That ’90s Show’s Video Store Is Full Of Chronological Errors (Like Batman Forever), As If Netflix's Blockbuster Wasn't Bad Enough

Nostalgia just ain’t what it used to be, folks; not even on the 2023 TV schedule. We’re learning that yet again as Netflix’s latest adventure into reviving well known brands happens to be the 10-episode first season of That ‘90s Show. Fans of That ‘70 Show will probably enjoy the sitcom for what it is, especially with all of the links to the original show that happen to be present. 

That still doesn’t change the fact that Point Place, Wisconsin’s local video store is so full of chronological errors, it’s practically another slight against video stores from Netflix following the streaming service delivering the poorly-reviews Blockbuster. And there are some doozies that happen to be lurking in this supposedly innocent mid-Western community's rental store of choice, including something that will catch the eye of Batman Forever fans.

Beyond the mistake of setting their new release day for Mondays instead of Tuesdays, let's take a look at how this critically-mixed sitcom doesn't get that '90s video store experience right.

Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith in That '90s Show

(Image credit: Netflix)

When Does That ‘90s Show Take Place?

As the opening title cards to That ‘90s Show’s first episode point out, July 3rd, 1995 is the beginning of the summer where Leia Forman (Callie Haverda) intends on making new friends. Hanging out in her parent’s old stomping grounds of Point Place, there are all sorts of adventures involving beepers, raves, homages to Beverly Hills 9021`0 and, of course, a video store.

Video Haven, which feels like a Blockbuster Video ripoff in its design and look, is where we set our scene. On the outside, it looks like the sort of movie store you'd have visited back in the day to check out the hottest titles upon release on VHS. Upon closer inspection, there are a ton of weird continuity errors considering the established timeframe at hand.

Kitty and Leia standing in the aisle of Video Haven in That '90s Show.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Video Haven Is One Huge Time Paradox

In Episode 2 “Free Leia,” the young Forman child is trying to put together the coolest movie night a ‘90s teen could ever dream of. This is the scenario that led to the loving name-check to Kevin Smith’s Clerks, which leads to an adventure of its own. However, as Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) and Leia wander the aisle of Video Haven, there are several movies that shouldn’t, and in some terms couldn’t, be on those shelves shown in the photo above; at least, not without a time machine and/or a serious bootlegging operation. 

For starters, 1995 releases like Batman Forever and Apollo 13 are sitting right in the New Release section. That would be a-ok if That ‘90s Show took place in around Thanksgiving, as those films weren’t respectively on VHS until October 31st and November 21st of that year. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a copy of Con Air can be found on that same back wall, which places one of the best action movies starring Nicolas Cage in a movie store a good two years before it hit theaters.

New Releases Of The Future!

Jim Carrey as the Riddler in Batman Forever

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Behold, the actual VHS release dates for these future new releases spotted in Video Haven: 

Batman Forever - 10/31/95
Apollo 13 - 11/21/95
Hackers - circa 1996
The Lost World: Jurassic Park - 11/4/97
Con Air
- circa 1997-1998

But prepare for one last double whammy of a time paradox though, as mingling with copies of Jurassic Park is one VHS copy of The Lost World: Jurassic Park. The first problem with this is that Steven Spielberg’s big Jurassic sequel wouldn’t hit theaters until Memorial Day 1997. So already, this is another Con Air-style oopsie in our midst.

However, upon closer inspection, the VHS copy that’s hiding in plain sight happens to have the 2000 reissue box art from when the film first hit DVD. For reference, from left to right, here's the 1998 and 2000 artwork that accompanied The Lost World: Jurassic Park upon both of its releases.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park VHS art from 1998 and 2000.

(Image credit: Universal)

Oh, those of you who are fans of the cult classic Hackers are going to be outraged as well. Sure enough, a VHS of that very movie is presented with its own period defying artwork, and in Video Haven roughly two months before it even premiered in theaters. How can this place even exist?!

Ashley Aufderheide and Callie Haverda try lying to Kurtwood Smith in the kitchen in That '90s Show.

(Image credit: Patrick Wymore/Netflix)

A Plot Point In A Later Episode Is Derailed Thanks To This Video Store Out Of Time

Video Haven is the gift that keeps on giving in That ‘90s Sho thanks to another episode depending on one of the movies listed above as an alibi. Further down the line in Episode Four, entitled “Rave,” Leia and Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide) are sneaking out to a rave in Milwaukee. Their alibi for the evening is, surprisingly, that they have tickets to see Batman Forever at a local movie theater. 

That scenario is plausible in reality, as Val Kilmer’s solo film as Batman was released into theaters the month before That ‘90s Show starts. But let’s not forget, Video Haven has all the movies you could want, timeline be damned. So technically, the girls could have rented Batman Forever, which only makes their lie an even worse fib in this screwy timeline.  

Debra Jo Rupp and Callie Haverda talk in front of the adult video section's curtain in That '90s Show.

(Image credit: Patrick Wymore/Netflix)

That ‘90s Show’s Video Store Also Has A Horrible Layout

Going back to those aisles at Video Haven, there’s more than anachronisms that ruin the experience as depicted in That ‘90s Show. Mainly, that back wall of New Releases is a hodge podge of other movies that existed on VHS at the time, but wouldn’t be mixed in with the newer flicks. Looking around, you can spot copies of flicks like An American Tail: Fievel Goes West and My Cousin Vinny adjacent to all of the other timey wimey confusion. 

Seeing as both films were released, respectively, in 1991 and 1992, 1995 wouldn’t see those movies sitting on the New Releases wall. They’d firmly be in the Kids and Comedy sections, where all catalog movies go once they’re no longer new. 

And the less said about the adult video section, the better, as that beaded curtain doesn’t even obscure the titles presented in that corner of the store. Not to mention, if this was really a Blockbuster parody, that section wouldn’t even exist, as the nationwide chain wasn’t into adult films. Won’t someone think of the children? Won't those same people also think of the rental stores? 

Randall Park in Blockbuster.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix’s Blockbuster Disaster Only Makes It Worse

This That ‘90s Show video store debacle is ridiculous enough on its own, as a simple doublecheck would have made sure the right ‘90s movies were saved for potential later seasons. Clearly Netflix isn’t interested in getting the video store experience right, and it isn’t the first time that messaging has been picked out by viewers. Come to think of it, this sort of tomfoolery hurts even more after the streaming platform released and eventually cancelled the ill-received sitcom Blockbuster

Pulling this sort of stunt once could be chalked up as a mistake of some sorts. As critics called out Blockbuster for not being terribly interested in the experience of movie rental stores, one would think that Netflix would tread more carefully when trying to depict that same sort of thing in the future. This is especially the case when a series like That ‘90s Show has the potential to be seen by a lot of eyes during the time period that sees the platform’s 28-day viewership rule in play.

If this new legacy-quel sitcom manages to score some decent numbers and ensure a Season 2 renewal, at least the powers-that-be will have some tapes on hand for future period appropriate movie nights. Maybe they can even put in a new beaded curtain to the adult section and seriously improve the game of Video Haven’s rental experience. 

Of course, that's partially up to those of you out there who have a Netflix subscription, as well as the time and interest. If blatant disregard for the video rental experience doesn't spoil your enjoyment of this nostalgic romp, then you can watch all 10 episodes of That '90s Show to improve its renewal odds. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.