As huge fans of the original show in it’s heyday — and crazy-huge fans of almost anything Shannen “Shando” Doherty has ever appeared in, including even her craziest TV movies! — Christine and I were kind of dying to see the new and supposedly-improved version of “Beverly Hills, 90210” on the CW last night.
But after slogging through two hours of over-scored, oddly-paced dreck, all we can say is, what the hell? Or in the parlance of the CW’s far-superior teen sexfest, “Gossip Girl”, OMFG! Seriously, this “90210” sucked so bad that we actually fast-forwarded through huge chunks of the show to get to the good stuff.
And, if you watched the season premiere last night, you know that I am being extremely generous in labeling any part of it as “good stuff”. Though some of the actors were winning — the new Brenda and Brandon surrogates were both pretty decent, and the resident mean girl had her moments, but that was about it — the biggest problem with the show is that it was just plain weird.
Boring, badly written and strangely jumpy, the show jerked us around so much that I had some serious Tivo whiplash. Everything just seemed so rushed, and with no scene lasting more than two to three minutes, I actually screamed at the TV at one point: “Let those scenes breathe, baby!” I mean, honestly, if this series was not based on an older, better show, it would have never made it past the pilot stage. Yes…it’s that freaking bad.
Another key ingredient that was missing last night was the “Spelling magic”. Love him or hate him, Aaron Spelling knew how to make some damn fine guilty-pleasure TV. Sure, some of his shows crossed the line into straight-up cheese (“7th Heaven” anyone?) but for the most part, the man was a hit-making machine, whose absence was never felt more poignantly than last night.
With any semblance of nuance and character development chucked out the window with Jason Priestley’s iconic sideburns, the entire show was DOA. Seriously, even Spelling would have had a hard time saving this sinking ship.
And though the press have been running “Shando” stories left and right, our girl Brenda had like, two scenes and both of them were snoozers. Jennie Garth’s return as Kelly wasn’t much more interesting, but hell, at least she got to look kinda “teacher-hot” in some tight-ass blouses and share a mysterious phone call with someone about her young son. Was it the boy’s father? And is said father someone we know from before? Who knows…and really, who cares?
But the much-touted return of Brenda Walsh amounted to “Shando” basically eating at The Peach Pit with Kelly and then offering to babysit for her when she went on a date. Yawn-o-rama! You brought Brenda back from a glamorous life on the London stage for this?? Yikes…
The Brenda Walsh we loved was spunky, pig-headed, impulsive and crazy as all hell. And, lord in heaven, if you needed a babysitter, you’d call Andrea Zuckerman way before you’d even think of calling Brenda. I mean, really!
So, watch this slapped-together CW crapfest at your own peril, amigos. And if you want a true, old-school Brenda Walsh fix, I reccommend picking up some of the early, best seasons of “90210” on DVD.
And in the meantime…go, “Shando”!