We hang out on the street, the same old place where we used to meet. Not going to lie, I was excited about this. Part of me knew there was a very real chance it could be a train wreck. But there was that other part of me that was hopeful. After all, That ’70s Show was a huge part of my teenage years. I wish the ’90s would turn up Netflix It will have the same spark for me.
That ’70s Show was fun, had relatable characters, and gave me a (sometimes accurate, sometimes not) look at life in the ’70s—the time when my parents were growing up. Fast forward to today, I have a 13-year-old daughter and I’m excited to be giving her a look at the ’90s from the lens of a modern show that she’ll be able to relate to better than her reboot predecessor.
This ’90s Show Is Available Now, But Is It Actually Worth Watching? For the nostalgia alone, it was totally worth the 30 minutes I spent on the pilot episode. Of course, not everything about her is perfect. Below are my general thoughts and impressions.
Light spoiler warning: In this article, I mention funny callbacks from That ’70s Show and some funny lines said by the cast. I’m careful not to give away too much though, don’t worry.
Kitty, Red, and Eric steal the show and send me back in time
I have to say the best part of the pilot is seeing how Red and Eric’s dynamic has changed and not changed. Towards the end of the episode, Eric threatens to put his foot up Leah’s butt. Eric immediately freaks out, Red says he’s the proudest of Eric ever. These moments were really fun for me and made me smile like an idiot.
Kitty was as energetic and intelligent as ever. She had a lot of jokes and her usual eccentric charm. Donna’s performance felt flatter to me, largely because she didn’t get as many witty responses and jokes as the other returning actors. She was still having her moments though, and seeing Eric and Donna on top of a car in the driveway was a flashback to my teenage years.
There were also plenty of meta references to That ’70s Show jokes and spots. Things like being stupid, standing in your ass, and other red-centric statements. There were also recalls to familiar places like Foreman’s famous basement and the sometimes killer water tower. Even cannabis had a role to play, as teens found an old batch that was still seemingly magically good. The mold alone…but alas it’s TV and I think I’ll suspend in disbelief this time around.
There were also a lot of ’90s references
Honestly, I felt like going back to the 90s while watching this show. There were no distracting cell phones in teens’ hands, there was mention of landlines, and there were plenty of classic ’90s songs peppered throughout the first episode. I also enjoyed references like bringing up Zima, a really gross alcoholic beverage that was popular in the ’90s and made a brief comeback not too long ago only to disappear again.
Not sure about the new cast
Andrew Grosch/Android Authority
Each new teen character introduced in the pilot has a lot of personality and quirkiness. There were also a lot of similarities to those characters from the 70’s starting with Leah who looks a lot like her dad in terms of humor and intelligence, but not nearly as nerdy. But it’s still just as embarrassing. Then there’s her new best friend Gwen who has the same “try anything once” rebel mentality that made Hyde such a popular character.
Really all the characters were fun and seemed decently written. But the chemistry is just not there for me. Let’s go back to That ’70s Show. At the time, Donna and Eric instantly clicked, as did Kelso and Hyde. Fez was weird but it just felt right. Jackie was probably the only one who took several seasons off so I could fully warm up. All of the characters feed off each other with great jokes and the chemistry abounds.
The chemistry between the new characters isn’t as strong as the That ’70s Show cast, but hopefully the interactions will improve with time.
This ’90s show tries to do the same, delivering jokes that are often pretty weak but designed to get a chuckle out. I just don’t feel like the characters mesh as well, and at times these new characters felt a lot like forced caricatures of ’70s teen characters.
It’s not all bad though. I felt like Leah and Gwen’s new friendship had a lot of potential, and these two teens probably had the best onscreen chemistry of the bunch.
I also really liked Ozzie and although not all of his lines were great, he felt like a promising character. The best of the new characters was definitely Leia. The new Foreman fits perfectly with the mannerisms and tone of the rest of the Foremans, and her interactions with her grandfather really harken back to Reed and Eric’s relationship. I also loved Leah’s interactions with her friends and the hilarious moment when she uses her debating skills to buy a tap for a keg.
Should You Watch This ’90s Show?
This ’90s show is perfect for those who loved the original or are feeling nostalgic for the ’90s. It’s also a good way to bond with your kids by making it your next nightly family TV show. I’m not sure it has potential for new audiences beyond those teenagers who are basically convinced to watch it by their parents. This show really focused on nostalgia for that ’70s show, even more than nostalgia for the actual ’90s. I hope it finds its footing and proves itself even more in the upcoming episodes.
The good news is that underneath all the references and callbacks, there were a few real sparks of humor with the new characters. It might take me a little longer to fall in love with them as it did for me to take the original Point Place kids. While I can’t tell you whether or not you should watch it, I will tell you that I will be rewatching the pilot with my kids tonight. And I’m definitely excited to check out the rest of the series.
Does This ’90s Show Live Up To The Hype?