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One of the most iconic years for TV premieres was most definitely 1994. So many of the most beloved sitcoms, dramas, and even reality TV shows made their debut during that year. The crazy thing? Most of these shows are still watched and revered to this very day. Considering these shows turn 25(!) this year, that's a huge accomplishment! Thanks to the rise of streaming, we're able to enjoy these shows decades after they originally aired. These incredible shows have lived on far after their series finales and now, 25 years later, we can see just how important they've been to television as a whole.
These shows turning 25 are some of the most impactful of all time. Friends changed the world of sitcoms forever. Ellen featured a coming out story that was unheard of on television at the time. Oh, and Extra is still on to this day! Talk about lasting impact! We almost can't believe all of these amazing shows aired in one year. Nowadays, it's a lucky year for TV if one or two new series stick around for season two. Here are the iconic TV shows turning 25 this year that we still love to this day!
Bravo hasn't always been about Housewives and cruise ship crews! Back in 1994, it aired Inside the Actors Studio, an interview-centric series that took the "celebrity interview" to new levels. James Lipton sits down with an actor or director for each episode and engages in a long one-on-one interview with them. These conversations cover everything from the celeb's inspiration to their upbringing to what they hope to achieve. It's an insightful look into some of your favorite Hollywood creatives without all the fluff that generally fills celebrity interviews. The series is still airing new episodes 25 years later. Some shows turning 25 this year are also celebrating 25 years on the air!
This was one of the most entertaining and informative cartoons from our youth. Ms. Frizzle (voiced by Lily Tomlin, who knew?!) was the teacher we all wished we had when we watched The Magic School Bus episodes in class! She was fun, enlightening, and always took her class on adventures. The series has had a long life helping young kids learn science and history in a fun way. It has always been the kind of show you can watch at school and then go home and watch for fun. Not only is the show turning 25 this year, but many of the kids that grew up watching it will be hitting that same milestone!
This show began in 1994 and ended a mere year later. But we're still talking about this one-season wonder! The Claire Danes-fronted teen drama is one of the early shows about adolescence that managed to avoid being cliché. It's honest and raw in its showing of an unfiltered look at high school life. That's why it's still so beloved to this day. You can't deny that kind of authenticity! The series also launched Danes's career and turned her into one of the most dependable actresses his Hollywood. We still wish we could've had more than one season of this incredible series, though!
It's rare that cartoons are rebooted. It's even rarer that they're rebooted for an adult audience! Space Ghost Coast to Coast brings back the Hanna-Barbera character Space Ghost (George Lowe) as the host of his own talk show. The series subverted typical cartoon content by having celebrities come on as Space Ghost's guests completely unanimated. Oftentimes it seemed like they had no idea what kind of show they were on and Space Ghost was never afraid to mess with them! The series experienced cancellations, revivals, and a run as a web series before finally bowing out in 2018. But don't fret, it can still be seen on Adult Swim most nights next to a line-up of shows it fits in with perfectly!
Without this show we would not have the Food Network we know and love. Emeril Lagasse was one of the first "celebrity chefs" to start popping up. His show premiered during the second year of the Food Network's existence and helped set the tone for what the channel would become. Essense of Emeril was just Emeril cooking in a kitchen and being his genial self. Since it aired, that format has been done and redone and redone again about 50,000 times. These days we have dozens of cooking shows to watch, but once upon a time the pickings were slim and Emeril was the best of the best! This is definitely the most mouth-watering of all the shows turning 25 this year!
Aaron Spelling's Beverly Hills, 90210 spawned tons of spin-offs during its time on air. First it was Melrose Place and then Models Inc. came around. While this show didn't last nearly as long as it's predecessors (one season to be exact), it was still entertaining AF. The primetime soap brought all the drama from the shows that came before it and upped the ante by about a million. It was basically a full-on soap opera that just happened to air at night. Spelling always had a knack for all-out campiness in his TV shows and Models Inc. was the pinnacle of ridiculousness. It's by far the most outlandish of all the shows turning 25 this year!
Before TV was full of shows about teens getting powers, there was the Nickelodeon series The Secret World of Alex Mack. Alex (Larisa Oleynik) is doused with chemicals and gains superpowers from them. She tries to navigate her teen years while keeping her powers (which include telekinesis and the ability turn into a puddle of water) under wraps. Shows about teen vampires, wolves, and ghost hunters are all the rage right now, but Alex was the OG superpowered young adult. Oh, and not only did it help launch Oleynik's career as a '90s teen dream, there was this little actress named Jessica Alba who also appeared on the show, too!
There was only one of two ways '90s kids felt about this show: they either loved it or it terrified them. The giant frog was a little scary for a kid, we're not gonna lie! But looking back at the show through an adult lens, it's easy to see how influential and important it actually was. The series was inspired by Gullah culture, which is prevalent among African Americans in the lower U.S. like Georgia and South Carolina. The show, in particular, was inspired by series star Ron Daise's home of St. Helena Island, a part of the Sea Islands. It was one of the first series on television to focus on an African American family in an indigenous community. It may have been a children's show, but it was still incredibly groundbreaking when it came to inclusion in television.
This is the kind of religion-based television show that you just don't see on TV very often. Monica (Roma Downey) is an angel who brings messages from God to various people in the world who need the guidance at that time. The series ran for nine seasons and was CBS's highest-rated series for several years during it's run. While the show wasn't for everyone (religious overtones aren't always widely accepted), it was still highly popular. Whether or not you're a "believer" in such things, it stands to reason that representation matters even in instances of faith!
Twenty-five years years ago Sister, Sister put Tia and Tamera Mowry on the map. The Mowry ladies played twins who were separated at birth but then reunite during their teen years. The series began as a fun, wholesome sitcom but eventually evolved into something more. It was canceled by ABC after two seasons when the fledgling WB picked it up. There it spent four more years developing into a show that was so much more than a family sitcom. It was then about young women growing up and coming into their own. The Mowry sisters have been all over the place since their TV debut (Twitches FTW) and who knows, maybe someday we'll get a Sister, Sister reboot!
Before every show in NBC's lineup was seemingly set in Chicago, there was the OG windy city show: Chicago Hope. The primetime soap focuses on the staff at a hospital in Chicago, centering on their personal and professional lives. So, yeah, it was basically a '90s Grey's Anatomy! The steamy drama ran for six years and was a frequent Emmy nominee. This is one of the shows turning 25 that proves that even decades later TV hasn't changed very much. We still love medical dramas, and we clearly still love Chicago!
Of all the shows turning 25 this year, there are few that have as much of a significant legacy as Ellen. The big reason has less to do with the sitcom and more to do with Ellen DeGeneres herself. After revealing she was gay in real life, her character on the show also came out in one of the first big coming out storylines on primetime TV. The episode, entitled "The Puppy Episode," received plenty of backlash and attention. ABC even placed a Parental Advisory warning at the beginning of the episode! This is, of course, absurd as we look back in 2019. But no matter how "controversial" many saw it as in 1994, the coming out opened the door for LGBT representation on television. Twenty-five years later, we still recognize the show's influence and still love Ellen!
Real talk: not only is this show turning 25 but so is Kenan Thompson's career in sketch comedy. He went from the Nickelodeon sketch series to Saturday Night Live and hasn't stopped making us laugh since! All That brought sketch comedy to kids in a way that was engaging and hilarious. There were even musical guests every episode! The show brought to the forefront so many talented kids who went on to do bigger and better things. Thompson, of course, was one of the big talents that came out of the show. But joining him were the likes of Amanda Bynes and Gabriel Iglesias. If these shows turning 25 are teaching us anything, it's that 1994 was an incredible year for Nickelodeon shows!
If you thought This is Us made you cry a lot, you clearly haven't seen Party of Five. The series centers on five siblings who lose their parents in a car accident and have to learn to live on without them. That wasn't the only heavy theme the show dealt with, though. It also touched upon substance abuse, cancer, and domestic violence. It was basically a weekly cry-fest with a few laughs sprinkled in! This is another one of the shows turning 25 that launched several careers. Matthew Fox, Lacey Chabert, and Neve Campbell were all young actors introduced to Hollywood through the show!
How many shows turning 25 are still thriving? Not very many. But Extra remains a mainstay on television all these years later! The entertainment news show was one of the first of its kind. Extra delves into pop culture gossip, interviews with celebs, and Hollywood exclusives. The show hasn't deviated much from its initial goal and still provides all the inside scoop on celebs, movies, and TV shows! These days, Mario Lopez is one of the most notable hosts and leads the broadcasts all week long. There are, of course, plenty of other entertainment news shows out there. But few of them have lasted as long as Extra has!
Yep, one of the most iconic sitcoms of all time turns 25 this year! Like we said, 1994 was a really good year for television. The classic show about six friends living in New York City has never really gone away. While it ended in 2004, it never left TV. It's constantly playing in syndication and is available for streaming on Netflix where it has been given new life. Turns out so many people are watching Friends on Netflix that they were willing to pay a lot of money to keep it in their arsenal! Very few shows turning 25 have continued to be as beloved as this one is. BRB, we gotta watch the one where the gang turns 25!
It's no secret that people love medical dramas. They make up like 50% of everything on TV (or so it feels like!). In 1994, the ultimate medical drama premiered and TV was never the same. There would be no Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, or House without the legacy ER provided. The George Clooney-fronted drama follows an emergency room staff in a (where else?) Chicago hospital. The series ran for 15 years, making it the longest-running American medical drama in history. Not only does it have that distinction, but it also launched several high profile careers and spawned plenty of similarly structured shows. There is no end to the impact that ER has had on dramatic television in the last 25 years and we're sure we'll be saying the same when it turns 50!