The ’90s truly was the golden era of television, especially for MTV. During this decade, some of the most iconic TV shows were produced and continue to be loved today (even if all we can do is reminisce, since they’re no longer on air).
From Friends, Seinfeld and Frasier to The X-Files, ER and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, these classic comedy and drama series still captivate us with their witty dialogue, compelling storylines and unforgettable characters.
But it’s not just those big names that made an impact in the ’90s; during this time period there were also plenty of amazing original shows being produced and aired on the MTV network.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the most memorable and classic old MTV shows that are now cult-classics for the new generation of viewers.
15 of the Best Shows Featured on the Old MTV Network
The ’90s was a special time for television — especially for MTV. During this time, originality was still encouraged and celebrated. It was an era that produced amazing TV shows that are still loved by audiences around the world today, and something MTV was great at. Here are fifteen examples.
True Life was a documentary series that ran on MTV from 1998 to 2017. It featured stories of young people’s lives and their struggles, often focusing on controversial topics such as substance abuse, sexuality and mental health.
The show was successful because it allowed viewers to gain insight into the real life experiences of others, which was a refreshing change of pace compared to most other MTV shows at the time. Notable cast members include Elle Dowd, Azia Davis and Kehinde Ogunyemi-Hussain.
Aeon Flux was an animated science fiction television series created by Peter Chung that aired on MTV from 1991 to 1995. The show follows the adventures of Aeon Flux, an assassin working for a mysterious organisation in a dystopian future.
The series was praised for its unique animation style, dark and complex storylines, and strong female protagonist. Years later, the show would become a full action movie with Charlize Theron as Aeon Flux.
The Osbournes was an American reality television series that ran on MTV from 2002 to 2005. It follows the daily life of musician Ozzy Osbourne and his family, including wife Sharon and children Jack and Kelly.
The show was successful because it showed viewers a different side of their favorite rock star – one that is humorous, loving, and just a bit wild. The show also featured many other celebrities throughout its run such as Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil and comedian Carrot Top.
Daria was an animated television series created by Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn that aired on MTV from 1997 to 2002. It follows the life of Daria Morgendorffer and her best friend Jane Lane as they navigate the high school social scene and tackle issues related to teenage angst, pop culture, and feminism.
The show was successful due to its dry wit, clever writing, and strong depictions of female characters. Notable cast members include Tracy Grandstaff who provided the voice for Daria and Wendy Hoopes who voiced Jane Lane.
Total Request Live
Total Request Live (also known as TRL) ran on MTV from 1998 to 2008. It was a live daily television program hosted by various VJs that featured music videos that had been requested by viewers via the Internet or telephone hotlines.
The show was successful because it allowed viewers to interact directly with the show, influencing what songs were played and who appeared on the program. Notable cast members include Carson Daly, Damien Fahey and LaLa Vazquez.
MTV Cribs was a reality television show that premiered in 2000 and ran for 12 seasons until 2011. Each episode featured a celebrity tour of their home (or “crib”), usually accompanied by MTV personalities, with an emphasis on the luxuriousness of their living space.
The show was successful due to its voyeuristic nature and insight into the lifestyles of famous people that viewers otherwise wouldn’t get to see firsthand. Notable stars included Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian, and music artists Usher.
Celebrity Death Match
Celebrity Death Match was an animated series created by Eric Fogel that ran on MTV from 1998 to 2007. The show featured celebrity claymation figures in a boxing ring, fighting to the death in brutal and often humorous battles.
Jackass was a reality television series that ran on MTV from 2000 to 2002 which featured outrageous behavior by various members of the cast, often involving dangerous stunts or pranks.
The show was successful because it allowed viewers to vicariously experience the thrill of being daring without having to actually do anything risky. Notable cast members include Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Bam Margera and Chris Pontius.
The Tom Green Show
The Tom Green Show was a Canadian television series that aired on MTV from 1999 to 2000 and featured comedian Tom Green performing outrageous stunts, pranks, and skits on unsuspecting people.
The show was successful due to its outlandish nature and Tom’s off-the-wall humor and wit. Notable guests included Ben Stiller, Jason Priestley and Fred Durst.
MTV’s Making the Video
MTV’s Making the Video was a series of music videos filmed in real time which ran from 1999 to 2002. Each episode followed a different artist through the process of creating the music video for one of their songs, giving viewers an inside look into how it is made as well as featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes footage.
The show was successful because of its unique format and insights that viewers wouldn’t get anywhere else. Notable artists featured include Eminem, Jennifer Lopez, and Christina Aguilera.
The Real World
The Real World was a reality television series that ran on MTV from 1992 to 2017. Each season followed the lives of seven strangers as they lived together in a house while having their activities recorded by cameras.
The show was successful due to its honest portrayal of real life issues such as relationships, sexuality, racism, addiction, and mental illness. Notable cast members included Heather B Gardner, Cancun’s Jon Brennan and San Franciscos Pedro Zamora.
Punk’d was a hidden camera prank television series that aired on MTV from 2003 to 2007. Each episode featured Ashton Kutcher pranking various celebrities in elaborate set-ups with the help of his production crew and accomplices.
The show was successful because of its unpredictable nature and Kutcher’s comedic timing. Notable celebrity victims included Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera.
Beavis and Butt-Head
Beavis and Butt-Head was an animated sitcom created by Mike Judge that aired on MTV from 1993 to 1997. The show featured two teenage slackers named Beavis and Butt-Head who often spent their time watching music videos and making fun of them.
The show was successful due to its sharp satire, irreverent humor, and relatable characters — and even went on to have a movie created around the show, while eventually re-releasing new episodes later on.
MTV Unplugged was an acoustic performance series that ran on MTV from 1989 to 1999. Each episode featured a different artist performing stripped-down, acoustic versions of their songs as well as some covers.
The show was successful due to its intimate setting and unique performances that viewers wouldn’t get to experience in regular concerts. Notable artists included Nirvana, rapper Jay-Z, and Eric Clapton.
Current Day Classics Airing on MTV Today
MTV has been known for airing some of the most memorable and popular TV shows over the course of its history. From groundbreaking series like The Real World to reality-TV juggernauts like Jersey Shore, MTV’s programming has captivated audiences around the world.
But what is currently trending on MTV today? Some of the most popular television shows currently airing on MTV today include The Hills: New Beginnings, Ridiculousness, Are You the One?, Jersey Shore and many more.
For more fun articles like this one, be sure to check out our list of the richest TV personalities!