Trolls and middle centres, a guide to 90s shows

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The 90’s were a time of unbridled fun and creativity. The 90’s gave us Britney Spears, the Macarena and unfortunately, the death of Mufasa (I know a whole lot of people who are still touched by this!) What a joy it was to be a kid in the 90’s.  But who remembers the tv shows? […]

The 90’s were a time of unbridled fun and creativity. The 90’s gave us Britney Spears, the Macarena and unfortunately, the death of Mufasa (I know a whole lot of people who are still touched by this!)

What a joy it was to be a kid in the 90’s.  But who remembers the tv shows? 90’s tv shows could go either really good or horribly bad. We at Live Mag (a space full of 90’s kids) have decided to take you down memory lane and remind you of our faves from that bygone era of cheesy dance moves and the Spice Girls.


Country: United States of America

What was it about?

“Double double, toil and trouble” got a sexy revamp in 1998 with the release of Charmed. This show was about three sisters, Prue, Piper and Phoebe who discovered that they were powerful witches, The charmed ones. the show chronicles their struggles with demons, evil witches, boyfriends and sometimes, boyfriends who are both evil warlocks (male witches) and demons. It made for riveting tv and i’m sure plenty of sleepless nights for scaredy cats like myself. Think of a very grown Sabrina, the teenage witch.

Why was it fun to watch?

Charmed introduced many a young person to wicca back in its day. It was more a story about accepting yourself with your flaws (although being a charmed one looked like more of a gift than a flaw!). Also, the demons in the first few seasons looked really cheesy and plastic. but as the series continued, things got intense and scarier. Heck, one of them died but was soon replaced with a half sister. Also, the love stories were intense and slightly (emphasis) inspiring.

Greatest Character: For me personally? The demons. They offered a very real threat to the Charmed ones and sometimes, they (the charmed ones) never had any happy endings. It was a very real showing of the real world: sometimes good doesn’t win.

Modern Contemporaries: As much as I hate to say it, the Vampire Diaries are the closest series we have to Charmed today. I won’t even justify my blasphemous mumblings.

 2. Moomin

Country: Finland/Japan

What was it about?

Tove Jansson’s legendary troll family and their acquaintances graced our screens in the early 1990’s. Moominpappa, Moominmamma and their only child Moomin had wild antics in their Moominhouse with their weird and wacky friends. There was the impatient Little My, the neurotic Hemulens, the incorrigible Snuff and the terrifying Groke. It was a cartoon on steroids!

Why was it fun to watch?

The Moomins were probably the most liberal family on the planet. Once, Moominmamma let Moomin and his friends smoke. Said it was good for the stomach. Dodge much? On the real though, watching Moomin would transport one to a world of adventure and relentless, not safe for any child fun.

Greatest Character: Little My. She was a short imp-like creature with an attitude problem. She wore a permanent scowl and was very mischievous. Also, she might have inspired the top bun hairstyle.

Modern Contemporaries: The Amazing World of Gumball, although we doubt Nicole Watterson would let Gumball and Darwin smoke.

3. Sister Sister

Country: United States of America

What was it about?

Think The Parent Trap only with black people: Two identical twins meet at school, find out about each other and get to have hilarious adventures with their respective adopted parents. Funny thing is the parents find themselves aligned to the twins they didn’t adopt. Favouritism unabated, fam. What was more enjoyable to watch was how the sisters helped their parents meet and keep or get rid of potential partners. Move over Lindsay and, well, Lindsay Lohan. Tia and Tamera have this (actual) twin thing on lock.

Why Was It Fun To Watch?

Mostly because of Jackee Harry. From her unconventional voice to her humour, she made the show what it was. The twins were fun to watch as they grew from teenages to confident young women. The acting left much to desire, though.

Greatest Character: Roger Evans, played by Marques Houston. Trust us when we say, he hasn’t always been the heartthrob he is now. Roger had an immense crush on the twins which they never fully reciprocated, unless they needed to make someone jealous. His innuendos coupled with his naivety made for hilarious tv.

Modern Contemporaries: Half & Half


 4. Jam Alley

Country: South Africa

What was it about?

Where do I even begin?! Jam Alley was an innovative (for its time) music show hosted by the incomparable (for her time) Vinolia ‘V-Mash’ Mashego and Nimrod (hahahaha) Nkosi. The show was an enjoyable mess which included singing contestants, picking a box (“Middle centre!”) on an electronic board, chocolate and V-Mash being, well, V-Mash. It was the show to watch every Friday evening for the longest time. Sadly, its reincarnations failed dismally and it was taken off the air. Never will we forget “Azanke bangani, azanke!!”

Why was it fun to watch?

Because of V-Mash’s unbridled energy. For the longest time, Mashego was South Africa’s it girl. Some argue that she was possibly even bigger than Bonang, but we at Live Mag aren’t in the business  of collecting such stats. Mashego’s departure from the show marked a decline in the energy, the fun and sadly, in V-Mash’s career.

Greatest Character/presenter: V-Mash. She held the show together, man. South Africa agrees.

Modern Contemporaries: Jika Majika tried and failed. Horribly.

Side note: Check out Proverb on this clip. We all have to start somewhere



5. Zama Zama

Country: South Africa

What was it about?

Does anybody even remember? Towards the close of the 90’s, came a tv game show with a vibrant, loud lady in a two piece. She had contestants do a myriad of challenges while takinng breaks to sing “I-Zama Zama isakuseta maan”. Very confusing time for the nation. But people genuinely liked Zama Zama. I think the men just liked Nomsa Nene (aforementioned colourful lady) and her short skirts.

Why was it fun to watch?

Again, Nomsa Nene and her boisterous personality. She’s the kind of mama who’d bring life to a funeral. Zama Zama was like watching a one woman show where she just sang and the contestants distracted us with their little games. We hear she’s in property. She’s been dressing like an American estate agent from the 90’s since – well, the 90’s.

Greatest Character/presenter: Nomsa Nene. Would it be rude to mention her mole? That thing needed a spinoff.

Modern Contemporaries: No one can ever be compared to Nomsa Nene. She was that girl. Zama Zama has no equal.

zama mama screen shot from easy, there you have it. Some of the 90’s best (very debatable, this). Do you agree with the list? What would you add to the list? Also, can you still do the macarena?

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