Judge Franck Tabouring is feelin' all right.
Our reviews of That '70s Show: Season One (published October 19th, 2011), That '70s Show: Season Four (published June 21st, 2006), That '70s Show: Season Five (published November 22nd, 2006), That '70s Show: Season One (published December 22nd, 2004), and That '70s Show: Season Two (published May 25th, 2005) are also available.
It's time to party like it's 1979!
Despite the exits of some of the series' central characters, That '70s Show: Season Eight delivers solid laughs, hysterical mishaps, and enough pot-smoking to keep hardcore fans feeling groovy.
Facts of the Case
The 22 episodes from the eighth season are spread across four discs:
I was never a diehard fan of this show and only got around to watching three seasons, but what I've seen so far has definitely left me wanting to see more. The eighth season of That'70s Show kicks off with "Bohemian Rhapsody," in which Kitty attempts to record a tape for Eric, who's now in Africa. This hilarious episode is particularly exciting because it sets stage for some of the season's major story lines, picking up where the seventh season ended and focusing mainly on what happened to Hyde after he caught Jackie and Kelso in an awkward position. It's also one of only a few episodes guest-starring Ashton Kutcher, who leaves the series after his character Kelso is offered a new job in Chicago.
From a general point of view, the eighth season still delivers the goods. Some episodes are obviously funnier and more original than others, but most of them maintain the global flair and humor that made the show a success in the first place. Even though Eric and Kelso are gone, the circle remains intact while the laughs keep coming and other characters get their shot at stepping into the foreground. Fez quickly emerges as the funniest guy on the screen, as he spends several episodes struggling to get laid and picking malicious fights with Jackie, his new roommate. Hyde also takes the stage in most episodes, trying mainly to cope with what happened to him in Vegas. Surprises are guaranteed.
What else worth mentioning goes down in this eighth and final season? Donna receives some shocking news from Africa and starts cozying up to Randy, the new guy, while Red suddenly starts thinking about retiring. Kitty of course doesn't appreciate Donna's behavior and launches into a nasty feud with her, while Jackie goes looking for true love. Other memorable side plots include Bob's plans to move to Florida and Fez's struggle to end his loneliness. My personal favorite episode is "Fun it," in which the gang decides to steal the mascot from a local burger joint. Other highlights include "Sweet Lady," in which Jackie tries to break into show business by landing a job on a local talk show, and "Stone Cold Crazy," in which Donna takes some risqué pictures for Eric.
I don't want to reveal too much about the final episode, but it's certainly not a disappointment. The three or four episodes leading up to the finale are all of great quality, speeding up to wrap up the side plots and bring the show to a satisfying conclusion. What I can say thought is that fans of the series get a chance to revisit some funny moments from all eight seasons, a special treat that's particularly entertaining. Other than that, the final season turns out to be an overall exciting television experience for those who don't mind watching a gang of eccentric characters making random, funny jokes and smoking tons of pot.
The DVD provides a clean picture quality with a sharp image and strong colors. The audio transfer is fairly decent as well. For a TV show released in 2005, the technical aspects of this release prove to be just fine.
The bonus material on this four-disc collection includes commentaries for four episodes by director David Trainer. I didn't listen to all of them, but what Trainer has to say is not particularly interesting. He provides some helpful information on the challenge to keep the show compelling without Eric and Kelso, but that's about everything really interesting you'll take with you from listening to him. The fourth disc also includes a funny, little recap of the show's funniest moments in eight minutes, as well as an eight-part retrospective about each of the show's main characters. Clocking in at 22 minutes, this is a particularly interesting featurette because it includes interviews with the cast and some of their best scenes from all eight seasons. Fans of behind-the-scenes looks will enjoy David Trainer's set tour, a short piece in which the director showcases most of the sets used in the show.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
With Kelso and Eric gone, the show does lose some of its energy and humor, but the rest of the gang does a great job at keeping the party going. Unfortunately, I had some trouble connecting with Josh Meyers' character Randy, who enters the show by nailing a job at Hyde's record store. The scripts certainly supply him with some great dialogue, but he often acts like he's reading his lines off cards, lacking the emotions and coolness of the rest of the cast. I understand he's under a lot of pressure filling in someone else's position during a final season, but I'm sure he could have done more to make his character even more interesting.
While the eighth season of That '70s Show is probably not the best, it's still a satisfying conclusion to an innovative show that had a successful run for a total of eight years. With all the episodes in syndication right now, you may be able to catch this entire season without investing in the DVD set, but fans of the show should definitely add it to their collection. Come on, be groovy!
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