Beverly Hills 90210 recently returned (for a second time). Last time, the reboot focused on a new generation of rich Hillies with a sprinkling of a few of the original characters to boost ratings. It ran for five seasons and launched the American career of Canadian DeGrassi alumni Shenae Grimes-Beech.
2019’s BH90210 reboot is … different. Some critics have called it “meta.” It’s a drama, a comedy, and a reality show. Sort of. But in a world where “Emily Ratajkowski shows off armpit hair as she opens up about sexuality” is a headline, the rules of what constitutes entertainment have certainly gone out the window.
So how to explain this show. The reboot stars the original actors playing fake real-life versions of themselves reuniting to play the fictional characters they once played in the original show. Not confusing at all.
Some of the character/actors’ backstories are based in reality – albeit with a heavy dose of irreverence. Jenny Garth really has had three husbands. Tori Spelling really has done a lot of reality TV based on her life to support her multiple children. Gabrielle Carteris really did become an actors’ union leader – the executive vice president of SAG-AFTRA in 2012 and President in 2016. And Shannen Doherty really did have problems with her cast-mates for many years.
As for the guys, Ian Ziering really did marry a pin-up model. Brian Austen Green really does have three kids and a wife who’s been more successful in the industry. And finally, Jason Priestly really did have to fight type-casting and moved into more directing after the show ended.
But some fans aren’t thrilled with the new version. Some have taken to Twitter in angst and, in some cases, tears. (Although, you might want to remember that those who watched from its launch in 1990 would be at least in their forties now. So get a grip.) These fans prefer to immerse themselves in that 90’s feeling of twenty-somethings struggling through life with apartments, clothes, and cars no one could possibly afford on their salaries.
This show won’t do that. Instead, the current inception of the series is about celebrating growing up beyond those characters and the way the world has changed. And about cashing in on fan nostalgia. (If Roseanne could do it, so can they.)
There are also a few hidden jokes for the true fans – not unlike the Easter eggs we enjoyed at the end of the DVD’s we used to buy back when the show originally aired.
No, it doesn’t follow the norm of reboots. And why would it? 90210 was actually quite revolutionary for its time. It was a teen primetime soap with real teen stars. It also helped create the summer TV season (which was originally just four months of repeats and TV movies).
But now it’s grown up. So give BH90210: The Reboot a break. There is a place in the world for this mockumentary series even if it doesn’t exactly fit the nostalgia of our memories.