Netflix’s “That ‘90s Show” is a nostalgic return to an amazing series


Via Netflix

I have loved “That ‘70s Show” since I was 12. I remember bonding with my friends over the show and being incredibly excited when it became available on Netflix (and immensely upset when it was removed). When “That ‘90s Show” was announced, I was overjoyed with the idea of a sequel to one of my favorite shows — but I was positive it wouldn’t be a quality series, much like many other sequels. However, once “That ‘90s Show” was released to Netflix on Jan. 19, I was pleasantly surprised to see I was wrong. 

The story follows teenager Leia Forman (Callie Haverda), the daughter of Eric (Topher Grace) and Donna (Laura Prepon), on a visit to her grandparents in Point Place, Wisconsin for the Fourth of July. After meeting the girl next door, Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide), and spending time with some new friends, Leia declares that she wants to spend her summer in Point Place. 

There were rarely any moments in “That ‘90s Show” where I found myself growing tired of a concept or hoping for an episode to end. The show excelled in keeping my attention by adding jaw dropping moments left and right. I loved how entertaining and nostalgic it all felt, from the parallels and references to “That ‘70s Show” to the heartfelt scenes that perfectly showed the development of a plot or character. There were a few storylines that felt unnecessary and sudden, but I hope that was all done with the idea of a season two to provide an explanation. 

For having created a sitcom dependent on the strong relationships between characters, Netflix did not consider how long it would take to build those relationships from scratch. During the first episode, it seemed like the show threw Leia into this new friend group without giving the viewers anything beyond surface-level introductions. I get that it was supposed to show how well she clicked with the others, but it would have been nice to see how Leia, who didn’t seem to have much in common with these kids, joined the group and formed connections.

Via Netflix

Despite this initial drawback, as the season progressed, I enjoyed watching the characters become less stale and more lively around one another. Above all, I loved how hands-on grandparents Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) and Red (Kurtwood Smith) Forman were, as they were perfect for merging the old aspects of the show with the new. My main complaint is how little we saw the other characters from “That ‘70s Show.” I knew it would only be guest appearances, so I was happy to see the actors reprise their role even in fleeting moments, but their appearances felt rushed. I hoped for a heartwarming and fulfilling moment where the adults would reunite, but instead the characters only pop in at random.

Above all else, “That ‘70s Show” was known for its iconic theme song, in which the six friends (and their families) would sing, mess around and have fun in a car. So when I realized “That ‘90s Show” wouldn’t have the theme song and would most likely recreate it horribly, I got nervous. That being said, hearing the theme song for the first time was an incredible let down. The music was more fast paced and the theme song as a whole was shortened. Though I did get the ‘90s vibe and it certainly was catchy, the theme song’s video aspect lacked in terms of the cinematography and it all ended up being over in the blink of an eye.


“That ‘90s Show” lacked the most in its comedy. Don’t get me wrong, the jokes were there, but they weren’t as consistent with each character as they should have been. My favorite jokes were usually brought out through Red and Kitty, as well as guest appearances made by characters from the original cast like Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) and Leo (Tommy Chong). But when it came to giving this new friend group their own charming personality, it often felt calculated, awkward and forced. Granted, most sitcoms aren’t known for having the best humor in its first season, but it confused me how the writers could nail it in some areas, yet lack total comedic consistency with its most crucial characters.

Though “That ‘90s Show” clearly needs some improvements to be considered near the same level as “That ‘70s Show,” the sequel succeeds in melding the old and new while remaining fun and light-hearted. And unlike many sequels, “That ‘90s Show” holds a surprising amount of potential, and if there is another season, I can see these issues easily being improved. All in all, “That ‘90s Show” is worth the watch.