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Does “That ’90s Show” Live Up to the Original?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kent State chapter.

“That ’70s Show” has to be one of my favorite sitcoms of all time. When I first learned that they were rebooting the series, I was quite skeptical. Most of the time when an old show is rebooted like this, the end result is kind of cringy and does not nearly live up to the original. In fact, “The ’70s show” has had a spin-off in the past that flopped tremendously.

“That ’80s Show” first aired in 2002, while the original show was still running. The show received incredibly low ratings, and fans of the original were simply not interested. The show featured an entirely new cast that was older and was in a different city than the original. “That ’80s Show” was canceled after only one season and never returned.

Going into “That ’90s Show,” I was expecting very little. Given the show’s history of failed spin-offs, I did not have much hope for this show being good. However, when I heard that the series was bringing back old characters and the setting of the original, I became interested. After finishing the final episodes of the season, my thoughts were: it was okay!

The show follows Leia Forman, the daughter of Eric Forman and Donna Pinciotti from the original show, in the year 1995. After a visit to her grandparent’s house in Point Place, Wisconsin, Leia decides to stay in the small town for the remainder of the summer. She becomes friends with several teenagers in the neighborhood, including the son of Michael Kelso and Jackie Burkhart from the original series, whose name is Jay Kelso.

There were several things that I enjoyed about this show. Firstly, the returning characters were all so fun to watch! It was so fun to watch Kitty and Red return as Leia’s grandparents. I loved seeing how these two acted around Eric, their son, as an adult as well. I say some criticism of Red being too mellowed out in this show compared to the original, but I think that this was an accurate depiction of how grandparents are.

Most of the other original characters made an appearance as well. Fez was one of my favorite characters in the original show and continued to be one of my favorite characters in the reboot. It was so fun to see where each of the characters ended up in their adult lives.

The new teenage characters were also pretty interesting. I enjoyed having a more diverse cast, and each of the characters had their own little quirks. I’d love to see how each of these characters grows and develops more in future seasons.

There were a few things about “That ’90s Show” that I did not enjoy, however.

I felt like the plot of the show moved way too fast. I think that this is in part because the creators were unsure how long this series would be able to run, so they tried to stick as many plot points as possible into the first season. Watching these episodes, I thought that there was a lot of character development that we were missing. I would have loved to see Leia’s relationships with each of her friends grow and develop a lot more, instead of instantly jumping into her being best friends with everyone and getting into a relationship after just a couple of episodes.

Most of this first season also just focused on Leia trying to get a boyfriend, which I did not necessarily enjoy.

Some of the dialogue and acting I found to be kind of cringy and gave the series a sort of Disney-esque feel. There is a lot to be improved upon in terms of the dialogue in my opinion, but there were definitely some funny parts to the show.

Overall, I think “That ’90s Show” definitely has potential. It was recently announced that the series will be renewed for a second season. I am very excited to see where the creators are able to take the show from here, and I will definitely be tuning in to the next season.

Addison Foreman

Kent State '24

Addison is a journalism student at Kent State University. In her free time she loves to read, write, listen to music, and cuddle with her cat.