As regular readers of theTVaddict.com know all to well, the original [mis] adventures of Brenda and Brandon are what got this TV Addict hooked on television to begin with. So when I say I wanted to love the CW’s re-boot of 90210, I really mean it. Essentially it’s my STAR WARS. Which is why I have seriously mixed feelings as I sit here and write my review.
On the one hand, the series seemingly started off on the right foot, or as they might say in the zip— the right Manolo Blahnik. Writers Jeff Judah, Gabe Sachs and Rob Thomas totally got it. Not only did the episode immediately set the tone for the next generation by showing West Bev pin-up boy Ethan Ward getting ‘serviced’ in his car [Oh we’re definitely not in Kansas anymore!] The writers cleverly gave the original 90210 fans the respect they deserve by not wasting anytime and getting right to the old school cameos/shout outs.
Cue the TV Addict’s heart melting as we witness an adorable and frustrated Nat attempt to make a non-fat no-whip double shot caramel macchiato [Why exactly has the Peach Pit turned into a bizarro Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf?], an absolutely radiant Kelly Taylor and a first look at a slightly grown-up Hannah Zuckerman-Vasquez. Which afforded the show its funniest line of the night, as new teacher Ryan Matthews cracked, “How old is that girl, 30?”
Unfortunately, things went downhill from there and like a bad nip/tuck, the cracks in 90210’s perfectly marketed facade quickly started to show. To put it bluntly, the next generation of Annie and Dixon Mills, Naomi Clark, Ethan Ward, Silver, Navid etc… have a long way to go until they can even be remotely compared to Brandon, Brenda, Kelly, Donna, David, Steve and Andrea.
Which isn’t to say I have an issue with the actors themselves. For the girls, Canadian Shenae Grimes did a credible job of playing a albeit slightly too wide-eyed fish out of water, Jessica Stroup’s Silver was surprisingly compelling [and by the way, my new favorite character] while AnnaLynne McCord surprised nobody [especially this NIP/TUCK fan] by turning bitch-on-wheels Naomi Clarke into the one fictional character who might be able to give Leighton Meister’s Blair Waldorf a run for her money [Cross-over please!]. On the boys side, while I genuinely felt bad for Dustin Milligan’s Ethan Ward after he dumped Naomi only to witness Annie hooking up with random rich newcomer guy who looked a little too much like a mash-up between Clark Kent and Tom Cruise for my liking. I’m left scratching my head over the decision to have the Mills family adopt Dixon Wilson. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for ethnic diversity on television. I just can’t help but feel that the addition of Dixon was tacked on just for the sake of it. Here’s hoping there’s more to the story as the season progresses.
The real problem with the show and the one issue I feared from the moment I heard rumblings about a 90210 re-boot lies with the story-line in itself. Love triangles, money issues, class warfare, drugs, alcohol, extravagant parties and sex. It’s all been done, not to mention done better on shows like VERONICA MARS, GOSSIP GIRL and GREEK. These show have brought an original voice to the teenage melodrama genre that we all grew up on. 90210, at least two episodes in, not so much.
Which begs the unfortunate, yet dreadfully obvious question. Aside from the CW’s desperate need for a hit, why exactly do we need another 90210? DAWSON’S CREEK already re-invented the way teenagers talk on television, THE OC opened parent’s eyes to what really goes on in the new millennium and THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER, heck it’s playing out in non-so-secret fashion right now at the Republic National Convention!
What ‘something new’ is the new 90210 going to bring to the table?
Because while this TV Addict is more than prepared to keep driving this bandwagon until the show’s bitter end. It would be an absolute shame if the most positive thing we’re left taking away from this ill-conceived series is the scene-stealing Jessica Walter as the hilariously honest, albeit slightly drunk
Lucille Bluth Tabitha Mills.
Photo Credit: Art Streiber/ The CW (C) 2008 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.