The ’90s TV Shows You Love That Definitely Don’t Need a Reboot
Rebooting and reviving TV shows from the 1990s is the flavor of the month, with the recent success of such shows as Will & Grace, Roseanne, and the Netflix series Fuller House. With the road having been paved with money, there is no doubt that other shows from our past will be popping up again in coming years.
But let’s not go crazy, here. There are plenty of great ’90s sitcoms that need to be left in their TV graves. Let’s look at 15 ’90s TV shows that were extremely popular but definitely should not be brought back, leading up to the No. 1 pick that should never get a reboot.
15. Everybody Loves Raymond
Everybody Loves Raymond was a popular CBS sitcom running for nine years, from 1996–2005. It features Ray Romano as the lead character, a lazy husband and father with a ball-busting wife and three kids. To compound things, his overbearing mother, his agitating father, and his brother all live across the street.
Raymond had a good run, and many consider it to be truly the last of a dying breed — the traditional TV sitcom. But so much of what made Raymond great in its best years couldn’t possibly be replicated. Peter Boyle (Ray’s father on the show) passed away shortly after the finale, in 2006. Doris Roberts (his mother) died at the age of 90 in 2016. What would the show even be without that pair?
Next: The original Kevin James comedy
14. The King of Queens
The original run of The King of Queens went from 1998-2007, featuring Kevin James and Leah Remini as a Brooklyn couple and her father that lives in their basement. It was an extremely popular show, running on CBS for nine seasons and even crossing over with Everybody Loves Raymond on occasion.
If you think James and Remini were an excellent pair with great chemistry, you’re not alone. James’ current show, Kevin Can Wait, ditched the actress portraying his wife in favor of bringing Remini into the fold. For that reason, The King of Queens isn’t going to be rebooted. But add in the fact that 90-year-old Jerry Stiller, who played Arthur, has essentially quit acting and this really is a no-go.
Next: A breath of fresh air in 1990
13. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The idea of putting Will Smith back on primetime television is a good one, and we fully support a network finding a way to give him a new show — just not the same one he anchored for six years in the ’90s.
Running from 1990-96, The Fresh Prince was hip, witty, and heartfelt all at the same time. Smith played the unrefined nephew of a wealthy, African-American Bel-Air judge. He moved across the country from Philadelphia to California to live with the family, including his three cousins. It was a major hit.
But there are major reasons it wouldn’t work. For one, James Avery (Uncle Phil) died in 2013 at the age of 68. Karyn Parsons (Hillary) has done almost no acting since 2002, while Alfonso Ribiero has mostly disappeared from the scene as well. But the main takeaway should be reviving this series would never work without Avery, whose on-screen relationship with Smith was incredibly important.
Next: The best spin-off of all time?
Frasier is another incredibly popular show from the ’90s that could never be brought back. In fact, Frasier is one of the most popular TV sitcoms of all time. The show began in 1993 as a spin-off from the incredibly popular Cheers, moving Frasier Crane from his barstool in Boston to the airwaves in Seattle. Joining him on the show were his brother, Niles, his father, Martin, and his father’s physical therapist, Daphne.
By the end of the show’s run in 2004, Niles and Daphne had married, Martin had found a new wife and moved out of Frasier’s apartment, and Frasier had moved to Chicago to be with the love of his life. John Mahoney’s death early in 2018 made a revival just completely out of the question, with the remaining idea to be comprised of just the aging Frasier and Niles. It would actually be kind of sad.
Next: The original ‘crying Jordan’ meme
11. Dawson’s Creek
Dawson’s Creek was extremely popular at its peak, running from 1998-2003 and launching careers for Katie Holmes and Michelle Williams. The show depicted the events surrounding a bunch of friends from the Massachusetts town of Capeside, led by James Van Der Beek’s Dawson. However, the series finale killed off Jen (Williams) and made it clear that Joey and Dawson probably would not end up together.
There has been some fan interest in a revival of Dawson’s Creek, but for all the aforementioned reasons, it really can’t happen. What would a new season of Dawson’s Creek be, 15 years later, without Jen? The only way we could get behind it would be to reboot the show and base it around Amy, Jen’s infant daughter that would now be in high school.
Next: This show fizzled out quickly
10. Dharma & Greg
Dharma & Greg was a typical odd couple sitcom in the ’90s run out on ABC by Chuck Lorre (the mind behind so many shows, including Roseanne and Two and a Half Men). The pair meet in the pilot episode and immediately fall in love, with Dharma being the free spirit while Greg was the buttoned-down lawyer. It worked in small doses, but viewers lost interest after a few seasons and it was canceled in 2002.
Although Jenna Elfman (Dharma) keeps getting her chance at new sitcoms, nothing has quite had the success that Dharma & Greg did. Thomas Gibson had a recurring role on Criminal Minds, but that appears to have ended. So could the show be rebooted? Elfman would love to see it happen. But the formula was stale by the time the show originally ended, and we’re not sure it would work in 2018.
Next: Nine seasons told the whole story
9. The Drew Carey Show
During its prime, The Drew Carey Show was funny, original, and a major hit. It featured Drew Carey, his three friends (Lewis, Oswald, and Kate), his arch enemy (Mimi), and several other rotating characters. But while the early seasons of Drew Carey had some major success, there were missteps along the way. Drew dating Kate was never going to end well, and Mimi marrying and having a child with Drew’s cross-dressing brother was a mistake as well.
In the end, Christa Miller’s Kate had been written off the show and replaced with a forgettable waitress named Kellie. Winfred-Lauder, the department store that was the backdrop of Drew’s life for so many years, was gone. Drew and Kellie got married and had a baby in the series finale, and everything was kind of wrapped up.
Carey is now hosting The Price is Right, so why bother to try to revive a show that was dead years before it actually ended?
Next: Fox can find success rebooting other shows
8. Ally McBeal
Ally McBeal was a major hit on Fox in the 1990s, spanning five seasons and starring Calista Flockhart, Greg Germann, Jane Krakowski, and a slew of other recognizable names that includes Robert Downey Jr.
The premise of the show was that Flockhart’s McBeal was a lawyer that was working with a former boyfriend and struggling to get past her feelings for him. The show evolved over time, but it finished up with Ally moving with her daughter Maddie back to New York City.
Given the success that Fox has had with so many of their other shows, we’re thinking it’s best to leave Ally McBeal where it is. The only thing about this that would even be relatively interesting might be a total reboot, featuring Ally as a 50-something lawyer with her own practice in New York City. But even that would feature a totally new cast, so why not just scrap the whole thing and do yet another cliche, NYC-based lawyer show?
Next: It would be hard to assemble the whole cast
7. That ’70s Show
First airing in 1998 and running for eight seasons, That ’70s Show was a major hit and a trendsetter. The show paved the way for Fox’s forgettable That ’80s Show, which ran for just 13 episodes in 2002. The original show was popular enough to inspire a British comedy titled Days Like These to copy it, practically stealing the scripts word-for-word.
That ’70s Show followed Eric Forman, his girlfriend Donna, and several other high school friends through their high school years. The show ran long enough that Topher Grace (Eric) eventually left to pursue a movie career, while things were held together by Mila Kunis, Wilmer Valderrama, Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon, and the occasionally absent Ashton Kutcher.
These days, Kunis is a major star and Kutcher is busy being a hero to victims of human trafficking. Masterson has been blackballed from the industry due to rape allegations. It’s hard to see a scenario where the show could be revived without the whole cast, and that seems too difficult to do. Admittedly, if they could find a way to pull it off, a reboot titled That ’90s Show would be worth watching.
Next: Where are they now?
Although it was popular in its time, many of the characters from Blossom wound up utterly forgettable years later. Blossom, played by The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik, was a young girl growing up in a house full of boys with no one to help save her sanity but her best friend, Six (Jenna von Oy). Outside of the middle child, played by teen idol Joey Lawrence, most of the actors from the short-lived series fell by the wayside over the last 20-plus years.
But with the resurgence of Bialik’s acting career, maybe Blossom could be brought back upon the inevitable end of Big Bang? Not so fast. The series ended with Blossom struggling to accept the fact that her dad was selling the house. In the end, the show was about a single dad raising three kids — including a young girl with no mother. It seems as though a better idea might be simply creating a new show for Bialik to anchor.
Next: It wasn’t as good as you remember
5. Saved by the Bell
Where do we start with this one? Although Saved by the Bell was a ’90s classic, it had its own problems. The cast, which featured Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Dustin Diamond, and several others over the course of four seasons, have now all gone their separate ways. Believe it or not, Saved by the Bell has been over since 1992.
But following its success was the brief run of Saved by the Bell: The College Years, and then a TV movie featuring Zack (Gosselaar) and Kelly (Tiffani Thiessen) getting married. It’s clear that any attempt at a reboot or revival for this show needs to feature the bulk of the main cast to drive interest, and there are roadblocks with that.
Elizabeth Berkley’s attempt to shed the personality of her character, Jessie Spano, resulted in the notorious flop, Showgirls. Lark Voorhies hasn’t made many appearances in TV or movies the last 20 years, and none since 2012. Diamond created a poorly-made porn film. Trying to revive Saved by the Bell would be an ugly failure.
Next: Tim Allen’s original hit series
4. Home Improvement
In reality, we had to double-check that Tim Allen’s most recent sitcom, Last Man Standing, wasn’t already a reboot of Home Improvement featuring new characters. It wasn’t … sort of. Allen’s ’90s hit featured a Michigan family headed by the buffoonish TV tool man, Tim Taylor, and his intellectual wife Jill. They had their three young boys, and along for the ride were Tim’s assistant, Al Borland, and the oft-obscured neighbor, Wilson.
The actor that portrayed Wilson (Earl Hindman) has passed away, but that wouldn’t stand in the way of a reboot. What truly stops this one in its tracks is that all three child actors have, for the most part, quit acting altogether. Patricia Richardson (Jill) is somewhat active, but Allen is still getting over the cancellation of Last Man Standing.
It’s hard to find an interesting angle on bringing back this show, which worked in its time but probably not now.
Next: The family dynamic would be very different
3. Family Matters
Family Matters started in 1989 and ran all the way until 1998, spanning nine seasons. Most fans of the show probably didn’t realize it actually lasted that long, and the final season took a major turn by making Steve Urkel’s girlfriend Myra into a crazed stalker and pairing Steve and Laura up in a serious romance. Is rewarding Steve’s annoying persistence and lack of understanding of the word “no” with getting the girl really the best message?
What was great about Family Matters was the dynamic that put Carl Winslow (Reginald VelJohnson) at the head of the family with his wife, two kids in need of guidance, and the excruciating neighbor boy that was always destroying their home. With Laura and Steve married, what is really interesting about the show?
Add in the fact that all the actors have disappeared from the public eye, and this one is a major “no” that we expect you to respect.
Next: It might not be good outside of the 1990s
The notion of Seinfeld returning to the air 20 years after it left is intriguing, we must admit. The show ran for nine years and is an absolute classic, one of the funniest sitcoms of all time. And this, from a show that was about nothing. What’s more, is Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and show creator Larry David are all still acting or writing comedy these days.
But Michael Richards (Kramer) isn’t, in large part due to an unfortunate incident where he spouted a bunch of racially charged obscenities during a stand-up performance in 2006. Although he has apologized for the incident, many viewers would have a hard time forgetting. And at any rate, Louis-Dreyfus is currently battling cancer. Add in the fact that Seinfeld‘s setting in the ’90s was absolutely perfect, and maybe it’s best to leave this one alone.
Next: Your nostalgia clouds your mind on this one
Quite possibly the biggest and most popular sitcom from the ’90s is Friends, which put a group of six — three men, three women — together in Greenwich Village, New York City. Much of the show’s plot was absurd, including the question of how Rachel and Monica afforded their apartment. And seriously, despite having jobs these people had a lot of free time. But anyway, Friends was and still is extremely popular.
But remember baby Emma, the child born to Ross and Rachel midway through the series? She would be 16 years old this year. Remember the twins that Monica and Chandler adopted? They’d be 14. A show about a bunch of friends trying to make it in the city works, but a pair of couples raising their teenage kids, flanked by Phoebe and Mike (Paul Rudd) as well as the forever-single Joey? Eh.
Nostalgia tells you it would be good, but it wouldn’t. It’s best to just rewatch the old show on Netflix.
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