‘That 90’s Show,’ has potential despite critiques


Aaliyah Solano, Editor-in-Chief

“That 90’s Show” is the follow-up to the popular television series “That 70’s Show”, which is a cult classic with a rabid fanbase, so there were big shoes to fill. As a fan of the original series myself, I had high expectations for the new series.

After watching the first episode, I was thoroughly impressed with the show and felt it both honored the original series while also having its own uniqueness through the introduction of new characters.

The series takes place 15 years after the end of “That 70’s Show” and follows Eric and Donna’s daughter Leia as she spends the summer with her grandparents Red and Kitty, where she meets a group of kids whom she befriends and spends her time with—much like in the original “That 70’s Show.”

There are new compelling characters, such as Jay Kelso, the son of Michael and Jackie from “That 70’s Show.” The casting choice was excellent, as the actor plays the role and reminds viewers of Michael Kelso, whom he is supposed to embody, as well as how he could be Leia Forman’s love interest. Ozzie is another new character, and his plot revolves around his sexuality and coming out to those close to him during this time period.

For a comedy series, this is a serious storyline; most comedy shows do not discuss such vulnerable and sensitive topics; however, the representation for viewers is refreshing, as is the comedy provided by this storyline.

The show’s new young cast has potential and I can see it succeeding if Netflix decides to renew it for another season. However, despite the potential that I see, their acting felt Disney-like. Where it was obvious that they were waiting for laughing tracks and exclaiming their words, it did not feel natural and felt very performative. Acting is performance, but it should feel natural and real, and this series lacked the naturalness that the actors in “That 70’s Show” possessed.

I also didn’t like how they used laugh tracks instead of performing in front of a live studio audience like the original show. The laugh track makes it appear forced and makes the jokes fall flat. In addition to the transitions within the show, montages of the cast dancing or doing something with cool backgrounds in the back would be used as a transition piece into the next scene during “That 70’s Show,” but these transitions just felt uncomfortable.

Furthermore, despite the fact that the show is set in the 1990s, the show does not exude a sense of nostalgia. The clothing and language do not give off 90’s vibes and feel more like a Gen Z interpretation of what the 90s might have been like. The entire show feels like a parody of the 1990s and lacks connection. If the show is set in the 1990s, the showrunners should have done research on what the 1990s were like, rather than setting a time frame and not following how that era was.

Despite my criticisms, I believe the show has great potential if these issues are modified. I hope the show is renewed for another season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it isn’t. I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.