|Review by AJ Feuerman|
Lifetime’s third Unauthorized TV tale was consistent to the first two, Saved by the Bell and Full House, in that it wasn’t campy enough to be silly, fun TV viewing, nor was it well-made enough to be taken seriously.
It’s hardly even enjoyable, in fact.
But were we to make it the gospel of 90210 history, these would be the facts tied to the making of the iconic series:
1. If it hadn’t been for Tori Spelling, the show would have never happened. Her dad, Aaron Spelling, was set on making television for grown-ups and a show about high school students was repugnant to him. But luckily his prophetic daughter dished out some harsh reality checks, changing his mind, and even told him just who to cast as Brenda and Brandon Walsh.
2. Yes, that’s right, Tori told Aaron that she knew who all the cool, young actors were and suggested the star of the recently cancelled Sister Kate, Jason Priestley, and Shannen Doherty. In fact, the movie went on to remind us over and over that Shannen had Tori to thank for her job.
3. The idea for Sharknado may have come to Ian Ziering way back in 1994. This script had TV’s Steve Sanders confronting co-star Doherty, arguing that she was just like a combination “between a shark and a tornado.” Har, har, Lifetime. What a clever inside joke.
4. At the very start of the series, circa 1991, when it was still struggling to find an audience, the media deemed 90210 was “on track to be one of the most definitive series of this past decade.” If we were to take that literally and trace TV back a decade from that starting point, we’d be pitting it against shows like The Wonder Years, M*A*S*H, Hill Street Blues and Dallas. Seems a stretch….
5. Candy Spelling only existed when the phone rang in the middle of the night and she needed to be annoyed someone was waking her and Aaron up with bad news. “Shannen?” she asked both times before her husband reached for a flip phone too compact to have existed in 1992. Randy Spelling must have been super busy. We never saw him or heard his name.
6. The Walsh home was only shot in the corner of the living room in an oversized armchair. There was never a kitchen or adjoined bedrooms. Season One’s slumber apparently took place on the beach – although “Amanda” wasn’t there. Not a lot of supporting players at all in this particular universe….
7. Mr. and Mrs. Walsh were never around. They are never mentioned in this movie. Neither is Douglas Emerson, for that matter, which is surprising as he was the focal point of one of the most talked-about episodes in the show’s timeline.
8. Darren Starr hoped for a divine intervention to save the show so thank goodness The Gulf War happened. Fox was a rookie network and desperate for counter-programming to all the news coverage, hence the summer episodes at the beach club were born. Soon after, the cast was catapulted into super-stardom provoking even the President of the United States to approach them in a restaurant to say what a fan he was.
9. Nothing interesting happened on the set after Shannen Doherty exited the series. Because that’s when the movie ends. It doesn’t much matter the show went on for several more seasons. Although there was a bit of clever casting in bringing Alyssa Lynch from The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story back to reprise her role of Tiffani Amber Thiessen.
10. For all his talent and experience doing voices, Dan Castellaneta is pretty corny as Aaron Spelling.
But he’ll get another shot at redemption when he returns in the Melrose Place movie this coming weekend. God help us.