by Curtis Lanclos
One of my favorite retro-themed TV sitcoms of all time is That ’70s Show. This show centered around the lives of teenagers from 1976 to 1979, and largely introduced the world to young actors Topher Grace, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis. As was the case with many sitcoms, I didn’t watch this retro feast when it first aired on Fox for eight seasons from 1998 to 2006. No, a father of one of my son’s soccer teammates told me about the show and how good it was around 2013 or so. So, I started to watch it on Netflix and was instantly hooked.
I loved that one of my favorite bands, Cheap Trick, performed the theme song for the show from seasons 2-8, as well as the fact that Tommy Chong (of Cheech and Chong fame) eventually joined the cast. I particularly liked the episode with Alice Cooper (S3E14: “Radio Daze”), as well the VH-1 special which featured the show’s cast along with rock band KISS, combining never-before-seen footage and interviews (this aired on August 30, 2002). This special was somewhat reminiscent of the KISS-themed movie, Detroit Rock City…
Anyway, I digress. Two of my favorite characters on That ’70s Show are the parents of Topher Grace’s character Eric Forman; Red and Kitty Forman (played by Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp respectively). I’ll never forget how I almost fell out of my chair laughing the first time Red called Eric a “dumbass” (which due to positive audience reaction became a recurring thing with Red)…
In the wake of Netflix shows like Cobra Kai (which continues the storyline of The Karate Kid decades later, and moved to Netflix after being on YouTube TV for a few seasons), That ’70s Show is now getting the spinoff treatment. Yes, That ’90s Show features Smith and Rupp reprising their roles as Red and Kitty Forman in good ol’ Point Place, Wisconsin in 1995. The new show, however, will revolve around the life of Leia Forman, portrayed by Callie Haverda. This character is the daughter of Eric Forman and Donna Pinciotti (who was played by Laura Prepon), and apparently was named as such because of Eric’s fascination with Star Wars.
As Leia spends the summer with her grandparents, other teenage contemporaries enter the picture. This includes Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide), Jay (Mace Coronel), Nate (Maxwell Acee Donovan), Ozzie (Reyn Doi) and Nikki (Sam Morelos). Although That ’90s Show was announced back in October 2021, the addition of Haverda and her other coming of age companions was just announced this month (February 2022).
Oh, and although none of the other original cast members have contracted to appear on the new show, some are expected to make guest appearances reprising their roles. Netflix has yet to reveal the release date, however it has been confirmed that it will kick off with an order of ten episodes.
Since I am such a sucker for nostalgic shows and their spinoffs, I for one will be waiting with baited breath.
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