Have you ever sat down to watch a TV show and realized it aged poorly? You’ve got company. Recently, an online Gen X forum member asked, “What TV shows have you tried to watch out of nostalgia, and it just doesn’t work anymore.” Here are their top-voted responses. Do you agree?
1. The Love Boat (1977-1987)
Do you remember watching The Love Boat? One Gen Xer admits, “This was IT! My family would gather around the TV to see what crazy shenanigans we’d get this week. I tried rewatching a few weeks ago, and — crickets.”
2. ALF (1986-1990)
There was once a time when the TV series, ALF, was the “epitome of coolness.” Nonetheless, many users agree with one who says, “I tried rewatching it a month or so ago, and — crickets.”
3. Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000)
Beverly Hills, 90210 was one of my favorite shows. I remember faithfully tuning in every week. However, it is terrible acting, and revisiting it had cringe factors. One best explains it when they say, “You sort of identify with the characters when you’re at their age, so obviously trying to identify with a 19-year-old when you’re 50 just won’t work.”
4. 21 Jump Street (1987-1991)
Another Gen Xer confesses, “I revisited 21 Jump Street on Roku because I was remembering my first crush, Johnny Depp. I was disappointed when I discovered the first episode was a two-parter because I was already over it after the first one. That was a must-see for me as a junior-high kid in love.”
5. Happy Days (1974-1984)
“Early Happy Days is weird,” reports one. “It’s all 1950s. All the actors shout their lines. It just feels really old and dated. It’s a genuinely bizarre show—a mix of 1970’s schmaltz with retro 50’s nostalgia.”
6. Airwolf (1984-1986)
Numerous people agree with one who nominates Airwolf. “It was so cheeseball that I turned it off after 15 seconds.” A second person adds, “We rewatched some, and I agree. The most interesting thing I noticed now is it was obvious Jan Michael Vincent was using cue cards during Season Three.”
7. Quantum Leap (1989-1993)
Someone suggests that the original Quantum Leap is a show they tried to rewatch, but it didn’t hold up. “Every episode is just, ‘Tee hee, Al had to interrupt his womanizing to save Sam AGAIN.’ Also, the episodes where Sam leaped into people who were not white males were, um, handled differently than I would have hoped.” I’ve never seen this show, but that doesn’t sound good.
8. The Dukes of Hazzard (TV Series 1979–1985)
The Dukes of Hazzard is in the thread multiple times. Someone admits, “It’s aged poorly — not just the Confederate flag, but the humor and situations in the show. Boss Hogg is a cartoon character. Roscoe acts like he has brain damage. Bo and Luke are cousins, and isn’t Daisy too? All cousins?
And Uncle Jesse is nobody’s parent. They drive recklessly everywhere in a race car, and the residents of Hazzard don’t seem to mind. Every week another criminal comes to town, and Bo and Luke are the only ones in town who get involved. I could go on and on. The Dukes of Hazzard is fun eye candy but is superficial and outdated.”
9. Ally McBeal (1997-2002)
To this day, no TV show has made me cry like Ally McBeal‘s “Angels and Blimps,” Season 2, Episode 13. It was one of my favorite shows, and I rewatched it a couple of times in my life. Nevertheless, so much of it is outdated that there is cringe throughout. You have to admit, at the time, it was hilarious, with eccentric stories and fantastic singing.
10. The Cosby Show (1984-1992)
Bill Cosby destroyed his legacy with many of these forum members for his despicable crimes. So watching The Cosby Show is an impossibility now. A former fan writes that his wife had the series on DVD, but neither of them can stomach the thought now.
11. Land of the Lost (1974-1977)
Land of the Lost is described as a 70s time warp. However, one notes that they keep replaying the same filmed scenes in every episode repeatedly. “It’s so crazy. I didn’t notice this as a child. It was my favorite show back then, so I was excited to see it again. What a disappointment!”
12. Little House on The Prairie (1974-1983)
Several users agree with one who writes, “Little House on The Prairie—the same soppy background music tracks, on a constant loop, over and over. Every time something upsetting happens to a character, that music swells up, and they run off into the distance. These people constantly run away. The camera sits there and watches them go for the entire sprint, and that music just drones on and on.”
13. In Living Color (1990-1994)
In Living Color was hilarious in its time, and I tuned in every week. I moved my coffee table out of the way so that I could try to keep up with the fly girls. FYI: Kicking a solid wood coffee table — barefoot, with your toes, is not a pleasant experience. But I digress; many forum members say they tried to rewatch it, but it doesn’t hit the same. “Homie, don’t play that,” no more.
14. Fantasy Island (1977-1984)
“Once, I tried to watch Fantasy Island, and it did not go well,” replies one. “Aside from the embarrassingly thin plot, the sets appeared to be made of paper maché, and there was a boom mic in about half the scenes.”
15. Growing Pains (1985-1992)
Growing Pains. “The parents are fine, and Kirk Cameron and Jeremy Miller are cute, but I find Tracey Gold annoying, and why they had to have a fourth kid when Joanna Kerns wasn’t even pregnant in real life is beyond me. Ashley Johnson (kid #4) was awful — worse than Tracey Gold!”
16. Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988)
Another forum member says, “Magnum P.I. I watched it with my Gen Z kids, and they got real uncomfortable with his behavior. So many racial, ethnic, and sexist stereotypes. Hard to explain to them why we thought he was the hero.”
17. Night Court (1984-1992)
Night Court. One explains, “So many sexual harassment jokes. I watched as a kid and didn’t realize how messed up that show was.” I don’t remember the storylines, but I loved that show growing up.
18. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979–1981)
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century appears numerous times in the discussion. Someone writes, “It’s definitely bad, but the second season is terrible. I also read a while back that Gil Gerard became really bitter after the show ended.”
19. Saved By The Bell (1989-1992)
Saved By The Bell was another show my sister and I happily consumed. However, I agree with the majority that it has aged horribly. A podcast called Zack Morris Is Trash breaks down what a jerk he is, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zack Morris) even helps the host break it down.
20. Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-1979)
“Ugh, Welcome Back, Kotter is awful now,” suggests one. “I loved it when I was about eight years old. We even had the board game.” Another adds, “I see it now, and everyone looks like they didn’t shower regularly.”
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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.