'That '70s Show - The Complete Series' [Blu-ray]
(Topher Grace, Ashton Kutcher. Laura Prepon, Mila Kunis, Danny Masterson, Wilmer Valderrama, Debra Jo Rupp, Kurtwood Smith, et al / 18-Disc Blu ray / NR / 2015 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: 'That '70s Show' is a comedy revolving around a group of teenage friends, their mishaps, and their coming of age, set in 1970s Wisconsin.
Blu ray Verdict: Eric Forman is a typical high school student growing up in Wisconsin in 1976 with his family and his friends. Together, they have the same kind of joys and sorrows that just about every teenager has while growing up. This show parodied many of the attitudes, events and fads of the 70s, along with those who grew up at the time.
And so, with that in mind, allow me to bring you into this series from the very first opening scene. So, firstly, Red (Kurtwood Smith), the tyrannical father of the Forman family and a WWII veteran, sits at the kitchen table and reads his newspaper while his overjoyed wife Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) serves breakfast. Then comes their skinny son, Eric, he sits at the table as well, and his father starts his daily yelling, usually involving placing his foot in Eric's behind if ( ... insert reason here).
Indeed, this is much like most of the openings to 'That '70s Show,' but each one has different reasons for Red's annoyance levels, and different reasons for Kitty's joy levels! Also, if Eric's promiscuous angel-faced sister Laurie is at home, she appears and then Red stops yelling and kindly talks to her; making Eric feel left out of the family completely. Sadly, a reflection on breakfast tables around the world in blue collar families. one assumes.
Anyway, once this daily (painful) ritual is over, Eric (Topher Grace) rushes down to his basement, where all his friends are already hanging out. And when we get to see them, it becomes obvious Eric and his redhead tomboy girlfriend, next-door neighbor and childhood friend Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon) are the sanest people around. Meet Steven Hyde (Danny Masterson), the conspiracy theorist who hates disco and doesn't really care about what's around as long as it's not funny to watch; Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher), the kind of guy who thinks that he will get through his life only by his looks and that carrots grow in trees; Jackie Burkhardt (Mila Kunis), the one who thinks of herself as the prettiest girl around, spoiled kid of a rich father, and, of course, cheerleader; and Fez (Wilmer Valderrama), a naive but oversexed foreigner who loves candy and can't keep a secret.
At first they simply hang out, gossiping and making fun of Kelso, but then they all sit in a circle and let the real fun begin ... before going out doing something they'll regret later! Well, ok, they don't always regret what they get up to later, but for the sake of comedic TV, and the fact they only had less than half an hour to tell a "story," well, most times the endings resulted in some form of parent storytelling mishap!
Meanwhile, Red goes out and meets Donna's weirdo parents, Bob and Midge. He's rude, but they don't mind, as they think he's joking. Somewhere around is Leo, an aging hippie, who's constantly confused and makes word plays without even noticing. The aging hippie is played in 65 out of the 200 episodes by the one, the only, Tommy Chong and boy, is his role spot on to what we expect from the delightful, aging pothead!
Anyway, all that detailed now and, come on, did you really imagine that seemingly peaceful neighborhood with all these awesome characters could exist for 200 episodes on TV? Of course not, but it did. And sure, most of the characters seem "clichéd" now watching them (probably at the time too), but the show takes the whole cliché-thing to a new level. Now throw in some of the most wicked story lines a sitcom can offer, sit down and enjoy one of the best TV shows ever!
However, and to play Devil's Advocate here, which I wish I didn't have to (in truth), as I love this show SO much), but when they introduced Randy/Josh Meyers it all turned slightly "forced" at that late point, sorry. I mean, well, I guess I understand the writers trying to replace Eric's character, but this was a bad idea. He was as funny as warm milk. He just goes to the Grooves shop, gets a job, and that's how he's introduced. He then started dating Donna, again another forced relationship, but at this point of the show (season 8), it should've just never existed.
After the two main characters left, the studio clearly focused more on profits rather than just ending on a happy note. Eventually Hyde, Fez, Jackie, and Forman's parents were all that kept this show moving on to the (somewhat) bitter end. By Season 8, the main characters were either moving out, getting married, getting jobs - in other words, they grew up.
That said, and to get back on track for 95% of this wonderful TV show, created by Mark Brazill, Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner, 'That '70s Show' was a show that never seemed to do the same thing twice either, which is, compared to most sitcoms that are as equally "cute funny", purely hysterical - and ultimately cleverly inspired. If you get hooked, don't let this show let you go. Bite on the hook over and over and, man, you will see the sitcom genre from a whole new prospective.
This INCREDIBLE 18 disc Blu-ray box set contains ALL 200 of the episodes that were featured on TV for the 8 season run, along with never-before-seen bonus features galore! The box itself, that houses the 18 discs is cool as cool can be, opening like you remove a lid from a 7" vinyl collection of singles.
FYI - Mila Kunis was only 14 when she auditioned for the show. When producers asked her age, she misled them by saying, "Well, I'll be 18 on my birthday" - and neglected to say when that actually was in the future!! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
An All-New HD Interactive Trivia Game
Audio Commentary on Select Episodes
A Series of Retrospectives and Bloopers Special
PLUS Season Overviews
Original Promo Spots, AND MORE!
'That '70s Show - The Complete Series' Blu ray Purchase Link