‘That ‘90s Show’: A reboot we’ve been waiting for


Cat Murphy

Illustration by

Keith Savage, Contributing Writer

Growing up I casually watched “That 70s Show” and loved the humor. The cast was elite with Topher Grace, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and more. The show was a major success, running for eight seasons from 1998-2006 on Fox. The much-awaited spin-off “That ‘90s Show” was released on Netflix on Jan. 13 — in my opinion, it was a success.

Most popular shows warrant a spin-off and that is what happened with “That ‘90s Show.” Some shows fail to see success and should never make a new series, but this series has a great future. It is filled with young actors who are looking to get a big-time jump in their careers, similar to the original cast.

Most of the main cast made a cameo in the spin-off, except for Danny Masterson who played Steven Hyde in the original series and was excluded after being arrested and charged with sexual assault in 2020. If his character was in the new show, the plotline likely would have been completely different, with him dating Kunis’ character Jackie Burkhart.

But the show did a great job at avoiding Hyde at all costs by having Burkhart and Kutcher’s character, Michael Kelso, married with a son named Jay Kelso, played by former Nickelodeon actor Mace Coronel. He was perfectly cast to be their son because of his similar resemblance to Kutcher.

Callie Haverda’s character, Leia Forman, did an amazing job as Eric Forman and Donna Pinciotti’s daughter. Leia Forman was supposed to go to space camp with her father before meeting Gwen, who is the neighbor to her grandparents. Gwen ironically lives in the same room that Pinciotti grew up in. Leia Forman was fond of Gwen so she decided to stay with her grandparents for the entire summer.

Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp were the only two main cast members from the original show that appeared throughout the entire series as Leia Forman’s grandparents. Their basement was where the friend group in “That 70s Show” and the new one spent time together. An easter egg that I liked was that the couches in the living room in the original series were moved to the basement for “That ’90s Show.”

Smith and Rupp did an amazing job fulfilling their roles as Red and Kitty Forman. Kitty Forman was thrilled to have her granddaughter back because her house was busy again, but Red Forman preferred a quiet home. The duo is unmatched as they are hilarious together.

Leia Forman, Kelso, Gwen, Nikki, Nate and Ozzie played the show’s teenagers. Ozzie was arguably the funniest character, most notably when he had the plan to come out as gay to his parents but told certain people to practice making that announcement. When he told Kitty Forman that he was gay and had a boyfriend in Canada, she responded with the story of her friend who had a bad experience with a Canadian man, but she was happy that Ozzie told her because it made her feel important.

Leia Forman and Kelso have an interesting relationship together. She ended up dating Kelso after a few episodes. At the end of the season, he is uncertain about commiting to a long-distance relationship, as he lives in Wisconsin and she is going back home to Chicago. But something that is not talked about in the show is that his father has another daughter named Betsy that was born at the beginning of season seven of “That ‘70s Show.” Ironically, he moved near Chicago in season eight to be closer to his daughter. So there also could be a possibility that Kelso will spend time near there to see his sister. But I thought it was weird that she was never talked about in the show.

Nate dates Nikki and is Gwen’s half-brother. His character development starts as a character happy to have a girlfriend and be best friends with Kelso. But he ends the show frustrated with his girlfriend not knowing if she wants to go long-distance with him.

Leia Forman relates to this plot because she wants to be in a relationship with Kelso. Leia Forman and Nate proceed to talk about how they both want something similar and are about to kiss before Gwen walks in. After Kitty Forman finds out that Kelso is uncertain about going long-distance, she fears that her granddaughter will never want to come back to visit. Kitty Forman convinces him that long distance could work, so at the very end of the season finale, he says he is willing to attempt it. If there is a season two I am interested to see how Leia Forman and Nate’s relationship turns out.

Gwen and Nate have the same mother but different dads. They both slightly talk about their fathers, but never show or say who their dads are. A popular theory online has been people thinking Gwen is Hyde’s daughter. However, I don’t think that is true because the show could get a lot of backlash if his character returns.

With so many questions that remain unanswered, I would be upset if this show is not picked up for another season. I found it as successful as the original and would be interested in how the group turns out the next time Leia visits home. I’m excited about the future of “That ’90s Show.”