Beverly Hills, 90210 is an American-produced prime time television drama that aired on the FOX network from 1990 until 2000 for a total of 10 seasons (as well as two shorter arcs known as the summer seasons). It is the first series of the Beverly Hills, 90210 continuity. The numbers in the title refers to the zip code in which the show is set.
The series initially centered around the friendships, romantic issues and other personal matters of a group of high school students in Beverly Hills, California. The show followed many of these figures into early adulthood as it progressed, while also introducing several new characters and new relationships.
During the peak of its success in the early 1990s, Beverly Hills, 90210 gained mainstream worldwide popularity—making its ensemble cast famous, launching 4 spin-offs, and becoming a television icon.
During the late 1980s, TV producer Aaron Spelling offered to buy the series known as Degrassi Jr. High/Degrassi High, which followed the lives of teens in high school. When the creators declined, Spelling decided to produce his own series, and was subsequently partnered with Darren Star, who created the basic outline of the project.
In the autumn of 1990, FOX issued press releases for a show called Class of Beverly Hills—a title that was later applied to the first episode of the series that became Beverly Hills, 90210. The show's now-iconic theme music was not always present in the first airings; some viewers remember an entirely different, somewhat calmer tune that was also heard during the end credits. Furthermore, this tune was accompanied by opening and ending scenes of postal deliveries (depicting the change of address for the Walsh family) that were eventually excluded from the Season 1 montage. In addition, actor Luke Perry did not appear until the show's second episode. Among the series' many writers were Charles Rosin (also an executive producer), Karen Rosin, John Eisendrath, and Steve Wasserman.
Beverly Hills, 90210 began with the introduction of the Walsh family—parents Jim and Cindy (played by James Eckhouse and Carol Potter), and their teenage twins Brandon (Jason Priestley) and Brenda (Shannen Doherty). As a result of Jim’s job reassignment, the family moved from Minnesota to Beverly Hills, California.
The series followed the lives of Brandon, Brenda, and several new friends they met at West Beverly Hills High School including Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering), Andrea Zuckerman (Gabrielle Carteris), Dylan McKay (Luke Perry), David Silver (Brian Austin Green), and Donna Martin (Tori Spelling). The character of Scott Scanlon, a supporting player portrayed by Douglas Emerson, was written out in Season 2.
The story initially presented Brandon as a flawed boy scout, Brenda as a good-hearted rebel, Kelly as a good-natured snob, Steve as a laid-back thrill-seeker, Andrea as a strait-laced smart girl, Dylan as a sensitive loner, David as a geeky musician, and Donna as a quirky, socially awkward girl. Several of these characters were developed over time, revealing subsequent layers as they matured. In addition, many new characters were introduced during the course of the series' run, and several guest stars appeared in recurring roles.
Throughout the show's high school and college years, stories largely centered around the love lives, academic matters, career aspirations, and parental issues of the younger cast. Among the topics covered were adoption, estrangement, safe sex, substance abuse, romantic affairs, love triangles, race-related school incidents, and budding romances between longtime friends.
As the show grew in popularity, several successful musicians of the '90s contributed to Beverly Hills, 90210: The Soundtrack. Additionally, their accompanying music videos aired during the end credits of various episodes. Among these artists were Shanice, Jeremy Jordan, and Vanessa Williams & Brian McKnight. In addition, the music video for "Hold On" by Jamie Walters, who starred in the series as Ray Pruit, was also featured.
The final episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 aired on May 17, 2000. The series outlived its first two spin-offs, Melrose Place and Models Inc., and would spawn additional spin-offs—90210 and a new Melrose Place—in 2008 and 2009.
- Jason Priestley as Brandon Walsh (1-9, guest 10)
- Shannen Doherty as Brenda Walsh (1-4)
- Jennie Garth as Kelly Taylor
- Ian Ziering as Steve Sanders
- Gabrielle Carteris as Andrea Zuckerman (1-5, guest 6, 8 and 10)
- Luke Perry as Dylan McKay (1-6, 9-10)
- Brian Austin Green as David Silver
- Douglas Emerson as Scott Scanlon (1, recurring 2)
- Tori Spelling as Donna Martin
- James Eckhouse as Jim Walsh (1-5)
- Carol Potter as Cindy Walsh (1-5)
Later regulars Edit
- Joe E. Tata as Nat Bussichio (recurring 1-5, regular 6-10)
- Mark Damon Espinoza as Jesse Vasquez (recurring 4, regular 5)
- Kathleen Robertson as Clare Arnold (recurring 4-5, regular 6-7)
- Tiffani Thiessen as Valerie Malone (5-9, guest 10)
- Jamie Walters as Ray Pruit (recurring 5, regular 6, guest 7)
- Hilary Swank as Carly Reynolds (8)
- Vincent Young as Noah Hunter (8-10)
- Lindsay Price as Janet Sosna (recurring 8, regular 9-10)
- Vanessa Marcil as Gina Kincaid (9-10)
- Daniel Cosgrove as Matt Durning (9-10)
Recurring guest stars Edit
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- Christine Elise as Emily Valentine (2)
- Dana Barron as Nikki Witt (3)
- Dina Meyer as Lucinda Nicholson (4)
- Emma Caulfield as Susan Keats (6)
- Jason Wiles as Colin Robbins (6)
- Cameron Bancroft as Joe Bradley (6)
- Jill Elizabeth Novick as Tracy Gaylian (7)
- Angel Boris as Emma Bennett (8)
- Laura Leighton as Sophie Burns (9)
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- In a 2010 interview, Beverly Hills, 90210 writer/producer on Seasons 3–7, Larry Mollin, had this to say about the disgrace of male conduct on set:
- 'That’s what the guys do. That’s their free shot. Luke’s a wonderful man and Jason [Priestley, Brandon] is a wonderful man. But they are young guy actors on a show, which basically means they get to feel anybody up they want. And that’s just the way they are. I’ve got tons of outtakes of this stuff. That was just the fun of it. That’s just the way it was before sexual harassment became really a watch word in the industry. Young actresses just had to put up with that sh*t. I had seen that for years and years on shows. It was the way it went. Obviously if a girl didn’t like it, she could complain but most of them just put up with it and just expected it. The guys were just like that.'
- Larry Mollin on the show post-Doherty:
- 'All the kids hated the show by season 5, other than Tori. They all just hated it. Every day they would come in was just torture for them.'