The 25th Anniversary Edition 1990 Version: TV Shows

It’s time again for the Anniversary Edition. This is a series where we highlight the 25th anniversary of some of our favorite things. These include movies, TV shows, video games, comics and music that came out during the year of 1990, the first year of the decade of the 90s. A lot of big things debuted or made a huge impact that year and so we will highlight some of those in this series.

We have previously looked at the year in music, video games and movies in 1990. We now turn to the TV shows of 1990. There were some pretty big TV shows that debuted in 1990. As I mentioned last year, this was still the era of Saturday morning cartoons as well as weekday afternoon cartoons. Along with that, there were some pretty significant prime time TV shows that debuted that are still adored to this day.

A special event that came in 1990 was the cartoon special Cartoon All Stars To The Rescue. It was a cartoon that featured numerous Saturday morning cartoon characters & was essentially a public service announcement against drugs. It aired on April 21st simultaneously on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, BET, USA and Nickelodeon.

Speaking of cartoons, there were some pretty big ones that debuted in 1990. Before getting into specific shows, two blocks of shows debuted in 1990. On September 8th, FOX Kids debuted on FOX. A few days later on September 10th, Disney Afternoon, a block of Disney cartoons debuted in syndication. Onto the shows, Talespin, a kind of remaking of the Jungle Book characters debuted on May 5th on the Disney Channel (it would go on to be a part of Disney Afternoon). When FOX Kids debuted, two big cartoons in that block were Bobby’s World and Tom & Jerry Kids. Two other big cartoons that debuted were Tiny Toons Adventures and Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Tiny Toon Adventures (September 14th) debuted in syndication and features some new characters in the Warner Bros animation world as well as some classic characters. Captain Planet and the Planeteers (September 15th) debuted on TBS and was a ecological slant as they fought against those that would pollute the Earth.

One of the most influential dramas on television debuted on September 13th. That show was Law & Order. This procedural crime drama looked at both the cops and the lawyers as a crime and case developed. It would go on to be one of the longest running series in the history of television and would have multiple spinoffs (including one that is still running in Law & Order: SVU). Another extremely popular TV show that debuted in 1990 was Beverly Hills, 90210. Making its debut on October 4 on FOX, it would be one of the first hits for the network & be one of the defining shows for teens and young adults of that decade.

One show that lasted only one season but was ahead of its time was The Flash. This superhero show based on the DC character The Flash, debuted on CBS on September 20th. It would last only one season but elements (and some of the actors from that show) have made their way into the new version of The Flash that is airing on the CW now.

One of the most popular sitcoms that made it’s debut that year was The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  The show which starred Will Smith made it’s debut on September 10th.  It’s theme song was one of the most popular and recognizable of the decade and the show would later propel Smith onto success on the big screen.

Some other popular TV shows that debuted in 1990 included Twin Peaks (April 9th), In Living Color (April 14th), Wings (April 19th), Northern Exposure (July 12th) and Evening Shade (September 21st).

Which of these TV shows listed was your favorite? Is there a TV show not listed that premiered in 1990 that you enjoy? Leave a comment and share them here. Next time, we will look at the year in comics in 1990. Until then, crank up the old VCR and enjoy some classic TV shows.