by Jennifer Squires Biller
There sideburns are gone and so is the brooding antihero. But, the typical teen crises facing a bevy of beautiful people in the infamous zip code remains. Cheating at school, silly jock pranks, and dating are still central themes in the do-over 90210 version of the beloved ‘90s TV show. If you like soapy teen dramas, then this is the new fall show for you.
It doesn’t have the slick dialogue and fast-witted humor reminiscent of The O.C.’s Seth , Gossip Girl’s entire cast, or Veronica Mars, but what it lacks in intelligence, it makes up for with nostalgia and simple story telling that should resonate with teens and young adults.
The show debuted with record ratings for the CW, and it’s likely it will continue to attract eyeballs, if the plots remain strong and the show execs rely on the former 90210 veterans for a significant portion of story. For me, one of the most compelling parts of the pilot was the mystery of Kelly’s son’s paternity. Is it Dylan, Brandon or Steve? I don’t think I’m alone in my sentiment for the vets, if the amount of press Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty have been getting is any indication. (Seriously, they look better now than ever.) And seeing Nat still toiling away at the Peach Pit, albeit a modernized version with a fancy cappuccino machine, warmed my heart.
I also loved Lori Loughlin and Rob Estes as the modern-day Cindy and Jim Walsh. I hope we see plenty of plots for these TV vets, too. (The O.C. didn’t relegate the adults to backburner status and it made that show all the richer.)
In this version of 90210, the Wilson family moves from Kansas to Beverly Hills, and just as the Walsh siblings did, Annie and Dixon work to fit in. It doesn’t take long, as Dixon finds his niche in the sports world and Annie befriends the popular girls. It doesn’t hurt that their father is the new principal at West Beverly.
Garth still shines as Kelly Taylor, but it’s Jessica Walter who steals the show, as Tabitha, the alcoholic grandmother of the Wilson kids. (And Linda Gray was a stroke of casting genius as Tabitha’s pal.)
Sure, the show had its unbelievable moments. Annie scoring a date with a guy who looks like Superman (Tom Welling), who flew her to a different city for dinner comes to mind. But, all in all, 90210 was a fun ride. It offers new life to the zip code and is a treat for those of us who grew up addicted to the original. Now, if we can just get Steve Sanders back, it would be almost perfect.