No One Asked for a “That ’70s Show” Spinoff Set in the ’90s, But We’re Getting One Anyway

"That '90s Show" will be centered around Red and Kitty Forman, for some reason

Red and Kitty Foreman in "That '70s Show"
Red and Kitty Forman in "That '70s Show"

File this one under “weird things no one asked for”: Netflix has announced That ’90s Show, a new That ’70s Show spinoff centered around the characters of Kitty and Red Forman (played by Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith) that will, as you might have guessed, be set in the ’90s.

The show will be set in Wisconsin in 1995, and according to Deadline, it “follows Leia Forman, daughter of Eric (Topher Grace) and Donna (Laura Prepon), who is visiting her grandparents for the summer where she bonds with a new generation of Point Place kids under the watchful eye of Kitty and the stern glare of Red. Sex, drugs and rock ’n roll never dies, it just changes clothes.”

So far, Rupp and Smith are the only two original That ’70s Show cast members who are confirmed to be reprising their roles for the new 10-episode series, but as the publication notes, “the expectation is that a number of them, including Grace, Prepon and Ashton Kutcher, will make guest appearances, reprising their roles.”

There will, of course, be a few notable absences that the show’s writers may or may not choose to address. Lisa Robin Kelly, who played Red and Kitty’s daughter (and Eric’s annoying older sister) Laurie died of a drug overdose in 2013. (She was replaced by Christina Moore in the show’s sixth season.) And actor Danny Masterson, who played Steven Hyde on the original sitcom, is currently on trial for allegedly raping three women; if convicted, he’s facing 45 years to life in prison.

But even if you can overlook those extremely dark developments, it’s still worth asking: Why is this getting made? Red and Kitty were both enjoyable characters, but they were minor characters on an ensemble series, and it seems unlikely they’ll be able to carry an entire spinoff without their former castmates regularly joining them. And let’s not forget that this isn’t the first time a That ’70s Show spinoff set in a different decade has been attempted; That ’80s Show was a spectacular failure in 2002, canceled after just 13 episodes.

Only time will tell if That ’90s Show will be able to hang on for a longer run.

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