
posted by plep at 5:27 AM on February 10

Original series of Charmed was fun. Late 90s.
There's Beverly Hills, 90210 which spans the entire 90s
How about Baywatch? This was a guilty pleasure. Started in 89 but ran for eleven years.
posted by vivzan at 5:42 AM on February 10

Strange Luck

It only made it one season, but I liked that season a lot. (Of course I may be looking at it through nostalgia colored glasses)
posted by Tabitha Someday at 7:31 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]

Eureka and Warehouse 13 were shows in the 2000s, but definitely fit your bill.

I'll second Adventures of Brisco County Jr., and tack on Jack of All Trades for some more Bruce Campbell goodness.
posted by explosion at 12:38 PM on February 10

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