90210: The TV Addict’s Review

90210 cast

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.

Grade: C

Photo Credit: Art Streiber/ The CW (C) 2008 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

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  • TVFan

    Agreed with most of what you had to say even though it was really nice to see Brenda back.

  • jess

    I liked it so far. Although I hear Shannen is only commissioned for 4 episodes, I hope its more. And what was up with the 2second cameo of Hannah zucherman-vazquez. and the 30 yr comment.

  • you know who

    Well said.

  • http://makesyoudothewacky.blogspot.com/ shanna

    I agree that 90210: The Next Generation, isn’t reinventing anything but they still managed to make me interested (and I was super jaded with this new 90210). I also agree that Dixon was tacked on to throw in some diversity but I think the storyline with his father having a real adopted son out there could lead to some interesting things.

    Plus, for me the draw about the new 90210 is the adults. In the original it was all about the kids, Jim and Pam never had a story unless it involved the kids. I watch GG for Rufus and Lily as much as S, B, D, and C so I’ll be watching to learn who’s the father of Kelly’s baby, whether Brenda will stick around, and who Nat’s going to hire to help him make macchiatos.

  • BHcolin

    I really liked the show last night. I love that you said it’s your Star Wars, I understand that cause I loved the original. My Wednesdays revolved around 90210 for a long time — I loved that show.

    I don’t know if the new show has to re-invent the wheel though. Yes, Dawson’s and The OC evolved the “teen” drama. I guess what I liked about the new 90210 was that it was comfortable. It was like meeting up with a old friend. It felt like the old show – I liked that.

    My only complaint is that maybe too much went on in the first showing. Dixon getting on the Lacrosse team- then getting involved in the the prank. You know what I mean.
    Speaking of Dixon, I really thought they he and Annie made a good brother and sister. I think we will see how they became a family — he talked how he didn’t want to have to tell the story over and over- so there is a story

    Loved Silver, she seems like a great character. I want to know more about her. I loved the interaction between Kelly and Silver and want more.

    In the original there was moments between Steve and Brandon- their joking, the way they talked it was true friendship. Anyone know what I mean? Anyways the moment Kelly took that food from Silver really reminded me of those moments. I loved kelly and Brenda meeting up and want more of both those characters.

    I think the new kids did a good job and can’t wait to get to know them. I think that we’ve just seen two episodes so we don’t know the full potential of the show yet. I can’t wait for next Tuesday

  • cam3150

    Pretty much agreed with everything you said. The show was just ok. You know you’re older when you’re way more attracted the English teacher than the English student (hello, Mr. Matthews!). Although I do have to say, I am liking rich-boy, Ty. He totally has a touch of Tom Welling to him in the looks department.

    Besides the shout-outs to the original (I nearly got misty-eyed when Nat first appeared on the screen, to say nothing of the Kelly/Brenda reunion at the Pit), the best part for me was definitely the adults. I’m way more in to them than the teenagers. Not sure if that says something about my age or the fact that, like you TVA, the original BH,90210 is 110% responsible for my current all-consuming TV addiction. Had it not been for that show, I wouldn’t have ever watched Melrose Place. Then, that led to the short-lived Models, Inc. Eventually, I was always hanging w/ my good friends Buffy, Dawson, and Rory and, the rest, as they say….

    With my ever-crowded DVR, not sure if this one will make it to the final lineup. If not for Nat, Kelly, and Brenda being back, I would have already canceled the recordings.

  • Nicholas

    As enjoyable as it was to watch, it was the most predictable show I have ever seen. I predicted every single plot point at least 20 minutes before they happened. A good show isn’t predictable.

    I wouldn’t label 90210 as anywhere near good. Luckily for them, though, I enjoy a good cheesefest every once in a while.

  • Nick.C

    I agree with your review 100percent.I was very disappointed.
    At least we saw Joe E TaTa…