Nostalgically decent: The new kids on Netflix’s ‘That ’90s Show’ don’t measure up, but the show is cute enough

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By Bob Grimm

Netflix gets mixed results with the sequel to That ’70s Show.

In all honesty, I watched the first five episodes of the 10-episode season and had a review of That ’90s Show—mostly negative—nearly finished. My brother kept texting me about how cute he thought the show was, so I decided to soldier through and watch the other five to complete the season.

Turns out, the show is actually kind of cute in the end. It still has its problems; here’s hoping the creators get a chance to improve things with a second season.

Set in 1995, That ’90s Show brings back Red (Kurtwood Smith) and Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) as they deal with an all-new batch of kooky kids, some of whom are the offspring of the original show’s then-teenagers.

The first episode sees the return of the now-married Eric (Topher Grace, looking just like he did in the original show) and Donna (Laura Prepon) as they drop off their teen daughter, Leia (Callie Haverda), for a summer stay. She makes friends with a new group of teen weirdos, including Jay (Mace Coronel), son of Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) and Jackie (Mila Kunis), who also make brief appearances.

Seeing the gang back together is great. Problem is, the adults disappear for the majority of the episodes in favor of the new group … and they are not quite on the same level as the original crew. They grow on you a bit as the season plays out, but I’m not sure this group will ever measure up.

The show is good when Red, Kitty and the old gang are involved; otherwise, it feels like one of those Disney Channel teen comedies. Maybe that was the intent … to do something authentically cheesy, like a lot of the shows that actually aired in the ’90s? If that was the case, they’ve succeeded in crafting something authentic, and sporadically entertaining, and occasionally too fluffy.

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