'90210: The Complete First Season'
(Tristan Wilds, Shenae Grimes, AnnaLynne McCord, Michael Steger, Jessica Stroup, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2009 / Paramount)
Overview: An edgy, contemporary spin-off of the iconic drama Beverly Hills, 90210, the new 90210 looks at life through the eyes of Annie Wilson and her brother Dixon, whose first day at West Beverly Hills High School leaves no doubt they’re not in Kansas anymore.
DVD Verdict: The Wilson family has moved from Kansas to Beverly Hills. Father Harry (Rob Estes) has taken the job of principal at West Beverly High. His wife Debbie (Lori Loughlin) is a photographer. And his kids are now students at his high school. Annie (Shenae Grimes) is thrilled about the transition since she wants to be an actress. Dixon (Tristan Wilds) is a little less excited, mainly because he doesn't want to deal with explaining the obvious adoption all over again.
The kids quickly make new friends. There's fellow actress Adrianna (Jessica Lowndes), popular girl Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord), jock Ethan (Dustin Milligan), quiet Navid (Michael Steger), and semi-Goth Silver (Jessica Stroup). Together these friends will face questions of sex, drugs, pregnancy, and interpersonal trials. Will they still be speaking tomorrow?
This season was very uneven. Some of that was due to actors and writers finding the characters and feel of the show. I was actually hooked quite quickly, partially thanks to the appearances of original series cast members Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty. In fact, Kelley's storyline is the main reason I tune in week after week. See, as the story progressed, it became obvious the story was the most important thing. Stuff that could have unfolded over several episodes was crammed into one. Character still takes a back seat to story. Part way through the season, it really lost its way. But it did recover for the final few episodes, leading up to the best two hours of the series so far in the final episodes of the 24 episode season.
Be aware this show is very modern in its topics. It is attempting to push the envelope even more than the original show did. The show is designed for older teens and adults. I must admit I will be tuning in when season two debuts, if only to find out how they resolve the cliffhanger. I hope it does improve the storytelling and characters, however, or I may tire of it quickly. [MB] This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the following Special Features:
Set Tour: West Beverly High
Set Tour: The Peach Pit
Set Tour: The Mansion
A Day In The Life of Ryan Eggold
The Music of 90210
Codes of Behavior
Fitting In: The Fashion of 90210
The Revival of a Classic: The Making of 90210