Netflix is doubling down on its recent turn toward sitcom nostalgia, following its acquisition of Fuller House by picking up The Ranch, a new comedy reuniting That ’70s Show stars Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson. The pair will play brothers, with Kutcher returning to his family’s Colorado homestead after a short career as a semi-professional athlete—failed athlete being one of the most venerable of the sitcom professions, along with “photographer” and “whatever Chandler did on Friends.”
More tellingly, the show isn’t just a reunion in front of the camera, but behind it, with Kutcher also reuniting with his Two And A Half Men showrunners Don Reo and Jim Patterson. It’s great news for anyone who’s ever watched That ’70s Show and thought, “This is good, but it would be better if those two guys were older, brothers, and fake-married to each other as part of a convoluted scheme to tell jokes about boners.”
So far, the most innovative thing about The Ranch seems to be its release schedule, with Netflix forgoing its usual “Call off work on Monday” strategy of plunking down an entire year’s worth of shows in a single blast. The current plan is for The Ranch to instead release 20 episodes a year, dropping them in two 10-episode batches, keeping a fresh stream of content coming for Kutcher fans. Plus, the new strategy allows for the show to build to season-ending cliffhangers and edge-of-the-seat moments of suspense. Just imagine it: Danny Masterson, phone in hand, dials the number for Laura Prepon’s agent. Will she pick up, potentially lending The Ranch some of that Orange Is The New Black Netflix street cred? Or will he get screened? The music rises, the last seconds of the season running out…
Cut to black. Top that, Game Of Thrones.