This is a time when we all need to laugh a little bit more. It also happens to be a time when there are so many comedies being revived, and nostalgia is at its peak. For example, look at “Fuller House,” the remake for “One Day at a Time,” or even the upcoming return of “Will & Grace” to the air.
Today in our TV Revivals series, we’re going to advocate for the return, even if it’s just a brief one, of a show that brought so much joy to many people — and also a show that checks almost every box in terms of being both hilarious and nostalgic — in Fox’s “That 70’s Show.” It was incredible when it aired, and in retrospect, it has an amazing track record in terms of future stardom. Just look at many of the young people in the main cast: Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Laura Prepon, Topher Grace, Danny Masterson, and Wilmer Valderrama. Every single one of them has gone on to do some cool stuff since the show ended, and Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith remain active as ever. (Of course, Smith was iconic without even doing this show.)
So how could it be brought back? – The biggest core issue with the notion of a revival is the time period. The first eight seasons were all set in the seventies, with the series finale being the one that officially moved the clock forward into the eighties. We already had a “That 80’s Show” — it didn’t last long, but it did feature such future stars as Glenn Howerton (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) and Chyler Leigh (“Supergirl”). Also, we have “The Goldbergs” on TV right now.
Given that the original “70’s Show” finished airing in 2006, it’s feasible that you could now jump the show forward a good ten-plus years and make it into “That 90’s Show.” Feature the characters in their late twenties / early thirties being parents and navigating the time of tremendous change that existed in that decade. You had so much shifting culture, a rise in technology like the internet, and plenty of great music to dive into and enjoy. Also, a nineties show would play extremely well now for young viewers in the 18-49 demographic who remember that decade so fondly. (For the record, though, the original show crammed almost all of high school into eight seasons — that big of a time jump isn’t necessarily a given.)
Could it happen? – The idea is really fun, but this is where it becomes a nightmare. Kunis is doing movies, while Kutcher and Masterson both have heavy commitments on Netflix’s “The Ranch.” Prepon is on “Orange is the New Black,” and Valderrama just joined “NCIS,” which films a whopping 24 episodes a season. That’s the downside with this show having so much talent — it’s almost impossible to imagine a time in which everyone is free at the same time to do something. That’s why what may be best here is a reunion special, or a shortened season of maybe six episodes to get everyone reacquainted with the gang and for Red to threaten to put a boot up someone’s you-know-what.
There’s no inherent reason why the show needs to be brought back — it had closure, and while the final season was rather wonky given the limited presence of Grace and Kutcher, it was still funny. We just like to think that the cast all still gets along, and this could be a great chance to get everyone in the country saying “We’re all all right” … even if it’s just for a few minutes while watching TV.
Do you want to see “That 70’s Show” return — in a different decade or otherwise? Share in the comments! (Photo: Fox.)