In 1992, MTV — which at this point was still largely playing music videos for what would become what I like to refer to as the last great era of music — launched a reality television series, The Real World. It wasn't the first, but it did popularize the still rather obscure genre. While inspired by the 1973 PBS documentary series An American Family, it went in another direction by casting a group of complete strangers to live in a home and, well, you know, let things get real.

The show introduced us to Becky Blasband, Andre Comeau, Heather B. Gardner, Julie Gentry, Norman Korpi, Eric Nies, Kevin Powell, and unattainable New York City real estate. Still, their temporary home was rather modest in comparison to future Real World homes — a loft at the corner of Broadway and Prince Street in SoHo.

And now — in a nod to Michael Apted’s 7 Up series, which also inspired the original, according to co-creator Jonathan Murray — the original Real World cast will return, 29 years later. Same strangers, same city, same loft. But first, a quick dip back into the original:

While I, a teen in wack slacks at the time of its premiere, thought these were the coolest people swingin' on the flippity flop, early bummer critics considered them lamestains. USA Today's Matt Roush called the production "painfully bogus," and the Washington Post's Tom Shales likened the whole thing to "excruciating torture." But John J. O'Connor at the hip NY Times got it, eventually — ahead of the 10th episode, he wrote that it "has been steadily evolving into the year's most riveting television, a compelling portrait of twentysomethings grappling with the 90s."

In the new version, called Real World: Homecoming, the cast returns to their reality television roots, with one original roommate missing: Eric Nies. According to the NY Times, Nies participates in the reboot only through a video monitor. "[He] said that he made it as far as a New York hotel room and was never actually able to set foot in the SoHo loft," they reported. "Asked why, Nies said in a phone interview, 'I’m not sure how much I can get into that right now.'"

Real World: Homecoming premieres today, March 4th, on Paramount Plus—yet another streaming service, for which you'll have to remember a whole new set of login information [Gen Xer shaking fist at cloud GIF]. Here's a preview, where you'll see just one cast member wearing a mask outdoors during a catastrophic global pandemic.