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'90s Classics That Would Totally Fail Today

Shows like The Simpsons, spanning several decades, are usually few and far between — TV programs and movies can often be very much of their time, and you don't need to have a fashion degree to know that the 80s were very different from the 90s, and the 90s were very different from the 2000s.

These changing tastes and approaches are why 1986's Manhunter is a very different beast from 2002's Red Dragon, despite using the same source material. With that in mind we present to you some of the classic shows and movies of the 1990s which wouldn't have stood a chance in today's climate.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Hollywood of today is ruled more than ever by box office takings and profitability: the chances of getting a two-and-a-half-hour long prison drama that moves at a ponderous pace greenlit would be slim at best. Even in the 90s there were reservations about the film, and it took a while to find an audience.

Murder She Wrote (1984-1996)

Jessica Fletcher comes from a much simpler and more innocent world than the one we now inhabit — in the light of shows such as True Detective, Angela Lansbury's mild-mannered lady sleuth looks very old-fashioned indeed. Still a great show, of course, but it wouldn't get the go-ahead to air today.

Batman & Robin (1997)

Compare the gravitas, polish, and drama of something like The Dark Knight from 2008 and 1997's Batman & Robin starts to look very cheesy and very 90s. It's George Clooney in a Batman suit, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman chewing the scenery, and everything bad about 90s movie making.

Married... With Children (1987-1997)

You only need to compare and contrast Ed O'Neill's performance in Married... With Children and the Modern Family episodes of today to know that this low-brow, tired schtick needs to stay where it belongs: back in the 90s. Family life has changed in the two decades since, and so have tastes in humor.

Godzilla (1998)

Thanks to the 2014 remake-of-sorts, we can see that the 1998 version would never pass muster today: it's bloated, uninspiring, and overcooked, and Matthew Broderick is in it. The brash Roland Emmerich, who directed the film, sums up the 90s in many ways, with his emphasis on style over substance.

Saved By The Bell (1989-1993)

There's nothing bad about Saved By The Bell, but it's very 90s — look at all that hair and those day-glo colors. If you were an industry executive pitching this show in the mid-2010s, you'd want to add a more believable set of plot-lines, some more well-rounded characters, and less smugness.

The Bodyguard (1992)

Few films feel as distinctly 1990s as The Bodyguard, perhaps because Kevin Costner and the late Whitney Houston were at the height of their fame back then. Would we accept such a lightweight, straightforward, feel-good, transparently corny romantic thriller nowadays? It's not very likely.

Mad About You (1992-1999)

We thought about relationships differently in the 90s, which is one of the reasons why Mad About You would need to be significantly rejigged if it were to air today. The jokes are too knowing and too obvious, the atmosphere is too whimsical by half, and overall it's just a bit too 1990s for its own good.

The Phantom Menace (1999)

As we know, Star Wars films are still very much being made as we speak, but whether a flick like The Phantom Menace would get off the ground in 2015 is debatable. Today's audiences demand something that's a little more gritty, more in-depth and a little less kid-friendly — let's hope JJ Abrams can deliver.

Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000)

The TV-watching audience just doesn't have the same fascination with Californian rich kids or indeed celebrity zip codes as it once did, but full credit to Beverly Hills, 90210 for making the most of its window of opportunity. The perfect slice of 90s TV, the like of which we never want to see on screens again.