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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 03/20/2008

Say It Ain't So: The New '90210'

By Liz Kelly

The original 'Beverly Hills, 90210' cast, back in the day. (AP)

I'm going to go ahead and say right from the start that what follows, like Celine Dion, won't appeal to everyone. But if you happened to come of age -- any kind of age -- when "Beverly Hills, 90210" was a TV juggernaut, read on.

Heady days, those, when we liked this show so much we were willing to give the age-challenged Gabrielle Carteris a pass or believe that the James Dean-esque Dylan could really live in his own Beverly Hills bachelor pad. Shannen Doherty vamped around like an underage Joan Collins and, let's face it, we all knew Tori was only on the show because her dad was the producer. It was okay. We liked her anyway and we hated David Silver when he got it on with that chick in the back of a limo. What a jerk. Thursday nights (I think it was Thursdays and I was of age, okay) meant the "90210" drinking game and summers were magically transformed by Fox's groundbreaking brainstorm of summer seasons.

Before "Laguna Beach," "The O.C.," "Veronica Mars" and "Gossip Girl" there was "90210." And, like all mediocre hackneyed ideas, its time has come again. Yep, as announced last week, the CW is thick in the planning stages of a revamped "Beverly Hills, 90210," but with a few new twists. The new show will focus on a family relocating to Beverly Hills (sound familiar?) to help care for an aging well-off matriarch:

Daughter Annie and adopted son Dixon [round out the family]. Annie is an emo/theater kid who's desperate to fit in with the cool crowd. Dylan, er, Dixon is a supersmart bad boy who has lingering social and behavioral issues -- and not an ounce of nerdiness in him.

One character stars in her own YouTube series and, in stark contrast to the old show's all-white cast, the CW promises diversity this time around -- with geeky David Silver subbed out Navid Shirazi, "who produces the high school's student-run video newscast and is of Middle Eastern descent." What next? Uncle Borat?

It's "Juno" meets "The Savages" meets "The Outsiders" meets "90210." Though, perhaps not so different after all?

Here's the thing: Will a weak carbon copy have the stuff to live up to the "90210" brand? No way.

I propose something different: "90210: The Reunion." Aside from Tori Spelling, none of the original show's stars are really working (here's a recent "Where Are They Now" update). Heck, Jennie Garth has been reduced to selling her family to Crocs. And I'm sure Tori would leap at the chance to drop her reality show in favor of a return to series TV.(No, "So NoTORIous" doesn't count.) Think of the story arcs -- a Dylan McKay battling male pattern baldness is again confronted with the Brenda/Kelly choice, but balks at reenacting the pool scene for fear his toupee comes unglued. Brandon the investigative journalist confronts the crisis of a lifetime when he learns that sister Brenda is, in fact, the bitchiest woman west of the Rockies. David Silver, who never quite managed to launch that music career, is playing piano in a Nordstrom escalator well. Change of life hormone fluctuations push Andrea Zuckerman to the brink of insanity. To add a little variety, Tara Reid could be brought on as a former classmate turned stripper who captures Steve Sanders's heart. TV gold.

What say you?

By Liz Kelly  | March 20, 2008; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Pop Culture, TV  
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Ian Ziering is hosting some dancing show after Dancing with the Stars. Jennie Garth was on Dancing with the Stars, too. Hardly doing nothing...

Posted by: Why do I know this? | March 20, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Wait ten more years then make a campy parody movie a la Brady Bunch.

Posted by: 23112 | March 20, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

you forgot Option 4--This show has already been recreated, the OC anyone?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Jennie Garth was in the stupid sitcom What I Like About You for several years and was just in Dancing With the Stars, so not out of work. The guy who played David was in that stupid Freddie Prinze sitcom for a couple of years and is CURRENTLY in the new Terminator series.
Ian Zering is hosting some crappy show after Dancing With the Stars.
Shannon Dougherty was in Charmed for years, hosted some ghost type show, and was fired from a couple of other things I believe.
Yes, I need a life for knowing this stuff.

Posted by: DW | March 20, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I read yesterday somewheres that the current population of Beverly Hills High is like 50% of Persian descent, so that new character adds truth to the element?

Anyway, I always wondered what happened to Jim & Cindy. I wanted them to be my parents. Are they rocking the retirement home?

Posted by: RiverCityRoller | March 20, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I never watched the show so I suppose I was too old for the 90210 "juggernaut". I don't even know who the characters are and always wondered why Shannon Doherty got so much ink. What was the demographic of the show? Teenagers or young 20's?

Posted by: methinks | March 20, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I think 90210 with the original cast would be a great idea.

I imagine Dylan aging in the same way that Bart Simpson does in those occasional flash-forwards on The Simpsons. He'll be 40, unwashed, unshaved, with a gut, a bad comb-over and whiskey breath. (You know, like an APB description of Mickey Rourke.)

Posted by: byoolin | March 20, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

90210 as the new "thirtysomething." Or would it be more like, "fortysomething"?

Posted by: M Street | March 20, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I thought Gossip Girl was the new 90210.

Posted by: Lisa1 | March 20, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure 90210 was on Wednesday nights. The best night of the week when I was in college was the 90210/Party of Five block on Fox.

I for one would definitely watch a 90210 remake! I still watch old episodes on SoapNet from time to time. That show is tops in the "so bad its good" category, if you ask me.

Donna Martin graduates! Donna Martin graduates!

Posted by: 90210Geek | March 20, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

So wrong! Brian Austin Green -- the 90210 cast's least likely to succeed -- KICKS ASS on Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Posted by: Amy | March 20, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

...and I like the idea of Brenda and Kelli as cougars. Andrea, of course, will finally be 'out' and living with her partner.

I picture Tori Spelling's 'Donna' as being very much like Kevin Costner's 'Alex' in The Big Chill - you know, dead, and not in the series.

David Silver will finally be living his dream as a member of the reformed "Menudo."

Brandon will have turned into his dad Jim, and nobody will care - heck, I could barely finish this sentence about him...

Oh, and Steve will be an exotic dancer at the neighbourhood strip club, The Peach Pit.

Posted by: byoolin | March 20, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

From IMDB: "Potomac, Maryland, Darren Star's hometown, was the inspiration for the show, and was originally going to be named 'Potomac, 20854'. However, it was believed that more people could associate with and recognize Beverly Hills as opposed to Potomac."

Posted by: 90210Geek | March 20, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

the link to the "where are they now" doesnt seem to be working.

I'm not sure I'd quote "dancing with the stars" as proof that someone's career is on track. In fact it's usually proof of the opposite!

Posted by: sjcpeach | March 20, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Can they re-do Melrose Place too? I LOVED that show.

Posted by: sjcpeach | March 20, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I loved how they always gave Donna stalkers and people who were desperately in love with her to convince the audience that she was attractive post all her plastic surgery.

Posted by: Donna Martin | March 20, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Ha ha! 2-4-6-8-Donna-Martin-Graduates

Posted by: bahston | March 20, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Ha - yes, multiple people held up "Dancing with the Stars" as evidence of a lively career.
...Really? You think so?

Posted by: h3 | March 20, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I agree h3, participating on a d-list celebrity reality show, though does constitute "doing something", just not something good. And as for Ian Zering, he's hosting a lame-a$$ dance show on Lifetime where sons and daughters do cringe worthy dance routines with their parents...well I guess its better than doing some horribly done SciFi movie. I like to watch those just so I can see Dean Cain fight off some giant CG snake. Heeeeeeelarious.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

*sigh* Perhaps I'm just a smidge grumpy today, but I've come up with an amazing crazy idea: how about instead of retreading 70s and 80s shows, the industry goes out and finds writers with new and fresh ideas? And instead of selling them 13+ episode shows, they do them in smaller chunks such as 6 1-hours shows? That way, the American public could be exposed to a larger amount of varied programming instead of three networks producing the same show under three names or the latest reality show of "Who Wants to be a ____ Dancing with a _____ While Residing in Country ____? Complete with 10000 Cameras!"

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | March 20, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

People, people, please. A re-tooling (and, yes, that is the right word) of 90210 with a new cast is so clearly the wrong approach. And, as Exhibit A, I present "Saved by the Bell", where, if you remember (c'mon, admit it, you remember), after Zach & Kelly & Slater & Jessie & Lisa Turtle graduated, they tried bringing it back with new kids, but kept Mr. Belding and made Screech like a Guidance Counselor or Asst. Principal or something. And it was awful -- even worse than the original, which is saying a lot.

Trying to re-imagine 90210 with a new bunch of kids would be just like the previous attempt to repopulate Bayside High with a new generation of kids.

Posted by: WoW | March 20, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

How about fusion: Melrose meets 90210?

Posted by: omni | March 20, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

For some reason, talking about a return to 90210 made me think of High School Reunion--new reality show on TV Land (of all places) which brings together former classmates of the class of 1988. Good stuff.
Has anyone else watched this?

Posted by: still | March 20, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

byoolin, you are just too damn funny. Try as we might, most days we just can't keep up.

I used to watch 90120 just to see Jennie Garth. At the time, I thought she was the sexiest chicklet on TV. But I just read that Page Six article about her and her family and my first thought was, "Wow, she's gone from hottie to SO nottie!"

Posted by: MisterBear | March 20, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

It can be like the New Degrassi, the new 90210. Only in the new degrassi, there are actually tons of people from the original, and i doubt that would happen here....

Posted by: loveit | March 20, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

My stepdaughter is a big Degrassi fan. (It helped that we lived very close to the real Degrassi street in Toronto when she first saw an episode.)

But, as loveit notes, it probably couldn't happen here - all the characters in it look too much like regular people. It's a common problem with Canadian television. (True fact: Brent Butt is our Most Attractive Television Star.)

Posted by: byoolin | March 20, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

The new Degrassi is one of my guilty pleasures. They have characters going to university now which was the death knell for 90210. Characters in teen soaps can't go to college without destroying the set-up. Witness Dawson's Creek.

And 90210 as thirtysomething was done the first time around. None of those actors were anywhere near school age.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Ha - yes, multiple people held up "Dancing with the Stars" as evidence of a lively career.
...Really? You think so?

Posted by: h3 | March 20, 2008 11:47 AM

Gets good ratings, doesn't it? I don't know, I don't watch it or Idol for that matter.

Posted by: WDC 21113 | March 20, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

For some reason, talking about a return to 90210 made me think of High School Reunion--new reality show on TV Land (of all places) which brings together former classmates of the class of 1988. Good stuff.

Has anyone else watched this?

Posted by: still | March 20, 2008 01:27 PM

I caught the first episode, or I guess a replay of it -- when is it on? Wednesdays at 10 or something? Seemed like a show I could get sucked into watching a marathon of (ANTM anyone?) when it's over.

Posted by: WDC 21113 | March 20, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Re High School Reunion, I believe new episodes are on Weds at 10pm, but they seem to be running the previously aired episodes frequently during the rest of the week.
Very addictive. It's like everyone regressed to the person they were back in the day.

Posted by: still | March 20, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Not sure about the hotness of his career, but Brian Austin Green (BAG as I always called him) hasn't done too poorly with the ladies. He was engaged to Vanessa Marcil for a short period of time, and he is currently engaged to Megan Fox (Transformers). With these serious upgrades from Donna Martin, he must be doing something right.

Posted by: US Weekly Nut | March 21, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Dancing with the stars gets around 25 million viewers a week. It is the second highest rated show on TV and number 1 for people over 35. So yes, DWTS is a career boost, a heck of a lot more then any drama, comedy, or realty series is in comparison.
In fact more peple watch DWTS each week then went to see any of the Oscar nominated movies last year.

Posted by: dw | March 21, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I also love the new Degrassi. They run old episodes on Sunday mornings on the CW and I'm totally addicted.

Posted by: julia | March 21, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Do we really need to have a reunion? Come on people. If you watched the show from beginning to end you know what happened. Donna and David got married...Finally, Dylan finally chose who he wanted to be with... and that was Kelly. And let not forget that Steve married Janet(who worked at the paper that him and Brandon had) and they had a beautiful little girl. Come on now. It all worked out the way is was supposed to. As far as a new show yea give the younger generation something to watch.

Posted by: Stephanie | March 21, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

they should definitaly bring back Jennie Garth & Jason Priestley, we need a Brandon/Kelly reunion!!!...honestley, i dont give rats ass about tori spelling or luke sick of looking at horse faces, giant foreheads & receding hairlines that waste airtime and storylines. Jason and Jennie were the most gorgeous people on the show and deserved a wedding!!!!

Posted by: emily | March 21, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Kelly was a cokehead, joined a cult, and stole her best friend's boyfriend, and everybody just felt sorry for her. Valerie sleeps around a bit and smokes a little weed and she's the "bad girl." Um, double standard, anyone?

And everybody was desperately in love with Donna, in spite of the fact that she had tennis-ball boobs and dressed like a twit. And David was always gaga over some new artist the Spelling empire was promoting this week: "Ooooh Babyface! He's a TOTAL pro!"

Posted by: Jill | March 24, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Well I just learned they were thinking of recreating 90210 and i am sooo EXCITED!! C'mon people you know that show rocked this world back then! I remember that every wednesday night i was glued to that tv i NEVER missed an episode! I was soooo sad when it came to and end and now i watch all the reruns when i can! I have to say though, i don't want all new kids on the remake. I think they'll get much futher (since the original show was so loved) if they cast all the original characters with them all having family lives with kids and marriages now. #1 90210 FAN!

Posted by: #1 90210 FAN | March 26, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I think many of you are missing the point of why 90210 was such a big deal. It came out when I was in high school and it concerned teenagers who were really dealing with teenage issues (in an idealized setting). All of the new ridiculous shows like the new Degrassi and Gossip Girl are shows that depict teenagers living like adults. 90210 was fun and engaging for many years, these shows now aren't fit for teenagers, low on content and high on sleaze.

Posted by: AJ Wolf | April 30, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Gam$RcgylL | May 7, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

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