DVD Review: Beverly Hills, 90210 – The Second Season
By Patrick Luce May 6, 2007, 18:39 GMT
Before The OC and Laguna Beach, there was BEVERLY HILLS 90210. ...more
The gang with the most famous zip code in the world is back for a second season. This time the teen drama makes sure to touch on all the hot topics – including teen pregnancy, race issues, addictions, gun control, sex education and teen rebellion. Of course, we also get to continue to follow the relationships that started in season one and see just how hard high school is for a bunch of spoil rich kids.
The DVD eight-disc set includes all 28 episodes from the 1991-1992 season, and some decent special features that fans of the series will enjoy. Some of the season’s music has been changed.
Fans of the hit 90’s series will no doubt rejoice that they can continue to follow the adventures of twins Brandon and Brenda and their group of friends – including bad boy Dylan, quasi bad girl Kelly, spoiled Steve, the virgin Donna, the brainy Andrea, and the wannabe David. However, I found this season really annoying and at times way too preachy.
Unlike the first season (which held a nostalgia factor in the wake of knock-off series like The O.C.), season two tries to make the show matter by having the characters deal with weighty subjects. Instead of broadening the characters, these plots make the series feel more like an after-school special than a heavy drama aimed at capturing teens by dealing with issues on their level.
The second season kept the same cast - including Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Brian Austin Green, Tori Spelling (daughter of show producer Aaron Spelling), Luke Perry, Shannen Doherty, and Gabrielle Carteris. The season also introduced some new characters (although that becomes a bit of a joke with ‘important’ characters appearing for one episode only to never be heard of again) and even some future stars – such as Vivica A. Fox.
Even with the heavier subject line, the show is still a bit campy and lightweight compared to the drama series that hit the air today (such as The O.C.). The acting is also a bit worse this season, and you will often laugh when the actors are trying too hard (such as Steve’s adoption confession to Dylan or when Dylan crawls into an embryo position while remembering his childhood with his jailbird father).
The fashion will also cause a few chuckles – even if it was the rage more than a decade ago. The guy’s hair continues to rise (this season Dylan and Brandon begin the “who can get the James Dean haircut the tallest” competition), and Steve continues to sport that curly mullet. Since the season kicks off during the summer, we are treated to plenty of beach shots of the girls in bikinis and the guys trying to look tough while playing beach volleyball.
The actors are trying to force some growth for their characters, but still seem rather cookie-cutter and one dimensional. Brandon is the good guy (think Richie Cunningham); Dylan is the troubled bad boy (James Dean meets the Fonz); Steve is the cool jock/jokester (Potsie blended with Ralph Malph); and David continues to strive to be the ladies man (umm Chachi Arcola, but I am running out of Happy Days references).
The girls of Beverly Hills suffer the same fate as the guys. Brenda is still the good girl that is going slightly bad (darn that Dylan’s influence), and Kelly is still the girl with the bad past but trying to make up for it. Donna is still the virgin (even though she argues in favor of handing out condoms to high school kids), and Andrea is the activist for whatever cause the writers are coming up for with this week (was there a more annoying character on television in the 90s?).
The extras consist of three featurettes. “Meet the Walshes” runs about seven minutes and features interviews with Carol Potter and James Eckhouse (who plays Jim and Cindy Walsh). The two talk about being Walshes and their experiences after the hit series. They also discuss what it was like working on the series when it took off and became a phenomenon. “Our Favorite Valentine” runs about five minutes and features an interview with Christine Elise (who played Brandon’s psycho girlfriend Emily Valentine for a couple of episodes).
She discusses her character, her career, and what it was like working with the cast. The big feature is “Everything You Need to Know About Beverly Hills 90210 Season 2” which runs a little over 17 minutes. It is a detailed look at the second season with John Aboud and Michael Colton providing a funny look at the series (you will laugh at the mock opening of the show).
If you were a fan of the series, you will want to pick up season two. I thought it was a bit weaker than the first season, but it is clear the cast and writers were trying to push the show and have it deal with heavier issues.