New series ‘That ’90s Show’ brings nostalgia, fresh memories to Netflix

By Kylie Corral, buzz Editor

The new Netflix Original series “That ’90s Show” was released on Jan. 19 and is a spin-off of the 1998 sitcom “That ’70s Show.” “That ’90s Show” was directed by Gail Mancuso and Laura Prepon and was created by Bonnie Turner, Lindsey Turner and Gregg Mettler. Both Bonnie and Terry Turner were the creators of “That ’70s Show,” which has many similarities to the new spin-off. 

“That ’90s Show” is a resurgence of the fun had by friends Eric, Donna, Jackie, Steven, Fez and Michael in small-town Wisconsin in “That ’70s Show.” In the spin-off, Leia, daughter to Donna and Eric, spends the summer with her grandparents, Kitty and Red Forman, in the same house, basement and town where her parents grew up. In search of a fun summer, Leia, alongside her friends Gwen, Jay, Ozzie, Nikki and Nate, goes through the ups and downs of being a young teenager in the ’90s. 

The cast is made up of fresh and exciting faces. Callie Haverda plays Leia Forman, Ashley Aufderheide plays Gwen, Leia’s new best friend, Mace Coronel plays Jay Kelso, Reyn Doi plays Ozzie, Sam Morelos plays Nikki, Maxwell Acee Donovan plays Nate and Andrea Anders plays Sherri Runck. 

Familiar smiles contribute to the nostalgic vibe of “That ’90s Show,” as Kitty and Red Forman, played by Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith, respectively, take on the role of grandparents to Leia. Original “That ’70s Show” cast members Laura Prepon, Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Wilmer Valderrama and Tommy Chong all make appearances throughout the short season, bringing old vibes to the new show. 

“That ’90s Show” has a traditional sitcom feel and is relatable to teenagers while still drawing in older audience members, specifically those who were fans of “That ’70s Show” in the late ’90s and early 2000s. 

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From sneaking out of the house, going to raves, navigating crushes, boyfriends and girlfriends, meeting a new best friend, having a first kiss and just hanging out in the Forman basement, Leia learns what it is like to grow up and navigates the trials of doing so. The friend group wants to have experiences they think teenagers are supposed to have.

Along the way, the writers and directors of the show incorporate learning opportunities and messages about being grateful for the people in their lives and not growing up too fast but still remembering to have teenage experiences when they are still teenagers. These messages often come from actions or words of original “That ’70s Show” cast members, especially Kitty and Red, reflecting the teaching moments they gave their son and his friends in “That ’70s Show.”

The series is set up nicely for a second season, as it ends with Leia going back home at the end of the summer but at a crossroads between her first boyfriend and an unexpected spark. 

“That ’90s Show” is a fun-loving summer series that is a great pick-me-up in the winter. The show caters to a diverse audience, introducing new watchers to the fun of the Forman family and the unexpected adventures of small-town Wisconsin while also reminding nostalgic watchers of the memories and favorite moments that Eric, Donna, Jackie, Steven, Fez and Michael had in the same small town. 


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