When we lived in Southern California, there were a few things on our must-do list. Best summed up as “touristy things”, we opted to enjoy many of them for the first time when family or friends visited from out of town. I think the first time we were part of a studio audience was during my in-laws first trip to our home in The Golden State. Two of my favorite audience experiences were The Price is Right and That ’70s Show. For both, I was amazed at how they were able to capture such a “big” feel in such a small space. Having such a personal attachment to the original made it a no-brainer for us to want to watch That ’90s Show when Netflix released it.
Before I describe anything about the new show, I need to address what That ’90s Show isn’t. First, it isn’t a poorly-executed reboot like we’ve seen with many other classics from days gone by. There have been a lot of those lately. Second, it isn’t That ’80s show. I could elaborate, but if you were one of the handful of people who wasted any amount of time on the ’80s rendition, clarification that this isn’t THAT says a lot. And finally, while it’s filled with cameos, the show isn’t built around the original cast. Only a few will have recurring or semi-recurring roles.
With that said, let’s talk about what That ’90s Show DOES bring to the table.
It’s a continuation of some of the story lines. Red and Kitty are the central figures that connect the two series. It takes place in their house, with a lot of familiar furnishings, repurposed rooms and nearby locations. The premise is that their granddaughter, Leia, (yes, Eric and Donna named her after the beloved Star Wars character) has decided to spend the summer with them.
Leia manages to make a lot of friends including a sister and brother who live in Donna’s old house next door. I could go into details about the group, but part of the fun of the show is learning about them.
The cast of That ’90s Show is much more diverse than its predecessors. Whether you think it’s an accurate depiction of what Midwest living was really like during that time frame is irrelevant. They work that into the story in unique ways.
We felt the show started off slow, but that’s pretty common when you’re trying to introduce and develop so many characters. Despite that, there were a few things that kept us coming back for more. We wanted to see all the cameos and that alone was enough to get us to tune in for the next episode. It’s been a couple decades, literally and in the story, and these talented actors were able to pick up like no time had passed at all. The characters’ accents, mannerisms and idiosyncrasies brought back to life through those cameos made the show for us.
It was also entertaining to see subtle Easter Eggs that were tributes to the original. Little things like popsicles in the basement freezer and a Candyland game were a hat tip to That ’70s Show. Hanging out on the car, up on the water tower or circling around the basement table were all things that tied the shows together.
Did we think That ’90s Show was amazing? No. Will we tune in for Season 2 of That ’90s Show? Definitely. Aside from wanting to see how they further the characters along, I really want to see more cameos. And even if there aren’t many, the dynamics with Red and Kitty resonate now that we’re parents. We relate to them a lot better than we did back then.
Who was your favorite character from That ’70s Show?