Show: That 70s Show
Run dates: 1998-2006
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was born in the 1970s, so my teen years took place during the 80s. Still, I'm enough of a child of the 70s to remember a lot of the cultural and music references on the show.
No matter what decade you grew up in though, chances are you had a group of friends. And with that group of friends, you went through the ups and downs of growing up.
Teenager Eric Forman has a basement where his friends get together. His parents Red and Kitty are pretty typical parents of their era - Red is uncomfortable with emotions, and Kitty bakes (or drinks) whenever she's upset. They have a quirky neighbor Bob. His daughter Donna is Eric's crush, then girlfriend, then ex as the series moves on. In the way of all such groups, there's a lot of in-dating, and friendships tested by who is going out with whom and who just broke who's heart.
It's a silly half an hour comedy, with situations that are usually solved by the end of the episode- but it has arcs that last all season (and sometimes beyond). There are some issues with continuity (minor characters like the Formans' dog and Donna's sister being there one minute and then never seen again, for example).
The most funny seasons are 1-6; a common problem with a lot of TV series- they don't know when to quit. Season seven is bearable, but by season eight you really want the show to end. Eric isn't in season eight till the very end, and Kelso is only in the first four episodes and the last. The group dynamic isn't the same, and the new characters they bring in just can't cut it as replacements. The only bright spot of the last season is the return of loveable hippie Leo (played by Tommy Chong).
Still, worth your time in watching when you want something lighthearted and enjoyable. I watched the series in its entirety on Netflix; it is also currently being shown in reruns. You can buy individual seasons or the full set on Amazon. Plans for a Blu-Ray release this year are in the works.