Fox was on a roll in the 90s with a bunch of hit shows like Simpsons, Married With Children, and In Living Color. One of their biggest hits ironically was That 70s Show. About a bunch of kids in Wisconsin who hung out at the house of the parents of one of the kids, and smoked weed in the basement. Now those same kids are grown up and their kids are doing the same thing in That 90s Show.
Eric Forman (Topher Grace) and Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon) are now married and they have a daughter Leia (Callie Heverda) When the family visits Eric’s parents Red (Kurtwood Smith) and Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) Leia convinces her parents and grandparents that she should stay at their house for the summer. Reluctantly they agree and she starts to make friends with the neighbor girl Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide) and does similar things as her parents did two decades before.
That 90’s Show is very similar in tone and style to That 70’s Show. It’s a half-hour comedy set in a studio with an audience that can laugh at all the jokes and funny moments. Only this time around there are just a bunch of references to the 90s instead of the 70s. Like Alanis Morissette and various television shows, movies, and other pop culture items. It’s a nice follow-up to That 70s Show. It’s cool to see where some of these characters are twenty years later.
Other characters from That 70s Show pop up in the new show in one-off appearances just to show these shows are connected even though the audience already knows that. Of course, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and Wilmer Valderrama all reprise their roles from That 70s Show and they capture the magic from the old show once again. The newer characters are hipper to the time the show is set.
A shorter season run and a distinct idea of where the show is going from episode one to ten was a great idea. The writers and producers didn’t have to drag out a long season and it made sense to set the series in the summer. Like the original show, the main character is learning about life, love, and family and the sci-fi reference to her name just shows the tongue-in-cheek nature of the show. Fans of the original definitely will love this reboot show.
Netflix already had a good relationship with Kutcher from his sitcom on their platform The Ranch. It makes sense that this popular IP gets a second chance with him involved even though it’s only a cameo appearance with his now wife in real life Mila Kunis. Their child in the show plays a major character in the group of kids that are featured in the show. Him along with a puggy gay Asian kid, a big white kid who plays football, and another Asian girl who is his girlfriend. It’s a diverse cast.
That 90s Show has a similar vibe as That 70s Show. The latter show had that thing that drew me and millions of others to watch it. A fun sense of comradery which I always wished I could have with a group of friends. The conversation and antics they get into are of course par for the course in shows of this nature. All the kids cast in the new show are pretty good but it was the cameos from the past characters and the grandparents played by Smith and Rupp that I enjoyed the most. It was a nice trip down nostalgia lane once again two decades later.
3 ½ stars
Dan Skip Allen