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Arts & Culture(Archives)


Paula Ogonoski is…The Entertainiac

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Going Retro: Even Though It Feels Like It Was Only Yesterday…

I had one of those conversations recently that reminded me that I am in fact getting older. Yes this seems like a given in life, but there are these moments when that reality slaps you right in your face. This moment for me was sparked by the following statement by my 18-year-old sister:

Sis: “I am watching the best show on Netflix. It’s super retro. It had that guy from Dancing with the Stars in it. You would love it! It’s called The Fresh Prince.”

Me: “Jenna! That’s not retro. I use to watch it all the time when it was on TV.”

At which point I looked it up and realized the following:

Me: “It aired in like … (gulp) the early 90s. Really?!”

Sis: “Dude! That was like decades ago. I wasn’t even born yet”

And with that, the symbolic slap on my soon to be wrinkled face!

That show was last on air in 1996. To provide context, in 1996 Jean Chrétien was Canada’s top leader, Tupac Shakur was killed, the New York Yankees won the World Series, the world was introduced to The Macarena, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Jerry Maguire asked his agent to “show me the money.”

With all this said, here is my point.

Netflix, and other online on-demand entertainment retailers have injected new life into shows that have gone “retro.” A new generation is experiencing shows that were once lost like never before. Episodes of the 1960s hit Bewitched can be found in the same place as Supernatural and Vampire Diaries. The 1960s Dr. Who, sits along with decades upon decades of its newer counterparts, and even classic Sesame Street can be found next to the Lady Gaga and The Muppets Holiday Special.

Here are five of my top oldies but goodies worth checking on Netflix:

Scooby-Doo (1969)

Nothing is better than the original Hanna-Barbera cartoon which has evolved into more variations than can be listed. It’s hard to believe Shaggy, Daphne, Velma Fred, and that dog named Scooby-Doo have been solving mysteries for more than four decades! Whether you are young, young at heart, or simply had too many wobbly pops, this is a great way to get reacquainted with an old friend.

Full House (1987)

If loving Uncle Jesse is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Retro John Stamos, need I say more? My older sister and I literally grew up with DJ and Stephanie and loved this show. While the cheese-fest is almost overwhelming, in the day of the Zombie apocalypse, it’s nice to have everything wrapped up in just 24 minutes. It was a great timeless, yet wholesome, sitcom.

Freaks and Geeks (1999)

While a short-lived series, Freaks and Geeks introduced the world to some great actors who would go on to make big bucks at the box office through continued collaboration James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segel starred in this comedy about high school burnouts. With writer Judd Apatow at the helm, it’s surprising this didn’t make a bigger impact on the small screen but certainly worth a gander.

Fantasy Island (1977)

Imagine living out your every fantasy on an island where all your dreams can come true. With the help of the mysterious host, Mr. Roarke, and his sidekick Tattoo, you could do just that. While the experiences didn’t always end up as the guest expected, Fantasy Island provided a great adventure for the nearly 10 years it was on the air. This show was a great adventure, and if done today, it would likely be less wholesome than it was three-decades ago.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990)

The opening song says it all: “In west Philadelphia born and raised…” This is a great coming of age comedy about an affluent Bel-Air family who takes in their street-smart nephew. This is the show that put Will Smith on the map. This is also the show that introduced me to my affection for Tom Jones. Don’t judge.

So take advantage of these last few months of winter and get nostalgic for some of the best retro TV found on Netflix.


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