Review by Tatiana Miranda
Highly anticipated by some and dreaded by others is That '90s Show, the reboot of That '70s Show. In an age of show reboots focused on sitcoms from the '80s, '90s, and early 2000s, it's hard not to question which shows are wholly original and which ones stemmed from a beloved show of days past.
Shows like Reboot have even poked fun at the trend, commenting on issues that face the creators of rebooted shows, namely the involvement of incarcerated or canceled stars of the original series. This has been especially talked about for That '90s Show, as one of the stars of the original series has several allegations against him. Still, That '90s Show is able to incorporate some of That '70s Show's main cast while also passing the torch to a new group of teens.
Set nearly twenty years after the start of That '70s Show, That '90s Show revolves around the teenage daughter of beloved characters Eric and Donna as she navigates a summer in her parents' hometown. Leia, played by Callie Haverda, is the perfect blend of her parents, both goofy like her dad while also clever like her mom.
While Eric and Donna are minor characters in this series, their combination of personalities found in Leia is seemingly enough to keep fans of the original show happy. She stars alongside a group of equally funny and unique characters as the original series, who make it easy to overlook the fact that beloved characters like Kelso and Jackie only have passing roles in the reboot.
Perhaps the smartest thing for That '90s Show to have done is to restrict the involvement of That '70s Show's main cast. Oftentimes the overinvolvement of key characters disallows the show from being a separate entity from its predecessor. More so than that, it also creates inconsistencies. While That '90s Show still has several inconsistencies (What about Kelso's daughter from the original series?), it makes the most of its character cameos to explain what happened during the time between the original show and its reboot.
Filled with nostalgia for both fans of That '70s Show and '90s culture as a whole, That '90s Show has the same episodic narrative consisting of the gang's various hijinks as the original series. While OG fans might have expected more interactions between beloved characters, That '90s Show is able to stand independently without being limited to being just the concept of a That '70s Show reboot. An ode to classic sitcoms, That '90s Show will likely inspire a new generation to watch its predecessor while also being entertaining for fans of the original series.
That '90s Show begins streaming on Netflix on January 19th. All ten episodes reviewed.