The '90s: Reliving a decade

Updated 9:19 AM ET, Tue April 9, 2019
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April 9, 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the hit film "Never Been Kissed" starring Drew Barrymore and Michael Vartan. Here's a look back at the decade: Twentieth Century Fox
Before "American Horror Story," it was "The X-Files" that provided our weekly creepy quotient. You shouldn't hold your breath that we'll ever get a third film, but Mulder and Scully will be getting together again: a reboot aired in January 2016. FOX/Liaison/Getty Images
The 1993 album "Siamese Dream" helped establish the Smashing Pumpkins as a force on the alternative music scene. But it was the 1995 double album "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" that made the biggest splash. The group went on to become one of the biggest bands of the decade. Kevin Cummins/Getty Images/File
The three Hanson brothers "MMMBop"ed their way into pop culture and many a young girl's heart. They may be married dads now, but they haven't forgotten how good the '90s were to them; they crafted a beer named after their biggest hit. In 2017 they announced their "Middle of Everywhere 25th Anniversary Tour," which kicked off in Germany. Mike Prior/Redferns/File
In 1998, a quad of then-unknown teens stepped into roles that would come to define their lives. "Dawson's Creek" lasted for six seasons, but its popularity is still strong 10 years after the series finale. Need proof? Star James Van Der Beek's role on "Don't Trust the B----" revolved around the fact that he's "Beek from the Creek." Katie Holmes (far left), Michelle Williams (third from left); and Joshua Jackson (right) haven't done too badly for themselves, either. Warner Bros./Getty Images
Singer Lisa Loeb is best known for her mid-'90s hit "Stay" -- and her iconic eyeglasses. Theo Wargo/Getty Images
Mariah Carey's incredible vocal range was showcased for the first time in 1990, and by 1993, the singer had earned a reputation as the diva to watch. Know what else is incredible? Carey's staying power: The star notched another hit in 2013 with "#Beautiful," though she had some trouble with her Christmas song in December 2014. KMazur/WireImage/File
Stephan Jenkins and Third Eye Blind were big in the 1990s, but they made it back into the news in 2016 after Jenkins taunted audience members at a performance held in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Before Gwen Stefani was an A-list star with her own line of clothing, multiple Top 40 hits and Grammy nominations, she was "just a girl" fronting one of the biggest bands of the 1990s, "No Doubt." The band's third studio album, "Tragic Kingdom," propelled them to stardom and was released October 10, 1995. That makes it 20 years old in 2015! Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
"Good Burger" stars Kel Mitchell, left, and Kenan Thompson reunited for an appearance on "The Tonight Show" on September 23, performing in a sketch based on the 1997 film. Paramount/Getty Images
Bill Fagerbakke, left, Jerry Van Dyke and Craig T. Nelson starred in the comedy "Coach," which ended in 1997. Fans were excited by news that NBC was working on a "Coach" revival starring Nelson, but it was later reported the reboot had been scrapped. Robert Nese/Capital Cities/Abc, Inc./The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
Fox's comedy "Married... with Children" pushed the limits with its irreverent humor. Though the show debuted in the late '80s, it firmly entrenched itself in pop culture during the '90s as fans came to adore the dysfunctional Bundy family. Sony Pictures Television
In September 2013, a New Yorker profile revealed that Alicia Silverstone was almost cast as Claire Danes' Angela Chase in "My So-Called Life." But there's an actress for every part, and we're hard-pressed to think of another star who could've embodied Cher Horowitz in the 1995 classic "Clueless" the way Silverstone, right, did. Paramount Pictures
For some, the '90s are a hazy memory with an Alanis Morissette soundtrack. The Canadian musician released "Jagged Little Pill" in 1995 and became inescapable with hits such as "Ironic," "You Oughta Know" and "Head Over Feet." Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect/Getty Images
Who ran the world before Beyoncé? Destiny's Child. In 1999, Queen Bey, right, was reigning over a girl group with a rotating cast but hot singles nonetheless. As listeners prepared for the new millennium, they had Destiny's Child in their ears. The group included, from left, LaTavia Roberson, LeToya Luckett and Kelly Rowland. Jim Smeal/WireImage/File
The Backstreet Boys had to battle for boy band domination in the late '90s with the likes of 'N Sync, fronted at the time by a curly-haired Justin Timberlake, left. (The mystery of those curls has remained unsolved.) Interestingly enough, the tables have now turned: Whereas 'N Sync was killing it in 1998, in 2013 they could barely reunite for more than a minute. In 2017 they launched a Vegas residency. Dan Callister/Getty Images
"My So-Called Life" lasted a single season -- and barely that, since its last telecast was 20 years ago on January 26, 1995. Claire Danes is now picking up Emmys as "Homeland's" Carrie Mathison, who we bet is the type of person who'd watch "My So-Called Life's" Angela Chase. ABC
Nirvana's success was sudden and powerful: "Nevermind" hit No. 1 in 1991, and "In Utero" followed two years later. The group's punkish distortion gave rise to grunge (and fashionable flannel, never mind that flannel is just logical clothing in the Pacific Northwest). "Nevermind," in particular, has stood the test of time. The kid on the cover, by the way, is now in his 20s -- and he still gets introduced as "The Nirvana Baby." DGC Records/Original Recording Group
Kurt Cobain died in 1994. The Nirvana front man committed suicide at his home in Seattle. Frank Micelotta/Getty Images
Few couples typify the '90s like Cobain and his wife, Courtney Love. With Cobain being the pied piper of Seattle grunge and Love the rebellious other half, the two -- along with their daughter, Frances Bean -- were rock royalty in 1993. Frances Bean, who greatly resembles her late father, is now in her 20s, an artist and active Twitter user. She and Love attended a documentary on Kurt Cobain at Sundance. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/File
Although "Saved By the Bell" got its start in 1989, the half-hour comedy helped define a generation and is still popular in syndication. We don't care how many kids Mark-Paul Gosselaar has or how many hosting gigs Mario Lopez picks up, they're both eternally Zack and Slater to us. (Same goes for you, Elizabeth "I'm so excited!" Berkley.) NBC
True, "Seinfeld" also technically launched in 1989 -- but what are the '90s without Jerry Seinfeld (left), George Costanza (played by Jason Alexander, right), Kramer and "The Elaine"? Joseph Del Valle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Near, far, wherever you are, you probably recognize this epic scene from James Cameron's 1997 film "Titanic." The movie, which gave Leonardo DiCaprio official heartthrob status and Kate Winslet an Oscar nomination, is the second-highest grossing film of all time in the States. It also gave Celine Dion a huge hit in the theme song that you are probably hearing in your head right now. Paramount Pictures
Jaleel White has worked very hard to leave Steve Urkel in the '90s, but a character that great just can't die. Although "Family Matters," too, actually started in 1989, White's masterful portrayal is easily one of the most memorable roles of the decade that followed. BOB D'AMICO/abc via getty images
MC Hammer's hammer pants had a starring role in the music video for 1990's "U Can't Touch This" and, surprisingly, are still around. Just ask Justin Bieber. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/File
Like Hammer, the flower-infested clothing Mayim Bialik's "Blossom" wore came back into vogue. (We still can't defend her headgear, though -- we know you remember those hats.) Today, you can see Bialik in "The Big Bang Theory." ABC
Before Disney and Nickelodeon churned out child stars like the '90s churned out grunge bands, Macaulay Culkin stood in a kid star class of his own. If he hasn't trademarked his patented cheek-slap-and-scream move from "Home Alone," he should. 20th Century Fox
"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" nostalgia transcends its 1990-96 run both on TV and online. Since most of us can recite the lyrics to the classic theme song without blinking an eye, soon Internet pranksters were busy "Bel-Airing" innocent readers in comment sections instead of "rickrolling." NBC
In 1991, "Home Improvement" introduced Tim Allen to broadcast TV viewers as Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor, a handy family man with three boys. The middle son, played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, would become a swoon-worthy favorite. The Walt Disney Co.
Before becoming an Oscar-nominated actor, Mark Wahlberg was preoccupied with showing America his underwear as often as possible. Wahlberg would probably like to forget the "Marky Mark" '90s, but that image is etched into our memories forever. Time Life Pictures/DMI/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images/File
Before actresses and reality TV personalities became magazine cover stars, supermodels such as Cindy Crawford ran the show. Long before Britney Spears or Beyonce landed lucrative endorsement deals with Pepsi, Crawford filmed the still-iconic commercial in 1991. Pepsi/Getty Images
The boys -- and now men -- of New Kids on the Block have been "Hangin' Tough" for years. The revived NKOTB have proven they can still make fans weak out on tour. The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
The ladies of TLC -- that would be Chilli, Left-Eye and T-Boz -- made their industry-changing entrance in 1992 with "Ooooooohhh ... on the TLC Tip." Between their frank approach to sex ("Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg"), smart writing ("What About Your Friends") and distinctive style (yep, the condoms), it makes sense that they were hailed as "a perfect pop group for the times." Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes died in 2002, but you can catch the surviving members on that NKOTB tour. Michel Linssen/Redferns/File
Whitney Houston's 1992 movie "The Bodyguard" proved she was more than just a singer, but her smash "I Will Always Love You" proved why she was one of the best. She covered Dolly Parton's song so well that amateur performers still can't help but sing along. Houston died of coronary heart disease in 2012. Warner Bros.
Steven Spielberg's 1993 film "Jurassic Park" was such a classic, it even performed well 20 years later. When the 3-D version of the original was re-released in theaters in April 2013, it earned $18.6 million in its opening weekend. Let's run that past you again: $18.6 million, from a movie many moviegoers probably already own. It spawned a franchise with the latest, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," hitting theaters in 2018. Universal Pictures
In 2013, Lenny Kravitz celebrated the 20th anniversary of his cornerstone album, "Are You Gonna Go My Way." Originally released in March 1993, a remastered and expanded version is now available. Rob Verhorst/Redferns/File
There are so many things about "Sleepless in Seattle" that make us wistful: A) Nora Ephron co-wrote and directed it (may she R.I.P.); B) Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks were the '90s on-screen power couple; and C) the thought of someone finding love through a radio talk show and then flying to meet them is beyond quaint. TriStar Pictures
Ben Savage (center) has done little else with his acting career outside of '90s family sitcom "Boy Meets World," but he doesn't have to. The comedy, which also starred Danielle Fishel, left; Rider Strong, right; and William Daniels, is so beloved, the residuals will probably pay for his retirement. But instead of resting on his laurels, Savage is helping introduce Cory Matthews to a new generation: Disney's spinoff "Girl Meets World," also starring Fishel, premiered in 2014. ABC
You might think the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" were too cheesy to keep up with today's superheroes, but the franchise is actually still kicking. Twenty years after "Power Rangers" premiered in 1993, Nickelodeon debuted new episodes of "Power Rangers Megaforce." Fox/Getty Images
The dictionary might as well use a photo of "Reality Bites" as the definition for the '90s. The 1994 film, directed by Ben Stiller, had it all: Winona Ryder, right; Ethan Hawke, left; Janeane Garofalo and lots of angsty discussion about the meaning of life. For some reason, Stiller has said he wants to bring the movie back as a TV series. Jersey Films/Universal Pictures
"ER" was must-see TV for many, and while George Clooney, left, is now an actor and director extraordinaire, we loved him as the womanizing Dr. Doug Ross on that series. NBC
Kelsey Grammer's Frasier Crane was such a popular character in the '90s, he thinks it even landed him a wife. When it comes to his ex Camille, Grammer has said he thinks she married him not because he was a TV icon but specifically "because I was Frasier." NBC
Somehow, when "Beavis and Butt-head" returned to MTV in 2011 after 14 years off the air, they were just as immature as they were after being introduced in 1993. And fans loved it. MTV
A decade of watching Rachel and Ross make up and break up in between meeting the rest of their "Friends" at Central Perk still wasn't enough for fans. Unfortunately, there are zero plans for a reunion or a movie. NBC
Jim Carrey first found fame as a member of the ensemble cast "In Living Color," which set him up for a very busy 1994. That year saw Carrey release films like "The Mask," "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" and "Dumb and Dumber," the latter of which got a poorly received sequel. "The Mask" helped establish Carrey as a comedic actor who specialized in over-the-top characters. New Line Cinema
"The Lion King" not only had tons of cat lovers naming their pets "Simba," it also introduced the phrase "hakuna matata" into the American lexicon. The film hasn't lost its popularity in the years since its release and even spurred a successful Broadway musical in 1997. When the studio decided to re-release the animated film in 3-D in 2011, it topped the box office two weeks in a row. A new "Lion King" starring Donald Glover and Beyonce is scheduled to be released in 2019. Again, we say: That's some serious fandom. Walt Disney Pictures
For a life and career that was all-too-brief, Notorious B.I.G. left a mammoth impact. In 1994, the rapper released his debut, "Ready to Die," and in the process created a legacy that lived on after his death in 1997. Getty Images
In 1995, multifaceted rapper/actor Tupac Shakur was as well known for his artistry as he was for his fiery personality. His private troubles didn't slow his success, though: As Pac headed for prison in 1995, his album "Me Against the World" was headed for No. 1. Today, in his absence, the slain rapper is celebrated as an icon -- and hologram. Getty Images
With Mel Gibson's bumpy life the past several years, we wouldn't be surprised if many of you prefer to remember the 1995 version of the actor: covered in war paint in "Braveheart" and yelling, "They may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!" Paramount Pictures
Rebecca Black had a short-lived claim to the fifth day of the week, but in 1995, "Friday" was the domain of Chris Tucker, left, and Ice Cube. The ever-so-quotable movie, directed by F. Gary Gray, spawned a few follow-ups, but the original is hands down the best. New Line Cinema
Tom Cruise had Renee Zellweger's Dorothy and the entire audience at "hello" in 1996's "Jerry Maguire." Audiences fell in love with Cruise as a sports agent who finds love while trying to find his way. But the big winner was Cuba Gooding Jr., whose performance as Rod "Show Me the Money" Tidwell earned him the best supporting actor Oscar. TriStar Pictures
Jamiroquai was popular in the United Kingdom before 1996, fronted by the charismatic singer Jay Kay. Their single "Virtual Insanity" -- and its accompanying music video -- broke the group out into the mainstream in the United States, inspiring style copycats. Simon King/Redferns/Getty Images
R&B singer Aaliyah quietly sneaked up on the unsuspecting in 1994, when she released her debut album "Age Ain't Nothing but a Number" with the help of her then-mentor, R. Kelly. Controversy came in the form of a marriage license published by Vibe magazine that purported to show Kelly had wed a then-15-year-old Aaliyah (her age was listed as 18). ABC News reported that the marriage was annulled and with support from producers Missy Elliott and Timbaland, Aaliyah went on to solidify her status as an R&B princess before her death in a plane crash in 2001. Barry King/WireImage/Getty Images
We hope the movie about the making of 1997's "Good Will Hunting" is going to arrive any day now, because Matt Damon's working bromance with Ben Affleck, right, is part of Hollywood history. When the two teamed up to write the screenplay, they memorably took their story all the way to the Oscars. (And yes, Mindy Kaling first had success with "Matt & Ben," a comedy about the two.) Miramax Pictures
For an anti-social teen, Daria Morgendorffer is still incredibly popular. No one has really made peace with the ending of "Daria" after five seasons in 2001. There have been pushes for a movie (sort of), but nothing's happened. MTV
After crossing over from the United Kingdom to the States and the rest of the world with "Wannabe" in 1996, the Girls spawned two back-to-back best-selling albums, a movie and plenty of hysteria. It's been nearly 20 years since their pop domination, and the group's still got it: At the 2012 Summer Olympics, the five members reunited for a performance at the London games. Ray Burmiston/Photoshot/Getty Images
Sarah Michelle Gellar's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" would be right at home in today's pop culture landscape filled with butt-kicking heroines. There's actually the slightest possibility that the 1997 Joss Whedon series could make a return as a movie: "If there was ever the right story, we would do it," Gellar said. Whedon's a busy guy, though. Getty Images
Marilyn Manson was one of the most controversial figures of the '90s, although the debate over his music didn't boil over until the latter half of the decade. From his "Antichrist Superstar" album to his iconic style, Manson became both the poster child -- and scapegoat -- for disaffected youth. Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect/Getty Images
Believe it or not, "Sex and the City" debuted in 1998. The cast pictured from left is Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes, Kristin Davis as Charlotte York, Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, and Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones. Don't look for a reboot with the original cast, as Parker and Cattrall famously do not get along. HBO
Britney Spears wasted no time putting her Mouseketeer days firmly behind her when she launched a pop career in 1999. The song, "Baby One More Time," was tailor-made for radio, but it was the slightly salacious music video that sold it. Somewhere, there are adults who still remember every dance move. Jive Records/YouTube
Eminem politely introduced himself in 1999's not-so-polite track, "Hi, My Name Is." Between his effortless, rapid-fire flow and his pop culture-savvy music video, Slim Shady didn't need much more of an introduction than that. Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect/Getty Images
California trio Blink-182 was on its fourth album when it hit radio paydirt in 1999. With songs such as "All the Small Things" and "What's My Age Again?," Blink-182 became a household name after seven years in the industry. Frank Micelotta/Getty Images