Is That 90’s Show Worth Watching?

Hello Wisconsin! That ’90s Show is here, and Red (Kurtwood Smith) and Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) are the focal points of the spinoff series. This time, the Netflix exclusive focuses on Leia Forman (Callie Haverda), the teenage daughter of Eric Forman (Topher Grace), and Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon), who spends the summer of 1995 with her grandparents. The new Netflix show made its premiere in early January and has been guaranteed a second season.

If you haven’t seen That ‘70s Showthen what’ll most likely draw you in is the catchy theme song. What is guaranteed to keep you are the funny one-liners, colorful characters, and the unique sense of style that the series had for its time. Admittedly, the show went downhill once Eric and Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) left. However, it doesn’t wash away the greatness of the previous seasons. That ‘70s Show wasn’t perfect, but the series was more of a hit than a miss. So, if you’re wondering whether That 90’s Show is worth watching, here’s your answer.

The Series Isn’t Bad

Is That 90’s Show Worth Watching?

Jumping into That ‘90s Show, it’s important to see how the new cast stands on its own two feet. Of course, the quality of the story is the main focus. So, is That ‘90s Show worth checking out? It depends. Honestly, the pilot is enjoyable alongside several of the episodes in the series. A few  moments and one-liners landed quite well, but that was mostly due to the original cast.

The series is nowhere near terrible. However, there are a handful of missed opportunities. For one, the new cast doesn’t make much of an impression. Some feel like a copycats of the original characters from That ‘70s Show. This is mostly aimed at Leia Forman, Jay Kelso (Mace Coronel), and Nikki (Sam Morelos). Haverda stands out the best as she’s clearly like her dad Eric. Her performance feels organic and natural. Jay and Nikki feel like Kelso and Jackie clones. Unfortunately, both performers feel like they’re just acting.

The Pilot Doesn’t Come Out Of The Gate Strong

Is That 90’s Show Worth Watching?

Oddly, it feels as if That ‘90s Show needed an extra 30 minutes to really nail the opening. Why does Donna have a hard time calling Kitty mom? That’s actually an interesting story, but it’s never really explored beyond the surface level. It’s possible that’s due to the fact that Midge Pinciotti (The lovely Tanya Roberts) is no longer in the series due to the actress passing away in 2021. It’s somewhat implied, but if you’re a newcomer who has never seen That ‘70s Show, then you wouldn’t understand that. Sure, That ‘70s Show was never a deep and thought-provoking series that tackled hard-hitting topics from time to time like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But there’s a clever way to tackle such subjects that can be both compelling and funny.

Given the fact that the trailers have spoiled that Bob (Don Stark) will make a cameo sometime this season, Midge’s absence will likely be addressed then. However, the Donna/Kitty side plot felt inconsequential to the overall story arc. The pilot for That ‘90s Show would’ve been better off focusing on the weekend when Eric, Leia, and Donna return for the summer. The way Leia quickly meets her new set of friends feels forced. That moment when they finally become pals should’ve been saved for the second episode. Even more, the first really should’ve allowed us to understand the dynamic between Donna, Eric, and Leia organically. However, the new set of teenagers could’ve been introduced in a small but meaningful scene.

That ’90s Show Is Trying To Serve Both The Old And New Fans

Is That 90’s Show Worth Watching?

That ‘90s Show is trying to kill two birds with one stone. The first is satisfying the original fans by bringing back familiar names in the cast, and the other is trying to establish the new cast for the spinoff series. The Eric/Leia story works better because it’s given more meat. More importantly, we’re already invested in Eric Foreman because we grew up with the loveable teenager from Wisconsin. The emotional beat towards the end doesn’t work, though, because we’re not invested in Eric and Leia’s relationship. Like Donna’s side plot of not calling Kitty mom, we’re given nothing more than the surface level of storytelling.

The new cast gets some solid screen time, but the pilot mainly goes for nostalgia. That’s great for That ‘70s Show fans, though new audiences likely won’t care too much. The pilot doesn’t particularly rely on That ‘70s Show callbacks, but there are moments here and there. Does it kill the show overall? No. The rest of the series has the old cast sprinkled throughout. It will surely bring a smile to your face, though it overshadows the new cast.

Final Thoughts

Is That 90’s Show Worth Watching?

On the positive side, the original cast slips back into their roles with ease. Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith are simply a blast as Kitty and Red. It’s bad enough that it doesn’t seem as if these two have aged a bit, but they’re chemistry remains strong, and you’ll definitely get the most laughs from their scenes.

Is That ’90s Show worth checking out? If you’re a fan of That ‘70s Show, then yes. The show is not bad by any means, but it doesn’t leave a lasting impression. That ‘90s Show could get better in the second season. The formula for a strong sitcom is already there, it’s just a shame that they couldn’t knock it out of the park in the first season.

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