Queue – ’90s Edition

Kathryne LeBell, Views Editor

The ’90s brought the world grunge, the Internet, slap bracelets and, most importantly, an explosive variety of new television shows and genres. Some campy shows remain popular to this day, championed by cult fanbases who continue to ruthlessly recommend these shows to their friends. The following are only a small selection of these classics. Put down the stakes Buffy fans, it was already in a queue.

“Xena: Warrior Princess”

“Xena: Warrior Princess” features Lucy Lawless ruining the evil plans of villains, cultivating rewarding female friendships and looking good in a leather minidress. With her chakram (basically a sword frisbee) and her best friend, Gabrielle the bard, she travels the world, righting wrongs and searching for the greater good.

Set in a patchwork fantasy Greece, Xena features your favorite Greek gods, Roman legends and the occasional Judeo-Christian symbolism. Before the start of the show, Xena was an evil warlord favored by Aries, leading a vicious army to take over the world. In the pilot, she’s shown to be a different person, saving a group of village girls from slavers. Gabrielle, one of these village girls, joins Xena in hopes of seeing the world. The two of them adventure throughout this fantastical ‘ancient world,’ encountering all manner of problems to solve.

Somewhat appropriative and endearingly cheesy, each episode features perfectly choreographed and physically impossible fight scenes. Indeed, Xena delivers a show chock-full of all the action the ’90s could hope to deliver.

Recommended episode: Season Three, Episode 20 – “Vanishing Act”

“The X-Files”

In an attempt to embody the best characteristics of suspenseful, speculative science fiction, creator Chris Carter introduced “The X-Files.” Set in a world filled with aliens and other supernatural beings, it provides a taste of the cryptid-fever that came about with the advent of the Internet.

The main characters, Dana Scully the skeptic (Gillian Anderson) and Fox Mulder the believer (David Duchovny) are FBI partners in a department designated to deal with the profoundly strange. They travel across the United States, tagged by a shadowy faction of the U.S. government and haunted by an impending alien invasion.

The episodes are divided into two categories: the actual plot-advancing ones and Monster of the Week. You can choose to invest your time in the overall story arc or settle in for 50 minutes of cut-and-dry horror goodness.

The gripping larger plotline, the sometimes believable special effects, and the maybe-romantic relationship of Scully and Mulder all serve to make “The X-Files” and excellent way to kill a couple of hours.

Recommended episode: Season Seven, Episode Six – “The Goldberg Variation”

“Twin Peaks”

With only two seasons, Twin Peaks is the shortest of the shows on this list, but the most critically acclaimed. It tells the story of (yet another) FBI agent, this time investigating the murder of a small town’s homecoming queen.

When Dale Cooper, played by the dashing Kyle MacLachlan, shows up to a tiny Washington town, he is met with a revolving cast of quirky, seemingly-innocent residents. As it turns out, each one of them harbors some dark secret, especially the log lady. A few episodes in, their dark pasts begin to unfurl. The sinister atmosphere of the show is later cemented by a number of supernatural figures.

A crime drama and bizarre almost-soap opera all rolled into one, Twin Peaks might just make you question the goodness in people. And it’ll definitely make you crave a slice of cherry pie.

Recommended episode: Be smart, start with the pilot.

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