Following TFI Friday’s recent return to our screens, if you could revive any 1990s TV show from either side of the pond, what would it be? Here are our picks, and the ways we’d update ’em for our manic modern times…
’90s TV favourite TFI Friday returned last year to screens for a reboot – and Kenan and Kel recently reunited for a Jimmy Fallon sketch. Will this spark other ace programmes from the decade being be brought back to life? Who knows. Should that happen though, here are 20 classic shows worthy of a 2016 comeback.
Crystal Maze: Richard O’Brien’s challenge show saw contestants testing their mettle at various cryptic games to win crystals. It’d take a Katie Hopkins-level fun sponge to ruin this one, but the dream presenter? Well, if Bowie’s not keen on getting on stage then he could always resurrect Labyrinth’s Goblin King and its creepy crystal ball. Failing Dame Dave – Russell Brand?
The Word: The quintessentially cool ’90s youth culture show The Word was broadcast live, chaotically veering between music, interviews and hare-brained features and always on the point of near-collapse. Their perfect 2015 house band? The Fat White Family, of course. Sit back and watch the Ofcom complaints roll in.
Gamesmaster: A video game show presided by the late astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, Gamesmaster made sitting in your room obsessively playing Sonic seem like the coolest thing ever. These days, Call of Duty and its ilk have made gaming a pretty stressful activity compared to Mario and his colourful ’90s chums, so we reckon this should just involve good old-fashioned Sega wars.
Daria: 18 years after it was first broadcast and disenfranchised student Daria is still the poster girl for eyeball-rolling teenage disaffection. Two decades on, however, and now Daria and best friend Jane really have a world worthy of disdain – Twitter trolls, selfie sticks, Gogglebox and all.
Gladiators: Contenders – ready! Gladiators – ready! Sure, everyone’s favourite excuse to see bodybuilders whacking each other with giant cotton wool buds has been revived in various forms over the years, but nothing beats the original gang. They might all be about 60 now, but we bet Wolf could still take you on the Eliminator without breaking a sweat.
Eerie Indiana: Set in the fictional town of Eerie, Indiana, where a more concentrated stream of weird shit happens than the murders of Midsomer Norton, this cult classic just needs a (faux) reality show reboot to get the full 360 degree experience. The Only Way Is Eerie, anyone?
Dinosaurs: Essentially a classic family-based sitcom, but featuring animatronic dinosaurs, the beauty of this one was in how it took an otherwise run-of-the-mill household situation and filled it with bizarre characters. A precursor to Keeping Up With The Kardashians, some might say. Raptors in lumberjack shirts and baseball jackets? This is timeless shit. Bring it back!
Knightmare: If the idea of being blindfolded by the Helmet Of Justice (essentially a bucket with some horns) and guided around a virtual reality medieval castle doesn’t float your boat, then frankly you need to check your priorities. We’re sure the Harry Potter franchise overlords are itching to remake this with a sorting hat and Hogwarts as we speak.
The Secret World Of Alex Mack: Starring 10 Things I Hate About You’s Larisa Oleynik, ordinary teen Alex Mack’s secret world begins when she’s covered in a chemical that gives her special powers such as being able to turn into a puddle of water, instead of, y’know, pumping her full of cancer. Imagine the shady organisations Mack could infiltrate with her powers in our post-NSA world.
Renford Rejects: Nickelodeon’s charmingly incompetent 5-a-siders made us all feel a little better about our own sporting woes, set in a time before FIFA were the openly crooked bastards they are today. A modern day remake could help highlight the joys of grassroots football while the real game falls to pieces at the hands of Sepp Blatter and his money-grabbing plans for a Qatar World Cup.
Fun House: Fun House’s primary coloured enthusiasm was dazzlingly weird, and so optimistic and ‘90s that it hurt. Nowadays, kids have a looming sense of economic catastrophe, so the gunge would be dark and the cheery Pat Sharp would be replaced by Noel Fielding, who would render the gameshow Kafkaesque and cruel.
The Big Breakfast: No television show since has equalled the boisterous early morning wake-up call Chris Evans, Gaby Roslin, Zoe Ball, Cheggers and co’s Big Breakfast provided. Aliens Zig and Zag could return, as could the show’s frequent music guests. Get Miquita Oliver and Steve Jones on board and we’ve got us a show!
Clarissa Explains It All: Pre-Sabrina, Melissa Joan Hart cut her teeth on this show in the starring role of Clarissa, who spoke straight to camera about her teenage woes. Sadly, these days a 2015 teen would probably FaceTime her storytelling via a Snapchat post taken on a selfie stick. Ah, it was a simpler time back then.
My So Called Life: This moody teen drama about a high school in Pennsylvania treated teenage issues seriously, launching two high profile stars – Claire Danes and Jared Leto. Maybe it could be revived on the premise that the original series was a Homeland prequel, with Danes’ Homeland character Carrie Mathison quitting the spy game to revert to life as Angela Chase?
Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Joss Whedon has brought his arch humour to fantasy and sci-fi projects from Firefly to Marvel’s Avengers, but of his early work it’s Buffy that sticks out as the series to love. Sarah Michelle Geller’s Slayer was basically the stake-clutching cemetary-stalking badass 1990s precursor to #EverydaySexism, so bring a 2015 reboot on, we say.
The Wonder Years: This was set in the late ‘60s, “a golden age for kids”, and covered the life of Kevin Arnold from the ages of 12 to 17. These days, however, it’s the ‘90s we want back. If The Wonder Years were rebooted we’d get to relive the glory days once again – it’d be like The Fresh Prince. Maybe we should just bring back The Fresh Prince.
The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air: The role that brought Will Smith into the hearts of millions, in an age of economic prosperity, The Fresh Prince took a young man from a humble black neighbourhood and threw him into high society. A reboot could flip this, sending a well-to-do teen to live with a poor family. Less laughs, sure, but a gritty insight into life on the other sides of the tracks.
Round The Twist: “Have you ever, ever felt like this? Have strange things happened? Are you going round the twist?” went the theme tune to this Aussie kids TV favourite. Weird shit going on in a lighthouse is the sort shit that just never gets old, no matter the decade.
Sabrina, The Teenage Witch: The second of Melissa Joan Hart’s ’90s TV home runs, Sabrina had a talking cat (Salem), two equally magical aunts and a boyfriend (Harvey) who’d climb through her window on occasion. After-school gold for pre-pubescent girls, we’d imagine that Sabrina 2k15 would run a Zoella-style Youtube channel but without the vapid annoyance.
Saved By The Bell: Following the exploits of a group of high school pals and their principal Mr Belding, Saved By The Bell was the quintessential teen experience that everyone longed to have. Until Screech, aka Dustin Diamond went and released a sex tape and ruined childhood for everyone. Nice one! For the sake of all our childhoods then, this needs to be remade.