To be a teenager in the 2000s: a time when Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato were just starting out on “Barney and Friends,” Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears thought wearing denim on denim wouldn’t have two decades and counting worth of internet consequences and Jesse McCartney’s “Beautiful Soul” had only been played three times, well on its way to 500.
These cultural phenomena still get brought up to this day, and it’s no wonder since the millennial generation was raised during this decade and are seeing its resurgence, slowly but surely, into mainstream culture.
But if reunion Zoom sessions with old friends and reboot news just aren’t feeding your nostalgia craving, then here are some shows that might. Warning: You might feel a bit old after reading this list.
To be sure, you’ve got your quintessential “Gilmore Girls,” as you would expect, with its first episode released on Oct. 5, 2000, and the groundbreaking “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which concluded its seventh season in 2003.
In “Gilmore Girls,” our protagonist Rory Gilmore's teen struggles of choosing 1 of 3 different, perfect guys was just as fascinating to watch as it was jealousy-inducing.
But it might've been more about the small-town vibes and the quaintness of the setting, the town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, more than anything else, that will have your heart aching for a simpler time.
On the other hand, with its darker, camcorder-like film quality and brownish-gray color scheme, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is adoringly retro. The vampire action sequences and foggy graveyard shots are just so early ‘00s that it makes it hard to fault the quality of the special effects, if only because you’re too entranced by the genuineness of the plot and characters.
With “One Tree Hill,” its easy to get swept up in the simple drama of brother, Lucas Scott, played by then-teen heartthrob Chad Michael Murray, versus brother, Nathan Scott, played by James Lafferty, plus girlfriend, best friend and cheerleader.
Of course, no teen romance would be complete without the main characters being basketball players and fighting for attention from three different girls, often simultaneously.
And with “Veronica Mars,” just seeing Kristen Bell at the age of 24 play her 17-year-old, sleuthing detective alter ego will make anyone feel as if they were transported back to a decade ago.
This noir, crime-fighting show is dark and really makes you question if happy endings exist, but if you feel in the mood to contemplate mysteries and brooding plots, then this is your show.
Now, before you judge, you should think to yourself what these lyrics mean to you: “You get the limo out front (Ooh-whoa) / Hottest styles, every shoe, every color.” If you instantly remembered that these are the opening lines to “The Best of Both Worlds,” then you probably will find this whole cringy, corny show to be the perfect escape from the real world you need during spring break.
And, let’s be honest, you don’t have to watch “Hannah Montana” for the plot of young Miley navigating a world in which she’s both a normal student and a pop star simultaneously, but you should definitely watch it to pick up tips on how to decorate your closet.
Then there’s “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody,” with young Cole and Dylan Sprouse as they live up their lives in a hotel — whoever thought that was a good idea?
I promise, just one minute of this show and the flashbacks will begin. Ugly brown and beige carpeting, Mr. Moseby’s crinkled disgusted face and the flash of the hotel cart as it rolls by the candy station are all it takes to remind you of what it felt to be 10 years old and desperately wanting to live in a hotel yourself.
And need I even mention “iCarly,” which recently debuted to stellar success on Netflix. The stupid gimmicks and Freddy counting down to the live streaming of a video makes you feel like your phone isn’t pear-shaped enough and your laptop is too thin.
Crime and Hospital Dramas
To be fair, if you say you love “Criminal Minds,” I might be a tad scared of you, but I can’t deny how the first few seasons of the show filled me with equal parts absolute terror and nail-biting excitement.
Even in just the flights that the Behavioral Analysis Unit took traveling to and from crime scenes across the nation, you can tell that the tone and pacing of this story was deliberate and never rushed, hallmarks of the early ‘00s.
Quality television like this series, where goosebumps appeared on your arm every time the characters explained their profiling techniques, only come once in a lifetime.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the first few seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy,” also of 2005 origin, which completely changed the depiction of doctor dramas as we know it.
You can beg to disagree, but I remember seeing those first scenes between Meredith Grey and Derek Shepard, the chemistry, the dialogue, the ease with which the hospital’s stories fit within the stories of our main characters, and I know that there was magic in this show — at least, until they stretched it out for 50 more seasons.
Now this list is not extensive by any means, but it should be enough to satiate your appetite through spring break. And, it’ll definitely be enough to jog your memory of what we once loved and laughed at when we were just a decade or so younger.