"That 90’s Show" Proves the Kids Are “All Alright"
Everyone’s favorite Wisconsin teenagers are all grown up now, but that doesn’t mean a whole new generation isn’t shaking things up in Point Place.
“That 70’s Show” spinoff “That 90’s Show” premiered January 19th on Netflix and the show proves no matter what decade it is, teenagers will be teenagers. The series follows Eric (Topher Grace) and Donna’s (Laura Pepron) daughter, Leia (Callie Haverda) as she spends the summer of ‘95 in Point Place with her grandparents Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) and Red (Kurtwood Smith). Here she meets Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide), an angsty punk rock girl who lives next door in Donna’s old house. From there Gwen introduces Leia to the rest of the Point Place crew. We got Jay (Mace Coronel), a smooth talker who happens to be Jackie (Mila Kunis) and Kelso’s (Ashton Kutcher) son. Then there’s Nate (Maxwell Acee Donovan) Gwen’s jock half brother and his laser-focused girlfriend Nikki (Sam Morelos). Last but not least, there’s “tell it like it is” Ozzie (Reyn Doi).
Fans of “That 70’s Show” will be pleased to know that many of the old cast reprise their iconic roles. With appearances made by Topher Grace, Laura Pepron, Mila Kunis, Debra Jo Rupp, Kurtwood Smith, Wilmer Valderrama, Tommy Chung, Don Stark, and Jim Rash. It feels like no time has passed. Even though the sets have been slightly revamped to give it more of that 90’s feel, we still have that warm comforting feeling of the Forman household.
While overall as a whole I found the show to be funnier and more entertaining then I had expected, there were a few things that fell a little flat. One of the most disappointing things about Netflix series is that they are typically only 10 episodes per season and “That 90’s Show” is no exception to that. “That 70’s Show” was averaging about 25 episodes per season so it gave more time to flesh out characters, relationships, and storylines. As the season started to wind down, it felt more like storylines in “That 90’s Show” were being slightly forced and just felt kind of random, it also felt like characters, like Nikki were just kind of there and they didn’t necessarily serve any real purpose. The writers tried to subtly drop hints about a possible Leia Nate storyline and then they really tried to throw it in our face in the last 10 minutes of the season finale. I appreciate what they tried to do by making it set in the Summer but since that is the timeline it made everything else feel very rushed, especially Jay and Leia’s relationship, which felt over before it even started.
As someone who is a fan of the original “That 70’s Show”, I was very reluctant about “That 90’s Show” coming out. Doing a spinoff is not an easy task and doing a spinoff well is very challenging, but “That 90’s Show” proves that there are still stories needed to be told about Point Place, Wisconsin. The show doesn’t stray away from its roots, it instead embraces them. Whether it’s the 70’s or the 90’s, teenagers struggle with the same stuff; love, friendship, sexuality, school, and feeling like you fit in. While the comedy aspect of “That 70’s Show” is classic, it’s relatability is what made it so popular. It’s still not confirmed whether or not “That 90’s Show” has been renewed for a second season, but one thing for sure is that the kids are “all alright."
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