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Featured TV on DVD Review: 90210: Season Two

August 22nd, 2010

90210: Season Two - Buy from Amazon

I reviewed a couple DVD releases for the original Beverly Hills: 90210, so when I had a chance to review the remake, simply called 90210, I immediately said, "No thanks." I was not a fan of the original show when it first aired and watching it so many years later didn't change my mind. I saw a few ads for the remake on TV and it looked even worse. Now that I've had a chance to see season two, how do the two series compare?

The Show

Beverly Hills: 90210 was a teenage soap opera, which is a genre I despise. They tend to be filled with exaggerated characters and circumstances. Additionally, a lot of the drama involved interpersonal conflicts that are more salacious than anything else. However, Beverly Hills did actually deal with some topical issues and was almost grounded in reality. This show, on the other hand, takes the worst elements of the original and glosses it up. There's a lot less emphasis on social commentary and a lot more emphasis on people who are just mean and nasty. It tries harder to be more controversial, but fails to shock because it tries so hard.

The season starts with the ramifications of the events from the end of season one, the biggest of which was good girl Annie (Shenae Grimes) getting involved in a hit-and-run after getting drunk at a party. At this party, she also supposedly slept with another girl's boyfriend and then called the cops. As a result, she is hated by nearly everyone at the beginning of the year, especially the chief "Mean Girl", Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord). In fact, most of the season involves her downward spiral. (She doesn't help her cause when she gets involved in a sexting scandal. Of course, Naomi helps it spread.) Dixon gets a new girlfriend, Sasha, but he lies about being in highschool. Navis and Adrianna take their relationship to the next level, while she tries to recover from all the drama of last year. If doesn't help that she starts having fantasies about... Teddy? Or is it Liam? The blonde guy and not the one with the Justin Beiber hair cut.

There are a few more major characters, but quite frankly, I would have to look up theie names and even then I couldn't tell you anything about them. They either made little impact, or I kept confusing them with other characters.

While watching this movie I was reminded more of The Joneses than of the original show. In The Joneses, a perfect family moves into a gated community and quickly latches onto the social scene. They are not a real family, but stealth marketers there to help sell goods. I got the same vibe here. This show isn't here to entertain, but sell a lifestyle. It's far too glossy and the characters are far too old to buy as high school students. If it was set in college, it would make more sense.

That said, too many of the characters are too unsympathetic and too many of the situations are not compelling enough for me to recommend.

I did like seeing Rumer Willis in the series, on the other hand.

The Extras

Extras on the 6-disc set include audio commentary tracks on three of the episodes. The rest of the extras are found on the final disc and are mostly featurettes dealing with the changes in season two. There's one on the new cast, one on the new look, surfing, and the beach club. There's also a tour of the beach club. The actors that play Navid and Adrianna sit down for an interview about their characters' relationship. Finally, there's a 12-minute recap of the season. Damn, I should have just watched that instead of the show.

That's three audio commentary tracks and more than an hour of featurettes. I would say that's more than acceptable for a DVD release of a concurrent TV series.

The Verdict

When the original Beverly Hills: 90210 came out in 1990, it was a big hit among its target demographic, but I hated it. The new incarnation of 90210 is more polished, but still suffers from the same problems. In fact, it's too polished. On the other hand, it has been nominated for a lot of Teen Choice Awards and it is clear it is winning over a lot of its target demographic. If you are a fan of Teenage Soap Operas, this is arguably one of the better ones on TV at the moment, which is a sad statement to make. Also, Season Two has a solid selection of extras on the six-disc set and if you are a fan of the show it is worth picking up. On the other hand, when season three is released on DVD, I'll give it a pass. There are simply too many other TV on DVD releases I would rather review at this time of year.

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