Entertainment

TV: ‘BH90210’ cast talk taking back the power with new series

The cast of “BH90210” reunite for a sort-of reboot where they play exaggerated versions of themselves trying to reboot the classic series. [Fox]
Hunter Ingram More Content Now
Posted: Aug. 8, 2019 10:55 am

LOS ANGELES - “Beverly Hills, 90210” launched the careers of its cast in 1989, when there was no such thing as social media, internet or streaming sites.

When they all reunited to revisit their beloved series, the cast created a new breed of TV reboot that allows them to hit back at the age of social media and the personas the media and their admirers have created for them over the past 30 years.

Just a few hours before “BH90210” premiered on Aug. 7 on Fox, stars Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, Shannen Doherty, Brian Austin Green, Ian Ziering and Gabrielle Carteris assembled for a panel at the Television Critics Association summer press tour to talk about the new show and, better yet, explain how it all works.

Within the meta series, the cast is playing exaggerated versions of themselves who turn to a reboot of the original series when some of them fall on hard times, others want to elevate their brands or restart their careers. Spelling and Garth, who are among the executive producers and led the charge to get the show made, said they had a hard time pitching it because there is nothing like it on television to provide comparisons.

While the actors pull from their own lives and make up some of it along the way, they are staying tight lipped on what’s fact and what’s fiction.

“All the characters are fictionalized versions of ourselves, so we kind of wanted to leave it to the audiences to really decipher what’s real, what’s based on something real and what’s totally fictionalized,” Spelling said during the panel. “I think they will have a lot of fun doing that.”

The original series was the definition of a cultural touchstone, shooting its cast into the zeitgeist - for better or worse. With this second lease on their “90210” story, Garth said they are excited about the opportunity it affords them in contributing to public opinion.

“I think we just use people’s perceptions and that was a great launching point for a lot of our storytelling,” she said during the panel. “For us to take back the power, spin it and use it to tell these stories was a really interesting angle for everybody involved.”

One notable absence from the series will be Luke Perry, who died in March after suffering a stroke. His death looms large over the series’ first episode and is a major reason why the cast wanted to return to this part of their lives now.

When first approached about the show, Doherty said she “definitely wasn’t going to do it” because it wasn’t where she was in her life and career. Then Perry died.

“When Luke passed away, things drastically changed for me,” she said. “I felt it was a great opportunity to sort of honor him and I’m really glad I made that decision because I get to sit up here with a lot of people I respect and I love, and we’ve gone on this amazing journey together where we also got to sort of heal through losing someone who meant something to all of us.”

The six-episode show balances a tricky blend of real-life comedy reaped from the cast’s willingness to poke fun at themselves and some soap opera drama that feels true the original drama’s roots. Garth described the tone as a “soapedy” - a soapy comedy. Mixed into the “reality” of the show are dream sequences that allow the cast to slip back into their on-screen characters and even recreate some of the show’s key moments, including the iconic credit sequence.

But Spelling, whose father created the original series, said that concoction is exactly the tone they wanted to strike as they return to this world.

“We didn’t want to just do a straightforward reboot,” she said. “You can never top the amazing 10 years we had when we started 30 years ago, but we wanted to do something fresh and groundbreaking just like the original.”
Hunter Ingram can be reached at Hunter.Ingram@StarNewsOnline.com. Hunter is a member of the Television Critics Association.

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