The past week (well the past year), I’ve experience some TV nostalgia for the early to mid-90’s. Typically my 90’s nostalgia is geared toward the end of the decade or is focused on children programs and wrestling from the late 80’s to early 90’s. That makes sense since I was a kid growing up in that time frame, but, it’s not like I missed out on all the adult early 90’s programming. I saw lots of sitcoms and procedurals from that time period since that is what my family tended to watch. I also watched a ton of Unsolved Mysteries and Rescue 911 growing up.
For the longest time I shunned the early 90’s. I think everything felt a little cheesy because I was focused on my childhood interests at the time and once I graduated onto more mature television the 90’s were coming to an end and the way television was presented was very different. The cheap sets and stock music were replaced with colorful on location filming featuring indie or pop bands. Everything had an edge and was extreme and I absolutely adore that time period, but there is something that I’ve grown fond of slower paced, simpler early 90’s entertainment.
One of the shows I’ve been watching a lot of over the past year is Wings. Wings was essentially Cheers, but in a small Nantucket airport. The show is innocent, sweet, and funny. It looks dated, takes its time telling a story, and is a very easy watch.
As a child, I watched a lot of Wings on USA, where it ran in syndication from 1993 to 2000. It was during those impressionable pre-teen years that I garnered a bit of a crush on Crystal Bernard, who in all my super coolness, I actually picked up her Girl Next Door album on cassette in 1996 and I always thought it was a shame that State of Mind didn’t get as much play as it should have. (Besides have a crappy video this song rocks.)
A lot of 90’s sitcoms feel the same and typically when I think of that early 90’s feeling on TV it’s not sitcoms that come to mind. I think more about shows like The Outer Limits, Stargate SG1, Unsolved Mysteries, Murder She Wrote, and Matlock, all of which had easy to digest plots (well, maybe not The Outer Limits), cheesy overacting acting, some questionable sets, and that jazzy music at times. Other shows that remind of that time period are Silk Stockings and La Femme Nikita.
I think what I enjoy about this time period is that there isn’t a whole lot of love for the entertainment that comes from it. The early 90’s (pre-Scream) horror movies are considered some of the worst, television wasn’t episodic or considered great, but there were some crazy risky shows put on the air and networks were stretching their legs to see how much they could get away with on cable which made for some creative TV shows like some of the ones previously mentioned.
One of the other things that I enjoy about TV from this time period is that I didn’t see much of it. Like I mentioned before, I was watching children’s programming, wrestling, or basketball. So, what I did see was usually at night when my parents or grandparents were watching something, and as a child I wasn’t ever emotionally invested in these shows. Now as an adult, the shows come across fresh and because most episodes are self-contained they are easily bingeable.
But let’s be honest, we all like nostalgia because it’s a bit of a time warp. Last night, I was up late and got the urge to watch The Outer Limits. I picked up where I left off a couple years back which was the final episode of season one. It was a fantastic story that kept me entertained, but the fact that I felt like I was ten years old again watching late night TV made the experience that much better.