Almost 16 years after the conclusion of the long-running Fox sitcom, Netflix’s new series skips a decade and puts the spotlight on a new generation. Here, we take a look at the new series and reflect on the original show that brought it to life.

The sitcom is a funny thing. Not in a literal sense, although yes, that’s the intended purpose.

But in general terms, the idea of live-audience sitcoms have always been divisive. You either love the witty banter and fourth-wall breaking element or you can’t get past the (often canned) laughter that cracks through the screen every few seconds. 

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Whatever your feelings about the show’s format, it can’t be denied that That 70s Show was a breeding ground for some of our most beloved performers today.

Laura Prepon. Mila Kunis. Ashton Kutcher. Also: Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. The show also had a litany of guest stars, featuring both already famous faces and upcoming screen legends at the beginning of their journey, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Amy Adams, and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

Now, Netflix is taking the reins and bringing the show back to life in a new form and in a new era: That 90s Show. With the teaser here, let’s take a look at the fascinating history of the show’s predecessor and what we can expect from the new series.

Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp will return as Red and Kitty Forman in That ’90s Show

According to Netflix, here’s what we can expect in a nutshell:

It’s 1995 and Leia Forman, daughter of Eric and Donna, is visiting her grandparents for the summer, where she bonds with a new generation of Point Place kids under the watchful eye of Kitty and the stern glare of Red. Sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll never dies, it just changes clothes.

It’s no secret that the 90s had it made when it came to music and fashion, so we’re already excited to take a trip back in time with this one. Plus, some of the media culture from that time – such as Clueless, The Terminator and Titanic – has solidified itself in our modern day references and effectively made itself timeless. 

On top of this, we know that the new series is a coming-of-age story based around someone who’s seeking adventure. Leia Forman craves something exciting in her life – and a bit of distance from her father, Eric. When she visits her grandparents Kitty and Red, she realises that all the adventure she needs can be found next door in the form of a loveable bundle of teens and soon-to-be friends.

Debra Jo Rupp and Callie Haverda as Kitty and Leia Forman

Leia, after successfully convincing her parents to let her stay in Point Place for the entire summer, goes about reinventing herself among her newfound pals.

According to Netflix, Leia finds herself spending the summer with the rebellious Gwen, her loveable brother Nate, his girlfriend Nikki, insightful Ozzie and the charming Jay.

It’s a mostly new cast this season, though it’s obvious that everyone’s favourite mismatched parents Kitty and Red will be at the forefront of this new series to both help and hinder Leia as she explores her new way of life. And given that she is the daughter of That 70s Show’s Eric Forman, it’s more than likely he will have a significant role to play – five of the six original teenage gang have been confirmed to reprise their roles in a guest star capacity, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith will be returning as the motherly Kitty and irritable Red, while Callie Haverda will be joining the cast as Leia. 

Also in the cast will be Ashley Aufderheide, Mace Coronel, Maxwell Donovan, Reyn Doi, and Sam Morelos.

The new series also sees the return of original creators Bonnie and Terry Turner, only this time they’ll be joined by their daughter Lindsey Turner.

The teaser, which is intercut with screeching punk-heavy musical interludes and flashes of iconic series staples, such as the show’s original Vista Cruiser and the Foreman basement.

We first see Leia Forman arriving in Point Place at her grandparents’ house. Kitty Forman seems more than willing to open up her home to a new brood of teens, welcoming them into the basement that is likely to be come their home base for the summer. But Red doesn’t share the same sentiment. 

“Lights on, shirts on and no dancing,” we hear the patriarch telling them, his ever-present sternness still entirely clear.

Though Red’s words don’t seem to be enough to deter them, and later in the teaser we bear witness to a classic That 70s Show moment as the camera spins onto a series of close-ups of the gang sitting in a circle as they get up to some… questionable activities. Like father like daughter, we guess.

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The original series ran from 1998 to 2006, and focused on the lives of a group of teens in Wisconsin, led by the aforementioned Eric Forman (Topher Grace) and his band of loveable friends. His crew included the feisty Donna (Laura Prepon), the spoilt Jackie (Mila Kunis), himbo Kelso (Ashton Kutcher), the naïve Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) and sarcastic Hyde (Danny Masterson, who is currently being tried for sexual assault allegations and will not be returning in the new series).

It was a flagship show for Fox and eventually became the network’s second-longest running live-action sitcom. Despite a questionable last season that saw the shock exit of the show’s star, Topher Grace, the series still has dedicated fans years later.

The series was even adapted for UK television with the heavily criticised show Days Like These. The UK series was developed and filmed almost verbatim to the original, which made it a target as audiences decided it lacked the same flair as its American counterpart.

If you’re wondering, “Hey, where’s the 80s in all this?” Well, there was a leg-warmer clad instalment in the That…Show universe starring It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’s Glenn Howerton. 

But despite the same creative team behind it, That 80s Show was generally panned by critics and audiences alike, with viewers deciding that the idea was weak and the era was too soon gone to have an entire show made about the time period. In the end, the show only ran for one season and became a quickly forgotten blip. 

The original cast of That ’70s Show

That 70s Show was no blip, though. It was a loveable comedy that somehow kept the form of the sitcom alive just that little bit longer. 

It’s still yet to be decided if the 10 episodes of That ‘90s Show will reignite an appetite for that type of humour. But either way, fans of the original will no doubt look forward to returning to Point Place and seeing what kind of mischief the Forman clan will get into this decade. 

That 90s Show will be released on Netflix on 19 January 2023.

Images: Netflix; Getty

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