For fans of Beverly Hills, 90210
who worried that the CW's decision to not send out screeners of 90210's
pilot to critics was a sign of horrible things to come, relax. Take a deep breath. The CW's 90210
is pretty good. I came into tonight's premiere in a weird place. I was not a fan of the original Beverly Hills 90210
, but only because one of my best friends loved the show. I hated it on principle, although I probably had only seen a couple episodes. Since the series ended, and SoapNet and the DVR were invented, I've caught more episodes and have grown a certain fondness for the original 90210
. Its ridiculous plot lines and hokey dialogue were adorable, and it's just about the best time capsule for the 90's in existence. So, I didn't have the nostalgic attachment that die-hard 90210
fans had coming into tonight's premiere, but I did want it to be good.
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Which brings us to tonight's two-hour premiere of 90210
. I'm not sure how much my perspective effected my enjoyment of the show. I wasn't expecting to like it, I wanted to, but I didn't really see it in the cards. So, it is with great joy that I say this: 90210 is better than it has any right to be. Here's what went down:
Very much like the original 90210, the series begins with a family from the midwest moving to Beverly Hills. The Wilson family arrives via minivan from Wichita, Kansas. Harry Wilson (Rob Estes) is the new principal of Beverly Hills High, and the family is also out there to help take care of Harry's mother, a formerly famous actress, who's getting old and spending her days drinking heavily. Harry's wife and mother of his two children is Debbie Wilson, who works as a wedding photographer. Their two kids are the same age, entering Beverly Hills High together as new kids one week into the school year. Annie (Shenae Grimes) is the daughter and Dixon (Tristan Wilds) is the adopted son, an African-American kid whose been a part of the family for 8 years.
As Dixon and Annie walk into Beverly Hills High on their first day of school, Annie sees Ethan (Dustin MIlligan) in his car, a boy she made out with two summers earlier when the family was visiting from Kansas. She goes up to say hello to Ethan in his car, but when she makes eye contact, he freaks out. Then, a random girl pops up into view from his mid-section, if you will. He was getting some road lovin'. Horrified, Annie walks into school.
In his journalism class, Dixon meets Navid (Michael Steger), an energetic student reporter who already knows everything about Dixon and his family. In Annie's first class, taught by the young and stubbled Mr. Matthews (Ryan Eggold), we meet Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord), the rich and bitchy girlfriend of Ethan, who Annie just watched cheat on Naomi.
After trashing Mr. Matthews to gain Naomi's respect, Annie is invited to Naomi's sweet sixteen party. Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth
) knew Principal Wilson back in the day and, now that she works as the school's guidance councilor, they get re-acquainted.
Naomi and her parents are called into the Principal's office because she has an overdue paper in Mr. Matthew's class. She has to finish it in the next day or she'll fail the class. This is upsetting to both Naomi and her parents because Naomi has to prepare for her big party. Naomi tells Annie about the paper, and Annie says she'll e-mail her an old paper she wrote about the same book to give her some ideas.
Mr. Matthews is also the coach of the lacrosse team, a team that Dixon wants to join. On the first day of practice, Dixon very much impresses, much to the chagrin of George, a meat head dude who gets banished to the second team in practice upon Dixon's arrival. During practice, George checks Dixon from behind, Dixon hits back and a fight starts.
Naomi's mother, it turns out, dated principal Wilson in high school. She shows up late that night at the Wilson house, surprising Harry and Debbie. She tells embarrassing stories about the high school days.
The next day, George lies to Mr. Matthews and the principal, saying that Dixon hit him first. Ethan backs up his story, even though he knows the truth. Annie confronts him about it. Naomi, meanwhile, turned in the exact same paper that Annie sent her. Annie is upset, but her anger is quelled when Naomi shows her the dress she bought for Annie for the party.
Silver (Jessica Stroup), the little sister of Kelly Taylor, is a high schooler with a blog. After an initially cordial meeting with Annie, Silver puts up a video blog slagging Annie because she left her to go hang out with Naomi, who Silver absolutely despises. Silver feels bad about her trashing of Annie, so she helps her get a part in the school musical. Annie had the lead in the musical back in Kansas.
Dixon has been kicked off the team thanks to the fight story, and he considers sending Naomi a text telling her that Ethan is cheating on her. Ethan, feeling remorse, feels terrible about lying about Dixon's fight, and makes things right, but Dixon had actually sent that text.
Her dad finds out that the paper was Annie's and Naomi is brought into the principal's office with her mom. Wilson convinces Naomi to write the paper to prove her mother wrong.
Dixon is back on the team, thanks to Ethan, but he did send the text. At the sweet 16 party, Naomi gets the text right as she and Ethan are about to slow dance in front of everyone. Naomi leaves the party after she confronts Ethan. Silver and Annie crash the party (Annie had been disinvited after the paper incident), and watch as Ethan and Naomi have their fight. Annie and Silver find Ethan, later, at the beach. Annie and Ethan talk, and seem to patch things up a little bit, Ethan not that upset that Annie told Dixon about the car incident.
Looking for Annie outside of the party (because she had been grounded), Wilson runs into Naomi's mother again. It turns out that, after they dated in high school and Wilson moved away, she had their baby and put the kid up for adoption.
The lacrosse team, with Dixon back on the team, find that their school hallway has been completely trashed by a rival high school's lacrosse team. Wilson and Matthews tell the team that there will be no retaliation towards the rival high school.
Annie and her boyfriend from back home break up – the long distance thing doesn't work in high school. She's sad, but the next day she meets a guy named Ty, who is not only really good-looking, but also incredibly rich. And he sings! He takes a shine to Annie, and he asks her to get dinner after theater rehearsal. She says OK, and then gets her mother to approve it.
Ethan brings Naomi a rose at school, trying to make amends. He makes some in-roads.
Dixon wants to get in on pranking the other high school, but his teammates are reticent since, you know, he's the principal's son. Dixon then figures that if he comes up with a really good idea, he can get involved. He and Navid research pranks, but can't find anything good enough. Tabitha, Dixon's grandma, has some advice. She tells them about the time Dixon's dad was in high school, and he released a pack of pigs onto an opposing team's field.
Navid says that he can get them the pigs. He takes them to his dad's workplace. Is dad produces pornography, and he happens to have pigs available. They take the pigs and meet up with the rest of the team at the rival high school. They let three pigs loose on the premises.
Annie and Ty go on their date. Annie thinks they're going to a restaurant, but he drives them to an air field. He takes her via private jet to a swanky restaurant in San Francisco. They have a great time, but Annie finds that she has eight messages from home – her grandma got into a car accident. She's fine, but Annie's mom is still upset. The next day, her mom finds a set of matches from the San Francisco restaurant. She is very upset, and Annie is grounded.
Kelly Taylor, meanwhile, is happy to have an old friend back in town. Brenda Walsh is helping with a play in Los Angeles for a month. They reconnect, grab a drink. Later, while they hang out, Mr. Matthews shows up with flowers and asks Kelly out. Brenda offers to do some baby-sitting for Kelly's four year old kid, and she does. The two go out.
Silver releases a blog video, outing and making fun of the infidelity in Naomi and Ethan's relationship. Naomi is very embarrassed, and she slaps Ethan at school in front of everyone. Naomi, still upset, ends up making out with George, Ethan's rival.
Matthews and Principal Wilson find out about the prank, and tell the team that if no one confesses by the end of the day, the season will be over. Dixon decides to take the blame for everyone. He gets kicked off the team, but he's OK with it because he endeared himself to his teammates. His teammates feel guilty about Dixon taking the blame, so they fess up as well. Dixon is allowed back on the team. But, his father grounds him at home.
In the final scene, Ty arrives at the Wilson house while Annie is grounded. They make out outside, as Ethan watches on (Ethan and Naomi had officially broken up).
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of The CW)