Review: Fox's reboot of "Beverly Hills 90210" is lazy television at its finest
Courtesy of Fox
The cast from West Beverly High is back! But hold that applause as the only excitement that the new "Beverly Hills 90210" generates is from its iconic theme song.
Under the auspices of the cast getting together for a 30-year reunion convention, nearly the entire original cast of high schoolers is back (sans the recently deceased Luke Perry) in a “reality”/mockumentary limited series featuring each actor playing more heightened versions of their real-life selves. Think “Real Wives of Beverly Hills” meets “Cobra Kai”...minus any karate. Tori Spelling is married with six children, struggling with a loser husband, and dealing with a recently canceled reality show; Jennie Garth is facing a third divorce; and Brian Austin Green is busy as a stay-at-home-dad. Like their real-life counterparts, all are struggling to escape the shadow of the 90’s hit series.
Clearly, Fox saw the thirst for nostalgia and modest success that other 80’s and 90’s favorites have had ("Dynasty" and "Will & Grace" included) and thought they could echo that success, but its attempt to hop on-board the reboot train results in a very bumpy and uncomfortable ride. The cast has clearly aged with some owning it (Jason Priestley as evidenced by the heavy bags under his eyes) and others looking like Frankenstein versions of their old self (Tori Spelling). As the oldest cast member and one who always appeared much older than her high school chums, it’s nice to see Gabrielle Carteris finally looking her age. Jokes about having to sit in coach (“what’s coach?” Spelling asks) and “plot” points about exploring one’s sexuality and the cast getting arrested are designed to elicit laughs and a shock factor but instead generate audible groans.
Perry’s absence is sorely felt and generally used throughout the pilot only to bring heart to a series that otherwise fails to elicits any other type of emotion. Perhaps he was the smartest in not signing up for the reboot prior to his death (or perhaps the only one successful in moving past 90210) as he may ultimately be the only person who comes out of this debacle unscathed. If anything, he will be missed even more.
In the pilot “script” cast members ask themselves what life would be like had they not done the original series, but it’s not the original series they need to question themselves about, but this monstrosity instead.
Do yourself a favor and stick with the original.
The six-episode series premieres Wednesday, August 7 at 9 p.m. on Fox.
About writer: Mark Eaton
Mark is an entertainment junkie, spending much of his leisure time watching movies, TV, or listening to any and all genres of music. Most evenings, after finishing a day of work and hanging with his wife and kids, Mark can be found in an eternal battle with his DVR, trying to clear it before another 5-6 hours of shows are recorded the next day.With a past career in the publishing industry, working with libraries and K12 and academic institutions, one would think that Mark adopted a greater love of reading books, however if it isn’t the newspaper, entertainment industry magazines (Variety and Entertainment Weekly are his favorites), or perusing websites such as Deadline, THR, and Cinemablend, it doesn’t readily exist in Mark’s universe.Favorite Films: Goodfellas, Glengarry Glen Ross, Cocktail, Top Gun, Dazed and Confused, The Breakfast Club, Austin Powers, Airplane