That '70s Show

That ‘90s Show’s Cast Repeats That ‘70s Show’s Success Formula

That '90s Show's teenage cast is made up of many newcomer actors, effectively mirroring the casting choices that made That '70s Show successful.

The new cast of teens for That ‘90s Show is repeating the same trick that helped make That ‘70s Show’s characters so appealing from the very beginning. While it’s unclear whether any of the teens from That ‘70s Show will be returning as adults in Netflix’s sequel series, the reboot will be led by Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp, who play Red and Kitty Forman, respectively. Just as they dealt with the teenage trends and woes of the 1970s, Smith and Rupp are leading a new cast of teens in That ‘90s Show, as they watch over a new generation as grandparents.

Netflix has already revealed the new Point Place teen cast and characters for That ‘90s Show, with brand new personalities for the era. Eric and Donna’s “smart, snarky” daughter Leia Forman is played by Callie Haverda, her rebellious Riot Grrrl friend Gwen is portrayed by Ashley Aufderheide, and Gwen’s fun, easy-going brother Nate is played by Maxwell Acee Donovan. Also joining That ‘90s Show’s cast are Reyn Doi as Leia’s insightful, openly gay friend Ozzie, Sam Morelos as Nate’s ambitious girlfriend Nikki, and Mace Coronel as the charming videographer Jay.

While That ‘90s Show’s teen cast has some big shoes to fill as they take on a new era of Point Place, the new actors share a common trait with the original That ‘70s Show cast. In both the original and That ‘90s Show, the teen cast is portrayed by actors who are previously unknown or relative newcomers. That ‘90s Show’s cast is filled with actors who have had a few roles on smaller-scale projects or have never acted professionally prior to their nostalgic That ‘70s Show sequel series casting, which is exactly how the original actors started out. By having a cast that’s brand new to the scene, audiences have no preconceived notions of what That ‘90s Show’s characters will be like or any strong feelings about the actors either way, which is exactly what helped That ‘70s Show’s original actors grow into their roles so perfectly.

From That ‘70s Show, Topher Grace (Eric) was discovered by the series’ creators at his high school play, with the lead role in the sitcom being his first professional acting gig. While Mila Kunis (Jackie) had guest roles on various TV shows, That ‘70s Show was her first real character role, with the actress also having only been 14 years old (as opposed to the requested 18 years old) when she signed onto the series. Ashton Kutcher had just broken into the modeling scene when he was cast as Michael Kelso in That ‘70s Show, which meant the airhead side of his character was already established in the mainstream.

Laura Prepon (Donna) had been in a few stage productions, but That ‘70s Show was her TV debut. Wilmer Valderrama had a four-episode stint on Four Corners shortly before That ‘70s Show premiered, with the iconic character Fez being his second acting gig. Danny Masterson was the only teen That ‘70s Show actor who had significant roles before starring as Steven Hyde, as he played a recurring character on the show Cybill and was seen in projects like Face/Off, Roseanne, and Party of Five.

While both shows are led by relative newcomers in the younger casts, That ‘90s Show luckily benefits from the same advantage as That ‘70s Show in being supported by Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp. Just as they were the only two main actors in That ‘70s Show who had substantial roles beforehand, they’re even more significant in providing a familiar on-screen foundation for That ‘90s Show. Having already starred in That ‘70s Show gives viewers more comfort with their casting in the sequel series, which fares even better for the reboot since their early presence in the original show was associated with their past roles in projects like Friends and Big for Rupp or RoboCop, Dead Poets Society, and Rambo III for Smith. With Smith and Rupp continuing to provide a familiar basis for the series while a newcomer cast leads the sitcom, That ‘90s Show’s return is set to repeat the same success formula that elevated That ‘70s Show.

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