‘That ’90s Show’: Season 1 Is Nostalgic In All The Right Ways.

When a beloved franchise gets picked up for a revival or reboot, one of two things happens. Either the fanbase gets super protective and starts hating on the new show or they await anxiously optimistic and eager to meet with those fan favourites again after all those years. I fall in the latter group as I basically grew up on reruns of ‘That ’70s Show’. Every school night during dinner time was saved by Eric Foreman, his friends and his basement. I was one of those teens that basically made up their entire personality from their favourite characters and it’s safe to say that Eric Foreman shaped my teenage years and honestly hell yeah! When this sequel series was announced, I wasn’t really worried, if anything it’s an excuse to reunite with these characters but even after a super awkward trailer, that first episode really sold me on the quality of this show.’That ’90s Show’ may not have that same edge as the original show but the overall fun of exploring a long-gone decade through these fun characters is still pretty much intact and the updates are quite subtle. It’s a sequel show with lots of promise and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the future.

spoilers for the first season of ‘That ’90s Show’ are featured in this review.

The modern sitcom is in desperate trouble, apart from it quite literally falling on the back of Quinta Brunson with the excellent ‘Abbott Elementary’, the choice of which sitcoms get made and where they show is really important. While I am happy that this show got the green light it is painfully clear just how misplaced it is on Netflix. A proper sitcom needs to have that twenty to twenty-six episode count, it’s simply a defining trait of the sitcom. Having those episodes span over the course of months on a specific weekday makes the audience connect with the show and its characters a lot more. Dumping the show on Netflix with a ten-episode count that debuted on the same day, wasn’t the brightest idea. The ‘High School Musical the Musical the Series’ on Disney+ made a bigger splash online because of its week-to-week release and this show just came and went. It’s quite unfortunate. Week-to-week episodes have proven to be the superior release strategy, just look at how HBO has dominated Twitter over the past few months. Maybe Netflix should start thinking about making some exceptions for certain shows. The renewal of a second season did make me happy and I’m super glad the episode order got increased from ten to sixteen, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. As for the show itself, despite being ten episodes I already love this cast of characters!

Set fifteen years after ‘That ’70s Show’, this sequel show stars Eric and Donna’s daughter Leia who spends the summer of 1995 at Kitty and Red’s home in Point Place. It is here where she goes from feeling like an outcast to meeting friends she will never want to let go. Callie Haverda as Leia is perfect casting, she really captures Eric’s mannerisms and behaviour while maintaining a bit of that edge and confidence that Donna had. Haverda really knows how to lead a scene and so do the rest of the cast who are just as charming. The Jay Kelso reveal was so wonderful, Mace Coronel absolutely nails it, he is the perfect amount of Kelso and Jackie yet he still brings something new to the table just like all of the others. I found Ashley Aufderheide’s Gwen to be a standout, she is the Kat Stratford of the show, a total feminist icon who loves rock and I love her. Nate and Nikki portrayed by Maxwell Donavan and Sam Morelos are honestly one of the best couples this franchise has seen. They’re open with each other and they’re very cute, well apart from that last episode and yes, I am indeed Team Nate. I do have to say however that the show’s humour, while similar to the original show, it’s quite different at the same time. It’s a bit subdued and you could tell the actors needed some time to get used to the tone and humour and feel confident in performing, especially in front of a live audience. While it is a very cute show and to be fair, it has its fair share of dirty humour, I feel like it’s missing that edge that the original has, something that in all honesty is not the cast’s fault but rather the writers’. Some of the jokes feel like they were found on a sitcom joke checklist. It wasn’t the case the entire time but it was definitely noticeable, so that’s really the only critique that I have which could easily be fixed for Season 2.

That being said, whenever the original cast shows up which is quite often actually, it’s as if they never left Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith slip back into these roles effortlessly, it is a true delight seeing them again. Their humour, chemistry and charm are still perfectly intact and I love that they were given a slightly bigger role this time around. I can’t wait for them to return and do it all again in the second season. The same goes for Topher Grace and Laura Prepon who are back as Eric and Donna for the pilot with Donna making a few appearances here and there. They continued in such a perfect way, I really do love them. Eric threatening to put his foot up his daughter’s ass is a peak television moment. I hope he makes more appearances down the line. I hope to God the show lasts long enough for Eric to make Leia go with him to see ‘The Phantom Menace’, I need that. Real-life couple Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher return as Kelso and Jackie and I could watch an entire spin-off of those two, it was truly so much fun getting to see these characters grow up. It’s actually quite commendable how they translated these places and these characters to the nineties. The overall aesthetic was updated quite perfectly. It feels like a product of the 90s just like how the original show felt like a product of its respective decade. One of my favourite aspects of the original show was getting to experience pop culture from the seventies through the show and while I loved the Blockbuster uses and the fashion, I hope the second season ramps up the use of nineties pop culture.

Overall, the first season of ‘That ’90s Show’ was a blast! I split it up into a few episodes a day and for those three days, I had something to genuinely look forward to. I love the new cast and it was a true delight getting to see the original cast return. The humour is mostly still intact and with a bit more edge and taking advantage of the nineties setting, the second season will be an easy improvement. I truly hope the show makes it to its full run, the cast and the writers deserve the chance to prove themselves and with a truly solid first season, I only see it getting better from here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Season 1 of ‘That ’90s Show’ is now streaming on Netflix.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s