by Paul Semel
Ah, the '90s. Seems like it was only a few years ago that we were writing '98 and '99 on our checks and homework. And boy, how television has changed since then. Back in the '90s, TV shows featured things called "scripts" and "actors," instead of normal people humiliating themselves for money. Those were the days -- and, as far as we're concerned, still are, since we still watch many of the shows that made the '90s so memorable. Below is our list of 10 we'll never forget, even if doing so would win us immunity on a game show.
When It Aired: since 1989 ...
Created By: Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Sam Simon
What It Was About: Nuclear safety inspector Homer Simpson
tries to be the father who knows best to three rambunctious kids
and his beehived wife, Marge.
Why We Loved It: Because it is, hands-down, the most
intelligent, insightful and hilarious show on television since "Meet
Factoid Fun: Though Groening has made enough money off "The Simpsons" to buy and sell anyone who might read this article, he still does the weekly comic strip "Life In Hell," which runs in alternative newspapers and probably only pays enough to buy and sell an unathletic college kid.
Where Are They Now? Besides putting together a feature-length movie (due out next year), "The Simpsons" crew is also working on Season 18, which will feature such guest stars as Natalie Portman, Kiefer Sutherland, Gore Vidal and has already been blessed with an appearance by Metallica in September's season premiere.
When It Aired: 1994 to 2004
Created By: David Crane and Marta Kauffman
What It Was About: Six buddies struggle with life as modern 20- (and later 30-) somethings in New York City ... which mostly entailed sleeping with each other and drinking lots of coffee.
Why We Loved It: Because we wish our friends were that hot ... and were there for us ... to sleep with and drink coffee.
Factoid Fun: Had things gone differently, Leah Remini would've been Monica, Jon Cryer would've played Chandler and Courteney Cox or Tea Leoni would've played Rachel.
Where Are They Now? Chandler, Monica, Ross and Rachel all moved to the suburbs, where their kids play soccer together, while Phoebe remained in New York. Joey moved to Hollywood and was never heard from again.
"Sex and the City"
When It Aired: 1998 to 2004
Created By: Darren Star (based on the book by Candace Bushnell)
What It Was About: Four buddies struggle with life as modern 30- and 40-something women in New York City ... which mostly entailed sleeping with whomever and drinking a lot of booze.
Why We Loved It: Because there's nothing men like more that listening to women complain about how bad men are at sex. Not sure why women liked it, though.
Factoid Fun: Because Sarah Jessica Parker's character, Carrie, was so obsessed with their shoes, Manolo Blahnik now has a shoe called The SJP.
Where Are They Now? Sitting in some Manhattan bar, complaining about how bad men are at sex.
When It Aired: 1990 to 1998
Created By: Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld
What It Was About: Four buddies struggle with life as modern 30- and 40-somethings in New York City ... which mostly entails being dismissive of people for really stupid reasons.
Why We Loved It: Because in the '90s, there was nothing else on TV about people who lived in New York City.
Factoid Fun: Like with "Friends," the cast of "Seinfeld" was almost very different; possible Georges include Steve Buscemi, Danny Devito, Nathan Lane and David Alan Grier, while potential Kramers included Tony Shalhoub.
Where Are They Now? Sitting in some Manhattan eatery, complaining about ... something stupid.
"Star Trek: Deep Space 9"
When It Aired: 1993 to 1999
Created By: Rick Berman and Michael Piller
What It Was About: Action and political intrigue abounded in this "Star Trek: The Next Generation" spin-off, which followed the crew and visitors of a "Casablanca"-like space station.
Why We Loved It: Because it wasn't about a bunch of self-obsessed people in New York City. They were in space.
Factoid Fun: Since 1976, actor Avery Brooks, who played Captain Benjamin Sisko, has been an Associate Professor of Theater Arts at New Jersey's Rutgers University, so when he worked on "DS9," he would video tape lessons for his students ... while on the set ... in his Starfleet uniform.
Where Are They Now? Probably at a "Star Trek" convention ... in New York City, complaining about ... something.
"Space Ghost Coast to Coast"
When It Aired: 1994 to 2004
Created By: Mike Lazzo
What It Was About: Former superhero Space Ghost lands a second career as a late-night talk show host, and gets his former foes Zorak and Moltar to be his band leader and director, respectfully.
Why We Loved It: Because it was a hell of lot funnier than "The Tonight Show," and not only gave rise to such similarly surreal and hilarious fare as "Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law" and "Sealab 2021," but also to the entire Adult Swim block.
Factoid Fun: Interviews for the show were often done by a crew member in a Space Ghost costume who would ask to be addressed as "Space Ghost."
Where Are They Now? Doing occasional shows for the video game Web site GameTap.com, and putting together the DVD "Space Ghost Coast To Coast Volume 4," which will be coming out soon.
When It Aired: 1993 to 2002
Created By: Chris Carter
What It Was About: FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully investigate the paranormal and the unexplained.
Why We Loved It: Because we believe the truth is out there.
Factoid Fun: On the show, Mulder believed in aliens while Scully, at least in the beginning, did not. In real life, however, David Duchovny, who played Mulder, does not believe in aliens while Gillian Anderson, who played Scully, does.
Where Are They Now? According to director Rob Bowman, a sequel to 1998's "The X-Files: Fight the Future," is in the works.
"In Living Color"
When It Aired: 1990 to 1994
Created By: Keenen Ivory Wayans
What It Was About: An urban sketch comedy show, it was like "Saturday Night Live" ... in da hood.
Why We Loved It: Because "Saturday Night Live" always needed a bit more "color."
Factoid Fun: The original DJ on the show was Shawn Wayans, who later quit that gig to act in such movies as "Little Man" and "White Chicks."
Where Are They Now? With Keenen directing, and Shawn and their brother Marlon acting, the three have made such movies as "Scary Movie," "Scary Movie 2," and the aforementioned Shakespeare adaptations "Little Man" and "White Chicks." Strangely, their "Color" castmate Jim Carrey has appeared in none of these films.
"Beverly Hills 90210"
When It Aired: 1990 to 2000
Created By: Darren Star
What It Was About: The soap operatic lives of spoiled rich kids at West Beverly High School. In other words, it was "The O.C." without the sand.
Why We Loved It: Because we like watching rich people who have the same problems as us not-so-rich people. Hence our love of "The O.C.," "Dynasty," "Falcon Crest" and "Laguna Beach".
Factoid Fun: Not only does West Beverly High School not exist (the real Beverly Hills High would not let the show use the name), but the show's spin-off, "Melrose Place", which was about a group of 20- (and later 30-) somethings living together in an apartment building, was named for a street on which there are no apartment buildings.
Where Are They Now? Like most people who went to high school together, they lost touch years ago.
When It Aired: 1995 to 1999
Created By: Paul Simms
What It Was About: WNYX, New York's news radio, and the weirdos who work there.
Why We Loved It: Because of smart dialog such as this, which occurred in a special sci-fi episode: "Tragedy struck today in Sector 9 as rebel terrorists blew up the Death Star, killing thousands. The Rebel Alliance, a fringe group of anti-Empire fanatics, has claimed responsibility for the terrorist act. Fortunately, Lord Vader escaped without harm. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims."
Factoid Fun: The show's second season featured eight episodes named for the Led Zeppelin albums "In Through the Out Door," "The Song Remains the Same," "Zoso" (which isn't the album's real name, but whatever), "Houses of the Holy," "Physical Graffiti," "Coda," "Led Zeppelin," and "Led Zeppelin II," while Season 3 featured a ninth called "Led Zeppelin Boxed Set."
Where Are They Now? Given what's happened to radio in the last seven years, WNYX is probably an Adult Alternative station with a Howard Stern-esque morning man.