'That '70s Show - Season 1 + 2'
(Ashton Kutcher, Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Wilmer Valderrama, Debra Jo Rupp, et al / 3-Disc DVD / PG / 2011 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: Plug in the boob tube, put on those boogie shoes and get ready for a totally groovy collection! Flash back to a time when platform shoes and puka shells were all the rage in this hilarious retro-sitcom. For Eric, Kelso, Jackie, Hyde, Donna and Fez, a group of high school teens who spend most of their time hanging out in Eric's basement, life in the '70s isn't always so groovy.
DVD Verdict: Like the characters in this show, I too was a teen during the 70s. The producers really nailed the whole zeitgeist, of being a suburban teenager in the 70s. The 70s fashions, cars, home furnishings, foods, and fads, are all very authentic in this show.
The show boasts a very talented ensemble cast, who all mesh together very well on camera. I really like the unique, psychedelic-style film sequences. No other show does camera tricks like this. These cutting-edge film sequences, really help to convey the campy hipness, that characterized the 70s era.
The show, basically, is all about a group of teenagers living the 1970s in the fictional suburb of Point Place, Wisconcin. There's Foreman, the awkward and most mild mannered one, Donna, his pretty tomboy neighbour, Hyde, the rebellious one immersed in the counter culture of the time, Kelso, the handsome yet airheaded guy and his bossy girlfriend Jackie.
There's also Fez, the misunderstood foreign exchange student. Together, they try and keep themselves amused. They hang around in Foreman's basement, they go out in Foreman's Vista Cruiser. They take a lot of advantage of Foreman, actually.
The first series is 25 episodes long and is presented in this DVD set over three discs. It establishes the style and characters of the series, really well, I thought. Episodes within the series that are worth a mention include "That '70s Pilot", where Foreman first gets his beloved car, and the budding and breaking relationships are introduced, "Streaking", where the guys decide to streak at the Point Place stop of Gerry Ford's campaign trail, "A New Hope" where the gang all get to see Star Wars, which they start applying metaphorically to their life, and "Punk Chick" where Hyde falls for a punk girl.
The second year took an already great show and completely amped it up (even the theme song got a small change!). Knowing what worked and what didn't work from a very solid first season, the writers and actors were able to deliver a sophomore year that was superior to Season 1.
The year starts off with a true gem for in "The Garage Sale", Hyde (Danny Masterson) bakes "special brownies" to help out at the Formans' (Topher Grace, Kurtwood Smith, Debra Jo Rupp, and Lisa Robin Kelly) garage sale to raise money, now that father Red is out of a job. Despite Eric's pleas to not do it, he unknowingly gets Eric's Vista Cruiser sold when Red, Kitty, Bob (Don Stark) and Midge (Tanya Wright) sample some of the drug-laced chocolate.
What follows is one of the shows most hilarious "circle scenes" with the parents talking nonsense while under the influence of the brownies. And that is just the beginning of the second season!
This year, a few story arcs develop. Donna (Laura Prepon) is put through a painful ordeal when her parents' marriage begins to crumble, Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) and Jackie (Mila Kunis) face trying times for their relationship when Kelso begins sleeping with Laurie Forman, Hyde gets a job at the Photo Hut, and we meet Leo (Tommy Chong), a burnt out guy who is the source of so many funny lines.
Eric and Donna take some big steps in their relationship, while Red continues his search for a job. Finally, Fez (Wilmer Valderama) continues his search for a girlfriend, and hopes that Jackie will be the one for him.
One of my favorite things about this show is the cutaway bits. Some of the funniest moments this year involved either dream sequences of cutaways to bizarre 70's references, such as when Fez wished that they could be cartoon teenagers, just like in Scooby-Doo. Next thing you know, the rest of the scene is animated! Or after Eric went to see Annie Hall with his mom, he sees himself as Woody Allen and Donna as Diane Keaton!!
Overall this is a very funny sitcom. I do recommend 'That 70s Show' mainly due to it's nostalgia factor. But, deep in my heart I know it could've been an even better show though, if the writers had relied more on witty dialog, rather than bawdy, tasteless jokes and pranks! These are all Full-Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.