1. Justin Timberlake’s ‘Fro
Mesmerizing then, mesmerizing now.
2. A Game of Thrones
“A Games of Thrones,” the first title in George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” saga, was published, leading years later to a blockbuster HBO series and a skins-clad Emilia Clarke.
3. Grunge Clothing
It was comfortable and often inexpensive, and almost everyone looked good in flannel and old jeans.
4. Female Singers
Alanis Morissette, Tori Amos, Sheryl Crowe, Paula Cole, Shania Twain, Natalie Merchant, Veruca Salt, Anne Preven — the list goes on and on.
6. Pre-Crazy Mel Gibson
“Forever Young,” “Maverick,” “Braveheart,” “Conspiracy Theory,” “Lethal Weapon 3,” and he was still kinda hot, even with a mullet.
An apocalypse that really wasn’t scary, but which guaranteed an epically drunken New Year’s Eve. Just in case.
9. MTV’s The Real World
Back when it was still often edgy, “The Real World” had compelling storylines and cast members, and sometimes even taught us something. RIP Pedro Zamora.
We mock it now, but back then it was the portal to the brave new world of the internet, and was the first service to provide unlimited usage for a flat monthly fee. Even if it took us an hour to log on.
11. Mentos Commercials
Goofy and obviously set in some unnamed European country, they became so iconic they were featured in “cool” films like “Clueless.”
12. Coffee Houses
Starbucks started expanding, bookstores everywhere started adding coffee bars, and we learned the joy of paying several dollars for a beverage containing no alcohol.
Before they became ubiquitous and cliched, they were sophisticated and way cooler than a Zima.
14. First-Person Shooters
Doom, Quake, Dark Forces, and other first-person shooter games revolutionized gaming, pioneering 3-D graphics and multiplayer gaming, as well as making some of us violently motion sick.
15. Grunge & Post Grunge
Arising from the Seattle alt rock scene, Grunge and Post Grunge didn’t just give us great music, but a culture. The music lives on, and is still largely fantastic. Except for Nickelback. And Creed.
16. Brit Lit
Irvine Welsh, Nick Hornby, and Helen Fielding burned up book lists with their snark and satire.
18. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Not only was it a great show, and not only did it give television Joss Whedon, but it also led the vanguard of quality fantasy TV series.
19. Fight Club
Because the first rule of “Fight Club” is that it rules and always will.
20. Jello Shots
Allegedly invented in 1862, Jello shots really blossomed in the ’90s across college campuses, clubs, and even Downtown Disney.
21. Lilith Fair
The original Lilith Fair, brainchild of singer Sarah McLachlan, was so pumped full of GRRL Power it was almost radioactive. It was also genius, putting singers as diverse as Liz Phair, the Dixie Chicks, and Queen Latifah on the same stage.
Starting in 1994 at Lillehammer, we no longer had to wait four years for a fortnight-long gorging of curling and modern pentathlon, just two, as the Winter and Summer Olympics began an alternating schedule.
23. Australian Comedies
“Muriel’s Wedding” launched the careers of Toni Collete and Rachel Griffiths, and was just one of a bunch of great Aussie comedies that decade, including “Cosi,” “Strictly Ballroom,” “The Castle,” and “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.”
24. Dissolution of the Soviet Union
This officially occurred December 26, 1991, and we were all excited to be a part of this historical event, even while we were secretly annoyed at having our football games interrupted.
25. Harry Potter
The journey to Hogwart’s began in 1997, with the publication of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (published as “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” in the UK). “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” rounded out the decade.