Growing up, television was always a major past time, as it is for any teenager or kid, and growing up in the 90s had us watching many strange and addictive shows that perhaps transformed us into the style savvy/mystery obsessed people we are today. We know that the nineties are all the rage these days, so we thought it would be fun to look back at the shows that really made an impression on us.
So here’s six of them that we highly recommend, and with some help, we hope we can revive the ones that have been in a coma for a while, because each and every one of them stand out in their own right, and many of them excel exceptionally in the 90s style department, which we know everyone is a big fan of these days.
So let’s get your inspiration on, shall we?! These are hand-picked journeys to other worlds, that most of time seem very close to home, which only makes them that much better.
Let’s take a look at what we’ve got:
SO WEIRD ( 1999 – 2001 )
So, we’re talking late 90’s here (even a bit into the millenium), but it began in the nineties nonetheless. Judging from most of the costumes on lead characters Fi (Cara De Lizia) and Clue (Erik V0n Detten), there’s definitely that late-90s styling going on which is neither a good thing, or a bad thing. What really stands out with this show is the subjects it tackles.
Fi is a brash sort-of tough tom girl who runs a website about the paranormal called SO WEIRD, and every episode takes her, her brother, their surfer sidekick Clue, and her mother (played by MacKenzie Phillips), who happens to be a famous rockstar, to new locations where they are forced to confront situations which could only be described as “so weird” by the end of them all. I was always jealous of her early use of wifi technology. Rockstar kids- they got it all.
Check out this one entitled “Rebecca” which deals with the idea of immortality, or at least people suffering from an extremely slow aging process. This one always stood out in my mind because of the enticing storyline, which includes a world class freak out by the girl whose age is in question. Really made me think, and even taught me about a lost civilization.
“So Weird” is like that. It’s both entertaining and educating, which is more than can be said for the show Disney produces today.
This one lasted two seasons, and by the second they had replaced Fi with a prettier, blonde actress, which was kind of sad, considering it was Cara De Lizia’s rough, raw, bad ass voice that really made you think that this was a different kind of young female they were portraying.
The theme song is also kind of addictive, so be warned!
THE ODYSSEY ( 1992- 1994 )
The only thing that sucks about this show is that you can only find up to the eighth or ninth episode on youTube, making this Canadian produced sci-fi dream fantasy show kind of a lost gem. It was the kind of show that you would look forward to every week for the next chapter of Jay on his journey through Downworld, an imaginary alternate reality existing in Jay’s mind as he works his way out of a coma.
The show is expertly conceived, and its hard to think of a kid show quite as well thought out and imaginative. The Downworld is an absolute treat, as they portray a world without adults run by the ominous “BRAD” as a urban wasteland.
The costumes are over-the-top and highly detailed, and are completely one-of-a-kind. They show off many different aspects of this world which include crazy militants, bag girls, fortune tellers, the book club, a cult of archaeologists run by Devon Sawa . . . each episode faces Jay with a new challenge to face, while in the waking world his family do everything it takes to try to awake him from his coma.
Mysteriously the writers of the show never went on to do anything else, and after three seasons the show ended. It’s a wild ride of a show, and is highly recommended. If you want to splurge a bit, you can buy the entire series on DVD here.
TWIN PEAKS ( 1990 – 1991 )
Perhaps this is the only show that doesn’t need help in bringing back to the forefront. For over twenty years now, Twin Peaks has been an absolute obsession. It’s kind of the show that started it all, in a way. A small town where nothing bad happens find their beloved homecoming queen dead on the banks of a river, and from there all secrets are slowly revealed of the small town that has many things to hide. It’s a show that took pop culture by storm when it was on, and continues to spread its weird Lynchian legacy every turn it takes.
Japanese tourists flock each year to the town they shot Twin Peaks for a chance to check out the waterfall, the diner, the hotel, the woods, the mountains – they want to see it all. Hipsters unite in conversation over who their favourite characters are between the Cooper or the Log Lady. And fashionistas note the synergy between the late 80s/early 90s styling and the nostalgic 1950s twist designer Patricia Norris infused into each scene.
Yes, indeed, there is a plethera of ideas, knowledge, and inspiration brought to the forefront in a show like “Twin Peaks”. Just saying its name rings true as though it were a secret sacred mantra, more than the name for a TV Show. But lucky for us, it is, and we can always enjoy it on our Gold Edition Twin Peaks Box Set (which was definitely worth the splurge)!
Would the world be the same without it? Not a chance.
ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? ( 1991 – 1996 )
This is classic stuff, here. Anyone growing up in the 90s, knows theres no way you could have missed this show when it was on. At least once, you must have caught it on TV. That ominous theme song, the hand holding the match, that creepy ass clown! For years we have been ruled by that legendary phrase, “Submitted for the approval of the midnight society”, and even after all this time, nothing has changed! The show still ignites great joy whenever an episode is delved into.
There are many seasons to choose from, but the best are the early ones with all the classic stories: Zeebo the Clown, “The Tale of the Pinball Wizard”, “The Hungry Hounds”, “Super Specs”! The list goes on forever. You can also find a host of teen celebs like Neve Campbell, Jewel Staite, and even Ryan Gosling. It’s even rumoured that M. Night Shamaylan took inspiration from an episode to create his breakthrough film, “The Sixth Sense” (Go AYAOTD!).
What was so great about the show was the theatricality, and drama of it all, as well as the wide variety of different stories. “The Tale of the Doll Maker” where a peculiar dollhouse traps unwitting young girls and turns them into dolls, or “The Tale of Watcher’s Woods” is particularly creepy when it comes to facing the three ragged souls of the sisters who lost themselves in the woods a hundred years earlier. “Apartment 214” where a young girl befriends the ghost of an old lady – “This was the DAY I DIED!!!”
Classic. Too good. I say you just sit down with the episode list, and get at it. Best of all, the show is actually creepy. No blood and gore or anything like that. Instead the stories underline the supernatural, and perhaps things we cannot as easily explain, to keep you awake at night hoping Quicksilver won’t make his way through your wall!
4/4 EYES Up!
TALES FROM THE CRYPT ( 1989 – 1996 )
Where there are no blood and guts in an episode of “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”, this HBO hit series more than made up for it, with almost every story being some kind of disgusting gore fest that was actually really really scary. The kind of scary that kept you up all night annoying the hell out of your older cousin who though it would be a good idea to watch it. After all, it was right before Saturday Night Live – that should lighten the mood thereafter.
Hardly ever worked. “Tales From The Crypt” was just too legit to quit when it came to delivering the goods on Horror. They knew what real horror was made of, and visiting the roots of the comic strip, the writers often found devilishly delicious stories to make come to life. You’ll also find a ton of Hollywood stars in the cast list, which make it a real treat if you’ve never seen them in this kind of show before. Everyone from Demi Moore to Mariel Hemingway made their turn in the show, so don’t expect the show to fail in the acting department, because if anything, its one of the best!
A shout out has to go to the Crypt Keeper, who you really come to love and respect by the end of it all. He really has a knack for words, and a charisma that is unmatched by any other ghastly ghoul in the industry.
EERIE INDIANA ( 1991 – 1992 )
This has to be the piece de resistance of the entire list; a show that remained only as a half memory in our minds before finding a jackpot of episodes online. This show was all the rage when it first came on TV. It had a weird day spot, just after school, but from the very first episode it was hard not to be entranced by the show.
Starring a young Omri Katz (of “Hocus Pocus” fame), the show featured a string of bizarre and weird circumstances happening in the small town of Eerie Indiana, and with the help of his best friend (played by Justin Shenkarow, “Picket Fences”) they attempt to take on the mysteries and document them in a huge collection of artifacts that prove Eerie’s strange happenings.
Omri is such a young star, and for once in a show, his 90s styling is right on point (with light washed jeans, sweat shirts, graphic Ts, that long Kurt Kobain hair, and an oversized military coat – how can a kid look better?)! Don’t know what happened to the show. It must have just fizzled out, which is a shame because it was actually really fun, really weird, and really well put together. Other than some stretches of the imagination here and there, this was a show that instilled that want and need for something out of this world even in this most mundane of places.
One of the best shows there is, waiting to be brought back to life! So enjoy this, the Pilot episode!
You can find this episode and more on Youtube for those moments in between when you need to focus on what makes you happy. Or just plain old simple distraction from the everyday. Hope you enjoyed our rundown of our favourite TV shows from the 90s – you can see how they might have inspired us here at The Eye of Faith.
What were some of your favourite shows? I’m sure we forgot a few on our list (Of course, X-FILES!), so we’d love to hear them!
Just trying to keep the past alive one TV show at a time . . .
Until next time,