It’s strangely telling that as the quality of the Beverly Hills 90210 revival BH90210 remains consistent, and in fact gets better with every subsequent episode, viewer apathy seems to be on the rise with at least a 32 % decline in viewers from the week before. Which leads this befuddled prognosticator of all things pop culture to bemusedly scream from the rooftops of West Beverly High, “World, what is wrong with you, fo’ reals?”
While the meta aspect of the show revival might be scaring off some of the more die-hard purist fans of Beverly Hills 90210 who may have been hoping for a more straightforward and traditional reunion of the original cast, this jaded television watcher has to ask when the last good reunion/revival of a beloved show hit it on all cylinders and knocked it out of the park the way BH90210 has consistently done for four weeks running? Sci-Fi Channel’s new coat of paint slapped on their version of Battlestar Galactica? Showtime’s exhumation of Lynch’s Twin Peaks? These are good examples of a revival or reboot done correctly, with just enough fan reverence thrown in to excite many of the enthusists of the original shows. Heck, I’d even throw in another Fox revival – the belated season 10 of Chris Carter’s The X-Files – for good measure. But for every one of these “reimaginings” done right, there are a million and one that should have just quit while they were ahead: Growing Pains: The Return of the Seavers, A Very Brady Christmas, Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis and Return of the Beverly Hillbillies are just a few in a long line of ill-conceived television reunions that should have called in sick and stayed in bed.
Which brings us to the newest installment of the best television show on network or streaming at the moment, BH90210: Entitled The Table Read, this episode posits the character of Brian Austin Green as the father to his new assistant, Zach. It’s the opposite of the Darth Vader reveal as Luke’s father in Empire Strikes Back in that anyone not living under a rock saw this one coming from a mile away. Still, it’s delightfully jarring to this viewer to see Steve Sanders’ former hanger-on and all around punching bag as…well, potent. To quote Vince Vaughn, “Our little baby’s all grows up!”
And speaking of the irascible Steve Sanders, A.K.A. Ian Ziering, the former star of Tyrannosaurs Azteca managed to sneak in an under the table assist to the new head writer for the pilot episode of the fictional Beverly Hills 90210 revival, thus leveraging and increasing his own screen time for the impending revival. It needs to be said before this review and your life can continue: BH90210 has confirmed for this writer at least what a national treasure Ian Ziering is and if I had my druthers the man and his always awesome ‘fro would duly replace – or at least work harmoniously alongside – the packs of Leo’s and Joaquin’s that count as Hollywood’s Movers and Shakers: One man’s opinion, people; one man’s opinion.
The big mystery presented in this preantepenultimate (say it ten times fast, kiddies) episode is the destruction of the beloved Peach Pit set by an unknown arsonist who leaves behind a compelling calling card: a spray painted message on the stage door that exclaims “STOP ACTING LIKE I’M NOT EVEN HERE.” The message seems to point to a disgruntled former actor of Beverly Hills 90210 who, as of yet, has not been invited back for the reunion show. Seeing as how all of the surviving principals are back for this reunion within a reunion, who does this leave us with? I’m going to go all in with my fanboy theory of Hilary Swank, who played the love interest of Ian Ziering in the eighth season of the show. Two Oscars cannot drown the sorrow of being written out as the paramour of good ol’ Steve Sanders.
Gabrielle Carteris has been quietly stealing the show week in and week out and she was in fine form in last night’s bacchanal as she discovered a love connection with none other than the Woman Who Was Emily Valentine, Christine Elise. I enjoy this narrative, but the ever-present geek within me is still hoping that in the fictional reunion show Andrea Zuckerman and Brandon Walsh correct a longstanding television injustice and finally – for the love of Pete – consummate their platonic relationship.
Meanwhile, Jennie Garth continues her dalliance with Wyatt who may or not be the arsonist and slasher of tires while Shannen Doherty makes nice with her former rival and, in a clever game of one-upmanship, negotiates a salary twice that of what her fellow actors are getting for returning to Beverly Hills. Karmic justice from 1994 comes ‘a knockin’!
In all seriousness folks, I cannot emphasize this enough: BH90210 is as nearly perfect of a television show as I’ve seen on a major network in some time and is worthy of every accolade and rating high as I can possibly conceive. Do yourself a favor and tune in next week if you haven’t already been and find out why ye olde reviewer is practically apoplectic in his praise of this little gem. Viva la BH90210!