REVIEW: ‘That 90’s Show’ killed plot and character development


Photo courtesy of Netflix

Six kids, one basement, two decades apart. The story of the parents and, now, their kids, but what were the writers thinking?

Excitement surrounded Netflix’s new reboot of the much loved “That 70’s Show.” With some of the original cast and amazing new casting, “That 90’s Show” was born.

Let me just start off by saying that I didn’t think it was terrible; the storyline just wasn’t executed well. Before I get into that, I want to talk a little about the characters, new and returning.

The returning Forman family absolutely carried the show. Kurtwood Smith (Red) and Debra Jo Rupp (Kitty) fell right back into their parts as the somehow clueless host parents. I personally thought that their characters were the best written for the reboot.

Topher Grace (Eric), who looks like he hasn’t aged a day since “That 70’s Show” ended, had amazing character development in the one episode he was in.

That brings me to the first thing that really upset me about the series. The original basement crew were never in one scene together. Eric, Jackie and Kelso were only in one episode. They should have had a more prominent role in the show.

The writers also threw away all of Jackie’s character development. For the brief time she was on screen she acted like the ditzy cheerleader she was in the first season of “That 70’s Show.” 

They completely ignored how her character had grown and respected herself and threw her back together with Kelso for another on again off again relationship, something that Jackie, at the end of the original show, would not have been a part of.

Kelso was fine; he was about what one would expect. Still the “golden retriever” friend. I would like to know what happened to the daughter he had in the 70’s. They just gave him a new kid and said nothing about it. 

Speaking of writing people off, of course one of the main characters, Stephen Hyde, had to be written off. With the charges the actor is facing, there was no way that he could be included. They probably should have said his character was in jail, or died instead of just not acknowledging Hyde’s existence. 

Eric’s sister was also seemingly written off; the original actress died in between shows, but they did have to recast her in “That 70’s Show.” So my question is why was there really no mention of her. Red and Kitty had one conversation where they talked about Eric being the second child, but that’s it.

Donna’s performance was fine. The scenes she was in were nice, but there was really nothing special about them. 

Rounding out the original main cast was Fez. I didn’t really like what they did with his character, he just seemed to be there. He also didn’t really feel like Fez. Something was off about him — his hair, maybe.

There were also some good guest appearances from the original show, including Donna’s dad Bob and Tommy Chong.

The main character of the reboot was Donna and Eric’s daughter, Leia. I felt like her character was okay as their daughter, but she didn’t give off main character vibes. Her stylist for the show did her dirty because I can not think of one memorable outfit, let alone any that were from the 90’s time period. 

Her best friend and next door neighbor Gwen felt like the real star of the show. In my opinion, she carried the new storyline. 

Kelso and Jackie’s son also became part of the new six. Jay was probably the best written character of the whole series. He embodied exactly what you think Jackie and Kelso’s son would be like. The writers also cast him so well. Played by Mace Coronel, he even looked like their kid.

For the last three characters, Ozzie, Nikki, and Nate were thrown in. Ozzie’s only personality trait was the gay friend and I hated that. The director’s treated his character like there was nothing else to him but being gay. For the first openly gay character in the series I wish they would have done better.

Nate, Gwen’s brother and his girlfriend Nikki were just kind of there. All they did was makeout and sometimes come up for air to say something annoying.

My biggest problem with the whole show is how Leia didn’t even know Jay existed. Their parents were best friends and it makes no sense that they wouldn’t talk after the original show ended.

Unlike “That 70’s Show,” “That 90’s Show” had no time period vibes. It didn’t even feel like you were watching something set in the 90’s. The clothes were wrong and most of the activities the kids partook in didn’t feel right.

The whole show felt rushed. One minute Leia is with Jay, the next she likes Nate. How did we get there in 20 minutes of one episode? Like, pick a storyline, people. 

I feel like there’s really not much to say about the story of the show. It didn’t really feel like there was one, it jumped around so much there was never one plotline for more than half an episode.

In all honesty the writers did a terrible job on this show. Not only were there not enough episodes and the whole thing felt rushed, but the storyline was bad. They killed off all character development and a lot of the plots made no sense.

It felt like being force fed a Disney show instead of living up to what “That 70’s Show” was.

I’m glad that fans got something, but as an avid “That 70’s Show” watcher I am very disappointed. Do better, Netflix.