From “Gilmore Girls” to “The OC”, there is a throwback show for everyone. Graphic by Megan Fuller.
TV shows are great, but they are over far too quickly. Then begins the endless search for something new to watch. There are countless new shows, but sometimes all people want is a throwback to bring some comfort and nostalgia. Why look for something new when there are so many great shows from the past? Read on to discover the Culture section’s favorite throwback TV shows. Happy binge-watching!
Read with caution, light spoilers ahead.
MEGAN FULLER | CULTURE CO-EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
Take a trip back to the early 2000s with this wholesome watch. Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham play a quirky mother-and-daughter duo living in a quaint small town in Connecticut. Graham plays Lorelei, a young single mother who runs an inn in their small town, Stars Hollow. Lorelei’s daughter, Rory, played by Bledel, is a smart teenager with big dreams to one day attend Harvard University. Rory has just transferred to a prestigious private school, but Lorelei does not have the money for her tuition. This leads to Lorelei reconnecting with her wealthy estranged parents, who she ran away from after giving birth to Rory as a teenager. Her parents agree to help Lorelei financially if she and Rory come to their house for dinner once a week. Fall in love with the idyllic small town full of fun characters, root for Rory and Lorelei to finally find love, and try to keep up with their fast, funny quips. “Gilmore Girls” ran for seven seasons as well as had a short revival series, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”. Both are available to stream on Netflix.
ABIGAIL OAKLEY | CULTURE CO-EDITOR | email@example.com
Sit down with Josh Radnor’s character, Ted Mosby, as he tells his kids the tale of how he met their mother — his wife. The story starts when Ted is a 27 year old living in New York City in 2005 with his friends Marshall and Lily, played by Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan, respectively. At this point, he is a carefree bachelor often getting into escapades with his womanizer friend, Barney, played by Neil Patrick Harris. This bachelor phase is interrupted when the group meets Robin, portrayed by Cobie Smulders. Ted falls instantly for Robin. Although their romance does not work out, they become good friends, and Robin joins the gang. With a newfound interest in settling down, Ted navigates love and life in New York City with his friends. This story ends with the meeting of Ted’s future wife, but many relationships, antics and milestones ensue in the meantime. Like many other sitcoms — such as “Friends” — “How I Met Your Mother” reflects the uncertainty many young adults feel and relates to these struggles in a comical way. This classic comedy can be streamed on Hulu.
ELLE ROTTER | CULTURE REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Famous for her voice as Anna in “Frozen” and her feisty character in “The Good Place”, actress Kristen Bell’s acting career first took off in her starring role as Veronica Mars. Veronica is a curious, rage-filled teenage detective who works for her father’s private investigator business after her best friend is brutally murdered. Each episode covers a smaller mystery that Veronica unfolds for a fellow classmate or someone from the small town of Neptune, California. However, in each episode, Veronica is also trying to figure out the bigger mystery of the season; each of the four seasons has one main mystery that Veronica works to solve. “Veronica Mars” is the perfect show for mystery addicts and adrenaline junkies, and is available to stream on Hulu.
GWEN PAVICH | CULTURE REPORTER | email@example.com
Travel back to 1990s Beverly Hills with this iconic American teen drama. Twins Brandon and Brenda Walsh, played by Jason Priestley and Shannen Doherty, experience a massive culture shock when they move to Beverly Hills, California from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Throughout the show, the audience gets to learn more about the lives of the twins’ wealthy friends and observe that sometimes living a lavish lifestyle is not as perfect as it may appear. Although the show is relatively lighthearted and focuses on the romantic relationships and friendships between the various characters, it also tackles a fair share of serious topics as well. Actors Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Brian Austin Green and Tori Spelling, who play some of the twins’ friends, make main appearances throughout the entire series and even guest star in the spin-off show, “Melrose Place.” “Beverly Hills, 90210” is the perfect show to binge because of its long, drama-filled, ten-season run. The series is available to stream on Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Paramount+.
CAMERON POWELL | CULTURE REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Prepare for some major nostalgia with this classic Nickelodeon sitcom. “iCarly” provides a look into the early years of the internet as the main characters rise to stardom on the titular web show. Carly, played by Miranda Cosgrove, acts as the primary protagonist and is usually seen as a kind, smart girl juggling academics, interpersonal drama and responsibilities related to her web show. Sam, played by Jennette McCurdy, and Freddie, played by Nathan Kress, are Carly’s best friends and are primary characters in almost every episode of the series. Sam is a rebellious teen known for pranking other members of the cast — especially Freddie — and balancing out Carly’s kind persona. Freddie is the nerdy member of the group and, throughout the series, is shown in complex romantic relationships between both Sam and Carly. Spencer, played by Jerry Trainor, is Carly’s artistic and energetic brother who lightens many plotlines with his goofy personality. Throughout the original show’s five-year run, it hosted musical talents and crossed over with other Nickelodeon sitcoms — e.g. “Victorious” — in various episodes. Nine years after the show’s end, “iCarly” began its revival, also named “iCarly”, which continues to air presently. Both of the series are streaming on Paramount+.
EMMA MCLEAN | CULTURE REPORTER | email@example.com
Visit this supernatural classic with ’90s icon Sarah Michelle Gellar, who controls the screen as vampire slayer Buffy Summers. After being expelled from her previous school, Buffy arrives in Sunnydale where she meets her crew: the timid student Willow Rosenberg, portrayed by Alyson Hannigan, and the exceptionally awkward Xander Harris, played by Nicholas Brendon. Together they assemble the “Scooby Gang” — a reference to the mystery-solving characters in “Scooby-Doo”. Buffy soon meets her mentor and teacher, Mr. Giles, depicted by Anthony Stewart Head, who is destined to guide her through the unique duties that confront her. Plagued with the title of the “Chosen One,” Buffy struggles to accept her fate, grappling with the epic responsibilities that follow her. With the support of Giles and her loyal friends, Buffy forcefully challenges the unearthly evils that threaten to swallow Sunnydale. The series follows Buffy and her friends through years of haunting adventures that become exponentially important; it is brimming with action, terrifying supernatural forces and equally frightening teenage struggles. Joss Whedon’s “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” was so successful that it produced a spin-off, “Angel”, which follows Buffy’s first love interest, a notorious vampire. All seven seasons of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and the five seasons of “Angel” are streaming on Hulu.
MACKENZIE SIZEMORE | CULTURE REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
High-class fashion, expensive dinners and various love triangles: welcome to New York’s Upper East Side. This 2000s hit drama follows the lives of wealthy metropolitan teenagers navigating their lives through scandals, love, college and family. Blair Waldorf, played by Leighton Meester, and her best friend Serena Van der Woodsen, played by Blake Lively, are the reigning queens of Constance Billard Saint Jude School, a private school for privileged teens. The two girls and their love interests Chuck Bass, portrayed by Ed Westwick; Nate Archibald, played by Chace Crawford; and Dan Humphrey, played by Penn Badgley, begin to navigate their dramatic and affluent lives. Meanwhile, the gossip site entitled “Gossip Girl” causes major drama while exposing the misdoings and scandals of Manhattan’s elite. Even with their power and fortune, these teenagers are a constant target for the gossip site, forcing them to quickly learn what it is like to be outside of their privileged bubble and make choices that could affect their relationships forever. “Gossip Girl” ran for a total of six seasons and can be streamed on Max and Amazon Prime Video.
SAMANTHA RITTENBERG | CULTURE REPORTER | email@example.com
Beach chairs out, magazines splayed about, tanning lotion rubbed in — it is summer in the OC. The hit television show from the 90s stars a cast of glitzy and glamorous high school students and their families living in Orange County, California. Ryan Atwood, played by Ben McKenzie, is a troubled teen living on the wrong side of the tracks. His attorney, Sandy Cohen, played by Peter Gallagher, decides to take him into his family. The iconic Adam Brody is one star that viewers cannot miss. He plays Seth Cohen — Ryan’s new brother — who is better known as the dorky comic book and video game-loving brother. Living right next door to Ryan and Seth is the flawless and undeniable Marissa Cooper, portrayed by Mischa Barton. Marissa’s best friend, Summer, played by the famous Rachel Bilson, is the girl that Seth has pined for over the years — although she has no idea he exists. There is love, drama, sex, drugs and, of course, countless parties to remember — or to forget? All four seasons of “The OC” are available to stream on Hulu.
TIFFANY HOANG | CULTURE REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
A tight group of friends who share dark secrets slowly unravel as the ones they have been keeping from each other get exposed. It seems that someone out there knows everything about everyone. But how? An untouchable stalker who goes by the name of “A” seems to know every little secret of the four girls — Hanna Marin, played by Ashley Benson; Spencer Hastings, played by Troian Bellisario; Aria Montgomery, played by Lucy Hale; and Emily Fields, played by Shay Mitchell. Watch how these four best of friends handle their relationships getting torn apart by an anonymous stalker. All they want to do is to find where their fifth best friend disappeared to. “Pretty Little Liars” is for the people who enjoy the anticipation of what will happen next after witnessing plot twist after plot twist. The show is available on Hulu and Amazon Prime.