Sick of 2021? Get lost in one of these 17 nostalgic TV box sets

Sick of 2021? Get lost in one of these 17 nostalgic TV box sets

From The O.C. to Desperate Housewives, these are the tried-and-tested TV series coming to a streaming service near you.

When the weather is gloomy – and the state of the world even worse (here’s looking at you, Covid-19) – there’s nothing we love more than snuggling up with a TV show we already know we’re going to love.

“When people are stressed, or anxious, or feeling out of control, nostalgia helps calm them down. It’s comforting. It’s analogous to a hug from your mom or dad or being cuddled,” Krystine Batcho, a licensed psychologist and a professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, recently told TODAY.

“It’s harkening back to what we might, even erroneously, perceive as a simpler time in our life with fewer responsibilities and obligations and fewer worries.”

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Thankfully, the clever people working at All 4, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ share this sentiment. Indeed, to ensure we have plenty of TV to get lost in this year, these heroic streaming services have brought back some of our absolute favourite box sets from the 90s and 00s.

So, whether you’re in the mood for a teen drama like The O.C., a sci-fi mystery like Lost, or something as niche and fabulous as The 10th Kingdom, look this way: you’re sure to find something to enjoy among these television classics.

Fair warning, though: many of these TV shows were made over 20 years ago, so may contain content that doesn’t reflect our views now.

The O.C.

Oh yes, you read that right: the award-winning teen drama that hurled us headfirst into the affluent oceanside community of Newport Beach in Orange County, California is coming to All 4.

For those who didn’t watch it the first time round, The O.C. tells the story of Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie), who is taken in from the streets of Chino by public defender Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher) and his wife, Kirsten (Kelly Rowan).

The Cohens, though, have no idea how Ryan’s arrival will change their lives and the lives of those around them. Their son, Seth (Adam Brody), finds a friend and brother in Ryan to share his quirky way of looking at the world – and the trials and tribulations of winning the heart of Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson), his lifelong crush.

Meanwhile, Ryan falls head-over-heels in love with the beautiful girl next door, Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton). But their romance is ill-fated, and constantly tested by the young lovers’ inability to escape from their pasts.

All four seasons of The O.C. will begin streaming on All 4 from 22 January 2021. 

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Lost

Mysteries abound as the 71 survivors of Oceanic Air Flight 815 (72, if you include Vincent the dog) find themselves stranded on an unidentified island with little hope of rescue.

All six seasons of Lost will begin streaming on Disney+ from 23 February 2021.

24

Kiefer Sutherland stars in this precedent-setting television series where the entire season takes place in one day, with each of the 24 episodes covering one hour, told in real time.

All nine seasons of 24 will begin streaming on Disney+ from 23 February 2021.

Moesha

For those who didn’t catch this gem the first time around, it sees Brandy Norwood’s Moesha Mitchell as a teenager juggling school, friendships and romance. Previously the female head of the household, she is learning to love and trust her father’s new wife, all while trying her hardest to be the “glue” that helps hold her family together.

All six seasons of Moesha are now streaming on Netflix.

The 10th Kingdom

This writer absolutely loved The 10th Kingdom the first time around, and for good reason: it told the story of a young New Yorker named Virginia (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), who takes in a stray dog only to find that it’s actually a runaway prince from a parallel universe.

Cue her stumbling into that same fairytale world via a magic mirror in Central Park, where she soon learns that warring trolls, giants, and goblins have fragmented the kingdoms of Snow White, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood. And, more importantly, that someone in this magical reality may know something about her missing mother, too…

All five seasons of The 10th Kingdom are available to stream via IMDB TV on Amazon Prime.

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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

On 10 March 1997, the world changed forever when Buffy The Vampire Slayer kicked down gender barriers and (literally) handsprung into our lives.

The eponymous heroine and her pals spent their days fighting vampires, investigating demonic rituals, practising witchcraft, and dealing with the ever-looming apocalypse, as well as… well, as well as all the other high school stuff, like homework, first kisses, heartbreak, and getting grounded. Which makes it one of the most epic 90s teen shows of all, in this writer’s opinion.

All seven seasons of Buffy The Vampire Slayer are now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Sex And The City

Does HBO’s Sex And The City still feel like a feminist tour de force in 2021? Well, in 2018, I rewatched every single episode of SATC in a bid to determine whether or not the award-winning show’s free-handed depiction of sex and female friendship had stood the test of time. 

The results? Mixed, at best – but that doesn’t mean I didn’t really bloody enjoy exploring NYC with Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda Hobbs (Cynthia Nixon), Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), and Charlotte York (Kristin Davis).

All six seasons of Sex And The City are now streaming on Now TV.

Desperate Housewives

Everyone remembers this TV classic about a close-knit group of housewives. And everyone will also remember that, while it may appear to be a seemingly perfect neighbourhood, Wisteria Lane hides many secrets, forbidden romances, domestic struggles, and even murders most foul.

All eight seasons of Desperate Housewives will begin streaming on Disney+ from 23 February 2021.

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Dawson’s Creek

Dawson (James Van Der Beek) and Joey (Katie Holmes) have been friends for as long as they can remember. And, as such, pretty much everyone believes they’re destined to end up together someday… even them! But then they both start a relationship with different people, and their bond is put to the test in a very big way.

Essentially, this show is 128 episodes of emotional angst, sex, affairs, and will they/won’t they mysteries. What’s not to love, eh?

All six seasons of Dawson’s Creek are now streaming on All 4.

Sister Sister

From its banging theme tune to its iconic fashion moments, this classic tells the story of twins Tia and Tamera, who were separated at birth but find one another again as teens after bumping into each other in a mall. Cue them and their respective adoptive parents moving in together, and a whole lot of fun.

All six seasons of Sister Sister are now streaming on Netflix.

The X-Files

When tenacious agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) takes it upon himself to investigate a group of unsolved cases in a bid to prove the existence of the paranormal, the FBI steps in and teams him up with sceptical scientist Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). To add… well, to add some balance to proceedings.

What follows is a series of brilliant mysteries, many of which are guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. But the true star of the show is Mulder and Scully’s relationship, which develops into a heady mix of professional competitiveness, witty repartee, and a mutual attraction that is only heightened by the intensity of their work. 

Prepare to ship. Hard.

All 11 seasons of The X Files will begin streaming on Disney+ from 23 February 2021.

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90210

On paper, the plot of 90210 is oh so simple: the Wilson family moves from small-town Kansas to glitzy Beverly Hills, California after the father accepts a job offer. There, though, they find themselves embroiled in all the storylines you’d expect from a seminal teen drama such as this: love, heartbreak, unplanned pregnancies, murder, suicide, sex, and more. So much more.

The first five seasons of 90210 are now streaming on All 4.

South Park

Yes, it’s the cartoon nobody’s parents would let them watch when they were younger, and you better believe it’s still going strong! Satire at its finest (and most offensive), this series ostensibly follows the misadventures of four irreverent grade-schoolers in the quiet, dysfunctional town of South Park, Colorado. But, really, it deals with all the major news stories and transforms them from misery-inducing to… well, to something that’ll make you laugh so hard you cry.

22 seasons of South Park are now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Girlfriends

This Tracee Ellis Ross–led sitcom aired from 2000 to 2008, starring Ross (Joan), Golden Brooks (Maya), Persia White (Lynn) and Jill Marie Jones (Toni) as best friends living in Los Angeles. And you better believe they take on life’s ups and downs together, all while wearing the lowest-slung jeans ever because it’s the 00s. Obviously.

All eight seasons of Girlfriends are now streaming on Netflix.

Prison Break

Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) is a desperate man in a desperate situation: his brother, Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), is on death row and scheduled to die in a few months for an assassination Michael is convinced Lincoln did not commit. 

With no other options and time winding down, Michael holds up a bank to get himself incarcerated alongside his brother in Fox River State Penitentiary. Why? So he can carry out his daring plan to mastermind the ultimate prison break, of course – not to mention solve the far-reaching national-scale conspiracy that landed his brother there in the first place.

All five seasons of Prison Break will begin streaming on Disney+ from 23 February 2021.

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Misfits

In this series (a beloved favourite of Stylist’s Jazmin Kopotsha), five juvenile offenders with nothing in common find themselves developing super powers after a freak electrical storm hits town. Cue them, then, struggling to deal with the realities of teenage life and finish their community service project, all while trying to figure out how to handle their new abilities.

All five seasons of Misfits (plus the Vegas, Baby! special) are now streaming on All 4.

One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill is all about half-brothers Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan (James Lafferty) Scott, who share a mega-villainous father and not much else. Through their shared love of basketball, though, they learn to become family as they deal with the trials and tribulations of life in small town of Tree Hill, North Carolina.

Head’s up: one such tribulation includes a much-needed transplant heart being dropped on the floor and gobbled up by a dog. In front of the donor’s horrified eyes. You can’t tell me that doesn’t lure you in…

All nine seasons of One Tree Hill are now streaming on All 4.

Images: Getty/Channel 4/Rex Features

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