The Top 10 Most Nostalgic ’90s Sitcoms

Not all memorable ’90s shows are the most nostalgic. Some are memorable for a reason, but there are many series that were b-side series. They capture wonderful elements of the 1990s, from music to clothes to popular character types.



Everyone knows Full House, but so many ’90s kids watched shows like My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks but may have forgotten them. Many actors like Jason Segel, Jared Leto, and Claire Danes got their start in these series. They were just the right age to capture their young adult characters’ fashion, friendship, humor, and angst.


10 Sabrina Has the Best Whimsigothic Fashion in Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Sabrina the Teenage Witch poster

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

When a sixteen-year-old high school student finds out she’s a witch, her two aunts offer guidance on how to control her newly-discovered magical powers.

Release Date
September 27, 1996

Creator
Nell Scovell

Cast
melissa joan hart , Caroline Rhea , Nick Bakay

Genres
Sitcom , Supernatural

IMDb Rating

6.7

Seasons

7

Episodes

163

Years Running

1996-2003

Related

10 Iconic ’90s Cartoons, Ranked

The ‘90s had cartoons that’d shake up Saturday mornings, redefine primetime, and introduce the world to some of the most iconic characters in history.

Sabrina may have a tough time blending in school as a witch in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but she has no problem in the fashion department. Recently, thrifters and ’90s-fans dubbed witchy ’90s fashion as whimsigoth. The style incorporates a lot of velvets in jewel tones, long skirts, platform shoes, bell sleeves, and celestial patterns.

Few TV characters embody the style better than Sabrina does. Beyond aesthetics, Sabrina the Teenage Witch has plenty of topical references and iconic characters, like Sabrina’s aunties, Hilda and Zelda Spellman. She also has a very wholesome romance with Harvey Kinkle, who does not know that his girlfriend is a witch.

  • The character Sabrina is based on a comic book character of the same name, published by Archie Comics.

9 Tia and Tamera Make a Great Team in Sister, Sister

IMDb Rating

6.3

Seasons

6

Episodes

119

Years Running

1994-1999

Tia and Tamera Mowry star in the show about twin sisters, Sister, Sister. The opening theme alone is a total earworm, synonymous with the ’90s. The sisters were separated at birth in the show and reconnect with plenty of bonding and ensuing antics.

Sister, Sister is an ode to siblinghood, both in the ups and downs, but mostly the ups, as the show is wonderfully lighthearted. This show also popularized the idea of protagonists breaking the fourth wall in comedy, underlining the more hilarious and relatable moments.

  • Tia and Tamera also starred in a movie called T*Witches, which is also about two twin sisters separated at birth.

8 Fran Drescher Was a Great Nanny With Even Greater Personal Style

The Nanny

The Nanny

After being fired from her job and dumped by her boyfriend, a cosmetics saleswoman becomes the nanny to the three children of a rich English widower. As time passes, the two fall for each other.

Release Date
November 3, 1993

Creator
Peter Marc Jacobson, Fran Drescher

Cast
Fran Drescher , Charles Shaughnessy , Lauren Lane , Nicholle Tom

Genres
Sitcom

IMDb Rating

7.1

Seasons

6

Episodes

146

Years Running

1993-1999

Related

The Nanny Star Fran Drescher Celebrates the Sitcom’s 29th Anniversary

Actor Fran Drescher expresses her excitement over the enduring popularity of her 1990s sitcom The Nanny as the show celebrates its 29th anniversary.

Fans create entire databases cataloging each piece of Fran’s outfits in The Nanny. Part of the gag is that Fran Drescher wears experimental fashionista and femme fatale outfits, which doesn’t seem like a natural choice for a nanny. Regardless of her amazing fashion, Fran is a dedicated and highly effective caregiver to Max’s three children.

Fran eventually falls in love with Max Sheffield, and their romance is a wonderful slow burn. They are a case of opposites-attract, as Max is driven, staid, and analytical, while Fran is whimsical, hilarious, and nurturing. Fran is very much an underdog kind of character, which was very popular in other ’90s sitcoms like Friends.

  • All of Fran Drescher’s wardrobe was donated to a thrift store.

7 Many Famous Actors Got Their Start in Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks

A high school mathlete starts hanging out with a group of burnouts while her younger brother navigates his freshman year.

Release Date
September 25, 1999

Creator
Paul Feig

Cast
Linda Cardellini , John Francis Daley , James Franco , Samm Levine , Seth Rogen , Jason Segel

Main Genre
Comedy

Rating
TV-14

IMDb Rating

8.8

Seasons

1

Episodes

18

Years Running

1999-2000

Comedy movie fans will recognize many faces in Freaks and Geeks. Linda Cardelini, Seth Rogan, and Jason Segel all got their start in the drama comedy series about high schoolers. Lindsay is a great, cool-headed, and introverted protagonist with a fantastic grunge style.

And like in Stranger Things, there’s plenty of focus on Lindsay’s younger brother, Sam, and his friends. Like the Stranger Things gang, they love video games and the like, and even though they struggle socially, they tend to be rather empathetic. There’s a great balance in characters, from the predictable to the nuanced.

  • The actors often ad-libbed their lines so that the dialogue would feel more natural and relatable.

6 Roseanne Has a Lot of Off-Kilter Charm and Sincerity

IMDb Rating

7.0

Seasons

10

Episodes

231

Years Running

1988-1997

Roseanne really captures how the late ’80s were still very present in middle-class ’90s households. From plaid couches to a well-loved hand-me-down Nintendo console, the series is a wonderful time capsule. Roseanne Conner, as a character, is very relatable for mothers who have to balance working, taking care of their children, and maintaining friendships.

John Goodman’s character is the gem of the series. Dan Conner may like “traditional” dad things, like sports and working on his car, but Dan cares very deeply about his wife and can learn from listening to her. He’s also a very emotionally available father.

  • TV Guide ranked Dan Conner as one of the 50 Greatest Sitcom Dads of All Time.

5 Moesha Is Affable and Sweet

IMDb Rating

5.9

Seasons

6

Episodes

127

Years Running

1996-2001

Related

10 Best Sitcoms About Friendship

From Friends to New Girl, some sitcoms about friendship have become pop culture staples for their relatable and hilarious dynamics.

Moesha starred Brandy Norwood, who played a sweet, talented, and affable protagonist. The show was wildly popular and one of the most successful network sitcoms in the ’90s. The show explores relatable family themes, like the grief of a parent and adjusting to a new family dynamic.

Though Moesha is a teen comedy at its core, it didn’t shy away from real issues, like first love, gender inequality, beauty standards, teen pregnancy, and coming out stories. Moesha cares very much about her role in her family and finding her place in the world. And her story is served with a side of excellent fashion and campy comedy.

  • Brandy’s movie Cinderella was a box office hit, and it’s referenced several times in the Moesha series.

4 Angela Is an Introspective Teen in My So-Called Life

IMDb Rating

8.4

Seasons

1

Episodes

19

Years Running

1994-1995

Few shows master whimsigoth and grunge fashion together like My So-Called Life does. There’s plenty of drama in the show, with a strong side of comic relief characters. It’s definitely one of the more moody teen shows, and the awkward but well-meaning adult characters and ham-handed lessons have a kind of tongue-in-cheek goofiness that may not have been directly intended but is humorous all the same.

Angela Chase felt like a plain do-gooder girl for most of her young life, and things took a turn when she dyed her hair dark red and started hanging out with her classmate Rayanne. The show is notorious for the vacuous love interest played by a young Jared Leto, Jordan Catalano. There’s an inside joke among fans that he could never be referred to as anything else but his full name.

  • Jordan Catalano was originally only meant to be in the pilot episode.

3 There’s True Friendship in Boy Meets World

IMDb Rating

8.1

Seasons

7

Episodes

158

Years Running

1993-2000

Related

10 Best-Written Couples From Sitcoms

From Jake and Amy in Brooklyn Nine-Nine to Jim and Pam in The Office, these sitcom couples are well-developed with drama-free storylines.

It doesn’t get sillier than Boy Meets World when it comes to ’90s TV shows. Two best friends, Cory and Shawn, stumble through life, navigating school, peer pressure, family life, and first-time love. Though the two boys can be incredibly dense, they are also incredibly sincere and willing to learn from their mistakes.

Boy Meets World has so much nostalgic potential that the story continued in the three-season spinoff Girl Meets World, which is about Cory and Topanga’s daughter. Shawn is a young himbo extraordinaire, and Cory and Topanga have an epic first love story. And there are few mentor characters or more loved en masse than Mr. Feeny.

  • Topanga was imagined as a side character originally, but audiences loved her so much that the creators made her a main character.

2 Will Is Quirky and Endearing in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

A streetwise, poor young man from Philadelphia is sent by his mother to live with his aunt, uncle and cousins in their Bel-Air mansion.

Release Date
September 10, 1990

Cast
Will Smith , James Avery , Janet Hubert , alfonso ribeiro , Tatyana Ali , Daphne Reid , Joseph Marcell

Genres
Sitcom

IMDb Rating

7.9

Seasons

6

Episodes

148

Years Running

1990-1996

Will is an odd duck in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air because he goes from living with his mom in the city to living with his affluent and fancy aunt and uncle in the suburbs. It turns out that the match is wonderful both for Will and his extended family. Uncle Phil is one of the best father figures in all television.

Uncle Phil is strict, but there’s a comfort in knowing that he always has an eye out for his children and his nephew, Will. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has many iconic and nuanced characters, from the butler Geoffrey to Will’s cousins and classmates. Fans of America’s Next Top Model will recognize a young Tyra Banks, who cameos as a love interest.

1 The Golden Girls Shows How Important Lifelong Friendship Is

Blanche, Dorothy, Rose and Sophia in The Golden Girls Promo

The Golden Girls

Four previously married women live together in Miami, sharing their various experiences together and enjoying themselves despite hard times.

Release Date
September 14, 1985

Creator
Susan Harris

Cast
Bea Arthur , Rue McClanahan , Betty White , Estelle Getty

Rating
TV-PG

IMDb Rating

8.2

Seasons

7

Episodes

180

Years Running

1985-1992

The Golden Girls began in the mid-’80s and ran into the ’90s, and it was a ubiquitous re-run show throughout the ’90s. Rose, Dorothy, and Blanche are three friends with a long history. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and each has iconic and nuanced character traits.

Not only does The Golden Girls embrace slapstick comedy and cheap laughs, but there are also plenty of wry and clever jokes. The show doesn’t shy away from heavy and important topics, like when Blanche wrestles with her views on the Confederate flag and its true, terrible meaning. Her scene shows how it’s possible to change minds when presented with new, accurate information. The Golden Girls is such a well-rounded and hilarious show that it’s still a rewatchable fan favorite to this day.

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