Thursday, November 3, 2011

OPINION: Dear Writers & Producers of the CW's 90210

Dear Writers & Producers of the CW's 90210:  Forget about 90's '201 if you must, but my goodness, please remember and use the history and character development from last week's episode, and the week before, and the week before that!!

I don't know why I love 90210.  I knew the original series, but I certainly wasn't a fanatic.  If I was, maybe I would be less likely to stomach the new series.  But I love a good TV franchise and I was happy to see old 90 connected to new 90 when the new 90210 was launched.  We saw Kelly, Brenda and Donna.  And Kelly and Silver's mom Jackie (Ann Gillespieof course was prominently featured until she lost her battle with cancer.  That storyline was so much more moving for people who saw Ann Gillespie play Jackie Taylor twenty years ago.
 This was the same woman, older and dying.  It was like life and we could relate to it.  I felt so badly for the characters of Kelly and Silver when Jackie died that I hoped that when they walked out of that hospital room, that all of their friends, Dylan, Brandon, Brenda, Donna, David, Steve and Navid, Dixon, Naomi, Annie, Adrianna, and Liam would all be there to comfort them.  What a moment that would have been.  Could have been.  Should have been?

I don't want the new 90210 to be the old 90210!  I think it is very smart to build the show around this new group of kids.  But I think it's extremely shortsighted to ignore the history that could be a great strength to this franchise.

Two of my favorite new shows this season are REVENGE and RINGER. Both surprise us every week with new twists.  Both shows are full of constant new developments that you would never see coming, but yet if you look back they are planted in what has already been there.  With 90210, you can guess what's about to happen next with 99% accuracy.  And that 1% when you guessed wrong is usually because they just decided not to follow through with a storyline.  I had guessed that the Liam/Jane/Jim triangle was amounting to something but I guess it was just a three or four episode arc for Liam to have something to do before they made him a reluctant model.

Oh yes.  Liam is a reluctant model, in one of the most BS storylines in TV history.  Can you even call this a storyline?  I feel bad for Matt Lanter.  This is all the writers could come up with for this character who is a modern day Dylan McKay?  Aaron Spelling is no doubt rolling over in his grave.

Just as Matt Lanter is far too good for Liam's story, Jessica Stroup and Michael Steger are both way above the stolen car garbage that their characters are involved in.  It's all plot, plot, plot, no character, no connection.  For the producers to decide they don't want Kelly and Donna in their modern Beverly Hills is fine if that's their vision of the show, but for them to ignore character development from season to season with their own cast of characters is truly inexcusable.  Jessica Stoup could carry this show.  She could be the leading lady on REVENGE or on RINGER or really any other show on TV.  I'm blown away by the talent she's displayed on 90210.  But come on, Silver isn't going to let Navid fire her from his studios and not get nosey about it.  And she's not going to let him yell at her like a totally different person in front of his evil uncle and not find that suspicious.

Ivy and Naomi are fun together.  You know I was depressed Raj was away.  It looked like Ivy was lining up her next husband for when Raj dies, which I get a feeling is inevitable.  Naomi and Holly make good sparring partners, but I really can't take the garbage that they spar over.  Greek life is not life or death!  Can we please raise the stakes a little?

Adrianna became my favorite character when she was pregnant and a drug addict and her love story with Navid was really well told.  Then, I hated her when they made her the most shallow, superficial character to appear on the show, which is really saying a lot.  But they are actually doing a good job bringing on her redemption.  I loved her and Dixon bonding over their feelings by Silver and Navid's relationship.  She and Dixon have a good chemistry and she actually has a good chemistry with Liam too.  That is a triangle that could be worth exploring.

The Dixon drug story is so beyond dumb however and far, far beneath Tristan Wilds' ability as an actor.  I mean, this story is so fake that they may as well have him addicted to Delirium as his predecessor of music moguls of West Bev, David Silver once was.  He's not on heroin!  He should not be having withdrawls.  You don't get addicted to ADHD meds in a week and you don't wake up in cold sweats Jonesing for them.  The story had a great chance for redemption, when Adrianna said he proved her wrong that he wasn't addicted, Dixon could have simply not gone and bought drugs.  Whether he was proving her wrong or whether he had used her as a support system to draw the strength not to score again could have been left up in the air.  But, alas, he went to buy more drugs.  So this storyline continues...

Annie and Patrick the older man make me say YES YES YES!  But then it looks like Patrick will never hear the word NO NO NO.  And that means that Annie is probably going to get slapped or something eventually by him.  He's clearly at least on the path toward mentally abusing her and trapping her in a relationship that she didn't set out to be in.  I hope I am wrong about this.  It would be great to see Annie find happiness with an unlikely person.

I loved when Naomi said "security get rid of this bitch!" meaning Holly.  I wanted her to punch Holly.  I wanted Silver to punch Brandy Norwood.  Brandy is annoying me and needs to leave the zip code asap.  Holly on the other hand can stay if she ever learns to play nice with Naomi.  I'm glad the show does have a few good newcomers like Holly and Austin and potententially Nick (who I believe is the name of Ivy's first choice to replace Raj), because the way they are writing for Liam, Dixon, Navid and Silver, they may lose some of their cast.  You have a wealth of talent on your show, 90210, smarten up and start writing for their strengths before they ditch you Gabrielle Carteris style.

Greg Turner contributes primetime reviews for We Love Soaps. Along with Brian Hewson, Greg is the creator, writer, and producer of the web soap, EMPIRE, which can be found at Greg loves soaps.

1 comment:

  1. Great article! I was a huge fan of the original show. I watched all 10 seasons and even continued to watch as the show lost its touch. I started to watch the new 90210 because of Kelly and of course because Brenda was coming back. But I could not stomach this show. I would only watch the Brenda, Kelly, Donna and Jackie stories but they were awful as well. The new producers did not know what to do with them. In my opinion they should of brought the show back as a modern day Melrose Place and skipped all this high school drama. Speaking of Melrose Place- dont get me started on the reboot the CW did. =)