Considering the successful run of “That ’70s Show,” it makes sense that Fox would want to bank on the popularity and try out a spin-off series. And what makes for more of a natural progression than turning to the next decade? Thus, “That ’80s Show” was created. The series was developed by two of the same creators as its predecessor — Terry Turner and Mark Brazill, who were joined by Linda Wallem — but the similarities stopped there. “That ’80s Show” featured all-new characters, none of whom had any relationship to those we had come to know in “That ’70s Show.” Set in 1984, the spin-off followed a group of 20-somethings living in San Diego. The main cast consisted of Glenn Howerton, Tinsley Grimes, Chyler Leigh, Eddie Shin, Brittany Daniel, Margaret Smith, and Geoff Pierson.
Not nearly as well-received as its predecessor had been, “That ’80s Show” only lasted 13 episodes. In a scathing review, Matt Schimkowitz of Vulture wrote, “The creators of That 80s Show attempt to recycle their winning formula, making Corey, Kristin, and their curmugenly father look as much like the Formans as possible, both in tone and character. However, instead of letting those cumbersome things called stories get in the way, the creators simply let pop-culture references hang in the abyss.” Schimkowitz then called the series “one annoying season of brilliantly canceled television.”
More than anything, “That ’80s Show” didn’t provide one of the things that proved to be a big success of its predecessor: great chemistry amongst the cast. Let’s hope that the upcoming “That ’90s Show” doesn’t make the same mistake.