BEVERLY HILLS 90210
90210 is a teen drama and spin-off of popular 90s TV series Beverly Hills 90210. The show made its debut on US TV (The CW) in 2008, and hit UK screens (E4) the following year.
The plots centre around Annie (Shenae Grimes) and her adopted brother Dixon Wilson (Tristan Wilds), who move with their mum and dad from laid-back Kansas to the more fast-paced Beverly Hills. The title, is a shorter version of the original, and is taken from the city’s zipcode.
Of course it takes a while for them to adjust to the different way of life, which includes fitting in with the ‘cool kids’ dealing with the ups and downs of relationships as well as the usual issues teenagers everywhere face… and then there’s school.
Annie and Dixon’s parents Harry (Rob Estes) and Debbie (Lori Loughlin) also have their problems to deal with. And with Beverly Hills being where Harry grew up, there are a few skeletons that waste no time in rearing their ugly head.
The producers of this show were keen to stress from the get-go that this show was a spin-off as opposed to a remake. This allowed for a few faces from the original to make an appearance, showcasing their lives years into the future.
These characters included Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty), Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), and Donna Martin (Tori Spelling). The popular hangout The Peach Pit from the original series, has also been incorporated into the new edition, along with the original owner of the Pizzeria, Nat (Joe E Tata).
Elsewhere, new characters, which like the original series were primarily the teens that attend West Beverly High School, included jock Ethan (Dustin Miligan), spoilt rich girl, Naomi Clark (AnnaLynne McCord), actress and struggling drug addict, Adrianna Tate-Duncan, free-spirited bi-polar sufferer and Kelly’s half sister Erin Silver (Jessica Stroup), and editor of the school paper and Dixon’s best friend Navid Shirazi (Michael Steger).
In addition there is Ryan Matthews (Ryan Eggold, above bottom left), the young and sexy English teacher who is ‘Mr Matthews’ to the students.
Former bad boy and brooding surfer, Liam Court , who becomes Naomi’s love interest, and former tennis champ and son of a movie star, Teddy Montgomery (Trevor Donovan), were also introduced as fully-fledged main characters in series 2.
Remake or spin-off, there was always going to be people who were waiting for this show to fail. But these were mainly critics looking for something juicy to write or fans of the original who didn’t know what to expect. I admit I was one of those skeptics, but halfway through the first series I started watching it out of boredom, and now it is one of my favourite shows!
One of the reasons it has been a hit is no doubt the the timing of it’s introduction, which was fantastic. The popularity of shows such as Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill and reality TV show The Hills are evident, and with the ending of TV show The OC in 2007, there was an opening for a new teen show.
This helped 90210 to score big in the ratings after a modest start. The producers decision to make the storylines a lot edgier than its predecessor was something that also worked, and in series 2 this is pushed even further.
Beverly Hills, 90210 hit US TV screens back in 1990 (Fox) and in 1991 on ITV in the UK. That’s nearly 20 years before the spin-off, which makes me feel very old. lol! I loved this show when it came out. I still remember the adverts that promoted it , the theme music and original opening credits, which featured upscale shopping area Rodeo Drive with snap shots of stores such as Gucci and Cartier, below.
Much like 90210, Beverly Hills 90210 followed the lives of a group of teenagers who attended West Beverly high school in California. The main characters were twins Brenda and Brandon Walsh, who like the Wilsons in the newer series moved with their parents Jim and Cindy from a slower paced town to Beverly Hills. In this case it was Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Also, like Annie and Dixon they struggled to fit into the new way of life, including keeping up with their new group of friends. These friends included Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), the spoilt and rich girl character, Steve Sanders, the son of a famous soap actress (Ian Ziering), dippy but sweet Donna Martin (Tori Spelling), geeky son of celebrity dentist, David Silver (Brian Austin Green), Dylan McKay (Luke Perry), who had a lot of personal demons and was the son of a corrupt business tycoon, and brainbox Andrea Zuckerman (Gabrielle Carteris), who unlike her peers wasn’t rich, and struggled to keep her position at the school because of that.
Back in the day this show was quite ground-breaking, in that it paved the way for the likes of Dawsons Creek, The OC and Gossip Girl, in terms of focusing on the lives of teenagers. And bar Dawson’s Creek, rich teenagers.
Rape, racism,plastic surgery, drugs, alcoholism, sex, AIDS, abortion, Homosexuality, domestic abuse were all topics that were explored in Beverly Hills 90210 throughout the shows 10 series.
It also made superstars out of the cast, who were considerably older than the teenagers they were portraying (today’s cast is a lot younger).
The main cast became household names and media tabloid fodder, with everyteenage girl in the US and UK fancying either Jason Priestly or Luke Perry (for the record, I was a Jason Priestly).
DID YA KNOW?
- Tori Spelling is the daughter of late prolific TV producer Aaron Spelling (the show’s producer, who was also behind legendary TV shows such as Charlie’s Angels, Dynasty and Starsky and Hutch). When Tori auditioned for the show she used a fake name as to get the job on her own merit.
- Shannen Doherty was fired from the show, for reportedly going off the rails off-screen, and not being able to get on with her fellow cast mates. She left after the 4th Season in 1994.
- The original series was created by Darren Star. Darren is also known for creating two other hugely successful TV series Melrose Place, and Sex and the City. He was also executive producer on the Sex and the City movie.
- Jason Priestly directed nineteen of the original show’s episodes. His character Brandon was the last member of the Walsh family to leave the show in 1998. However he continued to serve as an executive producer until the show ended in 2000.
- On-screen siblings Jason Priestly and Shannen Doherty dated from 1990-1991.