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"That '80s Show"
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39 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

That 80s Show tried too hard

Author: Mrs_William_the_Bloody from Somewhere Over the Rainbow
21 December 2005

I love The 70s Show, but That 80s Show tried too hard. That 70s Show is about a group of kids who happened to be coming of age in the 70s. The clothing, music, slang, vehicles, and everything else were a natural part of the script and set. That 80s Show tried to cram everything 80s into 30 minutes of television, with little or no thought to plot or character development. Every character was a simple dated stereotype. The writing was shallow and I didn't really care about anyone on the show. A shame, really, because the show centered around a record store - having grown up in the 80s, I think that the decade's music was the only decent thing to come out of that period. That would have been a great backdrop if the show had actually been about the characters, not the decade itself. Maybe enough time hasn't passed. Maybe they should try again in ten years.

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23 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Cute show with a likable cast, but nobody wanted "That 70s Show" turned into a franchise

Author: liquidcelluloid-1 from www.liquidcelluloid.blog.com
13 July 2004

Network: Fox; Genre: sitcom; Content Rating: TV-PG; Classification: Contemporary (Star range: 1 - 4)

Season Reviewed: series (1 season)

'That 80s Show' is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. A copy of a copy, faded slightly from the original where creators Bonnie and Terri Turner take another trip back in time in the clearly network mandated vein of roping in the young crowd that currently watches their hit 'That 70s Show'. It's an odd line of logic: do networks think just setting a show in a different time period is enough of a gimmick for people to flock to it with nostalgic interest? The show plays out like a 'SNL' skit about the 80s. The characters in this live action comic strip work in a vinyl record store, have spiked punk or 'Flock of Seagulls' hair, serve in the military against the Ruskies, watch Dynasty religiously (taking a drink every time someone gets slapped) and, in a throwback to Alex Keaton, are go-go Reaganaut business tycoons. Its a TV time capsule broadly playing off, and laughing at, only the most easily and instantly recognizable fads, attitudes and events of the decade so that the younger crowd (which this is geared toward) can watch the show and not be left in the dark by a lot of nuance and in-jokes before their time. If you want nuance and a show speaking directly to you, best stick with Paul Fieg's 'Freaks and Geeks'.

Ah, but wait, almost the exact same thing can be said about the fast and loose way the 70s are treated in 'That 70s Show'. But '70s' rises above it. With the talent preoccupied with working on '70s' everything in this show is taken down a peg. It lacks the comic timing and imaginative direction of '70s' helm David Trainer so the series is only marginally as funny. It lacks the veteran acting, instead of Kurtwood Smith we have Geoff Pierson ('Unhappily Ever After', one of the very best bad shows ever). Pierson is quite good, one of the highlights of the show actually, but it's an noticeable down step from a veteran like Smith. Most notably is that '70s' quickly transcended it's time period jokes and has become something with a genuine heart. That show, and this is rarely reported, is the semi-autobiographical story of creator Mark Brazill. '80s' lacks that feeling of experience and honesty. Do we really care if opposites attract and Corey (Glenn Howerton) and Tuesday (Chyler Leigh) get together?

What keeps the show's head above water – it is quite watchable – is once again an excellent casting department. In addition to the usually reliable Pierson (cornering the market in his dead-beat-father role, in a time when networks would TV fathers be harmless, overgrown children), the kids form a likable ensemble. While there aren't quite any Topher Graces in this lot of kids, there aren't any Ashton Kutchers either (if you know what I mean and I think you do). Tinsley Grimes (as the adorable Katie), Chyler Leigh (deserving every second of screen time she gets) and Eddie Shin (honestly, getting almost all of the show's laughs) stand out as the show's breakout stars. The banter between Roger (Shin) and R.T. (Pierson) is the highlight of the series.

Based on the potential strength of the cast is have a sneaky suspicious this show would have gotten better as it went along. But, either way, audiences flocked away from it like a swarm of bees, which probably has more to do with sending a message that we don't want this kind of franchise series than anything the show could have done - despite the best efforts of the cast. I suspect, Brazill and co. thought that the acceptance of 'The Wedding Singer' and other related products opened the door and declared it was now acceptable to treat like a cartoon this period in people's childhood. But by 2002, the 80s are still to recent and people's minds. It was a doomed concept from the start and people don't want to start down a slippery slope that will one day lead to a show, that solely stands out because it's set in "the 00s".

* * / 4

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25 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Terrible Show!

Author: jersey-3 from Lake Worth, FL
14 February 2002

I am a child of the 1980s. I was 7 years old in 1980 and 16 in 1989. This show is terrible. All it does is try to find humor in mocking every fad and fashion of the 1980s. If That 70's Show relied on this, it would have been off the air quickly.

Let me explain... That 70's Show uses the 1970s as a backdrop for a sitcom about people. The oddities of the 1970s are secondary to the story line. (Much like Happy Days was with the 1950s.)

That 80's Show uses the 1980s as it main focus of humor by making fun of everything. And unfortunately, they don't do that funny either. Seeing people sing along to Pat Benatar, talk about having a cell phone, and wearing zebra pants is funny? After the first episode, I said to my wife, "Well, it won't be long until they have a scene where the people are singing alone to Dexy's Midnight Runners." And guess what, I was proved right by week #4 where three of the main characters drive in a car and sing along to "Come On Eileen".

FOX should be ashamed of itself if it leaves this crap on the air. It is amazing that this piece of junk will probably survive, yet FOX will probably cancel a great and funny show called "Undeclared". But then again, we've learned many times that network executives don't know anything about funny and good shows.

By the way, does That 80's Show have the most loud and obnoxious laugh track you've ever heard?

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33 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

The 80s were good to me, this show was not

Author: Kacey from Texas
31 January 2003

I was shocked when I heard they were coming up with a show called "That 80s Show". I love "That 70s Show", and wasn't sure if I'd like "That 80s Show". I kept thinking they were bringing this in just to replace "That 70s Show" when that show ends. I was wrong. "That 80s Show" was pure crap. Pure crap. Sure I liked that Tuesday character (was it Tuesday, Thursday? Some day). Yes, she was the punk rock chick with an attitude... yay. But the storyline was not as good as "That 70s Show" at all, and the cast of "That 80s Show" was not that great at all. I love the cast of "That 70s Show". Anyway, I was born in the 80s, and it's great to see a show about the time period I was born, but it wasn't that great. Glad to see it went off the air. Oh yeah, when are they doing a "That 90s Show"? Heh.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Good, but needs improvement...

Author: sportell from Darmstadt, Germany
13 February 2002

The ideas are there, but the cast definitely needs work. They seem to be too new to the acting scene, and their lines are coming off to confused. Their body movements are also still a little unnatural. Some of the jokes are lacking as well. In time this should get better. It already seems better than the first episode.

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14 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Too bad

Author: DarthBill from United States
19 March 2003

It really wasn't all that different from "That 70s Show". Just about every joke was thrown in, some funny, some not. I admit I only tuned in to see the adorable Tinsley Grimes. I think this show could've become something better than it was if it had been given more of a chance, and also if the writers had taken it more slowly with things like the love/hate relationship between Corey (Howerton) and Tuesday (Leigh). I think another problem with the show was the lead character of Corey himself: the writers weren't sure what to do with him. Was he supposed to be a nice guy, was he supposed to be a jerk, they hadn't figured him out. But that's why you have to give a show like this time, so you can flesh out your characters and figure out who they really are.

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15 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

How bad can TV get?

Author: harrynicholls from New Zealand
18 March 2002

What a poor effort. That 80's Show aired in NZ tonight and it was a new high in low for T.V. Seriously unfunny, lame characters and a poor cash in on the success of "That 70's Show". Anyone who derives enjoyment out of this probaly can't remember yesterday let alone the 80's.

Good one Fox, cancel Married... With Children and Futurama and put this on. Quality programming? Nah, who needs that?

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19 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

what the hell is this?

Author: annabethangel84 from Belgium, Europe
14 July 2002

After watching the trailer for "that 80's show" i thought it might be a nice evening filler,it looked funny and witty.NOT! I was seriously dissappointed upon watching the actual show.If you want my advice,this show sucks!Its not funny and totally not amusing.I'd stick with the 70's show if I were you.

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24 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Video killed the radio star, please Fox kill this show

Author: quetee2
26 February 2002

This show is horrible. I was looking forward to watching this show because I loved 80's TV but I can't believe how bad they messed this one up. The problem with the show is they are making fun of the 80's, that's not the way to go. They should have watched a few episodes of square pegs or something because they are not even on target. jokes = not funny, cast = not funny, show = not funny.

If you want to watch 80's comedy, do yourself a favor and watch reruns on Tvland.

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14 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Terrible

Author: isotope2112 from Detroit
7 February 2002

Fox should be embarrassed to be airing this show. This from the same network that canceled Chris Elliot's "Get A Life"!

The characters are lifeless, as is the acting and script. I also found the cinematography very annoying... I can't really put my finger on it, but it had a jerky, almost strobe-light quality. Very reminiscent of music videos from the era, or a webcam. I don't know if it was done intentionally for effect... but it was stupid.

I can only hope that in the fall we will see this show replaced with some higher quality programming or at the very least they will hire some decent writers. 3/10

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