That 70s Show is one of the funnier newer comedies in my opinion. The show had been on for a while before I started to watch it, but once I did start watching, I was quickly hooked. I picked up the series on DVD earlier this year and have been watching the seasons. I just finished watching That 70s Show - Season 8, the final season of the show.
That 70s Show is a half hour comedy that aired for eight seasons on FOX starting in 1998. The show takes place in the fictional town of Point Place Wisconsin during the late 1970s. The first season began in 1976, and the very last episode of the show is set on December 31, 1979, so not as much time passes during the show. All of the eighth season takes place during 1979, like the seventh did. During the opening and closing credits, a license plate is shown, and the date sticker on it indicates which year the episode is taking place in. At the end of the final episode, the sticker has changed to indicate that it is 1980. The episodes are connected by longer, continuing story arcs, so it is best if they are watched in order.
For the first seven seasons, That 70s Show focuses on Eric Forman, his friends, family, and various problems. During the last episode of the seventh season, Eric leaves to spend a year in Africa as a way to earn money to pay for college, so he is missing for the eighth season, though he does return for some of the final episode. Red and Kitty Forman continue to play an important part in the show and many scenes are still set in their home. Hyde is still living in the Forman's house and the other members of the group still spend a lot of time hanging out in the basement, getting high. Hyde is receiving a bit more attention after Eric leaves, and several scenes are set in the record store he runs for his father. Jackie and Fez, who are roommates in an apartment for most of the season, also receive a bit more attention, and some scenes are set in their apartment. A few new characters are added, though they don't really fit in as well.
Eric leaving at the end of the seventh season does change the dynamic for the eighth season. His being gone is mentioned in some of the episodes, but after a little while, he isn't even mentioned most of the time anymore. He and Donna attempt to keep their relationship going, and then fairly early in the season, it comes out that Eric broke up with her because he felt they were going in different directions. There was a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of the seventh season connected to Jackie and Hyde. Their relationship had gone through some problems, and Jackie ended up taking a job in Chicago believing that he would never marry her. Hyde follows her, but before they can resolve anything, Kelso walks in half naked. When the eighth season begins, Jackie is back in Point Place looking for Hyde after giving up her job. She is very upset and hoping to work things out, but Hyde is gone for weeks before he finally returns. The two of them eventually talk and when it seems like they are getting things straightened out for their future, things go very wrong again. Samantha, a stripper from Las Vegas, arrives because she and Hyde got married while they were drunk one night. There are different things connected to the marriage dealt with during the season. I really didn't care for that development that much even though it did add some humorous moments to the show.
Michael Kelso is only in the first four episodes of the eighth season of That 70s Show. He was written out of the show because of Ashton Kutcher's movie career taking off. If I remember right, it was known by the end of the seventh season that he would be leaving the show even though he was back at the beginning of the eighth season. Kutcher isn't included in the opening credits for the episodes he is in and is instead credited as a guest star. The reason why Kelso leaves is shared during his last episode, and it does make sense. Kelso has always been an idiot, but I did miss him after he was gone. He does return for the final episode. Kelso had been living with Fez. After Kelso left, Jackie moves in and takes over Kelso's room. Jackie's life is messed up throughout the eighth season. She does briefly get a job, though things didn't work out like she hopes. Her love life is a huge mess, especially once she decides that she likes Fez and he's busy chasing lots of other women. The storyline doesn't work that well, especially once they both start doing petty things to upset the other. I really don't like Jackie and Fez together at all.
Time is taken throughout the eighth season of That 70s Show to show how Donna deals with various things. First she has to deal with Eric being going and trying to have a long distance relationship. They set up times for him to call and at one point Donna even takes some naughty pictures to send him. It doesn't take long before the relationship is over, once again because of a decision Eric made on his own. That really irritated me. After that, Donna starts spending more time with Randy, a guy Hyde hired to work at the record store who also becomes part of their group. Donna and Randy's relationship starts out as friendship before they actually get more serious and start dating for a while. Things end between them by the final episode. I didn't care for the romance between Donna and Randy that much. Something just didn't seem right about it to me. The relationship did cause some friction between Kitty and Donna because Kitty has a hard time accepting that Donna and Eric are over. Red decides to retire after things don't work out with his muffler shop, and he has some adjusting to do. First Bob and then Red and Kitty decide to move to Florida. Most things are resolved by the end of the series, though a few things still seem to be up in the air.
The final season of That 70s Show has the same type of humor overall that was used in the first seven seasons. It still works for the most part, though there are things that just don't work that well. After the fourth episode, Kelso is gone. I've always thought he was the funniest character with all the goofy stuff he was doing. Once he left, that did hurt the humor. None of the other characters were as funny as him, and when some of them attempted to be, it just didn't work that well. The show is still funny overall in the eighth season, but it isn't as funny as it was during the earlier seasons. I think some of the things that happen later in the season between Jackie and Fez are supposed to be funny, but those things come across as petty and juvenile instead.
The funniest episode of the season is probably Bohemian Rhapsody, the first episode of the season. Kitty is making a tape to send to Eric, telling him about things that have happened recently. Right after Eric left, Red and Kitty discover a stash in the basement. When Kitty was supposed to get rid of it, she decided to try it instead. Kitty high is hilarious as are the hallucinations she sees when Red and Hyde are talking to her. I think Red and Kitty end up providing most of the humor for the season after Kelso leaves. Red still has his fits of temper that involve him threatening to stick his foot somewhere that I find very funny no matter how many times he does it. The eighth season doesn't have as many of the pop culture references. One or two comic books are briefly shown, but that was it. Since Eric was gone, there wasn't any more talk of Star Wars, and I did kind of miss that since it has been such a big part of the show in the previous seasons.
Relationships continue to be important in the eighth season of That 70s Show. Eric and Donna attempt to keep their relationship going despite the distance. Letters and phone calls are mentioned, and it seems like they are managing for a while. Then things start changing, and by the sixth episode it is shared that Eric broke up with Donna. After that, Donna eventually starts dating Randy, one of the new characters. As friends, their relationship works fine, but I didn't think the romance worked as well. Jackie and Hyde's relationship has never really been smooth, but something about it worked. I didn't like that the relationship ended, or the way it ended for that matter. Both of them were still upset about things, but they started to talk and there seemed to be the chance that they would work through their issues. Then Sam showed up, sharing that she and Hyde had gotten married in Vegas.
Hyde completely forgot that he and Sam had gotten married since he was drunk at the time. He didn't seem to care one way or the other about Sam at that point, but he told her to stay. Not much about their marriage is shared, but they do have issues. I don't like the relationship at all and I don't think it really works. Things are better when Sam isn't around. Jackie struggles to deal with the situation before eventually deciding that Fez is her dream man. By that time, Fez is dating someone, so Jackie is miserable. When she tells Fez her feelings, he rejects her which causes her to decide that he must be punished. Fez returns the favor, then decides that he loves Jackie and wants to be with her, but she turns him down because of how he hurt her. It isn't long before Jackie changes her mind only to find out that Fez changed his mind as well. They keep going in that circle for a while, which is annoying and not entertaining to watch. The development of their relationship is ridiculous, rather juvenile, and not at all believable. There is just something wrong about Fez and Jackie dating. That has to be my least favorite development of the entire series. Red and Kitty celebrate their 25th anniversary, and it is clear that they still love each other. Even though it isn't actually shown, it is made clear that they still have an active sex life.
Kelso is still a bumbling idiot in few episodes that he is in. Even though he always does stupid things and sometimes causes huge problems for his friends, he is still a likable, funny character. I was sad to see him leave. I actually think I missed him more than Eric since Kelso was the funniest character in my opinion. I was very happy when Kelso returned for the final episode. Ashton Kutcher did really well with the part. Topher Grace returns briefly for the final episode as well. Red and Kitty are mostly the same. Red does end up retiring, so he has to adjust to that, but it doesn't cause any changes to the character. I really like Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith in the parts. Laurie doesn't return and is only briefly mentioned once or twice.
Donna doesn't really change during the season. She still works for the radio station, though she does start thinking about going to college later in the season. She has to deal with several things during the season, including the break up. Laura Prepon does fine with the part. Her dad Bob turns up every so often, though he really doesn't have as much to do. Jackie tries to be more mature, but ultimately she acts more juvenile, especially where Fez is concerned. Jackie has always been a bit grating, but she seemed worse at times in this season. I didn't care for most of what happened with Jackie during this season, though the episodes dealing with her job were all right. Mila Kunis does fine with the part. Fez is still working at the beauty shop, though he has moved on to styling hair instead of just being the shampoo boy. He didn't go through school to be a beautician or barber, so that shouldn't have been happening. He keeps chasing after women and even goes out with a few different women during the season. He has a few moments of maturity, but he acts really juvenile at times as well. Wilmer Valderrama is fine in the part.
Hyde is mostly the same as well. He just sort of goes with the flow when he discovers he got married while drunk. He is still running the record store for his dad, so at times she shows some responsibility and maturity. Danny Masterson is fine in the part. Tim Reid returns a few times as Hyde's dad without a whole lot to do. Angie isn't back and she isn't even mentioned, something that didn't bother me since I didn't really like her that much anyway. Leo is around more again, working in the record store and just popping up at different times. Leo tends to be stoned out of his mind most of the time, though one or two new things are shared about him. Tommy Chong is really good in the part.
Samantha is one of the new characters added for the final season. She is a stripper in Vegas that Hyde hung out with while he was there before marrying her while drunk. She shows up ready to start their marriage and settles into living with Hyde in the basement. She seems nice enough, but she isn't that bright. She continues to strip, and for a while anyway, went back to Vegas to work. Something comes out about her later in the season that is unexpected. She is only in nine episodes, and many times when she isn't shown, she isn't even mentioned. Jud Taylor is fine in the part.
Randy is the other new character for the season and he becomes a main character. At first I thought he was just meant to fill in for Eric, but some things about the character make me think he was meant to fill the place of Eric and Kelso. Randy is different from the both of the other characters, but I think he has more in common with Kelso. Randy is a bit of a pretty boy and concerned about his appearance like Kelso was. It also comes out that Randy has dated a lot of girls, also like Kelso. Randy is an all right character, but he doesn't fit in with the group as well at times. Josh Meyers is fine in the part. Bruce Willis turns up in one episode and Mary Tyler Moore is in a few as Jackie's boss.
Tommy Chong - Leo
Mila Kunis - Jackie Burkhart
Ashton Kutcher - Michael Kelso
Danny Masterson - Steven Hyde
Josh Meyers - Randy
Laura Prepon - Donna
Debra Jo Rupp - Kitty Forman
Kurtwood Smith - Red Forman
Don Stark - Bob
Wilmer Valderrama - Fez
That 70s Show - Season 8 has twenty-two episodes on four discs. There is the option to select each episode one at a time or watch them all, one after the other. When the episodes are selected individually, the option to watch episode promo spots is given. There are commentaries on a few episodes by David Trainer, a director of many episodes. Most of the extras are on the fourth disc. A 70s Show Flashback: Tommy Chong and A 70s Show Flashback: Josh Meyers feature the actors talking about their characters and being on the show. Meyers does talk about joining an established show and the concerns he had about that.
Season 8 in 8 Minutes Featurette shows clips that give an overview of what happens during the season. That 70s Show Set Tour with David Trainer has the director showing some of the sets from the show. He explains how some things, like the circle scenes, are filmed and shows how some of the walls of sets move out of the way when needed. The basement, kitchen, driveway, and living room of the Forman house are shown. The water tower is the only other set shown, though Trainer does say that other locations would be filmed at that spot. It was interesting to see the various sets as well as some of the backstage areas. That 70s Show Through the Years: A Retrospective has clips of the different cast members, some taken from the first season or two, are shown. I really enjoyed the extras and wouldn't have minded if there had been more. I really would have liked to have seen bloopers from the show. A few episodes in previous seasons had some during the closing credits that were very funny, so I would have enjoyed seeing more.
Somebody to Love
You're My Best Friend
Stone Cold Crazy
Who Needs You
Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy
Spread Your Wings
Son and Daughter
Keep Yourself Alive
My Fairy King
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
We Will Rock You
Sheer Heart Attack
Leaving Home Ain't Easy
Love of My Life
That 70s Finale
That 70s Show is one of the funnier comedies that have been made recently. The episodes did start to take a bit of a downturn by the final season, but I still enjoyed That 70s Show - Season 8 overall and think fans of the show should give it a chance.
I would have rated this DVD set three and a half stars if I had the option. Since I don't, I rounded up to four stars.
This review is part of elvisdo's 2009 Funny Pages Write Off because of the few comic book references during the season.
That 70s Show - Season 1 ~ That 70s Show - Season 2 ~ That 70s Show - Season 3 ~ That 70s Show - Season 4 ~ That 70s Show - Season 5 ~ That 70s Show - Season 6 ~ That 70s Show - Season 7 ~
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