That ’70s Show has experienced a surge in popularity since the release of the Netflix follow-up That ’90s Show. This has come from new fans who want to check out the original or those who have revisited the first version out of nostalgia.
Fortunately, there are a large number of shows that have elements that Eric Forman’s group enjoyed, such as friends hanging out, youngsters finding their path in life, and dysfunctional people learning to coexist. These shows all have funny moments in spades but also carry heartwarming narratives. As such, the characters will be just as memorable as Eric’s friends. With that in mind, here are 10 shows to watch if you like That ’70s Show.
Saved By The Bell (1989-93)
Saved by the Bell is set at the fictional Bayside High School, focusing on a group of teenagers. The show is primarily a sitcom, though it does tackle serious topics like relationship dynamics and growing pains. Like That ‘70s Show, this one also has various personalities within a friend group.
That ‘70s Show fans will like Saved by the Bell’s presentation since it emphasizes the style and norms of its set period. With the show more than three decades old by now, viewers will see a view into the late-’80s and early-’90s through the series. Saved by the Bell’s tendency to be serious in places enables its characters to stay strong in memory.
Community takes place at Greendale Community College, where circumstances force dysfunctional characters to form a study group. Their collective experiences make up each episode, which focuses on the kooky nature of each person in class and the equally weird faculty.
Community’s non-serious outline is reminiscent of that found in That ‘70s Show, as the latter also never made studies a very big deal. The characters in Community give each other a hard time much like Eric’s group, so viewers have a lot of zingers to check out here. The show has also received praise for its creative story structure, as episodes can vary from traditional sitcoms to stories where the entire college is turned into a playground.
Malcolm In The Middle (2000-06)
Malcolm in the Middle is about a dysfunctional lower-middle-class family, where the titular character is a child prodigy. Malcolm’s upbringing is hampered by his overbearing parents and no-good brothers, with Malcolm himself joining in to cause mayhem at home.
The clash between parents and children is something that both Malcolm in the Middle and That ‘70s Show share. Malcolm’s mother is hard on her children like Eric’s father Red, with both characters’ stern parenting making for hilarious moments. The show can go off the rails with how much trouble Malcolm and his brothers cause. Viewers will get a kick out of watching fresh new antics in each episode.
Boy Meets World (1993-2000)
Boy Meets World is about the coming-of-age story of Cory Matthews, whose life is followed from middle school to his time as an adult. The show progresses with the age of the main character, starting out as a kid-friendly sitcom before moving to a more grown-up tone.
Cory’s story of finding his place in life is similar to Eric’s from That ‘70s Show. The two sitcoms depict how the main character grows as a person with his friend group around him. While Cory’s family is a lot nicer than Eric’s, there are still wacky adventures he partakes in before he becomes a responsible adult.
The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air (1990-96)
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is about the fictional version of Will Smith, who moves to his rich aunt and uncle’s house. Will’s street-level upbringing clashes with his family’s upper-class attitude, which opens up several storylines where both parties get to learn more about the world.
Will’s frequent run-ins with Uncle Phil are along the lines of Eric’s with Red’s, as the young and brash characters get on the bad side of the strict parental figure. That ‘70s Show fans will like the different personalities of Will’s relatives, which is similar to Eric’s friend group. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air additionally has quite a few serious episodes that shed light on serious topics like gun control and racism.
The Wonder Years (1988-93)
The Wonder Years is set between 1968 to 1973, centering around youngster Kevin Arnold. It’s a slice-of-life comedy-drama about the average things that happen in Kevin’s life, ranging from young love to school pressures. The series shares That ‘70s Show’s period setting, as well as the dynamic between the main character and his love interest.
The Wonder Years isn’t a straight-up sitcom like That ‘70s Show, but it treads much of the same territory. Kevin’s adventures are standard for a youngster his age, which is like Eric’s situation. The Wonder Years takes a bolder approach to Kevin’s growing-up experiences, so viewers can find genuine moments they can relate to.
The Big Bang Theory (2007-19)
The Big Bang Theory is about a group of nerds whose lives change when a “normal” woman moves across the hall. The boys become savvier in pop culture due to her influence, while they turn her into a geek like themselves in turn. A few seasons later, the addition of two more ladies further carves out the group’s social circle.
The Big Bang Theory’s friendship aspect is akin to That ‘70s Show – viewers can see the former characters as adult versions of Eric’s group. The show does a great job at delivering geek culture without turning it into a parody, as the boys revel in their love for all things considered nerdy. With a lot of science elements and major star cameos, The Big Bang Theory is a splendid sitcom for a breezy time.
Happy Days (1974-84)
Happy Days is set in the ‘50s, focusing on the happenings of teenager Richie Cunningham. It later shifts focus to Richie’s best friend Arthur Fonzarelli, with “Fonzie’s” over-the-top adventures becoming the primary outline once Richie leaves for military service.
Happy Days did what That ‘70s Show emulated later on, in that it was a show that aired in the 1970s that was set two decades prior. The tone is more family-friendly in Happy Days, although Fonzie’s attitude is something that fans of That ‘70s Show would love because of its similarities to Hyde and Kelso’s mannerisms.
New Girl (2011-18)
New Girl is about the character Jessica Day, who moves into a loft with three men after a painful breakup. Jess learns there’s more to life than dedicating it to a one-sided relationship and goes on the path to rebuilding herself with the help of her new friends.
New Girl follows people in their thirties, as opposed to teenagers as in That ‘70s Show. But the idea of finding the true purpose in life is the same in the two sitcoms. New Girl also has characters comparable in personalities, such as the ones who are never serious or those who date a lot and break up constantly.
Friends is the series that made the “hangout” sitcom so popular, as the ten years the gang spends together turned out to be a massive hit. The show is about the career and dating experiences of six friends, whose one constant is the love and support of the people in their group.
Friends would be how the That ‘70s Show characters would be if they lived in the big city. The series has plenty of episodes dedicated to the main protagonists’ antics, but it leaves room for heartwarming moments to highlight their strong bond. The show is great for those who want a balance between humor and storylines.
That does it for our picks for the best shows like That ’70s Show. For more information about the series, take a look at some of our related articles down below.