One of the biggest TV shows to hit Netflix last week was That ‘90s Show, a sequel to That ‘70s Show featuring a new group of teens growing up in Point Place, Wisconsin. That ‘70s Show was immensely popular in its day, running for eight seasons and it’s no surprise that the new show is sitting at the top of the Netflix top 10 list.
Trying to capitalize on the nostalgia of the past can be a gamble, and you may be wondering if That ‘90s Show is actually worth checking out. After all, trying to cash in on the success of a show that ended 15 years ago could have disastrous results. Or it could be a huge success, and finally break the Netflix cancellation curse.
If you’re debating whether to add the sitcom sequel to your watch list, you’ve come to the right place. We are here to help you figure out whether That ‘90s Show is the kind of show you should stream or skip.
What is That ‘90s Show about?
That ‘90s Show follows the same basic premise as its predecessor, with a group of teenagers getting together and doing whatever it is teenagers do. Listening to music, various shenanigans and smoking copious amounts of weed. If you watched the original show, then everything will seem pretty familiar — though the pop culture references and fashion sense have gone through some major changes.
The catalyst is Leia Forman (daughter of Eric Forman and Donna Pinciotti) coming to Point Place to spend the summer with her grandparents. Leia is eager to break away from the naivety of youth, and the sheltered upbringing she’s experienced thus far. Obviously a group of misfits from Point Place are going to be a bit of a culture shock.
This familial tie means Red and Kitty Forman, two of the best parts of That ‘70s Show, are back as main characters. Various other characters make cameo appearances, including almost all former cast members. If you want to see how they’ve moved on with their lives, you may just have to tune in, because we won’t be spoiling it here.
That ‘90s Show reviews: What the critics say
That ‘90s Show currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 74% from critics and audiences — based on 39 professional reviews and 610 ratings from the audience. Seeing both scores align so perfectly doesn’t happen that often, but expect it to change as more people start watching the show.
Manuel Betancourt at AV Club gave the first season a B rating, saying: “If you grew up watching That ’70s Show, you’ll likely have no way of assessing whether That ’90s Show works on its own. Maybe it can’t. And maybe it doesn’t even want to.”
Angie Han from The Hollywood Reporter was a little more positive saying that, “it aims for nothing much more ambitious than recreating the low-key charm of its predecessor. But it hits that target with enough confidence and consistency to become a treat in its own right."
Meanwhile Lauren Piester at TheWrap said that That ‘90s Show is “both bad and good in all the right ways, and deserves more of a chance than you might want to give it after the first couple of episodes.”
Of course, not everyone is positive. Brian Lowry from CNN.com noted: “While there’s smoke here, there’s not much heat, as an uninspired next-generation crowd offsets encores by most of the original cast, leaving That ’90s Show feeling at best half-baked.”
Kelly Lawler from USA Today was much more scathing, with a 1.4 (out of 4) score, declaring that That ‘90s Show “feels like a parody of a sitcom rather than an actual TV show. The jokes don't land, the actors are miscast and all the Kutcher and Kunis cameos in the world can't make a bad script good.”
Should you stream That ‘90s Show on Netflix?
That ‘90s Show is not high-brow comedy, but it’s also not trying to be. If you’re a fan of That ‘70s Show, then it’s worth tuning in and giving the show a chance — even if it’s just for the scenes featuring returning cast members. In fact that’s clearly what Netflix is going for, to the point where total newcomers may feel a little lost at times.
Most importantly, That ‘90s Show is an easy going sitcom, and each 22-minute episode is a perfect excuse to sit back and switch off your brain. So long as you enjoy watching shows like that, this is definitely one to watch. But if you prefer your TV shows to offer a little intellectual stimulation, That ‘90s Show’s brand of dumb almost-stoner-esque humor is not going to appeal.
It’s just a shame Netflix doesn’t currently have That ‘70s Show for everyone who speeds through That ‘90s Show’s 10-episode first season in less than a week.