What to expect from "That '80s Show"?

January 9, 2002
80s Show cast

80s Show cast

From left to right: top row: Chyler Leigh, Glenn Howerton, Tinsley Grimes, Margaret Smith, Geoff Pierson; bottom row: Eddie Shin, Brittany Daniel.
Photo courtesy of Fox Broadcasting Co.

If you're at this site, reading this article, then you're probably an 80s fanatic, like us. So you're also eagerly awaiting the premiere of "That '80s Show" on January 23 at 8:00pm ET/PT, 7:00pm CMT. We've got high hopes for the show. However, the show being a transparent attempt to cash in on the success of "That '70s Show", we're a little skeptical. That said, we're not dismissing the show yet (We did say we were eagerly awaiting it, didn't we?).

We've spoken to Fox and they've been fairly helpful with providing information. After collecting their info and a little additional research, We've tried to come up with some prognosis. We found there is enough potential to be optimistic, but the specter of being a "'70s Show" knockoff still concerns us.

Show Synopsis

That '80s Show follows the lives of a group of twenty-somethings finding their way through the 80s in San Diego, CA. It is set in 1984 and focuses on Corey (Glenn Howerton) and Katie (Tinsley Grimes), who live with their dad RT (Geoff Pierson), and Corey's friend Roger (Eddie Shin). Corey is a creative soul who is trying to make it in the music world. RT, is a successful professional who's about to strike gold with his "Gut Whacker" and ride the '80s fitness marketing wave. On the other hand, Corey's friend, Roger, is an aspiring yuppie who idolizes Reagan (yeah!). The household is rounded out by Corey's younger sister, the sweet and naive Katie.

At Club Piranha, a local hangout, Sophia (Brittany Daniel) is in control. She is described as a beautiful "grab all that I can" kind of girl who doesn't like to limit her choices. At "Permanent Record", the local music store, Corey and Tuesday (Chyler Leigh), a punk rocker who sports a mohawk and attitude, work for Margaret (Margaret Smith), a woman with a few of amusing stories of her wild past, But things change for Corey when he's forced to deal with the new girl, .

The People Behind The Show

The show boasts producers and creators with some wildly successful accomplishments. It is produced by Carsey-Werner-Mandabach Productions (CWM). The show's creators (also executive producers and writers) are Terry Turner, Mark Brazill and Linda Wallem. Among Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner, Caryn Mandabach (of CWM), Turner, Brazill, and Wallem, Christine Zander is also an executive producer and writer. The directors are David Trainer (for the pilot episode) and Terry Hughes (for the series).

So what does this all mean?

Well CWM brought us big shows like "The Cosby Show", "Roseanne", "3rd Rock from the Sun", "A Different World", and "'70s Show". The creators/producers/writers' expertise is in comedy: having also served as creators, producers, and/or writers for "'70s Show", "3rd Rock", and "Saturday Night Live" (during the 80s). Turner also has great resume as a writer, having also written Tommy Boy, both Wayne's World movies. Brazill has additionally written for "In Living Color" and the "Dennis Miller Show". Wallem has also written for "Cybill" also co-produced "'70s Show". Both directors have had noteworthy directing careers, directing numerous sitcoms and the occasional movie. Trainer, who directed the pilot episode, has directed such shows as "Seinfeld", "'70s Show", "Anything But Love" and plenty others. Hughes, the series' director, has directed for "Square Pegs", "Grounded for Life", "Friends", the majority of "Golden Girls" episodes, and more.

So that's the good news. The bad news is not everything these people have done have been winners, so there is still room for failure. Here's a list of some bad or short-lived shows that these folks have been involved with: "Woops", "The Mommies", "The Boys", "She TV", "Normal, Ohio", "The Trouble With Larry", and so on. Still, the accomplishments seem to outweigh the flops.

With all these people involved, don't despair or give up hope if the premiere isn't all that good. Though both directors are experienced with some quality shows under their belts, David Trainer will apparently only be directing that first episode. We'll still have to see what Terry Hughes can do. Additionally, with four writers on the show, it may take a few episodes to get a feel for the overall writing.

In Conclusion

Only time will tell how good "That '80s Show" is, but credentials (and 80s theme) of the show's masterminds give us a lot of hope that this will be a well-written, substantive show.

The show premieres on January 23 at 8pm ET/PT, 7:00pm CMT, and will air regularly on Wednesdays.

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