10 Sitcoms From the 90s I Still Enjoy

Thursday, January 20, 2022

As my family recovers from the virus that's been making news for the past two years, please excuse the lack of recent articles.  Enjoy this list-style post while I put more effort into my next full-length feature.  

Thank you!

The 1990s was a decade filled with outstanding television programs, including many classics in the sitcom genre.  I've waxed poetic several times on this site about my love for the folksy and occasionally cliched type of television programming.  These days, I would gladly watch a rerun of a sitcom I've seen hundreds of times before than most new shows broadcast today.

Out of the sitcoms that made it to air during the 90s, only a handful of them made it past the first season, let alone into all-time fan favorites.  These sitcoms in the 90s, often geared towards children or families, would endear viewers with funny, emotional, and sometimes educational storylines.  Sometimes the family-friendly series would try to teach us important life lessons.  The series that were meant to entertain adults and teens would do just that; entertain us as we followed along with our favorite characters by peeking into their wacky, crazy everyday life.


Most modern television just doesn't suit me, and I often seek out old programming from my childhood.  As I type this, I'm in a hotel room with the television on in the background.  Playing is an episode of a sitcom I've seen maybe 15 times. 

It's safe and comforting in its familiarity.  It doesn't require any attention, and I can do other things while watching.  It brings back memories of times gone by.

It's television's comfort food.

Join me as I look back on the Top 10 Sitcoms from the 90s that I Still Enjoy watching.  


10.  Married... with Children


Married... with Children ran for ten years, from 1987 to 1997 on Fox.  With 259 episodes over 11 seasons, it has the honor of being the longest-running live-action sitcom in the network's history.  Along with The Simpsons, "Married" is responsible for putting the (at-the-time) fledgling Fox network on the map.  

The series follows the suburban Chicago lives of the Bundy family, Al and Peg, and their two kids, Kelly and Bud.  Their neighbors Steve and Marcy are the foil for much of the early seasons.  Later, Marcy remarries Jefferson, a "trophy husband" who becomes Al's sidekick.

The bulk of the show revolves around patriarch Al (Ed O'Neill) and the "Bundy Curse" that turned him from a high school football star with a promising future to a down-on-his-luck shoe salesman.  His schemes are usually ruined through his own dim wit, lousy luck, and meddling wife Peg (Katey Sagal).  Christina Applegate rose to fame through her portrayal of daughter Kelly, the stereotypical dumb blonde.  

There was no way I was allowed to watch this show growing up.  My older brother would have the reruns on during the daytime during my high school years, and I found it quite funny.  Turns out many years later, I found out my wife is a big fan of this series, and as a very little girl, about 7 or 8 years old, would watch the show when it aired live Sunday nights before bed!

As of this writing, you can watch Married... with Children on Logo or with your Hulu Premium or Peacock streaming subscriptions.

9.  Boy Meets World 


Boy Meets World was one of the few hit sitcoms during the 90s that was targeted strictly at children.  Having aired as part of the TGIF lineup on ABC, Boy Meets World ran from September 1993 to May 2000.

Following the life of young Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) and his best friend Shawn Hunter (Ryder Strong) as they grew, matured, and dealt with the typical teenage life.  His on-and-off girlfriend, and eventually his wife, Topanga Lawrence (Danielle Fishell), was a central focus throughout the series, as was Cory's neighbor/teacher/principal/college dean George Feeney (William Daniels).

This series was similar to my generation's version of The Wonder Years.  It mixed teenage comedy with the occasional serious episode, with topics that ranged from girlfriends, fistfights, underage drinking, and even death.  Plus, it had that one really great episode where Vader and the WWF came to town while Cory tried to be in two places at once.  In my humble opinion, the show went a season too long but certainly is worth my time when I can watch it for the nostalgia blast of memories that flood back from that time in my life.  

Boy Meets World was rebooted on The Disney Channel from 2014 to 2017 as "Girl Meets World," where Cory and Topanga's daughter becomes the central character.

As of this writing, you can watch Boy Meets World on the Disney Plus streaming service or through Amazon Prime (for purchase).  It is not currently airing on free TV.

8.  Roseanne


Roseanne was a family-oriented yet adult-skewing comedy that ran on ABC from 1988 to 1997 for 222 episodes.  In 2016, the show was briefly revived with 9 new episodes before being canceled.  It was reborn "The Conners," without the star of the show, Roseanne herself.

The series focused on a fictional blue-collar, working-class family in the fictional suburban town of Langford, Illinois.  The show, and its namesake star Roseanne, was heavily praised for their realistic portrayal of a working-class family in early 90s America.  Roseanne, both the series and the human being, also received immense praise and adulation for being progressive, groundbreaking, and not being afraid to push the boundaries of social norms.

Much like Married... with Children, this was not a show I watched as a child.  During college, I lived in a singles dorm.  That's a building with rooms for one person, not a dorm for the date-less.  While my friends all had roommates, my television was my roommate.  It was never off in my room, day or night.  I had all sorts of shows going for background noise, and Roseanne was one of the few that broke through the noise to quickly became one of my go-to shows from the 90s.

Last year, I profiled the Holidays on Roseanne, which you can click HERE to go back and read.

As of this writing, you can catch Roseanne on CMT and TV Land, or on the Peacock streaming service.

7.  Home Improvement


Home Improvement was a family-oriented comedy that ran on ABC from 1991 to 1999, airing 204 episodes.  Centered around a local celebrity named Tim Taylor (Tim Allen), who hosted a local cable home improvement show called "Tool Time" while trying to raise a family in a modern world.  

It was often light-hearted and funny but occasionally dealt with some serious issues.  Most of the jokes came at the expense of Tim, the majority revolving around Tim and Al Borland's (Richard Karn) basic cable show.  Tim, who thought he was much handier than he really was, was constantly destroying things by adding "more power!" Laughs were also provided by the whole family and Tim's wise neighbor, Wilson (Earl Hindman).  Wilson never showed his whole face on the show, and it was always fun to see how they'd block the camera from letting the audience get a complete look.

Home Improvement was one of the shows my family all watched together.  My parents were pretty strict about television content back then, so "Home Improvement" was wholesome family entertainment that we were allowed to watch.  If we weren't going to be home, my Dad spent the approximately 37 minutes required to set the VCR to record before leaving the house to make sure we had it taped when we got home.  When I catch it on tv these days, it brings back fond memories of my family all together watching tv.

Please give my profiles on the Holidays on Home Improvement from 2020 a look, if you haven't yet.

As of this writing, you can only find Home Improvement in syndication or on Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, or Amazon Prime for purchase per episode.

6.  Wings 


Wings was a sitcom on NBC that ran from April 1990 to May 1997, that followed Joe (Tim Daly) and Brian (Steven Weber) Hackett and their one-airplane airline, Sandpiper Air.   Flying out of the fictional "Tom Nevers Field" on the island of Nantucket, they interact with childhood best friend and eventually Joe's love interest, Helen (Crystal Bernard), who runs the lunch counter at the airport.  Meanwhile, they contend with Roy Biggins (David Schramm) who runs the competing airline across the terminal, AeroMass.  

Taxi driver Antonio was a breakthrough role for Tony Shalhoub, who went on to play Monk and several other starring roles.  Thomas Haden Church also appears as the dumb-but-loveable mechanic Lowell in the first six seasons.

Wings was created and produced by the team that created Cheers, and therefor the show exists in the same fictional universe as Cheers and Frasier.  Characters from those series would occasionally make special guest appearances on Wings.  

As a pilot, always filled with an entrepreneurial spirit, I genuinely enjoy the story of Joe Hackett starting his own airline and taking on the "big guys." I fly into Nantucket a lot at my current job and frequently see the airline Sandpiper Air was modeled after.  The plane used for filming the opening sequence still flies for that airline today and occasionally, I'll see it out there.   

As of this writing, Wings only appears in syndication on regional networks.  You can stream it on demand through subscriptions to Hulu or Paramount Plus. 

5.  Everybody Loves Raymond


Most people's worst nightmare would be to live with or next-door to their in-laws, which is precisely the scenario in Everybody Loves Raymond.  Raymond (Ray Romano) is a sportswriter for a major New York newspaper and lives with his wife (Patricia Heaton) and their three kids on Long Island.

The problem?  His very intrusive parents live directly across the street.  Airing on CBS for 9 seasons and 210 episodes from 1995 to 2005, the show was loaded with a cast of talent.  Character actor greats Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts played Frank and Marie Barone, Ray's parents.  The show was a strong success, critical and audience-wise, with a whopping 69 nominations (and 15 wins) for Emmy Awards. 

There were very few shows in my family growing up that everyone agreed on.  Even my Grandparents would enjoy watching "Raymond," and there are several instances I can remember them bringing up scenes or lines from the latest episode.  My wife's family also loved the show back then, and the two of us constantly reference the show with lines like "More fruit??" from the Fruit of the Month club episode.  My personal favorite is Marie's "RIGHT HERE!" when she shoves everyone out of the way to hug Raymond when he's feeling blue and doesn't know where he fits in.   

Living on Long Island, I enjoy the humor of Ray Romano a little bit more than I used to.  It's somewhat on the "if you know, you know" basis.  The show is funny in its own right, but there are moments made even funnier living here and understanding the people and culture Ray grew up with.  My wife is a Long Island native, and I'm just a transplant... but I've lived here 20 years at this point, so it's become home.  I feel like 20 years is enough to now appreciate the humor from an adult perspective of the "Long Island family man." 

As of this writing, you can find Everybody Loves Raymond on IFC and TV Land.  You can also stream it on demand through subscriptions to Peacock, or purchase individual episodes through Google, Amazon Prime, or Vudu.

4.  Full House 


With the recent passing of everyone's TV dad Bob Saget, this one is bittersweet to write about.  Television in the 90s didn't come more wholesome than Full House.  The show centers on the recently widowed Danny Tanner (Bob Saget), who enlists the help of his two best friends in raising his three daughters.  The cool "Uncle Jessie" is played by John Stamos and the wacky comedic "Uncle Joey" is played by Dave Coulier.  The three daughters on the show, played by Candace Cameron-Bure, Jodie Sweetin, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, all grew into Hollywood stars in their own right.

Full House ran from 1987 to 1995 for 192 episodes.  It was never beloved by critics but always maintained steady ratings and has since become a cult fan favorite.   The show may be known for childish comedy and family squabbles, but it also aired special episodes dealing with such serious things as drunk driving, eating disorders, and the loss of a loved one. 

The cast on this show was extremely talented and the chemistry between them allowed their off-air friendships to shine through on the show.  Through syndication and reruns, Full House has only become a more significant, popular series than it ever was during the 90s.  

In 2016, Netflix created a spinoff titled Fuller House centered around DJ (Cameron-Bure) and her three children living in a situation similar to the original series.  Fuller House ran for 5 seasons and 75 episodes.  

I remember watching the final episode of Full House in 1995 while my family was on vacation in Maine.  I had always enjoyed the show, especially the Disney episodes (which you can read about here) but I remember it struck me that the show was over and there wouldn't be any new episodes on Friday nights like I was used to.  I've always been fairly sentinemtal, and tv finales always strike me as this bittersweet moment.  My wife and I will happily watch Full House when we catch it on television as it reminds us both of a seemingly simpler and happier time in the 1990s.

As of this writing, you can catch Full House in syndication on networks like MeTV.  You can watch the entire series on demand through a subscription to streaming service HBO Max.  Also, the series is available for purchase individual episodes through Google, Amazon, or Apple.

3.  Saved by the Bell


Saved by the Bell targeted an audience of young people, especially teenagers and preteens, and always seemed to have funny moments in each episode.  Like most of the other youth-focused shows, Saved by the Bell focused on more mature issues in a subtle child-appropriate way like homelessness, drug use, and death.  

Saved By the Bell ran from 1987 to 1994 through several iterations and mostly the same cast.  Starting out as Good Morning, Miss Bliss, the show "moved" from the midwest to California and became Saved by the Bell.  Once the core group of kids graduated high school, Saved by the Bell:  The College Years aired for two seasons, before culminating in a two-episode made for TV movie called SBTB:  Wedding in Las Vegas.  

Another successful spinoff, The New Class, ran for 7 seasons in the late 90s.  The show was rebooted by NBC's streaming platform in 2020 and features many of the original cast of characters, now adults working in and around Bayside High with a new crop of students.

I grew up watching Saved by the Bell reruns before and after school in the early 90s.  One of my first marathon memories (go back and check out the last article) was a Saved by the Bell mini-marathon a Friday evening.  When I was in probably 4th grade, I remember staying up "late" and watching as many episodes as I could before falling asleep around 11pm.  I have a previous article about this show that I'm pretty proud of, which you can view by clicking HERE.

As of this writing, you can catch Saved by the Bell on IFC or syndicated network MeTV.  You can watch the episodes online with a subscription to Peacock, Hulu, or Netflix streaming platforms.  

2.  Frasier


Often called the "Greatest Spinoff Of All-Time," Frasier is still one of the funniest sitcoms on television.  Thanks to Kelsey Grammer and the rest of the amazing cast's performances, this show still brings laughter out of me even after the fifth or tenth viewing.  

First introduced in 1984 during the third season of the hit sitcom Cheers, the character Frasier Crane appeared on television until 2004 when Frasier signed off with its final episode.  Grammar, who portrayed Frasier for 20 years, earned Emmy nominations for Supporting Actor on Cheers and Wings and won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor for the titular role on Frasier.  In addition, the show itself won a total of 37 Emmy Awards.

For this spinoff of Cheers, Frasier has moved back to Seattle to host a call-in talk radio show.  Back on the West Coast, he reconnected with his brother Niles (David Hyde Pierce) and his polar opposite father, Martin (John Mahoney).  Martin, the stubborn but down-to-earth father, was often at odds with his two pretentious high society sons, Frasier and Niles.  When he's shot on duty as a policeman and forced to retire, Martin moves in with Frasier, leading to hilarious misunderstandings and culture shock.  Martin's live in nurse Daphne (Jane Leeves) and Frasier's radio show producer Roz Doyle (Peri Gilpin) rounded out the cast.

Frasier is one of the few shows I can remember my Mom laughing along to.  It's not that my Mom isn't funny or ever laughs; actually, quite the opposite.  But unless someone is falling down and getting hurt like on America's Funniest Home Videos, it takes a lot for a tv show to make Mom laugh out loud.  I always knew when something was really amusing when she'd crack up. 

In particular, there was one episode where Frasier, Niles, and Martin are in a not-so-nice part of town, and Niles and Frasier start to panic.  Niles pre-dials 9-1-1 on his phone and is just waiting to hit send should the moment arise.  I can still picture that evening, watching both of my parents double over in laughter seated in their two easy chairs.

As of this writing, you can catch Frasier on The Hallmark Channel or in syndication on channels like Cozi or with a subscription to streaming services Paramount Plus, Peacock, or Hulu.  

1.  Seinfeld


Does Seinfeld even need an introduction?  The pop-culture phenomenon was unprecedented and will likely never be replicated.  

The 'fab four' came into our lives in 1989 and would stay on the air for 9 seasons before bowing out in 1998, but not before turning comedy and television on its head.  Based on the lives of comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, the "show about nothing" became a show that people just couldn't turn off.  

The show was not well-received initially and was almost canceled.  However, it would go on to dominate ratings and become a sensation for the next decade.  Consistently nominated for all sorts of awards, it's easily one of the most quoted and popular shows on television to this day.  

Growing up, I'd only watch Seinfeld occasionally, but when I was in the 8th grade, the final season was a big deal to many people.  My best friend Chris was a big Seinfeld fan who convinced me that it was important I watch, so I did.  After the last season and the disappointing finale, I became a pretty regular viewer of reruns when I'd come across them on TV.  During college, it was a late-night staple and a frequent conversation topic amongst friends about how a situation was "just like that Seinfeld episode..."  

When I was furloughed from my first airline and working for the second "outfit," I spent many nights on the couch in my wife's (then girlfriend) parent's basement.  The TV down there kept me company at night while I tossed and turned on that lumpy sofa in the cold dark basement, and many nights I'd catch several episodes of late-night reruns before falling asleep.  

In 2020, I wrote about my Top 10 Seinfeld episodes.  If you're a fan of Seinfeld, I'd appreciate it if you would click the following links and check them out.  You can read Part One HERE and Part Two HERE.

As of writing, Seinfeld can be found in syndication around the United States and on Comedy Central.  It's also on streaming service Netflix or on a per-episode basis from Vudu, Google, Amazon, or Apple. 

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