BH90210 is an American comedy-drama television series that premiered on August 7, 2019 on Fox. It is the sixth series in the Beverly Hills, 90210 franchise. Original series stars Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green and Tori Spelling return in the new series, playing themselves in a heightened version of reality that is inspired by their real lives and relationships, in which the actors deal with launching a reboot of the 1990s TV series, Beverly Hills, 90210. In November 2019, Fox canceled the series after one season.
The series focuses on the original cast members of Beverly Hills, 90210 - Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green, Tori Spelling, and Shannen Doherty - playing heightened, fictionalized versions of themselves. Having parted ways 19 years after the original series ended, they reunite to get a reboot up and running, and must reconcile their new lives with the complications of their histories together.
2.1. Cast Main
The main cast is composed of actors from the original series portraying fictionalized versions of themselves. Their fictional characters and storylines are inspired by the actors real lives.
- Gabrielle Carteris as herself: Carteris portrayed Andrea Zuckerman in the original series. In the series, Gabrielle is president of the fictional Actors Guild of America, reflecting Carteris real-life SAG-AFTRA presidency. In the series, Carteris character explores her sexuality, decades into her heterosexual marriage. Carteris hoped the storyline would add authenticity to the series and promote representation, stating, "Women come to a time in their lives where they raise their kids, theyve had their careers, their kids leave home, and theyre deciding, Am I recommitting to my relationship? Its been a great ride. Do I want to stay here? Maybe theres something else."
- Jason Priestley as himself: Priestley portrayed Brandon Walsh in the original series. According to Priestley, his fictionalized character "differs from in every way," aside from his career as a TV director. Ziering elaborated that Priestleys character only directs teen dramas, leaving him creatively dissatisfied. Priestley also described his character as "Christopher Nolan-obsessed," and wore a "WWCND" What Would Christopher Nolan Do?" bracelet while filming.
- Jennie Garth as herself: Garth portrayed Kelly Taylor in the original series and several of its spin-offs. Developing a fictional version of herself required a lot of introspection, according to Garth, ultimately creating a character "in her 40s in a multiple-marriage situation, dealing with teenage girls, dealing with Hollywood, being in the limelight again and facing all those fears that were there when she was a young girl." Ziering reiterated that Garths character would have a storied love life, reflecting Garths real-life marriages.
- Ian Ziering as himself: Ziering portrayed Steve Sanders in the original series. Zierings character on the show will be an entrepreneur. He describes the character as "much more motivating and inspiring" than Ziering is in real life, adding that he is "very well off, lives in a beautiful home, he’s got everything he really needs - so we think."
- Brian Austin Green as himself: Green portrayed David Silver on the original series. His fictionalized character is a stay-at-home dad.
- Tori Spelling as herself: Spelling portrayed Donna Martin in the original series and several spin-offs. Creating the fictional Tori character proved difficult for the writers, according to Spelling, due to the public fodder surrounding the actors personal life. The fictional Tori will have six children, whereas Spelling has five in real life. According to Ziering, Spellings character is "broke," reflecting the actors alleged financial issues, and is thus the catalyst for getting the reboot off the ground. Spellings reality television career is also satirized in the series as her familys main source of income.
- Shannen Doherty as herself: Doherty portrayed Brenda Walsh in the original series and the CW revival. Doherty did not want her fictional characterization to affirm "the prevailing public image that shes a trouble-making villain," though she is depicted as being estranged from the rest of the cast. While Doherty said "the scripted version of Shannen is extremely heightened" and "a little bit more of a hippie," the character incorporated her real-life dedication to animal activism.
2.2. Cast Guest stars
- Brad Bergeron as Matthew
- La Anthony as Shay: Brians fictional wife and a successful pop/hip-hop artist. She is the breadwinner for the family while Brian is a stay-at-home dad. She has grown accustomed to being the center of attention but remains down to earth.
- Ty Wood as Zach: A young fan who watches the original show with his mother, and who initially believes himself to be Brians alleged illegitimate son, which was subsequently disproved by DNA testing secretly ordered by Shay. At the end of the season finale, it is implied that Jason may possibly be his biological father.
- Karis Cameron as Kyler, Jennies fictional teenage daughter who wants to become an actress like her mother. Jennie also hires Kyler to co-star with her in the reboot series after finding out that she wants to follow in her footsteps. Kyler, however, was laid off from the series by executives who ordered a number of changes for the show.
- Denise Richards as herself: Richards guest starred on the original series as Robin, Kellys cousin. She appears as a heightened version of herself in the final episode of BH90210, when it is revealed shes Annas mother.
- Jenna Rosenow as Stacy: Ians fictional wife, a fitness guru whos having a secret affair behind his back.
- Brendan Penny as Wyatt Jackson, Jennies bodyguard who she hires to keep her safe.
- Ivan Sergei as Nate: Toris fictional husband and an ex-hockey player with aspirations of becoming a professional sports announcer. The Nate character was based on tabloid depictions of Spellings real-life husband, Dean McDermott, as well as public perceptions of their marriage.
- Jamie Walters as himself: Walters portrayed Ray Pruit, Donnas abusive boyfriend, in the original series. Walters retired from acting after negative fan reaction to his character damaged his career. This trajectory is satirized within the series when Tori falsely accuses him of trying to sabotage their reboot in an act of revenge.
- Natalie Sharp as Anna: A writer who gets hired by the network to be the showrunner on the reboot series. Sharp said her character "owns her power so well. Anna will snap her fingers and tell you what you should be doing and what you shouldnt be doing. She really puts people in their place."
- Vanessa Lachey as Camille: Jasons fictional wife and a high-powered publicist who desires to start a family.
- Carol Potter as herself: Potter portrayed Cindy Walsh on the original series, who now works as a licensed therapist.
- Evan Roderick as Chaz Bryant
- Christine Elise as herself: Elise recurred as Emily Valentine in the original series. According to Elise, the series takes "enormous liberties" with her characterization, including making her an executive at Fox and a lesbian, and she was adamant the story not heavily incorporate her real-life former romance with Priestley. Elise described her character as a villain with a vendetta against the main cast.
- Destiny Millns as Heather
Archive footage of the late Luke Perry as Dylan McKay was used in the first episode, with the episode itself dedicated to Perrys memory.
3.1. Production Background and development
From 2008 to 2013, a sequel series entitled 90210 aired on The CW. Jennie Garth returned in a heavily recurring role, while Tori Spelling and Shannen Doherty also made appearances and Jason Priestley directed an episode. In December 2013, Ian Ziering stated on Oprah: Where Are They Now? that he had attempted to sell a "loosely scripted" reunion special in which the original cast members appeared as themselves at a dinner party at his house, with a target airdate of September 2, 2010 to commemorate the shows numerical title; however, he failed to find a network interested in buying the project. Ziering indicated that Hulu had expressed interest in a revival series with the original cast in August 2016.
In March 2018, it was reported that Garth and Spelling had partnered with CBS Television Studios to produce a 90210 -related series in which they would play "exaggerated versions of themselves." The project came out of an initial meeting between Spelling and studio president David Stapf. That December, Garth and Spelling shopped project to several networks and streaming services, and Deadline Hollywood confirmed the return of Priestley, Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, and Brian Austin Green, as well as Mike Chessler and Chris Alberghini, who created Spellings sitcom So Notorious and also wrote on the CWs 90210. That same day, CBS Television Studios confirmed the project was still in "early development" and called it "an untraditional take on a reboot with some of the original cast." In February 2019, Deadline reported that Fox, which aired the original series, was among the outlets bidding on the series, with ABC, CBS, and CBS All Access also reportedly interested. On February 27, Fox ordered the six-episode event series, then titled 90210. Its short order reflected a shift in the companys mandate away from a traditional 22-episode order following Disneys acquisition of 20th Television, which rendered Fox as a stand-alone network. According to Spelling, the creative teams intention was to do a continuing series, but the network opted for a limited episodic order so they could expedite production for a summer debut. In April, the series was retitled BH90210.
3.2. Production Casting
Garth and Spelling, who spearheaded the project initially, were confirmed to play heightened versions of themselves on March 11, 2018. That December, Priestley, Ziering, Green, and Carteris were confirmed to have signed on, also playing fictionalized versions of themselves. On February 1, 2019, Spelling said that Luke Perry would return for "as many original show was back in the 90s." Garth and Spelling then approached the original cast about appearing, leading to months of creative conversations to flesh out the concept and develop fictionalized versions of themselves. Ziering noted that the cast left themselves "vulnerable" and open to mining their real lives for storylines. Priestley noted that while the meta show within a show premise differentiates the series from other reboots, it will still follow some traditional conventions in the current trend of reviving older shows. While the writers looked to other shows with similar concepts, such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and Episodes, as examples, Chessler considered this series more challenging because it featured an entire ensemble playing themselves rather than just one actor. The main cast remained creatively involved in the process and serve as executive producers, On May 16, Paul Sciarrotta was announced as the series showrunner, replacing Patrick Sean Smith, who left the series alongside two unnamed writers. The writers departures reportedly stemmed from disagreements with some of the actors and an executive overseeing the project.
The writing staff had one week per episode to break the story and write the script. According to Garth, writing took place concurrently with filming, which allowed for their real life experience on-set to be incorporated into the shows storylines. Initially conceived as a half-hour comedy in the vein of Curb Your Enthusiasm, the series was redeveloped into an hourlong format. Garth stated the new series would ignore the CW revival, on which she was prominently featured, as they aimed "to move away from that sort of image and go back to the original concept." Sciarrotta said the writers were conscious not to make the dialog pertaining to television production "too inside baseball." Doherty stated Perrys death would be addressed in the first episode.
3.3. Production Filming
Filming took place in Vancouver, with production dates from May 21 to July 31, 2019. Principal photography with most of the cast began on May 27, whereas Doherty began filming on June 14. Spelling later confirmed filming would wrap on August 2. Spelling noted that they worked on an abbreviated schedule, with filming taking place as scripts were still being written. Scenes taking place at the fictional West Beverly Hills High School were filmed at Vancouver Technical Secondary School. On set, the fictionalized characters were referred to by their initials to avoid confusion from the actors speaking in the third person. Costume designer Mandi Line collaborated heavily with each actor to develop their wardrobe, which included recreations of specific outfits worn on the original series.
3.4. Production Fox cancellation and potential future
Though BH90210 was advertised as an event series, Garth and Spelling had indicated that future seasons are possible. They elaborated that future episodes or seasons would "delve into actual scenes" from the show within a show. Ziering revealed that the original pitch suggested 13 episodes, the final of which would have incorporated this concept and would have taken place entirely in the world of the original series. Spelling stated they decided to end the season finale with a cliffhanger, explaining: "In our minds, writing the last episode was foreshadowing another season. Going forward, the second season would be more laser-focused on the reboot."
On November 7, 2019, it was announced that Fox had canceled the series after one season. Michael Thorn, the networks president of entertainment, stated, "To sustain something that meta and heightened in the long-term is incredibly hard. We always kind of envisioned it as an event… So we felt like to do it as a short-term event where you could just catch up with these actors that you love and do something that was wildly different was a great way to honor the legacy of the show." Carteris indicated that the series was being shopped elsewhere, Garth also stated they were working on finding a new network for the show, and added the confusion over its cancellation could help fuel future storylines. In December, Garth stated that discussions of where to take the series were still ongoing, noting that a different iteration of the show or a movie were both possibilities.
On May 8, 2019, an announcement trailer was released, depicting the cast reuniting for a table read of the first script. TVLine called the teaser "nostalgia-drenched."
On May 13, the official trailer premiered at the Fox network upfronts presentation, showcasing the actors themselves going about their daily lives, with Doherty practicing yoga, Spelling making coffee, Garth blow-drying her hair, and more - as the beloved theme song comes back into their lives in unexpected ways. On May 16, Fox reported that the trailer had amassed 18 million views and 140.818 shares across social media platforms in under 69 hours, making it the most-watched and most-shared trailer among all new series for the 2019-20 broadcast television season.
On June 6, another promo was released, depicting the cast playing with authentic dolls modeled after their characters.
On July 11, the first trailer featuring footage from the series was released.
From August 1 to August 3, Fox and PopSugar opened a pop-up restaurant in Los Angeles, modeled after the Peach Pit diner from the original series. Due to high demand, the pop-up was extended through the end of September 2019.
5.1. Reception Critical response
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 69% based on 32 reviews, with an average rating of 6.61/10. The websites critical consensus reads, "Though BH90210 s strange take on the "reboot" doesnt always hit its mark, it still proves an endearingly wild trip thanks to its committed casts continued chemistry." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Several critics were given the first two episodes to review. Kristen Baldwin of Entertainment Weekly gave the series a B grade in her review, calling "a poignant and funny meditation on midlife mortality. She also complimented Garths performance, noting she delivered "comedic asides with unexpected precision." Uproxx s Kimberly Ricci thought the series "presents an interesting and refreshing perspective because it kind of hates itself," and praised the performances for their "self-mockery." Judy Berman of Time gave a positive review and praised the series novel premise, dubbing it "the audiovisual equivalent of a beach read that’s smarter than it needs to be." Anne Easton of Forbes gave the episodes a favorable review, complimenting the "witty, quippy, and snarky" writing and opining that Spelling "matured in her thespian abilities, showing more range in both her comedic, and, well, intentional overdramatic moments." Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker called the series "just smart enough to feel clever, just silly enough to feel relaxing, a guilty pleasure by design," and praised the performances, particularly that of Carteris, whom Nussbaum identified as a breakout and called "oddly affecting." While Gwen Inhat of The A.V. Club addressed the unevenness of the storylines, she felt the six episodes "somehow aim at your nostalgia pleasure centers," and anticipated the series could have strong binge-watching potential. In his review for The Hollywood Reporter, Daniel Fienberg criticized the "flimsy" executive of the shows premise and the disjointed performances of the cast overall, although he highlighted Garth and Spellings comedic chemistry, as well as Carteris and Greens performances. Though Willa Paskin of Slate gave the series an "A for effort," she criticized its "try-hard playfulness" and called it "not funny or smart" despite its clever premise. TVLine s Andy Swift was more negative in his review, criticizing the low stakes of the storylines and opining the series "lacks the dramatic intrigue of the original series, but with scripts largely devoid of humor, it doesn’t quite work as a comedy, either." Matthew Gilbert of the Boston Globe felt that the series would be stronger as a half-hour sitcom, and criticized the storylines as "fairly dumb," opining that, "there was little to entice those who tuned in for the premiere, to get a glimpse at everyone, to return for more."
5.2. Reception Ratings
Upon its initial broadcast, the premiere episode drew 3.86 million viewers and scored a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic, making it the second-most watched broadcast of the night, as well as the Fox networks most watched non-sports program of the summer. The premiere was also the summers most-watched program, more than doubling the ratings of its closet competition, Grand Hotel on ABC.
Subsequent episodes experienced ratings declines, with TV Line reporting that by the fifth episode, the series was performing at 50 percent of its premiere ratings. Overall, BH90210 showed the biggest decline in ratings of all shows airing in the summer season.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, each episodes ratings tended to grow by about 75 percent, in both its demographic and overall viewership, after three days of delayed viewing, which Fox reportedly focuses on instead of live viewings.