For for some reason – maybe it’s age, maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s a total lack of imagination – we’re about to be inundated with brand new releases of shows from the 1990s. Before the end of the year, US streaming service Peacock will unveil its reboot Saved By the Bell. Last week, Will Smith announced that the same service picked up Bel-Air, a serious reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Not to be outdone, Disney + today announced a new series called Doogie Kameāloha MD which, for lack of a better description, is Doogie Howser MD – but Hawaiian.
It means two things. First, it is the death spiral of television. Second, it means that all the other kid-friendly TV shows of the 1990s are suddenly a hot item. More are undoubtedly to come, so here are five that are ripe for a revival and five that should probably stay dead.
Suspension time (1995-2000)
Saved by the Bell has already been collected. But the good news is that, so far, the same can’t be said for its legion of imitators. The most notable of these was Hang Time, which was basically saved by the bell but with basketball. Want a borderline hysterical drug episode? You got it. Want something that strongly showcases the inclusion of pizza as an ambitious food? You got it. Want Dustin Diamond to get it wrong and usually reek of the place like Screech? You got it. It has the potential to be a classic reboot for the three people who remember it.
California Dreams (1992-1996)
Or, if Hang Time is too expensive to revive, try California Dreams, which was basically Saved By the Bell, but about a weird band that only played terrible music that no one of their whole generation would ever happily listen to. . Restart the show to talk about an internet rapper, set it against the backdrop of the California wildfires, and you just did the most relevant show of 2021.
The Saved By the Bell reboot showed people loved having the original cast come back for a second go-around. And arguably the best opportunity for that to happen is Phenom, a short-lived ABC sitcom about a girl who was good at tennis. In the original, the girl’s parents were played by William Devane and Judith Light. Wouldn’t you watch a sitcom reboot about a young girl bullied in athletic excellence by the 24-year-old president and Transparent’s mom? Of course you would.
Hang with Mr. Cooper (1992-1997)
The best thing about Hangin ‘With Mr Cooper is that – while it has a great theme and a fun opening title sequence – no one can remember exactly what happened there. Was the main guy a teacher? Or a basketball player or something? Was there a cute kid in it? No one can remember it. Come in and present the executives with whatever you want. They’ll just have to take your word for it.
Eerie, Indiana (1991-1992)
No clever rationale behind this one, other than that it was really good. A series that was likely marketed more as a comedy than it actually was, Eerie, Indiana was more concerned with science fiction and horror than just entertainment. It was probably the closest thing the kids had ever had to The Twilight Zone, and it would be nice to have it again, wouldn’t it?
Do not restart
Clarissa Explains Everything (1991-1994)
A show that dealt with issues such as college, work, learning to drive and shoplifting, Clarissa Explains It All has helped many teens through the thornier issues of the 1990s. But Now it’s 2020, which means that a reboot will have to be called Clarissa screams her own opinion on everything as loud as it can on the internet, regardless of discernible expertise.
Adolescent Angel (1997-1998)
A show created by two writers on The Simpsons, Al Jean and Mike Reiss, Teen Angel would have been great without the kids. Its premise – a boy eats a rancid burger, then dies, and comes back to Earth as an angel – is about as dark as it gets, but the show was forced into a weird, sunny tone that didn’t really work out at all. . It was deleted after 17 episodes and probably should stay that way.
Daddy’s Girls (1994)
Theoretically, it could work as a Saved by the Bell-style reunion show, as two of its cast were Keri Russell and Alan Ruck, who became sure-fire signs of quality. That said, it was a) a really bad sitcom about Dudley Moore trying to take care of three young women on his own, and b) it was called Daddy’s Girls. Try doing a show called Daddy’s Girls today, I challenge you.
Home improvement (1991-1999)
Of course, it was popular. Of course, Tim Allen probably doesn’t need an excuse to come back. But restarting home improvement in 2020 can only be done in two ways. First, it either eschews his cartoonish masculinity and becomes a show about a white man accepting a world that allows other voices to be heard, or it becomes the most deceptive thing ever on TV. Both would be terrible.
The Secret World of Alex Mack (1994-1998)
You will remember Alex Mack as the girl who was soaked in chemicals by a reckless truck driver and then developed a number of superhuman abilities. Such a premise might have cut it off in the 1990s, but in 2020 it would be a bitter legal drama about a woman determined to take down Big Pharma by any means necessary, and honestly who has the time?