We all watch TV, and which is the “best” show is a matter of opinion really. Here are the top 10 TV comedies from 1990-2000. Don’t forget to check out other lists throughout Thought for Your Penny.
10. 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001) 52% at Metacritic
A group of aliens lands on Earth disguised as humans and attempt to learn human (read: American) customs. It’s Mork and Mindy with a family, and a classic “fish out of water” premise. The brilliant cast keeps things interesting, and it’s always fun watching the different styles blend.
Creator: Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner
Starring: John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
9. Dinosaurs (1991-1993) 0% at Metacritic
While Dinosaurs is mostly remembered for Baby Sinclair’s “Not the Mama” catchphrase, it’s a great show to go back and watch these days. It touches on themes of racism, censorship, environmentalism, classism, drug abuse, and more. It’s a lot deeper than you’d think from it’s goofy look, and the highlight is definitely Mr. Lizard constantly needing another Timmy.
Creator: Michael Jacobs, Bob Young
Starring: Stuart Pankin, Jessica Walter, Sally Struthers
8. That 70s Show (1998-2006) 64% at Metacritic
Focusing on a group of teenagers in Wisconsin, That 70s Show was one of the first mainstream shows to normalize pot usage. Whereas most shows of the era (and even today) made it seem like everyone’s rich and white, this show actually showed working-class people with real problems. The whitewashing that is present can be excused because it’s Wisconsin in the 70s.
Creator: Mark Brazill, Terry Turner, Bonnie Turner
Starring: Mila Kunis, Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon
7. Whose Line Is It Anyway? (1998-Present) 86% at Metacritic
Whose Line Is It Anyway popularized improv comedy in a big way. Each episode had host Carey providing basic premises, often with help from the audience, for the four performers to act out. It’s the reason you know who Brady is. A slew of guest stars kept things fresh, and the show is still watchable today, even when compared to the revival.
Creator: Mark Leveson, Don Patterson
Starring: Drew Carey, Wayne Brady, Ryan Stiles
6. Animaniacs (1993-1998) 87% at Metacritic
It’s a cartoon that aired during the day, considered a show for kids, yet one of the smartest TV shows of its day. The Warner Brothers and their sister Dot, Pinky and the Brain, Good Idea/Bad Idea…the show is filled with brilliant skits and shorts that are still as funny and thought provoking today as they were 20 years ago.
Creator: Tom Ruegger
Starring: Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille, Jess Harnell
5. King of the Hill (1997-2010) 68% at Metacritic
Judge gained fame with Beavis and Butthead, but King of the Hill is easily the best animation he ever made. Focused on a neighborhood of redneck yokels in Arlington, TX, it was never afraid to push the boundaries of comedy while providing some great lessons for young and old. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better portrayal of life in Texas.
Creator: Mike Judge, Greg Daniels
Starring: Mike Judge, Kathy Najimy, Pamela Adlon
4. Futurama (1999-2013) 72% at Metacritic
Although The Simpsons is still on, Futurama is Groening’s best work. The story of a pizza delivery boy named Philip J. Fry who’s cryogenically frozen and wakes up in the 31st century, it’s deeper than any live-action TV series you’ll ever see. You’ll laugh, cry, and seriously think about just about every aspect of life. It’s impossible not to love this show after watching.
Creator: David X. Cohen, Matt Groening
Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio
3. Martin (1992-1997) 0% at Metacritic
It’s amazing to me how often I still hear someone say “Damn, Gina!” The people uttering it aren’t typically old enough to have seen Martin during its original run, so I often find myself wondering if they even know where that phrase came from. Lawrence and Campbel-Martin are one of TV’s most iconic couples. It’s a shame they had a falling out that made the last season so awkward to watch.
Creator: Martin Lawrence, John Bowman, Topper Carew
Starring: Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Tichina Arnold
2. South Park (1997-Present) 64% at Metacritic
Although its had a few down times, South Park has managed to outlast The Simpsons in relevancy. Nobody would have guessed that back in 1997 when it first came out, but Parker and Stone have unapologetically touched on every topic you can imagine. The show explains topics like Black Friday, Scientology, and Donald Trump’s presidency better than even NPR ever could.
Creator: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Brian Graden
Starring: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mona Marshall
1. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990-1996) 58% at Metacritic
There’s not a human being on the planet that can’t finish the line “In West Philadelphia born and raised…” Smith is one of the greatest artists of modern time. He’s one of the first musicians to have a successful TV show and one of the first TV actors to successfully transition to movies. Fresh Prince of Bel Air is the quintessential 90s TV show, with all the elements of a classic that you can still watch today and be wholly entertained.
Creator: Andy Borowitz, Susan Borowitz
Starring: Will Smith, Joseph Marcell, Tatyana Ali