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September 04, 2008

The New "Beverly Hills 90210," A Lot Like The Old "Beverly Hills 90210"

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90210Updated with Corrections

***Spoilers Up Ahead***

This week's two hour premiere of the much anticipated update of "Beverly Hills 90210" did exactly what it was supposed to do.  It gave us a sentimental flashback to the old show---even keeping the theme music---while throwing us in the deep end of the new one.

Brought to us by Executive Producer Rob Thomas, of "Veronica Mars" and "Dawson's Creek" fame, the show threw enough teen angst at us to make us grab for a tube of Clearasil

There was sex, there was cheating on girlfriends, there was cheating in school, there was backstabbing, there was a "not so sweet sixteen" party and there was intramural lacrosse team hijinks.  All the things you could possibly want to remind you why you're thrilled to no longer be a teenager.

It's of course been hyped up to appeal to the Facebook generation---the rich kids are richer, the geeky kids are geekier---and there's enough soapy drama to make sure all of them are miserable.

The new Walsh family is the Wilson family.  There's Mommy Wilson, played by Lori Loughlin; Daddy Wilson, who also happens to be the new principal of West Beverly Hill High, played by Rob Estes; Daughter Annie Wilson, played by Shenae Grimes; and Adopted Black Son, Dixon Wilson, played by Tristan Wilds.  They're from Kansas---yeah that's right, just like Dorothy---and I don't think Annie and Dixon got many chances to get out much back in Tornado Alley.

Not having read much about the show before watching it, I was especially surprised by the adopted black son, Dixon.  And mercifully they didn't make him a whiz at basketball---I think I would have turned it right off if they had---he's a whiz at lacrosse.  That I can handle.

One obvious difference between this one and the old Darren Star/Charles Rosin, FOX version is the parents.  In this one, they're much hotter.  Not that the parents in the old show weren't nice and everything, but kind of like the Cunningham parents in "Happy Days," you never, ever thought of them having sex.

With these new parents, that's about all you can think of them doing.  Just to prove it, by the end of the second episode Daddy Wilson found out he has an out of wedlock kid that the bitchy mother of one of his current students gave up for adoption without his knowledge.  How's that for having sex?  I'm thinkin' the parents on this show will see nearly as much action as the teens.

There's the usual assortment of stereotyped TV students at the high school, the rich, bitchy blonde, who carries a Chanel bag and thinks school work is for losers, the ex-boyfriend of Annie who wants to ditch his hound dog ways to be a "better person" for Annie, the rich kid who takes Annie to dinner...to San Francisco...in his private jet.

The show, as promised, caught us up with the old Brenda (Shannen Doherty) and the old Kelly (Jennie Garth) and how their plastic surgeries are doing.  And no, they didn't look like they came to blows during shooting like so many tabloids have been reporting.

One character, with the fabulous name, Silver, even has a blog that she uses to wreak havoc and get revenge on those who cross her in or out of school.  Yeah for blogs and bloggers!  Turns out Silver's also Kelly's little sister.  Kelly has a four year old kid and she's now the high school guidance counselor.

Was the show any good?  Well, it was entertaining enough but I wouldn't give up a night out for it.  If I forgot to tape it, I wouldn't go into a depressive funk.  If I didn't watch it for six weeks, I wouldn't feel uncomfortable dipping in for the night and then missing it for another six weeks.

I will say the actors are pretty good, especially TV/film veteran Jessica Walter---the original Fatal Attraction---who plays ex-glamour puss actress, Grandma Tabitha Wilson.  That's right, Tabitha.  Does Clint Eastwood know what she's up to?

The new "Beverly Hills 90210" airs on Tuesdays at 8 PM on the CW.

Correction:  Originally headlined by Rob Thomas of "Veronica Mars" and "Dawson's Creek" fame, the show is currently produced by Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah of "Freaks and Geaks."  Mark Piznarski of "Gossip Girl" directed and was the executive producer of the pilot.

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