The Most Cringeworthy TV Shows Of The 1990s

By Sarah Norman | October 23, 2023

Sweet Valley High

Welcome, dear readers, to a nostalgic trip down the memory lane of the small screen, where the '90s gifted us with some TV treasures that left us questioning our life choices. Whether you remember watching these shows as they aired or you're diving into the cringe-worthy depths of '90s television for the first time, get ready for a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions.

From the oddball experiments like Get Real and Cop Rock to the quirky family dynamics of Step by Step, we're here to celebrate the best of the worst.

So grab your time-travel remote and join us as we explore the guilty pleasures, the head-scratchers, and the downright disastrous TV moments of the '90s. Ready for the cringe? Let's dive in!

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Sweet Valley High, the TV adaptation that took the beloved book series and managed to distill all the worst parts into visual nonsense.

Francine Pascal's novels might have had their moments, but this show seemed determined to gather up all the cringe-worthy bits and serve them up with a side of teenage drama. Instead of following the Wakefield twins throughout their lives, it fixated on their high school years, effectively putting the "high" in "high school."

With characters lacking context and a story stripped of its entertaining dynamics, Sweet Valley High left viewers yearning for something a little less sugar-coated and a lot more substance.


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Ah, Renegade, the '90s syndicated gem that reminded us all to get our homework done, pronto. This series was like the equivalent of a biker gang rolling into your TV schedule with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Lorenzo Lamas played a motorcycle-riding bad boy turned bounty hunter, and if that doesn't scream "classy television," what does?

With its predictably formulaic episodes and cheesy action sequences, Renegade was the ultimate afternoon eye-roll inducer. When it came on, usually right after the equally cringeworthy Highlander, you knew it was time to put down the remote and pick up that math book. So, if you ever find yourself feeling nostalgic for a time when syndicated shows like this were the pinnacle of afternoon entertainment, you might just want to double-check your priorities.