On Wednesday, Netflix dropped That 90s Show, a spinoff of acclaimed sitcom That 70s Show. The latter premiered in 1998 and ran for eight seasons. Stars Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Laura Prepon, Topher Grace, Wilmer Valderrama, Debra Jo Rupp, and Kurtwood Smith all returned for the reboot.
Missing from the original cast was Danny Masterson, who played the sarcastic Steven Hyde. Masterson was not cast in the reboot amid sexual assault allegations against him. The actor was charged with three counts of rape between 2001 and 2003, and a recent trial was declared a mistrial. The character’s absence is not mentioned in the pilot episode of the spinoff.
Despite the show’s loyal fanbase, this isn’t the only controversy being discussed surrounding the spinoff. Wilmer Valderrama, who plays Fez in the show, has recently come under fire for his repeat relationships with teenage girls during his 20s. His personal past was re-examined upon the release of Demi Lovato’s “29.” The couple met when Lovato was 17 and Valderrama was 29.
The reboot was still much anticipated by fans of the original show, which picks up in the summer of 1995 in the Wisconsin home of Kitty and Red Foreman (Rupp and Smith) and focuses on the lives of several of the original main characters’ now teenage children.
Fans shared heartfelt compilations of the cast reuniting on TikTok. Those who returned to the series have shared positive experiences about reuniting with their former cast mates and working with the new teens on the block.
That 90’s Show stars Kurtwood Smith and Debra Joe Rupp discuss how much they have loved working together ever since That 70’s Show two decades ago #that90sshow #that70sshow #kurtwoodsmith #debrajorupp #redforman #kittyforman #netflix #behindthescenes #interview #shorts That 90’s Show. That 70’s Show. Kurtwood Smith. Debra Jo Rupp. Kitty Forman. Red Forman. Netflix. That 90’s Show BTS. That 90’s Show Behind The Scenes.
Fans were most excited that the pilot hinted at Eric and Donna’s daughter Leia (Callie Haverda) taking an interest in Jackie and Kelso’s son Jay (Mace Coronel). Others pointed out how Jackie and Kelso’s actors, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, reunited later in adulthood and wound up married in real life, adding a sweet backstory to the show.
The new cast of teenager actors consists of mostly Hollywood newcomers, which led some to criticize the reboot. It is also important to note that the 70s actors, many of whom have now had long and successful careers, were almost all newcomers when they joined the original cast as well.
that 90s show will never be them pic.twitter.com/F4Ez5bPViU
— j. (@dunstspears) January 19, 2023
Others praised the casting of the teens, saying that their chemistry was promising and they felt like an accurate next generation. Some even made predictions for relationships this season.
Just finished that 90s show and I kinda loved it???? The new cast has good chemistry and I love leia she really is Eric's daughter. I just wish the laugh track would dial back but this is a good reboot bc they don't rely on nostalgia. Kitty and red carried ofc. im hoping for a s2 pic.twitter.com/itqe7iGkHV
— Chad Dylan Cooper (@spelivia) January 19, 2023
seated for that ‘90s show and please let them be girlfriends pic.twitter.com/ea5itR9CBE
— mel (@posiesmani) January 19, 2023
Some critics had different thoughts, believing that the show’s heavy reliance on nostalgia for its origins took away from a fully formed 90s environment.
Back in 1998, when "That '70s Show" premiered, its affection for the bygone era of was charming, writes USA TODAY TV critic @klawls.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for its sequel "That 90s Show" (streaming Thursday, ★½ out of four).https://t.co/NN91dRv3PQ
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) January 19, 2023
Since the original show was released in the late 90s, nostalgia is at its core, and seems to be what has fans coming back for more. Much of the audience for That 90s Show is likely built up on elder Gen Z and millennials who care more about the inclusion of the original characters than an entirely new and innovative script.
when i watch that 90s show for eric forman and eric forman shows up pic.twitter.com/zGqE1ONOGO
— Real Ilhoon/Mikael Fan (@ilh88n) January 19, 2023
Netflix’s line up for early 2023 includes several new originals and more seasons of hit shows like You. One show that relies on tugging at the heartstrings of older fans certainly can’t hurt.