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06/07/2018    

06/07

Beverly Hills, 90210

Beverly Hills, 90210 is an American teen drama television series created by Darren Star and produced by Aaron Spelling under his production company Spelling Television. The series ran for ten seasons on Fox--originally airing from October 4, 1990, to May 17, 2000. This, the longest-running show produced by Spelling, aired slightly longer than Dynasty. It is the first of five television series in the Beverly Hills, 90210 franchise and follows the lives of a group of friends living in the upscale and star-studded community of Beverly Hills, California as they transition from high school to college and into the adult world. The "90210" in the title refers to one of the city's five ZIP codes.

The initial premise of the show was based on the adjustment and culture shock that twins Brandon (Jason Priestley) and Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) experienced when they and their parents, Jim (James Eckhouse) and Cindy (Carol Potter) moved from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Beverly Hills. In addition to chronicling the characters' friendships and romantic relationships, the show addressed numerous of topical issues such as sex, date rape, homophobia, animal rights, alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, eating disorders, antisemitism, racism, teenage suicide, teenage pregnancy, and AIDS.

After a poor start in the ratings during its first season, the series gained popularity during the summer of 1991, when Fox aired a special "summer season" of the show while most other series were in reruns. Viewership increased dramatically, and 90210 became one of Fox's top shows when it returned that fall. The show became a global pop culture phenomenon with its cast members, particularly Jason Priestley and Luke Perry, who became teen idols; the series also made actresses Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, and Tori Spelling household names in the US. The show is credited with creating or popularizing the teen soap genre that many other successful television shows followed in the years to come.

The show had many cast changes; Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, Ian Ziering, and Brian Austin Green were the only actors to appear during its entire run and appeared on the first episode of Melrose Place.

Series overview

The series begins with the introduction of the Walsh family--Jim, Cindy, Brandon, and Brenda--who have recently moved from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Beverly Hills, California as a result of Jim's job promotion. In the first episode, Brandon and Brenda begin attending West Beverly Hills High School, where they befriend several classmates: the self-centered and promiscuous Kelly Taylor, carefree and spoiled Steve Sanders, smart and driven Andrea Zuckerman, ditzy and virtuous Donna Martin, brooding loner Dylan McKay, and younger and naive students David Silver and Scott Scanlon. The show follows the siblings as they bear witness and take part in the dramatic lives that their wealthy and privileged peers lead.

Development

Torand Productions was used by the production company for several seasons on the show. "Torand" is derived from the first several letters of Aaron Spelling's first and second children, Tori and Randy.

Tentative titles for the show included Class of Beverly Hills. The show's episodes were originally issue-based until the producers decided it should become a teen soap opera. In the first season, the teenage characters (aside from David Silver and Scott Scanlon) were said to be in the eleventh grade, but due to the success of the show, their ages were retconned to be one year younger in the second season, making them tenth graders in the first.

Jennie Garth had to audition fives times for the role of Kelly Taylor and was the first to be cast on the show. Gabrielle Carteris felt that she was too old to play a high school student. She first auditioned for Brenda because she thought that being a real life twin would help her chances, but the producers felt that she would be better for the part of Andrea.

When Tori Spelling (Aaron Spelling's daughter) auditioned for the show, she used the name Tori Mitchell and auditioned for the role of Kelly Taylor, but she was eventually recognized and was instead cast as Donna Martin. Lyman Ward was originally cast as Jim Walsh in the pilot but was replaced by James Eckhouse, and Ward's scenes were cut and re-shot with Eckhouse.

Kristin Dattilo was also up for the role of Brenda Walsh, but she turned it down. She later guest starred as Melissa Coolidge in an episode of the first season.

Additionally, Luke Perry had auditioned for the role of Steve Sanders, but the role eventually went to Ian Ziering before Perry was cast as Dylan McKay. Perry's character was not an original cast member of the show, and he was first featured in the show's second episode. He was originally intended to only appear in one story arc, for one or two episodes. Fox was initially reluctant to have him included as a regular, but Aaron Spelling felt differently and gave Perry a bigger role during the first two years until the network was won over.

In the first season, when Donna tries out for school D.J., she is referred to as Donna Morgan. Throughout the rest of the show, her name is Donna Martin.

In addition, in the first season Donna's mother was named Nancy Martin and played by actress Jordana Capra. When she was reintroduced in season two, she was named Felice Martin and was played by actress Katherine Cannon.

In the pilot episode, the role of Jackie Taylor was first played by Pamela Galloway and then by Ann Gillespie for the rest of the series. Terence Ford and Arthur Brooks portrayed Dylan's father, Jack McKay, in two episodes before Josh Taylor assumed the role.

Filming

The series was produced in Van Nuys. During the 10 years the series was in production it was filmed in a warehouse complex in Van Nuys, the interiors of the series as well as the exteriors of the Peach Pit parking lot and P.P.A.D. club entrance were all located off the 15000 block of Calvert Street. An unmarked gated studio entrance now stands at this address, but the exterior brick facing of the P.P.A.D. is still visible down the alley, on the side of the building.

The studio building complex has since been the home to various projects including the 2006 CBS series Jericho, which guest starred James Eckhouse in one episode. Until February 2010, the CW series Melrose Place was also produced at the original 90210 Calvert studios. Post-production services for Beverly Hills, 90210 were provided by LaserPacific for all seasons.

Many changes were made after the pilot episode. The producers first used a location that was used only once during the pilot episode for the Walsh house, that was located in a gated community of Brentwood. After the pilot episode the Walsh house was moved to Altadena, California. The house used for Dylan's home in the show is located in the same Altadena neighborhood.

Three different locations were used for the frontage of The Peach Pit during the show's ten-year history. The original location, on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, was only used in first few episodes of season one then was changed to a different location for the rest of that season. When the Peach Pit was fictionally remodeled during season two, the producers used Rose City Diner in Pasadena to film the exterior of the gang's hangout, and it remained the same throughout the rest of the show's run.

Most of the filming during the second season of the summer season at the Beverly Hills Beach Club took place in Santa Monica, at the old Sand and Sea Beach Club. The beach club used in the show was the very same beach club that was used during one summer season of Saved by the Bell.

There are three ZIP codes in Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills High School actually lies within ZIP code 90212, and the most affluent homes lie within the mostly residential 90210. However, the characters attended the completely fictitious West Beverly High School, which could have been located in any ZIP code.

The filming location for West Beverly High School was in the middle class community of Torrance at Torrance High School, located in the 90501 zip code. Torrance High can also be seen in other shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

When the 90210 characters began attending the then-fictitious California University in the show's fourth season, the scenes around campus were actually filmed at Occidental College in Eagle Rock. Kelly and Donna's beach house used in the show is located in Hermosa Beach. The Golden Oak Ranch, outside Santa Clarita, was also used for filming.

Broadcast

Beverly Hills, 90210 originally aired from October 4, 1990 to May 17, 2000 on Fox in the United States.

The show aired Thursday at 9:00 pm for the first two seasons and Wednesday at 8:00 pm (Pacific)/7:00 pm (Central and Eastern) for the rest of its run.

Prior to the premiere of Beverly Hills, 90210, Glory Days was airing on Thursdays at 9:00 pm. After the show had moved to Wednesday, where Fox did not have regular programming, The Heights took over the timeslot. After Beverly Hills, 90210 left the air in 2000, it was replaced by Malcolm in the Middle and Normal, Ohio.

Seasons 2 and 3 featured all new summer episodes that aired during July and August before the regular fall episodes started in September. At the beginning of the third season, in July and August 1992, all new summer episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210 were playing during the series new time slot of Wednesdays at 8pm but viewers could see repeats from Beverly Hills, 90210's first season in the original time slot of Thursdays at 9pm. The Fox Network was heavily promoting the new time slot so viewers could find the show. The seventh season started earlier than usual because of the 1996 Olympics and the MLB Playoffs on FOX during the month of October.

Later SoapNet aired reruns of the show seven days a week until 2013. The syndicated episodes featured the show's original music, unlike the DVD and Hulu releases. In 2015, Pop aired reruns of the show with two back-to-back episodes until the show was removed from the network in 2017. The syndicated episodes that are featured on this network however, do not use the show's original music with the content mostly taken from the DVD releases.

Specials

A number of specials were produced during and after the show's run.

90210: Behind the Zip Code was a direct-to-video documentary released on VHS on September 18, 1992.

Beverly Hills, 90210: Behind the Scenes was a May 26, 1993 special hosted by Katie Wagner that aired after the third-season finale. It featured interviews with cast members, and was included in the VHS release of "Graduation" from 1993 and is also available on 2013 Complete Box Set of Beverly Hills, 90210.

Beverly Hills, 90210: A Christmas Special was a December 19, 1994 special in which fifth-season cast members discuss what their plans for their Christmas holiday would include.

The Best Moments of Beverly Hills, 90210 was a January 24, 1996 retrospective of the first five and a half seasons hosted by Tori Spelling.

Beverly Hills, 90210: Our Favorite Moments was an October 14, 1998 retrospective of the first eight seasons hosted by Ian Ziering.

Beverly Hills, 90210: The Final Goodbye was a May 10, 2000 retrospective of the series and its finale. It's also available on The Final Season DVD Release (Season 10) and is available on the 2013 Complete Box Set of Beverly Hills, 90210.

Beverly Hills, 90210: 10 Year High School Reunion was a retrospective of the series broadcast on May 11, 2003. Set in a mockup of the Walsh family living room, it featured all of the primary cast members that were on the show in May 1993, and was the first reunion of Shannen Doherty with her former cast mates in nine years. This reunion is available on the 2013 Complete Box Set of Beverly Hills, 90210. with Shannen Doherty, Gabrielle Carteris, Jason Priestley, Ian Ziering, Luke Perry, Jennie Garth, Carol Potter, James Eckhouse and Joe E. Tata.

Beverly Hills, 90210: Fox 25th Anniversary Special was an April 22, 2012 retrospective of TV shows that aired on Fox. It ran for an hour and 35 minutes and there was a 3-minute 15 second segment on Beverly Hills, 90210 with interviews from Shannen Doherty, Gabrielle Carteris, Jason Priestley, and Ian Ziering. This special hasn't been released on DVD.

International

Various networks around the world subsequently aired Beverly Hills, 90210.

  • Australia: aired on Network Ten, Eleven, Fox8 and their now ceased Fox Kids.
  • Argentina: aired on Sony Entertainment Television (Latin America)
  • Belgium (Flanders): aired on VTM.
  • Brazil: on TV Globo Network and Animax (there know as Barrados no Baile).
  • Canada: the show's later seasons aired on Global. It was also shown on TVA (in French) and aired in syndication on TVtropolis.
  • Croatia: on Croatian Radiotelevision.
  • Denmark: on TV2, currently airing on TV2 Zulu.
  • France: on TF1 and later TF6 and AB1
  • Finland: on MTV 3 (later named MTV).
  • Germany: on RTL Television.
  • Greece: on Mega Channel.
  • Indonesia: aired on RCTI and has also aired on Indosiar from August 1993 to December 2000.
  • Ireland: on RTÉ Two.
  • Israel: on Hot 3.
  • Italy: reruns aired on It! Italia Teen Television, Rai 4, SkyUno and Italia Uno.
  • Latin America: on Sony Entertainment Television.
  • Macedonia: on Macedonian Radio Television.
  • Malaysia: on 8TV.
  • Mexico: on Televisa.
  • Netherlands: on RTL and Veronica.
  • Philippines: on ABS-CBN from 1991 to 1996, then on Studio 23 from 1996 to 2000.
  • Poland: on TVP1 from 1994 to 1998; later on TVN reruns on Polsat, TV4; currently (as of spring of 2014) CBS Drama
  • Portugal: on RTP1 from 1992 to 1997 with later reruns on RTP2
  • Romania: on TVR1, Pro TV
  • Russia: on CTC, NTV (Russia)
  • Serbia: on Radio Television of Serbia
  • Slovenia: on POP TV
  • Spain: on Tele 5.
  • Turkey: first on Interstar (later named Star), then on Kanal D, then on Show TV and finally on Cine 5.
  • United Kingdom: ITV showed the first two seasons until the satellite channel Sky 1 acquired the rights for the rest of its run from Seasons 3-9; Season 10 was later shown. Five later acquired the repeat rights of Seasons 1-4. Currently it is being show on CBS Drama.

U.S. ratings

After poor ratings in the first season, the episodes' average ratings per season increased, constantly maintained above 11% from season two until season five, despite Shannen Doherty's departure at the end of season four. From season six until the end of the series the average rating gradually decreased, and the final blow to the show was the early ninth season's departures of Jason Priestley and Tiffani Thiessen (both season peaks at 8.1%). Since then no episode reached 8% again in ratings until the series finale, despite Luke Perry's return, with average ratings falling to 6.9% in season nine and 5.9% in the last season. During the entire series, the episodes with the highest ratings peaked at 14.1%, and included the closing episodes of seasons two and three, and the opening episode of season five.

  • Debut: Class of Beverly Hills - 7.2 rating
  • Series Finale: 16.8 million viewers; 9.6 rating (8-10pm)
  • Specials:
    • Final Goodbye (6.8 rating)
    • 10-Year High School Reunion (7 million viewers, 4.5 rating) (repeat on August 7, 2003: 3.3 million; 2.1 rating)

Series finale

Ratings for the tenth season declined to an average of 10 million viewers per episode (according to a May 2000 issue of Us Weekly). The ratings were small compared to previous seasons. The lower ratings, along with the high costs associated with any television show in its later seasons, led Fox to end the series in January 2000. Though there were many cast changes, over 25 million people tuned in to watch the final episode, which aired in May 2000. All of the original younger cast, excluding Shannen Doherty and Douglas Emerson, appeared in the series finale. Tiffani Thiessen also returned in the series finale.

Impact

Entertainment Weekly named the show #20 on its list of top 100 TV shows in the past 25 years. The magazine also named the theme song #15 on its list of top 25 TV theme songs in the past 25 years, and the "90210 Sideburns" #50 on its list of Pop Culture Moments that Rocked Fashion. The show was named one of the Best School Shows of All Time by AOL TV.

In February 1992, at the height of the show's popularity, the there main stars, Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty and Luke Perry, were featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. Read the article and see the cover.

Parodies

The rap duo Insane Clown Posse released an EP titled Beverly Kills 50187 which featured a song titled "Beverly Kills" describing member Violent J killing the series' characters for being rich and prejudiced toward the "lower class".

The short-lived The Ben Stiller Show did a parody of this show, The Heights and Melrose Place called Melrose Heights 90210-2420 that portrayed the cast as superficial, self-absorbed, and self-pitying, as well as introducing each of the stereotypical cast along with "Akeem, the black guy". A typical episode's "issue" was a character getting a headache, which affected all the other characters. Each episode would end the same upbeat song (resembling The Heights hit single "How Do You Talk to an Angel") performed by the whole cast with new lyrics for each episode.

A cutaway gag in an episode of Family Guy parodied the fact that a number of the show's cast members were in their mid-to-late 20s and not teenagers. In the gag, Andrea is portrayed as a senile elderly woman.

When Jason Priestley guest-hosted Saturday Night Live in 1992, one of that episode's sketches, which parodied Beverly Hills 90210 involved that town's zip code being changed to 90218 due to the 1990 Census redistricting. Several of the characters take offense to the fact that Beverly Hills will be absorbed into poorer communities and convene at the Peach Pit, where a Hispanic busboy expresses pride that his native community of Reseda now shares the same zip code as the 90210 cast. The gang lashes out in different ways, with Dylan getting drunk and Donna and Kelly going impulse shopping. Priestley, in his role of Brandon, confiscates all their keys and puts them in a lockbox and gives them a tag to reclaim them when they regain self-control. The sketch ends with the zip code "Beverly Hills, 90210" retained as their rich and powerful parents lobbied the US government not to redistrict.

The Fox sketch show The Edge did a parody of 90210 that mocked Tori Spelling. During the sketch, the character of Tori constantly says, "I can do whatever I want because this is my Daddy's show." Aaron Spelling took offense to this, and asked for an apology from the producers of the show. Saturday Night Live also did a Tori Spelling parody as well, where Melanie Hutsell spoofed Spelling, which was met with less protest.

The Mickey Mouse Club did a parody sketch called Beverly Hillbillies 90210, combining the characters of both 90210 and The Beverly Hillbillies. In 1999, Christina Aguilera from the Mickey Mouse Club made a cameo performance on Beverly Hills 90210 as herself performing at the PPAD for David Silver's surprise birthday party, season 10 episode 2: "Let's Eat Cake". Music from former MMC members Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez of 'N Sync also was originally used during several opening title sequences during the mid-to-late seasons of 90210.

MADtv made its own parodies of the show as Beverly Hills, 90210 B.C. set in prehistoric Beverly Hills. When Luke Perry made his high-profile return to the series, MADtv did a second parody entitled Beverly Hills 9021-H20 which had the characters being stalked and killed off by Luke Perry (Pat Kilbane), who had rejoined the cast as a masked killer who was a parody of Michael Myers of the Halloween film series.

The Czech TV Nova parody show Tele Tele made parody of the show known as Heverly Debils. Three mini-episodes (about 10 minutes each) were filmed.

GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan released a song called "Killah Hills 10304", a reference to the show's title in a song about crime and a rough neighborhood.

A VH1 promo for I Love the 90s featured Hal Sparks and Michael Ian Black sitting in the Peach Pit, with Beverly Hills, 90210's theme music playing. Joe E. Tata also appears in the promo as Nat.

In 2009, The Simpsons aired an episode called "Waverly Hills, 9-0-2-1-D'oh", which features Lisa wanting to go to a better school and finding it in the very posh town of Waverly Hills.

On the 9th season of RuPaul's Drag Race, the contestants acted in a parody of the show, called "Beverly Hills, 9021-HO". The episode was guest judged by Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling.

Models Inc

Models Inc., a series about the personal and professional struggles of several young models, spin-off from Melrose Place. The series was introduced via the characters Hillary Michaels, the mother of Melrose Place's Amanda Woodward, and model Sarah Owens--both of whom had appeared in a multi-episode run on MP. In addition to his role in Melrose Place, Jake Hanson was the only character to appear in both Beverly Hills, 90210 and Models Inc.

90210

A third spin-off premiered in on The CW Network on September 2, 2008, focusing on a family from Kansas who move to Beverly Hills when the children's grandmother suffers from alcohol addiction.

In guest appearances, Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty and Tori Spelling reprised their roles as Kelly Taylor, Brenda Walsh and Donna Martin, respectively. Joe E. Tata also reprised his role as Nat, owner of the Peach Pit, diner turned coffee house, for a couple of episodes at the beginning of the show's first season.

The show was canceled by The CW on February 28, 2013, putting an end to the 90210 franchise. The show ran for five seasons.

Melrose Place (2009)

A fifth series was officially picked up by The CW on May 21, 2009. The show is an updated version of Melrose Place, featuring a group of young adults living in a West Hollywood apartment complex. Smallville producers Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer wrote the pilot script and became the executive producers on the series. The series was canceled on May 20, 2010.

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