20 Years Ago in TV; the Good and the Bad

I was flipping through channels yesterday and stumbled upon an episode of Barney; you know, the purple dinosaur. It's been a long time since I had any reason to watch Barney, but I could have sworn I had seen this episode before. More likely, all Barney episodes involve songs about brushing your teeth and how much you love him. I got to wonder how long Barney had been teaching preschoolers good manners, and was shocked to find out that it's been 20 years!

If there is anything that can make you feel old, it's to know that you were pushing puberty the same time that Barney began pushing Old McDonald down children's throats. Nineteen ninety-two was definitely a banner year for movies (as pointed out by our own Craig Hlavaty), but television shows...let's say there were a few winners and just as many losers.


The Real World

Nineteen ninety-two was the year that started it all. The people on this show were actually seven strangers, picked to live in a loft, to find out what would happen. Twenty years later, they found out that if you gave them a bunch of Jell-O shots, they would make out in a hot tub. Experiment done!

The Ben Stiller Show


The Ben Stiller

show only lasted a year on Fox, but while it aired, it broke comedy ground. Plus, it featured the likes of Bob Odenkirk, Janeane Garofalo, David Cross and Judd Apatow.

The Grind

The Grind

was a show where you watched people in little clothing dance. Why this was such a hit is hard to say. If it aired now, you would be able to text in who got kicked off the dance floor.

Melrose Place

The scandal, the lies, the betrayal, the burning of pools and hearts simultaneously, the first few seasons of

Melrose Place

was everything a soapy drama should be. Eventually it turned ridiculous, but that first season it was glorious.

King Arthur and the Knights of Justice

King Arthur and the Knights of Justice

was a Sunday morning cartoon that made little sense, but it really didn't matter. It had football players who were transported back in time to defend Camelot. How could that be a bad thing?

Dateline NBC

Dateline premiered in 1992, and when it began, Stone Phillips and Jane Pauley were the hosts. It has lost some of its hard-hitting exposés, but it's still uncovering things like perverts who solicit sex on the Internet, every Friday night.

Mad About You

One of the first couples on prime-time television to have a loving and stable marriage without children -- until they jumped the shark and had a baby.

Alternative Nation

It was 1992! Even MTV's nerdy, somewhat obnoxious VJ Kennedy seemed cool.


The Heights


Melrose Place


The Heights

, another Aaron Spelling prime-time soap, failed to ever catch on. It could be that the show's star, Jamie Walters, came from

Beverly Hills 90210

, where he played the character of a girlfriend beater, or perhaps fans were sorry that he had cleaned up his act.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures

Good movies don't always make for good television. If we are considering

Bill & Ted's

a good movie.

The Jackie Thomas Show

The Jackie Thomas Show

starred Tom Arnold, then husband of Roseanne, as an obnoxious actor whose career was struggling. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

California Dreams

Surf dudes with attitudes!

This Saturday morning show was a poor man's Saved By the Bell. The biggest difference was that this crew of friends was in a band all the time, not just once or twice like the SBTB characters; the viewers were unfortunately forced to digest their bad Cali-pop weekly.

Hangin' with Mr. Cooper

Pretty much everything that aired during the heyday of ABC's


lineup was bad, but

Mr. Cooper

didn't even have any cute baby twins on it!

2000 Malibu Road

In the '90s, it was thought that Drew Barrymore could do no wrong as long as she giggled and wore a daisy in her hair. This show proved that was faulty logic.

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