This is the time of year when, typically, all the television networks start sending the screeners for the pilots of all their new shows to critics.  This gives all the entertainment outlets time to watch the new shows, give them reviews, and sort out the potential hits from the probable busts.  It’s not often that networks shield a new show from critics.  But, that’s what The CW is going to do with what most think will be their most successful new series.  Today, CW sent out a notice to critics notifying them that they would not be receiving the two-hour pilot for 90210, the reboot of Beverly Hills 90210, which was a hit for FOX in the nineties.  The written statement reads as such…

The CW and our studio partner CBS Paramount Network Television have made the strategic marketing decision not to screen “90210” for any media in advance of its premiere. We’re not hiding anything . . . simply keeping a lid on 90210 until 9.02, riding the curiosity and anticipation into premiere night, and letting all our constituents see it at the same time.

For the overly optimistic who might take the networks’ word at face value, know that this is not a common practice.  It’s difficult to remain confident about the quality of 90210 in the face of such a decision.  However, I will attempt to rationalize it now (mostly because I’m sincerely hoping that 90210 is good).

Because of the writers’ strike, pilot season was considerably delayed.  Things are still behind schedule in Hollywood.  Where networks would usually have months to tinker with an important pilot like 90210, it’s exceedingly possible that the CW is still at work putting the finishing touches on the 90210 pilot (which will premiere on September 2).  If this is the case, I don’t blame them for keeping the pilot from critics.

Another possibility is that the pilot will feature a massive twist, perhaps at the end of the episode.  We know that Shannen Doherty will return as Brenda, but not in a big way.  What if Brenda dies at the end of episode one, creating a ripple effect in the 90210 community that will be dealt with throughout the first season.  If so, I understand The CW’s reticence in releasing the trailer to critics, some of whom tend to have the loosest of lips. 

90210 fans, don’t get your hopes up.  The series could still be good, it could surprise us all upon its premiere, but the odds aren’t great.

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of CW)

Oscar Dahl

Senior Writer, BuddyTV