I almost fell out of my desk when I heard the news last week about the possible Beverly Hills, 90210 spinoff that’s reportedly in development at the CW. My first reaction was utter glee—I was the girl who clung desperately to 90210 long after all of my friends in the dorms had switched over to Dawson’s Creek. I may have even pathetically tried to decorate my first apartment to look like Kelly and Donna’s beachy digs, even bidding on the scrolly table lamp from the set when the show’s props were auctioned off. (It sold, shockingly out of my $40 college-student price limit.)
My glee faltered a bit, however, when I read that creator Darren Star would not be involved—I guess he’s too busy suggesting insane furry athletic wear for Cashmere Mafia—nor would any of the original characters necessarily be involved. Details “remain sketchy.” Okay then. Given that information, I fail to see how this “spinoff” would be any different from The O. C. or Gossip Girl.
In order for the spinoff to really work, or at least for it to lure in the old, original fans like me along with new viewers, we need some connection to the original cast. And that connection should be in the form of relevant characters. I think we all remember what happened to Saved By the Bell (come on, admit it, you watched) when Zach Morris and company moved on, and we were left with an aging Mr. Belding, a borderline-To Catch a Predator Screech, and a bunch of young randoms. In the 90210 parallel universe, that would translate into a geriatric Nat holding court at the Peach Pit with, let’s face it, David Silver. (Sorry, Brian Austin Green, I know you’re all hot now, but you were totally the Screech of West Beverly High.) And maybe occasionally, Steve Sanders (AKA the A.C. Slater of 90210) would drop by for a megaburger and some sage advice?
So, how could this work? Maybe Brandon would be a cheesy congressman, representing the good people of Beverly Hills. Maybe Kelly would be a social worker/PR executive/AIDS hospice volunteer/boutique owner, who gets shot/raped/stalked/burned in a fire/afflicted with amnesia/addicted to coke and diet pills/proposed to by every third person she dates. Maybe Donna made good on that modeling career in Paris (just go ahead and click on that link. Trust me, it’s worth it) and has returned to West Beverly High to teach poise and confidence to a new generation of rich girls with learning disabilities?
The possibilities are endless. For now, my hopes remain high but guarded. This could be something really special, like when Donna Martin graduated, or it could be kind of weird and phoned-in, like when Brandon, Brenda or Dylan would send a video message of themselves (or worse, a letter) to someone’s birthday party or wedding. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Until then, I’m forced to get my 90210 fix twice daily on Soapnet, and count down the days until Emily Valentine burns down the homecoming float for the 47th time.