Friday, April 2, 2010
90210 and Melrose Place
I know I’m going to catch a ton of shit for this blog post but here it goes…
I was a huge fan of Beverly Hills 90210 back in its 90s heyday. And I still am. That show was the quintessential 90s show – from the clothes to Brandon and Dylan’s sideburns. It was awesome. In 2008, a remake of the original Aaron Spelling show debuted on the CW and I was very curious and excited to see what they were going to do. They paid tribute to the original with a slightly different version of the famous theme song, an updated version of the Peach Pit and one of the main characters of the new show is original cast member Kelly Taylor’s (Jennie Garth) younger sister Erin Silver (Jessica Stroup).
The first season featured the return of a few original 90210 cast members including Kelly, Brenda (Shannen Doherty) and Donna (Tori Spelling) which I was very excited about! It has a similar premise (a family moves to Beverly Hills from the Midwest) and of course is still about a bunch of kids living in a wealthy area who encounter all kinds of issues including romance, drugs and the hardships of living la vida privileged.
Although having some of the original cast members was a good draw – it definitely got me watching – unfortunately they weren’t given interesting storylines so they have pretty much been written out of the show to make way for the version 2.0 cast of characters. While I do miss the vets, I have to admit that focusing on the new characters has made the show better.
While the new characters (and the new show in general) are not nearly as appealing to me as the original (I think I miss Brandon and Dylan the most) there are some high points. For example in the most recent episode, the three main girls on the show, Silver (Stroup), Adrianna (Jessica Lowndes) and Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord) have an extremely mature discussion about whether or not Adrianna is gay. In fact it was the most mature conversation about sexual orientation I’ve ever seen on a teen show. It was shocking.
This show is definitely nowhere near as good as the original but what sequels are? I do miss Brenda, Dylan, Kelly and Brandon but I don’t miss the 90s cheesiness. Bring on the cell phones and the Facebook references. The 90210 of 2010 is holding its own for now.
Another iconic 90s show that has gotten a reboot is Melrose Place – it happened in 2009, one year after 90210’s reboot. This was the show that made Heather Locklear famous for being the baddest, blondest superbitch on television. The new version of Melrose features juicy new characters while integrating some of the 90s vets such as Amanda Woodward (Locklear) and Dr. Michael Mancini (Thomas Calabro). While 90210 didn’t handle its veterans with care, Melrose definitely is. Both Amanda and Michael are major role players in the show and there have been significant guest appearances by Sydney Andrews (Laura Leighton), Jane Andrews (Josie Bissett) and Jo Reynolds (Daphne Zuniga). I am still hoping that Jake (Grant Show) shows up on his motorcycle. Yeah, I said it.
The first season of the new Melrose Place took all my strength to watch but the second season is much better and much juicier. Katie Cassidy’s Ella Simms and Shaun Sipos’s David Breck are my two favorite and they definitely get the best lines. Also, great call by the producers when they kicked Ashlee Simpson-Wentz off the show. She is the worst actress I’ve ever seen and it would have been impossible for her to be more annoying.
Either way, if you’re going to reboot a show and feature some of the original cast members their storylines better be good and they better make sense. If they do then it makes for great television and if they don’t then it feels like one big gimmick. And that is no way to treat iconic 90s dramas!