Netflix’s “That ’90s Show” Review: Does it live up to the original


Courtesy of Netflix

The cast of That ’90s Show

by Leila Gibril, Editor

January 19 marked the release of the new Netflix show, “That ‘90s Show”.

Its predecessor, “That ‘70s Show”, now streaming on “Peacock”, thrust young actors like Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis into the limelight, making them household names.

“That ‘70s Show filmed for a total of eight seasons and ran from August 1998 to May of 2006. Characters like Eric Forman and Donna Pinciotii became fan favorites. 

“I really like Donna overall mainly because of her style and personality,” Linganore freshman Lily Tressler said. Tressler has watched both ‘70s and ‘90s herself.

“That ‘90s Show” centers around teen Leia Forman, daughter of now married Pinciotti and Eric Forman. 

As the first episode begins, Leia Forman  visits her parents hometown, Point Place, Wisconsin  for the 4th of July and ends up having an eventful day with Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide), the girl next door. She also meets Gwen’s friends, Ozzie(Reyn Doi), Jay Kelso(Mace Coronel), Nikki(Sam Morelos) and Nate(Maxwell Ace Donovan).

She enjoys the company of the group so much that she and her parents stay in Point Place for the summer. While her father disagrees in the beginning, he caves and allows her to stay after Donna convinces him to let Leia live her life.

Disappointing fans of the original series, Topher Grace (Eric) and Laura Prepon (Donna) only make brief appearances on the spin-off. Whilst Grace only appears in the first episode, Prepon makes one other appearance at the end of the season.

The only cast members who were in the original show, and stayed for every episode, are Kitty Forman (Debra Jo Rupp) and Red Forman (Kurtwood Smith), Eric’s father and Leia’s grandparents, who are owners of the infamous basement most of the time. 

Red still had his cantankerous attitude that always juxtaposed Kitty’s happy-go-lucky personality.

“That ’90s Show” was greatly anticipated and every ’70s show-lover tuned in on the day of the release to watch. The show received 41 million hours of streaming on opening weekend making it No. 5 on Netflix’s Top 10 list.

The extreme amount of watchers that tuned in doesn’t equal a good rating, many people thought the show was shallow and had a boring storyline.

Leia experiences a life she never knew she could have with people she felt at home with. She has her first kiss and boyfriend in one summer. By the end of the summer, she dreads leaving and wishes she could live with her grandparents forever.

Everything had been going great for Leia and she was living her best life. New boyfriend, great friend group and an amazing basement. 

But one miscommunication on her second-to-last day has her begging to go back home. More drama ensues when she shares a forbidden kiss with Nate, Nikki’s boyfriend, and Gwen’s brother.

The show is packed with adventures and trouble like “That ’70s Show” had, but the series reviews and ratings indicate that “That ’90s Show” will go down the same route “That ’80s Show” did. The latter series only ran for one season before Fox canceled it after 13 episodes. Most people do not even know that the show existed.

“That ‘90s Show” tried to mirror the friendships of “That ’70s Show” cast but did not share the same chemistry as the original cast did. 

While the humor in the show was present, it did not feel as natural or fluid as it did in “That ‘70s Show.” Eric’s dry humor and Donna’s quick-witted lines were present, but only for the short period of time they appeared in Episode 1.

Other guest stars were Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis who reprised their roles as Jackie and Michael Kelso as a married couple who are about to be remarried for the second time. Although they brought their fun and drama-filled relationship to the screen, they were not able to save the show’s bad script.

“That ’70s Show” has many memorable episodes that one cannot help but re-watch. However, it is expected that “That 90s Show” is a one and done. In fact, many ’70s show fans did not enjoy the spin-off at all. The poor writing and bad casting created a recipe for a disaster. None of the episodes managed to capture the original group’s rapport.

“I did not enjoy watching ‘That ’90s Show,’ as it felt very Disney and it had forced humor,” said Linganore sophomore Makyla DeVires.

The new reboot was ultimately unnecessary and redundant. Truly, most reboots and sequels are never able to be as good as the original, and “That ’90s Show” joins that list of irrelevant iterations.

I would give the show a rating of 3/10.


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