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Netflix's That '90s Show - Everything You Need To Know

During its 8-season run from 1998 to 2006, "That '70s Show" became a flagship series for Fox. Nostalgic but not overly sentimental, fans were enamored with the show's easy, lived-in sense of humor and the reliable chemistry between the Forman family and the gaggle of teens who hung out in their Wisconsin basement. Critics were impressed too, and the series picked up 16 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations during its time on the air (via IMDb). "That '70s Show" then continued a successful run in syndication and hopping around various streaming services.

In 2002, Fox tried to capture the "That '70s Show" magic again with "That '80s Show," starring Glenn Howerton of future "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" fame. The ill-fated series was canceled after one season. Now, "That '70s Show" is getting its first proper spinoff with "That '90s Show." Here's everything to know about the revival series, which hit Netflix on January 19, 2023.

What is the plot of That '90s Show?

As the title suggests, "That '90s Show" takes place in the summer of 1995. Though the period is new, the location is very familiar to fans of "That '70s Show," which took place between 1976 and 1979. The spinoff follows Leia Forman, Eric and Donna's 15-year-old daughter, as she spends the summer at her grandparents' house in Point Place. There, Leia meets her next-door neighbor Gwen and Gwen's group of friends, who happily set up shop in the Forman's basement. Per Variety, each season of "That '90s Show" (should the series be renewed) will take place during successive summers.While lonely back home in Chicago, where her father works as adjunct professor teaching classes about "Star Wars" and her mother is a successful author, Leia finds a true BFF with Gwen and a love interest in Jay Kelso — son of original series characters Michael Kelso and Jackie Burkhart.

As the series' resident adults, Red and Kitty Forman have a new crew of teenagers to coddle and intimidate, respectively. "What was really key early on was talking ... about who Red and Kitty became in the quiet, after the kids left," co-creator Lindsey Turner told Variety. "And how do the kids coming back change that? How has it reawakened pieces of them? How have they changed, how are they the same?"

Who stars in That '90s Show?

"That '90s Show" will see a mix of new and familiar faces. Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp reprised their roles as Red and Kitty Forman and were regular characters on Season 1 of the new series. Original stars Topher Grace, Laura Prepon, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Tommy Chong all turned in cameo appearances. Wilmer Valderrama, foreign exchange student Fez on "That '70s Show," is a recurring player, dating the Formans' next door neighbor when he isn't running his successful chain of local hair salons.

The central focus of "That '90s Show" is undoubtedly Leia Forman, who discovers a lot about herself and life in the summer of 1995. She's played by Callie Haverda, a relative newcomer to acting in her most prominent role to date. The cast is rounded out by Leia's teenage posse: Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide), her half-brother Nate (Maxwell Acee Donovan), Nikki (Sam Morelos), Ozzie (Reyn Doi), and Jay (Mace Coronel).

Who created That '90s Show?

"That '90s Show" comes from Bonnie and Terry Turner, the creators of "That '70s Show." When Netflix first approached the Turners about a reboot, the husband-and-wife duo turned them down twice. After a period of reflection (bolstered, in part, by the early, isolating days of COVID-19), the pair reconsidered. They also brought in Gregg Mettler — a former writer on "That '70s Show" — to act as showrunner, and the three of them, plus the Turners' daughter, Lindsey, conceptualized the new series. Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp also joined the creative team as executive producers.

"I wanted to have the same feeling as 'That '70s Show' did," Mettler told Variety. "The show had a very special tone. It was playful; it had a heart; it was sarcastic; it was filled with love within this family, within the friend group. I missed being in the basement with those kids." In the spirit of resurrection, "That '90s Show" also enlisted "That '70s Show" costume designer Melina Root and hair department head Gabriella Pollino.

Where to watch That '90s Show

Netflix is capable of offering such a large and sprawling library of digital content that it can almost serve as all things to all people. It helped pioneer the Peak TV-centric dramedy format with "Orange is the New Black," gave a home to adult animation like "Big Mouth," and also green-lighted revivals of long dormant, fan beloved shows that ran on traditional or cable networks. Following successful resurrections of series like "Arrested Development," "Gilmore Girls," "Full House," and "Mystery Science Theater 3000," Netflix ordered a revival of "That '70s Show" in October 2021, according to The Hollywood Reporter. But since time and nostalgia played such a big role in the Fox series, and because the original series had ended more than 15 years earlier, any continuation of "That '70s Show" would have to pick up much further down the road — and thus "That '90s Show" was born.

To order 10 new episodes of a reboot means "That '70s Show" must have been a hit when Netflix streamed the 1998 to 2006 series. It lost the rights to the show in 2020, according to Newsweek. As of January 2023, "That '90s Show" is a Netflix exclusive title, while "That '70s Show" streams at Peacock.

How are critics and audiences responding to That '90s Show?

Any contemporary reboot of a fondly remembered and monumental property is going to invite comparisons, and critics and viewers alike registered their opinions about "That '90s Show," upon Netflix's release of the "That '70s Show" continuation series in January 2023. And as far as major TV critics are concerned, the new show is almost as good as Season 1 of "That '70s Show." The 1998-99 set of episodes earned a 78% score on Rotten Tomatoes, while the first (and so far, only) season of "That '90s Show" racked up a 74% — with both critics and viewers.

"'That '90s Show' is the equivalent of a great throwback burger joint with a short menu," wrote Steve Greene of IndieWire. "The good might have a familiar taste, but it finds an efficient way to overdeliver on the basic expectations," while Lauren Piester of TheWrap said the show was "both bad and good in all the right ways."