Blu-ray
Highly Recommended
4 stars
Amazon
$89.90
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»
Overall Grade
4 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
4 Stars
HD Video Quality
3.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4 Stars
Supplements
4 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
Highly Recommended

That '70s Show: The Complete Series

Street Date:
November 3rd, 2015
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
November 5th, 2015
Movie Release Year:
1998
Studio:
Mill Creek Entertainment
Length:
4418 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
PG
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Back around the time school was starting in 1998, Fox debuted show called 'That '70s Show'. The series centered around a group of teens and their families during the 1970s. Nobody would have guessed that this simple yet endearing show would last a total of eight seasons, with a whopping 200 episodes, which became one of the most loved television series of a decade. Not only that, but this series paved the way for some big name stars, who were relatively unknown back in 1998, including Topher Grace, Laura Prepon, Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Mila Kunis, and Wilmer Valderrama.

Even though this series was a sitcom with canned laughter, people seemed to gravitate towards it, even after it ended its run in 2006. The reason might possibly be that even though it was fun and cool to see the sets and wardrobe dressed in 1970s gear, the show really focused on the relationships of these teenagers as they both grew up on the show and in real life. Much like the iconic series 'The Wonder Years', which had all of the ups and downs of growing up, 'That '70s Show' had the same ideals, although it was treated in a more light-hearted way.

Even though it takes place in the nostalgic 70s, this series seems timeless, because it focuses on issues such as sex, friendships, getting high, and family values, all of which are important in any time period. The series' main focal point is a teenager named Eric Forman (Topher Grace) who lives with his parents (Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp). Most of the time, Eric hangs out in his parent's basement where his main squeeze Donna (Prepon), his best friends Hyde (Masterson), Kelso (Kutcher), Jackie (Kunis), and Fez (Valderrama) all hang out, talking about life, love, sex, drugs, and rock n' roll.

Eric is the one whose POV we see the world through and how he tackles different obstacles and issues with his friends and family. Not only that, but we get to see each kid here literally grow up both physically and mentally throughout the series, which makes this show very relatable, no matter what time period it takes place in. It's also good to note that director David Trainer actually directed 199 out of the 200 episodes of this show, which is unheard of for a TV series. 

Trainer had a close connection to this show, as well as everyone else did, which is why it is so air tight in its writing and goals. Through all the cheap gags, laughs, and music, 'That '70s Show' was one of the best coming-of-age stories to ever be released on television. 

The Blu-ray: The Vital Disc Stats

This box set comes with 18 discs in total. Each season is two discs with two extra discs loaded with bonus content. The discs are housed in a felt slipcover that lifts off to show all nine cases that houses two Blu-rays each. Each case is the size of a CD case and is a strong cardboard glossy sleeve instead of the hard plastic. Their is information on the back of each case about the episode and season. 

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'That 70's Show' comes with a great 1080p HD transfer presented in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The first two seasons of this show were released individually on Blu-ray already, which had four discs in each season. In this complete series, each season is confined to two Blu-ray discs with a couple of extra Blu-rays for all the extras. This was done to cut costs for both the studio and the customer.

Even with each season on two discs only, the image quality really doesn't suffer that much and actually looks quite good, despite a few minor problems. Detail looks sharp throughout with great closeups that reveal good facial features and imperfections in each piece of 70's furniture and prop. The costumes also look excellent here as well, showing some intimate stitching. There is a layer of grain throughout the series as well (remember this is from the 90s). Some of the grain fluctuates too, and there are even some scenes where it looks worse than others, but this is only a minor issue in the first couple of seasons, and not so much in the later seasons of the show.

Colors look decent as well, but can seem a little over-saturated at times, however the bright colors of the 70's do truly pop here. Black levels are mostly deep and inky and the skin tones are always natural too. A few specks of dirt come up here and there, but it really is nothing to write home about. In fact, it just keeps this series looking filmic in a 70's kind of way, which is ideal. Other than those instances, there are no other issues to report, leaving this video presentation with good marks.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

This set comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and sounds great for a 90's sitcom. The best parts of this audio mix is the dialogue and laugh track, which puts you in the center of the audience here so you can laugh and clap with them. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow at all times. It's perfectly balanced with everyone's distinctive voices, whether it be a high pitched cackle or a deep voice. It all sounds very good.

The laugh track comes through the surrounds often and fully immerses you inside the live studio audience feel. Sound effects come through nicely as well, when they are needed and ambient noises in bigger scenes are clear and sharp. The opening title music packs a punch as well. Overall, each sound is well balanced, layered, and nicely prioritized here. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles to select though.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

Audio Commentaries - There are a few audio commentaries to select in each season with the exception of season one and season five. The rest of the seasons have two to three episodes with optional commentary by director David Trainer. If you're a fan of the show, you'll enjoy these select episodes where Trainer discusses the themes, some fun anecdotes, and technical information in making the series. It's worth the listen.

Hello Wisconsin! (SD, 18 Mins.) - Has the cast and crew discussing the set pieces, their characters, central themes, and more with clips added into the interviews.

Webisodes (SD, 41 Mins.) - There are six different webisodes here that focus on the cast and crew rehearsing on stage in front of a live studio audience, and just what it takes to make the show live. 

Making Company: David Trainer on Directing 'That '70s Show' (SD, 8 Mins.) - Here we have the director of the show talk about just how amazing it was to work on this show and with each actor for the entire run of the series. He also discusses the central plots and themes of the show.

Beyond the Polyester: Writing 'That '70s Show' (SD, 8 Mins.) - The producers of the series discuss the writing process and how each character grew and their relationships. 

'That '70s Show' Set Tour with Director David Trainer (SD, 12 Mins.) - The director takes us into the popular sets of the show on stage and gives us a detailed look at what it took to create each detail. 

That '70s Blooper Special (SD, 10 Mins.) - A decent gag reel with missed cues, flubbed lines, laughter, and fun accidents while filming.

'That '70s Show' Through the Years: A Retrospective (SD, 24 Mins.) - All main six characters get about three minutes each to talk about their characters and how they related to them.

Season Over Featurettes (SD, 77 Mins.) - There are eight different featurettes here, all of which are basically the same thing. Each season gives you a look back at the key and vital moments of each season here, complete with relationships and character traits.

A '70s Show Flashback (SD, 60 Mins.) - The main cast get about 7 minutes each to discuss their characters, or shall I say look back on their time playing this character for eight seasons, and how each of them grew through the show. 

Trivia Game (HD) - There are a few celebrities along with the cast that ask some text based multiple choice questions about the show. Whether you get it right or wrong, you are forced to watch a funny clip.

Groovy Green Screen (HD, 4 Mins.) - Here is a picture in picture extra that shows some of the actors performing in front of a green screen and what it looks like as the final product.

Foto Hut (HD, 19 Mins.) - Here are tons of photos of the cast and crew and them working on the show. 

Promo Spots (SD, 81 Mins.) - Tons of advertisements and trailers for almost every season of the show are collected here. 

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no HD exclusives. 

Final Thoughts

'That '70s Show' still holds up. Even though this is a sitcom with canned laughter, there is a ton of heart and soul that went into this series, which shows in each episode. The growing up, coming-of-age aspect to the series is something that doesn't come around too often and each character is charming in their own right. This group of people spent time with us weekly for eight seasons and grew on us until we loved them. This truly is a great show, even in the age of 'Breaking Bad' and 'The Walking Dead'. Highly recommended!

Technical Specs

  • 18-Disc Blu-ray Set
  • A retro, velvet flocked o-sleeve (think black light poster, baby!)

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p MPEG-4 AVC

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 1.78:1

Audio Formats

  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles/Captions

  • None

Supplements

  • An All-New HD Interactive Trivia Game
  • Audio Commentary on Select Episodes by Director David Trainer and Producer Patrick Kienlen
  • Behind-the-Scenes Webisodes
  • Flashback
  • Season Overviews and Promo Spots

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about our gear.

Puzzled by the technical jargon in our reviews, or wondering how we assess and rate HD DVD and Blu-ray discs? Learn about our review methodology.

Amazon
$89.90
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»

Related reviews