- Nostalgia for the ’70s, ’80s, and especially the ’90s is at an all-time high, particularly with the popularity of shows like “Friends.”
- But there are plenty of TV shows from those eras that kids born after 1999 have never even heard of.
- “Happy Days” is an iconic sitcom to many but probably not to kids born in the 2000s.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
For every iconic sitcom like “Friends,” there are plenty of underrated shows like “Mad About You” and “NewsRadio,” and for every drama like “The X-Files,” there are shows like “St. Elsewhere.”
We’ve picked 14 shows that were once highly beloved, but that have not stood the test of time, especially since many of them aren’t available on the major streaming services.
Keep scrolling to see which great TV shows may not be popular with 2000s kids.
Fans of “Friends” may remember “Mad About You,” but for most of Gen-Z, the sitcom has been lost to time.
“Mad About You” aired from 1992 to 1999 and focused on Paul and Jamie Buchman, “a recently married New York City couple,” according to IMDb. “They point out the gentle humour in domesticity and life’s everyday situations.”
During the original run, the show garnered 34 Emmy nominations and 12 wins, including multiple wins for lead actress Helen Hunt.
The show proved popular enough that it warranted a reboot in 2019 on Spectrum Originals, thought it didn’t make much of an impact.
“China Beach” focused on a group of doctors and soldiers at an Army hospital during the Vietnam War.
“China Beach” aired for four seasons, from 1988 to 1991. According to IMDb, the show is about “the trials of a weary nurse, her friends and colleagues in a Vietnam War field hospital.”
It earned 29 Emmy nominations and five wins.
“Ally McBeal” is a workplace sitcom that turned Calista Flockhart into a star.
Ally, played by Flockhart, moves to Boston and starts working at the law firm Cage and Fish. Over the show’s five seasons, it jump-started the careers of its stars, plus it proved why we all love Robert Downey Jr. It aired from 1997 to 2002 and is currently streaming on Hulu.
In five seasons, it received 34 nominations and seven wins.
“Party of Five” centered on the Salinger siblings, who had to come together after their parents died in a car accident.
“Party of Five” starred a pre-“Lost” Matthew Fox, a pre-“Mean Girls” Lacey Chabert, and a pre-“Scream” Neve Campbell – the Salingers all went on to do great things in Hollywood. Over the show’s six seasons, the Salingers learn to come together as a family and deal with various issues, including grief, addiction, cancer, and domestic violence. It wrapped up in 2000.
In 2020, a reboot of “Party of Five” began on Freeform, focusing on the Acosta family, whose parents are deported, instead of killed. It was cancelled after one season.
In “3rd Rock from the Sun,” John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, French Stewart, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt play the Solomon family — a group of aliens masquerading as humans.
“A group of aliens are sent to Earth, disguised as a human family, to experience and report life on the third planet from the sun,” writes IMDb. The show aired for six seasons, from 1996 to 2001, though plenty of ’90s kids fail to include it as one of the iconic ’90s sitcoms, let alone 2000s kids – even though it earned eight Emmy wins from 31 nominations.
It’s streaming on Crackle, Tubi, Sling TV, and Amazon Prime.
“NewsRadio” is perhaps best known as the final role of Phil Hartman, but there’s so much more to love.
“NewsRadio” aired on NBC for five seasons, from 1995 to 1999.As IMDb explains, the show focused on “the office politics and interpersonal relationships among the staff of WNYX NewsRadio, New York’s No. 2 news radio station.” The show is streaming on Crackle.
Over the course of its run, it was nominated for three Emmys, winning one.
“My So-Called Life” is one of the best one season wonders of all time.
“My So-Called Life” may have only lasted for a season, but its stars, Claire Danes and Jared Leto, can trace back the start of their careers to the teen drama. Danes played Angela Chase, your average teenager, and Leto played Jordan Catalano, the dreamy, angsty object of her affection. Its one season remains beloved by all early ’90s kids. It also earned four Emmy nominations, including one for Danes.
Its one season aired from August 1994 to January 1995. It’s all streaming on Amazon Prime.
“Northern Exposure” focused on a doctor who moved to a town in Alaska to practice medicine.
“A newly graduated doctor,” played by Rob Morrow, “is required to set up his practice in an eccentric Alaskan town,” according to IMDb. The town of Cicely is filled with an interesting cast of characters, all of whom made the show’s six seasons eminently watchable. It aired from 1990 to 1995.
The show was nominated for 39 Emmys, winning seven.
It may sound unbelievable, but more Gen-Z kids know Henry Winkler from “Barry” and “Parks and Recreation” than from “Happy Days.”
“Happy Days,” for those of a certain age, remains one of the definitive and most beloved TV shows of all time. But it ended 36 years ago, and its main character, Ron Howard, has switched from on-camera roles to directing.
The sitcom aired for 11 seasons from 1974 to 1984, and viewers watched as the “Cunningham family [lived] through the 1950s with help and guidance from the loveable and almost superhuman greaser, Fonzie.” It earned nine Emmy nominations, with one win.
“Happy Days” is streaming on CBS All Access.
“Wiseguy” is about a cop who ingratiates himself with criminals inside a jail to prepare for a stint undercover.
According to the show’s Amazon Prime summary, “Vinnie Terranova does time in a New Jersey penitentiary to set up his undercover role as an agent for the OCB (Organised Crime Bureau) of the United States. His roots in a traditional Italian city neighbourhood form the underlying dramatic base throughout the series, bringing him into conflict with his conservative mother and other family members while acting undercover as syndicate enforcer.”
“Wiseguy” aired for four seasons, from 1987 to 1990. Over the years, it garnered seven Emmy nominations, but no wins. The entire show is streaming on Pluto, Sling TV, Tubi, Vudu, and Amazon Prime.
While you may not remember the show, you’ve definitely heard a term that originated from its then-unconventional story structure: the story arc.
“Beauty and the Beast” is another re-telling of the famous fairytale, though this time with an ’80s twist.
Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman starred as the titular Beauty and Beast – though in this case, Hamilton played a lawyer, Catherine, and Perlman played Vincent, “a sensitive and cultured lion-man.“
The show aired from 1987 to 1990, and in its three short seasons,received 24 Emmy nominations and six wins. The entire show is streaming on CBS All Access and Amazon Prime.
The show received a reboot on the CW, which aired from 2012 to 2016.
“Night Court” was a sitcom that centered around a young judge presiding over an interesting cast of characters.
Rotten Tomatoes writes, “Courtroom shenanigans sustained this long-running sitcom about a boyish-looking judge with an unconventional manner on the bench; his Manhattan court staff; and the night people who appear before him.”
“Night Court” aired for nine seasons, from 1984 to 1992. It earned 31 nominations and seven wins.
Iconic medical dramas like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “ER” can trace their DNA back to “St. Elsewhere.”
“St. Elsewhere” focuses on the “lives and work of the staff of St. Eligius Hospital, an old and disrespected Boston teaching hospital.
The show ran for six seasons, from 1982 to 1988 – and though it was never a ratings hit, it earned 62 Emmy nominations and 13 nominations.
Before “Grace and Frankie,” there were “Kate & Allie” — two divorced friends who moved in together to raise their kids.
“Kate & Allie” starred Susan Saint James and Jane Curtin as two friends who, after getting divorced, decide to move in together in an NYC brownstone with their kids.
The show lasted for six seasons, from 1984 to 1989. It was nominated for 12 Emmys, winning three.
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