90210: The First Season (2008)

Genre(s): Drama
Paramount || NR - 960 minutes - $49.99 || August 11, 2009
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-08-02


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Darren Star (created by)
Cast: Rob Estes, Shenae Grimes, Tristan Wilds, Jessica Stroup, Lori Loughlin, Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Episode Commentaries
  • 6 Featurettes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese

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.::THE FILM::.

What do you do when you launch a brand new television network (The CW) and the show you thought would be a massive ratings hit ("Gossip Girl") just didn't do it for you? You go back and steal some other networks idea. Ok, so maybe that's a bit too harsh, but after many long nights of "Hmm... what teen drama could we do that would be a hit for us like ‘90210’ was for Fox? Hmmm" they came to a decision - let's just remake the show! And that's exactly what (sorta) happened.

After CW canceled the darling gem "Veronica Mars" because of low ratings (ironic now since The CW would kill for those ratings on any of their shows) they commissioned teen drama genius Rob Thomas to re-imagine the show with all-new characters as well as a mix of returning favorites. The plan was simple - give us a show that is similar enough to the original show but spice it up a bit with fresh new characters and lots of diversity 'case we are the hit network for young women. CW's wish was granted and Rob Thomas penned the pilot for 90210 – which re-introduced many of us older folks to West Beverley High as well as all the newcomers who still have no idea about the original show which lasted a decade on Fox.

With a little history of the creation of the show let's get down to the nitty-gritty: is this show as good as the original? Tough to say. The original has certainly not aged well, but many people remember it pretty fondly. But the problem is the first season of the original was pretty damn bad. It had cheesy dialog, characters we didn't really care for, and while being edgy at the time just didn't really gel well. Corrections were made the following few seasons and it became a delicious soap opera we could tune in to at anytime and get a splash of drama in our face. The CW certainly tried to one-up that, but failed week after week.

But how could they happen? They had the perfect formula! Sadly, this falls upon Rob Thomas' pilot which makes some of the characters almost too cartoony. Alright, I'm done. Let's actually go to discussing the first season...

Plot: After leaving the famous zip years ago, Harry Wilson (Rob Estes; not to be confused with his character on "Melrose Place") returns with his wife Debbie (Lori Loughlin; does she ever age?) and two kids - young and happy Annie (Shenae Grimes) and adopted African American son Dixon (Tristan Wilds). But why would he ever dream of packing up and leaving Kansas? To take care of his wild, alcoholic actress mother Tabitha (Jessica Walter).

The first few episodes of “90210” are a bit strange as the show tries to find its footing. Within minutes of walking onto her new campus Annie witness her soon-to-be boyfriend Ethan (Dustin Milligan) getting a blow job (not kidding) in his car by a strange women and when they later meet, finds out that women was not his girlfriend but some random chick. Uh-oh. And it gets even weirder - Ethan and Annie know each other from a few years ago when Annie would come visit during the summer.

When it's all said and done within the first half of the season we meet our core characters which include an eventual girlfriend and later turn crazy bitch Silver (Jessica Stroup), Ethans on again/off again girlfriend Naomi (AnnaLynn McCord), druggy Adrianna (Jessica Lownes), hip-young teacher Mr. Ryan Matthews (Ryan Eggold) and returning from her years on the original “90210” reprising her role Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth).

But things eventually get better... while the first half is filled with Annie trying to join a school musical (if I have to hear 'mother who bore me..." again I will kill someone) and Dixon tries to fit in with a prominently white school the second half of the season turns on the OMG. With a new show runner on board the show takes its turn trying to get a bit more juicy with a character getting pregnant, one going absolutely crazy, the introduction of new character to be the 'Luke Perry' of the show, car races, drugs, sex....you name it, the second half of the season has it. But with that comes the acting...which is downright pathetic. Shenae Grimes may look cute, but she has no idea how to deliver the line. The last episode of the season has throwing a fit with some of the worth acting I have ever seen on The CW - and I've seen a long. Tristan is no expert either (yet was great on The Wire) so the show pretty much falls upon the backs of the adults and Jessica's (Stroup/Lownes). They are the reason to watch the show.

As a fun side note - you can make a great drinking game out of this show. Anytime you see the Dr. Pepper logo you take a shot from your glass. By the time the series end you would have seen the Dr. Pepper logo well over a hundred times. In some cases, the logo is seen a dozen times in a single scene.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary on Select Episodes: “Hollywood Forever” & “Off the Rails”

Set Tours - West Beverley High, Peach Pit, The Mansion (20 Minutes) - The guys of the show take us on a tour of several locations. The High School is the best with them joking around with the rotten Sushi.

The Music of “90210” (14 Minutes) - A look at the influence the show had on music (Like Carolina Liar... heard that song a million times already because of them).

A Day in the Life of Ryan Eggold (11 Minutes) - Girls seem to find him really cute so if you want to watch him shave and take his shirt off... well, watch this!!

Reviving the Classic (14 Minutes) features interviews with most of the cast and crew describing how they got their part on the show and how great the original was. Clearly this was shot before several people were fired from the show...

Codes of Behavior (5 Minutes) - One of the Jessica's talks about how to be 'hip' in Beverley Hills. Aside from her looking super hot, this is filled with clips from the show.

Fitting In: The Fashion of “90210” (9 minutes) - A trip into the wardrobe closet with one of the other Jessica's...like the one before, clips from the show and discussions on how the clothes evolved when the characters did.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

“90210: The First Season” is presented in 1.78:1 with all 23 episodes spread across 6 DVDs. As one might expect, the picture quality is pretty nice since the show literally just aired. Really bummed Paramount didn't just release this on Blu-ray to try and capture the young audience since the show did air in HD.

Paramount has included an English 5.1 Dolby Digital Track for this release. Dialog is kept in the front speakers while very limited sound comes from the rears. While I always love the option of 5.1 on shows I really wish they would take advantage of it a bit more.



.::OVERALL::.

If you enjoyed the original you really should give this show a shot - not only does it bring back several characters from the original (Donna, Kelly, Brenda) but it really tries to recapture some of the magic that made the original so juicy.