Hello, Wisconsin! That ’90s Show continues the laugh-filled look back at years gone by that started with eight popular seasons of That ’70s Show (1998-2006). The action now takes place in 1995, but the winning formula remains the same — there’s a new set of teens who’ll be heading down to the basement that is still oddly smoky.
And upstairs are two familiar faces: Red and Kitty (Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp), who in the pilot welcome their granddaughter, Leia (Callie Haverda), into their home for the summer (the adventures kick off January 19 on Netflix).
“Kitty’s kitchen has changed, which is lovely, although her hairdo did not,” Rupp jokes. “When you find a style that works for you, why change it?”
Red and Kitty are now empty nesters — and at least one of them needs a change of pace. “I think Kitty has had it just being with Red,” Rupp says. “So something new had to happen.”
Leia’s arrival is courtesy of a visit from Red and Kitty’s son, Eric (Topher Grace), and his wife, Donna (Laura Prepon). Not surprisingly, the live audience goes crazy over these original cast members’ cameos (the first of several this season).
“The lore of the old show carries forward in a nostalgic way,” notes executive producer Gregg Mettler. “But Leia is a new character, and her coming-of-age story will feel fresh.”
Leia has friends (above, from left: Sam Morelos, Mace Coronel, Ashley Aufderheide, Haverda, Maxwell Acee Donovan, and Reyn Doi) to help her in what both the original and new shows portray so well about adolescence.
As Mettler puts it, “It’s about getting these kids in the basement and having them talk through their issues and hopes and dreams, and watching them get good and bad advice and seeing how it all plays out.”
We have a feeling they’re all alright.
That ’90s Show, Series Premiere, Thursday, January 19, Netflix