Teen drama. The words are synonomous whether you watch television or not, because every teen is drama, whether they admit or not. And Darren Star knew he had struck gold when he took typical teen stories, filled with angst, love, heartbreak and social issues and placed them in what, thanks to the show, has become one of the most well known zip codes on the planet.
For ten seasons, viewers followed the lives and loves of a group of young people, centering around brother and sister, Brandon and Brenda Walsh, played, iconically by Jason Priestley and Shannon Doherty respectively, when they move from Minnesota to the sunny California clime, and start their new lives there.
We are introduced to a plethora of actors over the run of the series, Jennie Garth, Luke Perry (perfectly cast as loner bad boy with a good heart, Dylan), Tori Spelling, Brian Austin Green, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Tiffani Thiessen and Kathleen Robertson, and the series itself became almost a rite-of-passage for the generation that was introduced to it. The series follows the cast from high school to post-secondary education and lives beyond that.
Over the course of 292 episodes (some better than others) this prime time soap was fashion forward, and even mired in the melodrama of its onscreen (and offscreen) antics, attempted to tackle social issues as well as the day to day life of young adults.
Viewers turned in for the beautiful people, seeing ‘idealised’ versions of themselves on the television screen week in and week out (I never looked that good in a bathing suit, or regular clothes for that matter, at that age). And consequently, the show and its cast was everywhere.
I had dipped my toe into the series a few times during its run, and found myself intrigued with some of the character arcs, and the performances, Perry and Priestley were always on point, and I totally crushed on Thiessen, Garth and Robertson. But I don’t think I ever gave the series the fair shake that it deserved. So what better way to do that than checking out Beverly Hills 90210: The Ultimate Collection from Paramount Pictures?
The box set not only includes all ten series of the show’s original run, but the six episode reunion series from 2019 BH90210 – nineteen years after the original show’s ending.
Now, as I wasn’t watching it from the beginning, I don’t miss any of the music that the series didn’t score the rights to. The show aired longed before these things were secured before the music was even thought about, so pop songs of the era are replaced with generic pop inserts, but it doens’t really affect the story so much, so that didn’t bother me. And if you’re holding out for a collection where the music is restored, I would say don’t hold your breath, because that would be insanely expensive.
As the show progresses the show’s picture improves, and it still looks so much better than it did when it was originally cast, and now you can binge entire seasons instead of waiting week to week and year to year – I always enjoy that because it allows you to examine the plot throughline a little more cohesively, and consequently, enjoyably.
The collection repackages earlier releases of the series, importing all the same previously released extras including behind the scenes footage, cast and crew interviews, recaps, episode promos, and a gag reel. Collected in three massive cases, that slip nicely into a display box that screams ’90s!’, the cases break the series into segments, the first collection is the high school years, the second their university days, and the last is the series all grown up, and the reunion series.
So if you know what episode you’re looking for, their easy to find, but if you’re like me, I’m just gonna start at the beginning and work my way through them all! Join me here for season check-ins! This is a show that made its cast household names, and it’s the perfect series to dig into for its nostalgia, as well as the writing, the familiar faces, and the fact that teens no matter when they grow up, face a lot of the same problems and that you can face them, with your friends by your side.
Beverly Hills 90210: The Ultimate Collection is available now on DVD from Paramount Canada! So let’s head down to the Peach Pit and catch up with some of our old friends, and relive the stories, the moments, the fashion and the crushes.