That '70s Show

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That '70s Show
That '70s Show logo.png
Genre Period sitcom
Created by
Directed by
Starring
Theme music composer
Opening theme
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 8
No. of episodes 200 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Carsey-Werner Productions
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Broadcast
Original channel Fox
Picture format 480i
Audio format Stereo
Original run August 23, 1998 (1998-08-23) – May 18, 2006 (2006-05-18)
Chronology
Related shows

That '70s Show is an American television period sitcom that originally aired on Fox from August 23, 1998, to May 18, 2006. The series focused on the lives of a group of teenage friends living in the fictional suburban town of Point Place, Wisconsin, from May 17, 1976, to December 31, 1979.[1]

The main teenage cast members were Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon, and Wilmer Valderrama. The main adult cast members were Debra Jo Rupp, Kurtwood Smith, Don Stark and, during the first three seasons and a few episodes in the sixth and seventh seasons, Tanya Roberts.

Production[edit]

Opening[edit]

Theme song[edit]

The show usually opens with the theme song, "In the Street", written by Alex Chilton and Chris Bell of the band Big Star. The original version of the song appeared on Big Star's 1972 debut album #1 Record. In 2000, Chilton confirmed that he was paid $70 in royalties each time the show aired, an amount he thought ironic, given the show's title.[2]

Big Star's original version of the song was not used on the show. Instead, a cover version sung by Todd Griffin was used as the theme song for the show's first season. Beginning in the second season, the theme song was performed by the band Cheap Trick. Unlike previous versions of the song, Cheap Trick ended the song with the repeated phrase "We're all alright!", quoting the ending of their 1978 hit song "Surrender".[3]

Both versions of the song used on the show end with somebody yelling "Hello, Wisconsin!". In Griffin's version, Masterson is the one yelling "Hello, Wisconsin!",[4] while it is unknown who yells it in Cheap Trick's version during the opening. On the soundtrack, That '70s Album (Rockin'), Cheap Trick's lead singer Robin Zander yells "Hello, Wisconsin!".[5] Alternate holiday versions of the theme song were arranged for Halloween and Christmas specials, using organ music and bells, respectively.

Opening credits[edit]

Opening credits for seasons 1–7 showed members of the cast driving in Eric's car singing the theme song together. At the conclusion of the opening, a shot of a 1970s-style Wisconsin license plate (black letters/numbers on a yellow background) is seen, showing the current year in which the episode was taking place in the bottom right corner. During the first season's opening, a single shot of the group is used; beginning with season 2, numerous alternating shots were used of the cast in various groupings (including the adult cast members, who had not appeared in the first season's opening). After Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher left the series, the opening credits were reworked for season 8 to feature close-up shots of each of the actors singing (or mimicking) a line of the theme song in the Circle (for example, Mila Kunis in "Hanging Out..."; Danny Masterson in "Down the Street"). The only actors to not say or do anything in the new opening credits were Kurtwood Smith and Tommy Chong, with the exception of the first episode of season 8, when Chong sings the last "We're all alright". Smith looks at the camera frowning and rolls his eyes. Chong looks around the room, confused as he hears, "Hello, Wisconsin!" The final episode omits most of the opening sequence and instead only shows the license plate shot.

Elements of the show[edit]

The 1970s[edit]

The show addressed social issues of the 1970s such as sexism, sexual attitudes, generational conflict, the economic hardships of the 1970s recession, mistrust of the American government by blue-collar workers, and teenage drug use. The series also highlighted developments in the entertainment industry, including the television remote ("the clicker"), the video game Pong, MAD magazine, and Eric's obsession with Star Wars.

Beginning with the second season, the show focused less on the socio-political aspects of the story. For example, the dynamic of the relationship between Eric and Donna was altered in later seasons to more closely resemble the relationships of other "power couples" on teen dramas. Likewise, the first season of the show featured a recurring, more dramatic storyline in which the Formans were in danger of losing their home due to Red's hours being cut back at the auto parts plant where he worked. Storylines in later seasons were generally presented more comically and less dramatically.

The show also featured guest-starring actors from 1970s TV shows, such as Betty White and Mary Tyler Moore (The Mary Tyler Moore Show); Valerie Harper (Rhoda and The Mary Tyler Moore Show); Tom Poston (The Bob Newhart Show); Pamela Sue Martin (The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries); Tim Reid and Howard Hesseman (WKRP in Cincinnati); Jack Riley (Barney Miller, One Day at a Time and The Mary Tyler Moore Show); Eve Plumb, Barry Williams and Christopher Knight (The Brady Bunch); Tom Bosley and Marion Ross (Happy Days); Monty Hall (Let's Make A Deal); Gavin MacLeod (The Love Boat and The Mary Tyler Moore Show); Don Knotts, Richard Kline and Jenilee Harrison (Three's Company); and Danny Bonaduce and Shirley Jones (The Partridge Family).

Beginning with season 5, each episode in the season is named after a song by a rock band that was famous in the '70s: Led Zeppelin (season 5), The Who (Season 6), The Rolling Stones (season 7), and Queen (season 8).

Split screens[edit]

One device in the show is to present a split screen in which two pairs of characters speak. One character is usually seeking advice on a problem with a character in the second pairing, and the other character advises them. Although the conversations appear to mirror each other, there are often notable differences. It is most often used by the couples of the show, with each member of the couple being advised on the relationship. For example, in the episode "Who Wants It More?", Donna and Eric tell Jackie and Hyde that they have been holding out on each other sexually for three days and that maybe they should cave. Both Jackie and Hyde tell Donna and Eric not to cave or they will be owned by the other. The split screens were almost never used in seasons 2–7 of the series, and appear only in a few episodes in seasons 1 and 8.

Dream sequences[edit]

The show includes character daydream sequences, some of which refer to or parody fads and films of the time, such as Star Wars, Rocky, and Grease.

The character picturing the dream sometimes also narrates it, but regardless, the other characters present see the same dream. In the episode "Stone Cold Crazy", Jackie mentioned she liked the song playing in Fez's dream sequence. The sequences are usually introduced by a wobbling screen transition. Sometimes, the transition is absent when the characters who imagine the scene believe they are real (for example, Eric's dream about Donna in "Eric's Birthday" or Jackie's dream about Hyde proposing in "It's All Over Now").

In the 100th episode, "That '70s Musical", all singing scenes were Fez's dream sequences.

The Circle[edit]

The Circle illustrated the teens' marijuana use, usually in Eric's basement. The picture is of the final scene of the series.

In The Circle, a group of characters, usually the teenagers, sit in a circle (generally in Eric's basement, though occasionally elsewhere), as the camera pans, stopping at each character as he or she speaks. It was usually apparent that the characters are under the influence of marijuana. Thick clouds of smoke, frequent coughing, and an extreme wide-angle lens added to the "drug-induced" feel, although the audience never saw anyone actually smoking the drug. Also, there were no visible drug-related paraphernalia like bongs or joint papers. Characters never spoke the word "marijuana" while in the circle (except in one episode "Reefer Madness"), often referring to it as "stuff" or a "stash". In the episode "Bye-Bye Basement", Theo (Leo's cousin) refers to "weed"; in "The Relapse", Kelso tells Fez that the concrete wall behind the gym is used mostly for "smoking weed and beating up freshmen"; in "Ski Trip", Kitty asks Eric why he is taking so much oregano to Jackie's ski lodge; in "Eric's Burger Job", Kelso blames his "roach clip" when the water bed pops that he's sitting on at a party; in two episodes ("That Wrestling Show" and "Hyde Moves In"), Eric and Hyde can be seen wearing shirts with the words "Cannabis Sativa" written on a Campbell's soup can; and in "The Pill", Red, referring to Kelso, exclaims, "That kid's on dope!" A gimmick related to The Circle and the marijuana smoking was Eric watching the kitchen wall moving erratically, although this technique was also used to show that Eric was drunk.

As the series progressed, The Circle became one of the series' recurring features. The only four episodes where the whole gang is in The Circle are "Class Picture", "I'm A Boy", "Substitute", and in the series finale. During the eighth and final season, the Circle replaced the Vista Cruiser as the setting of the opening credits.

The Stupid Helmet[edit]

The Stupid Helmet refers to an old replica of a Green Bay Packers helmet that a character is forced to wear after having done or said something deemed stupid by the rest of the gang. Eric had to wear it when he said he wanted to propose to Donna, and Fez wore it when he started banging his head on the table after trying to help Kelso keep Jackie. The helmet can be seen in the Forman basement on a shelf behind the cast. When the series concluded in 2006, Kelso took the helmet with him. The last one up the staircase had to call Red a "dumbass", something he always called the kids. Since Kelso was the last one up, he grabbed the helmet.

The Water Tower[edit]

In many episodes, the teenaged characters often hang out on a local water tower. At the end of several water tower segments, at least one character falls off (usually Kelso). When Charlie Richardson (played by Bret Harrison) fell off and died in season 8, the water tower was renamed in his honor.

After Charlie's death, Kelso fell off again but survived, leading him to believe he was "invincible". In the "Water Tower episode", the gang painted a marijuana leaf on the tower, but it looked more like a green hand giving the finger. In the episode "The Immigrant Song (a.k.a. Fez Gets Busted)" Kelso paints his and Jackie's names on the tower to annoy Hyde just before falling and ending up in the hospital. During this episode Fez paints his manhood on the tower, but only gets as far as drawing a circle when the police arrive to arrest him. Kelso was known to fall off the water tower once in every grade since middle school. Jackie and Fez share their first official kiss on the tower in the show's finale.

Scene changes[edit]

Scene changes (also known as "scene transitions" or "bumpers") featured the characters doing something in front of a colorful, psychedelic, lava lamp-like background. They sometimes included the mirror image of the character doing the same thing. These transitions always featured the characters about to appear in the next scene or a character that was just in the previous scene. The same scene transitions are used throughout the show's second through seventh season, even using Donna with red hair in the show's seventh season, even though the character was blonde. By the show's final eighth season, new bumpers were created to accommodate cast changes (ex. Donna's hair color, Leo continuing as a series regular, and the insertion of Randy).

In the first season, scene changes were typically still images of faces from the 1970s with only the mouth moving using Syncro-Vox, usually yelling, in a rock form, "Yeahhh!" or something similar (ex. Farrah Fawcett saying "Yeah!" or Richard Nixon saying "Are you ready to rock and roll?"). Other scene changes often showed no people, just black backgrounds with a colorful object (such as a ball, balloon, or flowers) exploding, replicating, deflating, or bouncing around. Sometimes they would be visuals of lava lamps with the show's logo plummeting to the bottom of the screen in front of it.

"Nobody's Fault But Mine (2)" is the only episode where Laurie Forman is featured in a scene transition. Tanya Roberts is the only actor not to be featured in a scene transition.

The Vista Cruiser[edit]

Many of the show's episodes featured Eric and the rest of the kids in or around Eric's "Aztec Gold" 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser, handed down to Eric by Red. For the first seven seasons of the show, the show's introduction showed the cast inside the Vista Cruiser.

The show's pronunciation of "Vista Cruiser," with emphasis on "Cruiser", conflicted with the pronunciation of author George Plimpton in the Oldsmobile television advertisement for the 1969 Vista Cruiser, where he pronounced the two words with the emphasis on "Vista."[6]

That particular station wagon was bought by Wilmer Valderrama at the show's conclusion from Carsey-Warner for US$500.[7]

In August 2009, the show's Vista Cruiser was named third-greatest television car ever by MSN Autos.[8]

Running gags[edit]

In one of the show's major running gags, Red often threatens to punish Eric with many variations of "kicking your ass". For example, in "Kitty and Eric's Night Out", Red mistakenly thinks Eric offended Kitty, so Red says, "I swear I'll kick his ass!" In "Eric's Hot Cousin", Eric tries to get out of something by claiming he's sleepwalking, and Red says, "And I'm about to be sleep-kicking your ass", and, in "Prank Day", after Red gets covered in oat meal, Eric tries to explain that it was just a prank that had gone "horribly, horribly wrong", and Red says, "Well, I have a prank, too. One where my foot doesn't plow through your ass. Let's hope it doesn't go horribly, horribly wrong!".

Some other notable running gags are:

  • Red's favorite insult is "Dumbass!", the origin of which is revealed in "That '70s Halloween". Ironically, Eric is the first character to say "dumbass" in "Eric's Burger Job" (season 1 episode 5). The insult is adopted by the whole gang and even occasionally by Kitty. Red regularly comes up with new choice insults such as "kettlehead" (which refers to Kelso).
  • Fez's country of origin, which is never revealed. Sometimes, Fez is about to disclose where he's from, or at least hint at it, but something happens to prevent him from doing so, like someone entering the room as seen in "Stolen Car", or Fez rambling in "Love of My Life".
  • The use of the word "burn", a term used by a character after something bad or offensive happens at another character's expense. According to Kelso in "Dine and Dash", a good burn consists of two elements: "You didn't see it coming, parts of it really hurt".
  • Kelso yelling "Ow my eye!" when Hyde rough houses with him. For example, in the episode "Class Picture" there is a series of flashbacks featuring Hyde beating up Kelso. While the two are out of the immediate sight of the audience, Kelso yells "Ow my eye!" and it cuts to the next flashback. This gag is repeated several times throughout the series, although the only time Kelso appears with an injured eye is in "Jackie's Cheese Squeeze" after he was punched by Todd, Jackie's manager. In that occasion, Kelso did not yell "Ow my eye!".
  • Fez's use of the phrase "Good day". It is followed by another cast member saying, "But Fez..." and Fez immediately interrupting with an exclamatory, "I said good day!". There are some instances where the words vary, but the interaction is the same.
  • Eric's never-ending streak of quoting Star Wars films. In several episodes, he relates things to a Star Wars film, or quotes the movie. In times of trouble he brings a toy lightsaber, and his going away present from Donna was her dressing up as Princess Leia.

Cast[edit]

Teens[edit]

Topher Grace as Eric Forman (seasons 1–7; guest star, season 8): Eric is a nice guy, generally geeky, physically slight, and somewhat clumsy. He is a smart-aleck with a fast wit and a deadpan sense of humor. He convinces his parents to let his best friend Steven Hyde move in with them, making Hyde like a brother. His father, Red, is always hard on him. Eric is in a relationship with his longtime love and neighbor Donna Pinciotti. He decides to become a teacher after high school, and he leaves the series at the end of the seventh season to teach in Africa. Although mentioned in every episode, he does not appear during the final season until the end of the series finale.

Mila Kunis as Jackie Burkhart: The youngest member of the group, Jackie starts the series as the pretty, rich, spoiled, selfish, conceited, and annoying immature girl. She likes to give thoughtless and superficial advice, which occasionally turns out to be correct. As the series progresses, she moves away from her self-centered ways and becomes sweeter. Partly as a result of these changes, she and Donna become better friends. By the end of the series, Jackie has dated three of the four males of the group: Kelso, Hyde, and Fez.

Ashton Kutcher as Michael Kelso (seasons 1–7; recurring, season 8): The dim-witted pretty boy of the group who wants to coast through life on his good looks. He spends the first half of the series in a relationship with the equally vapid Jackie but their relationship comes to an end when Laurie (Eric's older sister) reveals their affair. His best friends are Hyde and Fez. He fathers a baby girl named Betsy during the seventh season. He becomes a police officer but gets kicked off the force because he does just about everything wrong. He gets a job as a security guard at a Playboy Club in Chicago, and leaves the series during the eighth and final season. He only appears in five episodes during season eight, including the series finale.

Danny Masterson as Steven Hyde: Eric's best friend and the anti-establishment member of the group. By the end of season one, the Formans allow Hyde to move in after he was abandoned by his mother, making him a foster brother to Eric. Hyde has a witty, blunt, and sarcastic sense of humor, and a rebellious personality. He is also smart, and the other group members often ask for his advice. Although Hyde dates Jackie for three seasons, in the final season he marries an exotic dancer named Samantha. Hyde later discovers Samantha was still married when she married him. As Donna points out in "My Fairy King", that means Hyde and Samantha are not legally married. In the seventh season, Hyde meets his biological father (William Barnett, played by Tim Reid), a wealthy black businessman (making Hyde, who was presumed white, biracial). Barnett, who owns a chain of record stores, makes Hyde first the manager, and later the owner, of the Point Place store.

Laura Prepon as Donna Pinciotti: Eric's longtime girlfriend (and briefly fiancée). Donna is intelligent, good-looking, and a feminist. Although she doesn't agree with what Jackie represents in the beginning of the series, they become friends. Donna is in a relationship with Eric for seven seasons (despite their break-up during season 4). She has brief romances with Casey, Michael's brother, and with Randy during the final season and quickly ends it. She rekindles her relationship with Eric at the end of the show's finale.

Wilmer Valderrama as Fez: The foreign exchange student of the group whose hormones seem to be out of control. His secret country of origin is one of the longest-running gags on the show. He is sweet, friendly, perverted, gullible, and rather odd. He enjoys eating candy, drinking beer, and looking at pornography. His best friend is Kelso, and he shares a "younger brother" type relationship with Hyde and Eric. He constantly flirts with Jackie and Donna and often makes romantic advances toward them. Initially, he has a lot of trouble getting attention from girls, but during the eighth season he becomes a ladies' man. He is in love with Jackie throughout the series, but his love is not reciprocated until the eighth season when they become a couple.

Josh Meyers as Randy Pearson (season 8): Hyde's co-worker at the record store, who is introduced in the final season. Randy appears laid back, gentle, polite, and a ladies' man, although later many of his flaws surface. He tends to spout witty one-liners, and make silly voices. He forms a friendship with Red after showing Red how good he is at fixing things. While Hyde, Jackie, Donna, and Kelso embrace him as a new member of their group, Fez initially does not but soon warms up to him. Randy dates Donna for the majority of season eight, but she later breaks up with him. The two end on good terms and remain friends. He makes a brief appearance in the series finale.

Adults[edit]

Debra Jo Rupp as Kitty Forman: Red's wife, Eric's and Laurie's mother, and Hyde's adoptive mother. Kitty is a cheerful, doting mother, but can also be assertive when pushed. She is a nurse, a housewife, some would argue maid, and a former smoker. Her major mood swings are usually attributed to menopause. She is also a good mother figure to Eric's friends.

Kurtwood Smith as Red Forman: Kitty's husband, Eric's and Laurie's father, and Hyde's adoptive father. Red is a Navy combat veteran, having served in World War II and the Korean War. Despite his mean exterior, Red also displays a soft side. His hobbies include working with his power tools, drinking beer, watching television, reading the newspaper, hunting, and fishing. Both Kitty and Red's personas are a reflection of gender roles that existed in the 1970s.

Lisa Robin Kelly as Laurie Forman (seasons 2–3; recurring, seasons 1 and 5): Eric's beautiful but evil older sister She is in her early 20s and flunked out of college during the first season and moves back home with her parents. Laurie enjoys tormenting Eric and manipulating her parents. She is promiscuous, often seen with various men, mainly Eric's friend Kelso, who cheats on his girlfriend, Jackie. Eric, Hyde, and Donna often mock her promiscuity. She also has a strained relationship with her mother, who thinks of her as a freeloader. She leaves the series during the third season but returns in a recurring role during the fifth. In season five, she and Fez marry to prevent him from getting deported. In season six, she is portrayed by a different actress, Christina Moore.

Tanya Roberts as Midge Pinciotti (seasons 1–3; guest star, seasons 6–7): Bob's wife, Donna's mother, and Kitty's best friend. Midge was the sexy neighborhood mom Eric and his male friends fantasized about when coming of age. Although often dim-witted, she is also a kind-hearted woman who develops feminist ideals. She and Bob divorce when she is written out of the series after the third season, however, returns during the sixth and seventh seasons in a recurring role where she and Bob almost reunite.

Don Stark as Bob Pinciotti: Midge's husband, Donna's father. Bob often brags about his service in the National Guard, which invariably irritates Red. Bob is also known for walking around his house with his robe wide open and no underwear. He eats constantly, even in bed. Bob is almost always in a good mood and is a ladies' man. His best friend is Red, even though Red sees him as a nuisance. He usually takes the brunt of Red's abuse in a jolly manner.

Tommy Chong as Leo Chingkwake (seasons 4, 8; recurring, seasons 2–3, 7): A hippie, and the owner of a Foto Hut at which Hyde once worked. Leo is an Army veteran who served in World War II, where he was awarded a Purple Heart. Leo often puts play before work and maintains an easy-going attitude in most things, business included. He disappears from the series after season four but is later referenced in season five's "The Battle of Evermore" when the gang goes on a mission to find him, but with no luck. He returns in season seven and remains on the series until the show's end. In season 8, he gets a new job working for Hyde at Grooves.

Episodes[edit]

Timeline[edit]

The creators had wanted the show to have a 1970s "feel" from the beginning, and so opted to set the series later in the decade, when trends and political ideologies had become firmly established and disseminated. The idea that the duration of the series would carry socio-political undertones also necessitated a chain of social events which could influence the characters. Thus, 1976 was chosen, which allowed episodes set within a short time frame to address streaking, the sexual revolution, the Equal Rights Amendment, the 1973 Oil Crisis, the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, all of which were culturally influential events that occurred in the earlier years of the 1970s. The shift to 1977 during the last half of the first season also allowed the inclusion of a Star Wars episode (20), as its premiere airing roughly coincided with the box office debut of Star Wars.

Throughout the first two seasons, episodes opened with title cards showing the season/month and year (example: Late Spring, 1977 or June 1977). These, however, were largely abandoned after season 2, with few subsequent episodes using them. However, they were used again in the final episode, showing "December 31, 1979 10:45 a.m." From the premiere onward, the episode's year could be determined by the registration tags on Eric's Vista Cruiser at the end of the opening and closing credits. The final episode's closing credits showed an "80" year tag.

The show was set in May 1976 in the August 23, 1998 premiere. After 12 episodes, the series transitioned to 1977. The 23rd episode, "Grandma's Dead", was also set in 1976, because it was supposed to be the season finale of season 1. The show remained in 1977 for the next two seasons. Near the end of the third season, the series transitioned to 1978 until early in the sixth season. The remaining episodes took place in 1979, and the series finale abruptly ends during a New Year's Eve party as the characters reach "one" during a countdown to January 1, 1980.

The show's unexpected longevity (it was the only series to debut on Fox in 1998 to survive cancellation) combined with the first season jump to 1977 necessitated a slow-down of the series' timeline. Over time this proved problematic from a narrative standpoint, as nearly every year featured a Thanksgiving and/or Christmas episode, and the teen-aged actors playing high-school student characters all aged into their mid-20s by the time their characters graduated from high school after five seasons (except Mila Kunis, who was not quite 20). As the series timeline sped up and slowed down with more rapidity near the series' climax, the timeline necessitated that several major events depicted as having occurred months apart would have in fact happened within weeks or even days of one another.

The timeline issues experienced on the show were not unprecedented, as other period-specific TV series have had similar issues. Most notably, M*A*S*H aired for eleven seasons despite the Korean War only lasting three years. Additionally, many TV series over the years that take place in the present time have characters age faster than normal while other characters age naturally.

8th season and series finale[edit]

The character of Eric Forman was written out of the series at the end of the seventh season, as Topher Grace desired to move on with his career.[9] Ashton Kutcher switched to a recurring guest role when he also chose to depart following the seventh season.[9] However, Kelso hadn't been written out yet; so to give better closure to the character, Kutcher appeared in the first four episodes of the eighth season (credited as a special guest star) and later returned for the finale. Tommy Chong (who began reappearing by late season 7 after a long absence) became a regular again to help fill Kelso's job as group idiot. Eric was originally supposed to be replaced by his new friend Charlie, played by Bret Harrison, as an "innocent character", who proved fairly popular with audiences, but the character was killed off after Harrison was offered a lead role in the series The Loop.[10] A new character named Randy Pearson, played by Josh Meyers, was introduced to take Eric's place.[11] Another new character, Samantha, a stripper played by Judy Tylor, was added as Hyde's wife for nine episodes. The location of the show's introductory theme song was changed from the Vista Cruiser to The Circle. Both Eric and Kelso returned for the series' final episode, though Grace's role was uncredited.

The eighth season was announced as the final season of the show on January 17, 2006,[12] and "That '70s Finale" was filmed a month later on February 17, 2006, first airing on May 18, 2006.[13]

Impact[edit]

Awards[edit]

Over the course of its run, the series was nominated for a substantial amount of awards, including 16 Primetime Emmy Awards. The only win for the series at this event came in 1999, when Melina Root was awarded the Emmy for Outstanding Costume Design for a Series for 'That Disco Episode'. Additionally, the show was nominated for a large amount of Teen Choice Awards, with both Ashton Kutcher and Wilmer Valderrama winning on three occasions.

American ratings[edit]

Over the course of its run, the series was a consistent performer for Fox, becoming one of their flagship shows. Its eight seasons, consisting of 200 episodes, made it Fox's second-longest-running live-action sitcom ever behind Married... with Children, though That '70s Show did not see the same ratings success.

Season Episodes Timeslot Premiere Season finale Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1 1998–99 25 Sunday 8:30 August 23, 1998 July 26, 1999 49[14] 11.7
2 1999–2000 26 Tuesday 8:30 September 28, 1999 May 22, 2000 66[15] 9.1
3 2000–01 25 Tuesday 8:00 October 3, 2000 May 22, 2001 67[16] 9.1
4 2001–02 27 Tuesday 8:00 September 25, 2001 May 21, 2002 58[17] 11.1
5 2002–03 25 Tuesday 8:00 August 30, 2002 May 14, 2003 54[18] 10.1
6 2003–04 25 Wednesday 8:00 October 29, 2003 May 19, 2004 49[19] 11.0
7 2004–05 25 Wednesday 8:00 September 8, 2004 May 18, 2005 85[20] 7.0
8 2005–06 22 Wednesday 8:00 November 2, 2005 May 18, 2006 103[21] 5.8

International broadcast[edit]

Country/region Channel(s) Aired Foreign title Notes Sources
Australia Seven Network Original run [22]
The Comedy Channel Present [23]
ABC2 Present [24]
Austria ATV+ 2006 Die wilden Siebziger
(The Wild Seventies)
Dubbed in German. [25]
Puls 4 2010–13
Canada Fox 1998–06 (original run) [26]
TVtropolis Present [27]
VRAK.TV Present 70 Dubbed in French. [28]
Germany RTL 2000–05
(seasons 1–5 original run)
Die wilden Siebziger
(The Wild Seventies)
Dubbed in German. [25][29]
Super RTL 2005
kabel eins 2008–12
(seasons 6–8 original run)
Comedy Central Present (since 2012)
ProSieben Fun Present (since 2012)
India Comedy Central Present [30]
Ireland RTE Two Original run [31]
3e Present [32]
Comedy Central [33]
New Zealand FOUR Present [34][35]
Netherlands Comedy Central Present [33]
South Africa Comedy Central 2011–12 [36]
Switzerland SF 1 2001–02 Die wilden Siebziger
(The Wild Seventies)
Dubbed in German. [25]
SF 2 2003
United Kingdom Comedy Central [33]

Syndication[edit]

In 2004, FX acquired the rights to the series, which stayed on FX until 2011. In 2008, it aired on ABC Family and TeenNick. It stayed on TeenNick until June 2011, and on ABC Family until February 2014. It returned to TeenNick in 2013, and ABC Family in September 2014. After its first run on TeenNick, it moved to sister network Nick at Nite, and stayed there for a year, then moved to sister network, TV Land. It returned to Nick at Nite in 2014, and stayed there until September that year.

Merchandise[edit]

DVD releases[edit]

That '70s Show was released on DVD in Regions 1, 2 & 4 by Fox Home Entertainment at an increment of two seasons per year between 2004–08 and a complete series release on October 14, 2008. Mill Creek Entertainment re-released all eight seasons between 2011–13 and re-released a complete series set on May 14, 2013. On March 6, 2012 Mill Creek released the first season on Blu-ray and season two on October 16, 2012. The rest of the seasons have been released on Blu-ray in Germany.

Soundtracks[edit]

Several prominent songs from the decade can be heard on the series, and two soundtracks were released in 1999. The first is a collection of funk, soul and disco, called That '70s Album (Jammin'). The second is a collection of Album-oriented rock songs, called That '70s Album (Rockin'). AllMusic gave both albums 3 out of 5 stars in their reviews.[37][38]

British remake[edit]

In 1999, the show was remade by the ITV network in the United Kingdom as Days Like These using almost verbatim scripts with minor changes to cultural references.[39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "That '70s Finale". That '70s Show. Season 8. Episode 22. May 18, 2006. 21:20 minutes in. FOX.
  2. ^ By John D. Luerssen (February 28, 2000). "Alex Chilton Set to Go | Music News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 22, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Readers Poll: The Best Television Theme Songs – 7. That '70s Show – 'In the Street'". Rolling Stone. September 21, 2011. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ EW Staff (June 13, 2006). "HeadScratcher No. 44: It's time to play the music". Entertainment Weekly. Entertainment Weekly Inc. Retrieved November 22, 2013. And yes, it’s true that the theme song of That ’70s Show, "In the Street," was sung by Cheap Trick (after Todd Griffin sang the original version), but the cast members sing along with them. You can even hear Hyde (Danny Masterson) yell out "Hello, Wisconsin!" at the end of the Griffin version of the song. 
  5. ^ "In the Street" by Cheap Trick. That '70s Album (Rockin'). 1999. Track 1. Compact disc. Various Artists. Volcano Entertainment.
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  7. ^ That 70s Show wrap party Access Hollywood official on YouTube
  8. ^ Tate, James. "MSN Autos list of "Ten Greatest Cars On Television – Ever!"". Editorial.autos.msn.com. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Bernhard, Lisa (May 18, 2008). "Ashton, Topher Departing 'That '70s Show'". Fox News. Retrieved September 13, 2010. 
  10. ^ DVD commentary of episode 25 of season 7 by director Trainer.
  11. ^ Tribune Media Service (November 30, 2005). "Celebrity Spotlight". Observer-Reporter (Washington, PA: Observer Publishing Company). pp. C6. Retrieved July 16, 2011. 
  12. ^ ""That '70s Show" says goodbye to an era with the 200th episode and series finale this may on FOX". TheFutonCritic. Retrieved January 17, 2006. 
  13. ^ "That '70s Show Episode Guide". That'70sCentral. Retrieved February 17, 2006. 
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  17. ^ How did your favorite show rate?
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  20. ^ "2004–05 TV Ratings[dead link]. Retrieved July 29, 2008.
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  22. ^ "7Mate channel 73". 7mate. Retrieved February 7, 2012. [dead link]
  23. ^ "What's On The Comedy Channel | TV Guide | The Comedy Channel". Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  24. ^ "That '70s Show : ABC TV". Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  25. ^ a b c Air dates for Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland on Wunschliste.de. Please see the table at the bottom of the page. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  26. ^ "That 70's Show". Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  27. ^ "TVTropolis – Episode – That 70s Show". Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  28. ^ "70" (in French). Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  29. ^ List of episodes on Wunschliste.de. Please click on an episode title to see the original air date. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  30. ^ "Comedy Central: What's On!". Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  31. ^ "RTE Two". Retrieved June 20, 2014. 
  32. ^ "3e". Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
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  35. ^ "TV Guide — TV — FOUR". Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
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  37. ^ Boldman, Gina. "That '70s Show Presents That '70s Album: Jammin'". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  38. ^ Boldman, Gina. "That '70s Show Presents That '70s Album: Rockin'". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 13 December 2014. 
  39. ^ "From Tube to Telly, the Exchange Is Pop Culture". LA Times. April 5, 1999. Retrieved August 30, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Media related to That '70s Show at Wikimedia Commons