[Review] ‘That 90s Show’ disappoints ‘That 70s Show’ fans


Tribune News Service

Netflix announced that “That 90s Show,” a reboot of “That 70s Show,” will be released on Jan. 19. Photo permission from of Patrick Wymore/Netflix/ TNS

Tatiana Ortiz, Arts & Leisure and Opinion Editor

‘That 90s Show,’ created by Bonnie and Lindsey Turner and Greg Mettler, was released on Netflix on Jan. 19. Fans were highly anticipating this reboot of the popular ‘That 70s Show’ that premiered in the 90s.

‘That 70s Show’ followed Eric Froman, played by Topher Grace, and his friends Donna Pinciotti, played by Laura Prepon, Kelso, played by Ashton Kutcher, Hyde, played by Danny Masterson, Jackie, played by Mila Kunis and Fez, played by Wilmer Valderrama. Based in Point Place Wisconsin, the group navigates friendship, love and adventure as they go through the years of high school in the influential time of the 70s.

Experimenting with drugs and being reckless teenagers, the show is light hearted and easy-going. A hidden gem among the TV shows in the 90s, ‘That 70s Show’ is loved by fans old and young. The show, with a total of eight seasons, ended in 2006 with the group going their separate ways in life. Fans did not think that there would be a reboot in the future, so when thereboot was announced on April 30, 2022, fans were excited to see their favorite characters come to life again.

The reboot is named ‘That 90s Show’ and follows Eric Forman and Donna Pinciotti’s daughter, Leia Forman, played by Callie Haverda, as she visits the town of Point Place, Wisconsin over the summer and goes on adventures with a new group of friends.

Following her parents footsteps, she hangs out in the same iconic basement and water tower. The show brings back most of the iconic characters from ‘That 70s Show’ such as, Red and Kitty Forman, played by Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp, respectively, Kelso, Jackie, Leo, played by Tommy Chong and Fez. The group goes on numerous adventures and explores friendship, coming out and romance.

The familiarity of the old sets and the iconic scenes added to the nostalgia of the show. Leia and friends recreate the weed table scene from ‘That 70s Show’ and the interactions with Kitty and Red when high. This was fun to watch again from a different perspective.

With all the excitement surrounding the reemersion of ‘That 70s Show,’ there was major disappointment from fans on the acting, dragging plot and missing characters. There was controversy among fans on whether Danny Masterson should’ve been included in the reboot. Masterson was arrested in 2020 for three counts of rape. He has not been convicted yet and faces up to 45 years in jail. Masterson played Hyde in ‘That 70s Show,’ one of the main characters in the friend group. The cast did not comment on Masterson and Hyde’s absence in the reboot.

More often than not, Reboots have a difficult time of living up to the expectations of the original show. ‘That 90s Show’ did not live up to expectations. The acting felt very fake and forced, almost like a Disney show. In respect to most of the actors being younger and new to the industry, the acting was more fit for a play in a theater than on the set of a TV show. The plot was also very slow towards the beginning of the show.

The season was ten episodes long, each running about thirty minutes, there was a lot of filler in the thirty minute episodes that made them feel longer than what they were. It was hard for the audience to gain connection with the new cast as the characters felt static. Specifically, Dewey played the dumb, attractive boy of the group. After a few episodes the act felt redundant and not funny.

There were sentimental moments in the season too. Ozzie, one of Leia’s friends, comes out to Kitty in a heartfelt scene. Introducing an LGBTQ+ character in the show and going through the thoughts and feelings of the character was really special to see.

While ‘That 90s Show’ was disappointing to the legacy of ‘That 70s Show,’ it still held a bit of charm with the introduction of the characters we know and love. I would not recommend this show if it didn’t have the characters from ‘That 70s Show.’ This show is just another on the list of failed reboots. However, the show has been renewed for a sixteen episode second season with a release date still pending.