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Beverly Hills 90210 hit the airwaves for the first time back in 1990 and I must say that I was hooked right from the start. Considering that my age at the time of its debut was only eleven that may seem rather odd, but in all reality it shouldn’t. 90210 was a teenager drama about a group of kids in high school in the lavish city of Beverly Hills, California. Sure there were the generic rich and snooty kids, but our main group had a wide assortment of personalities and a huge range of how deep each of their pockets were. This may have been only the fourth season of ten, but it was when things were just starting to get good.
The fourth season is when the students of Beverly Hills High had now moved on from the lowly halls of high school and into the upper ranks of college. No longer were they trying to get to know one another and fit in, but they were the elite and knew they were cool. See the thing is that these aren’t your run-of-the-mill kids and, for some reason, everything appears to happen to them. Instead of having just one friend who wants to drop out of school and they are forced to help her change her mind, they also have the friend who starts popping pills for the hell of it. You see where I’m going with this? They can’t just have one troubled friend with a lot of drama. They all need to have their own particular drama and a lot of it.
Let’s run through our cast real quick for those who are trying to catch up. First of all are the Walshes, Brenda and Brandon. They’re the kids who moved from Minnesota years ago and are the centerpieces of the show, especially Brenda. Kelly and Donna are the ideal Los Angeles girls who are blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and love to shop. Dylan is the poor kid who is a rebel and only does as he pleases, but he’s got that heart of gold deep down inside. Steve and Andrea are main characters but could really be seen more as side characters that just are around for some unknown reason to add more people to the show. David was a minor side character for the first couple seasons, but grew more into a focal point of the series as the years went on. Got it? Good.
90210 is a series that tries to put every possible affliction and problem plaguing young adults into its episodes. It doesn’t matter if it has to deal with relationships, drugs, rape, careers, death, poverty, status, or even watching your father blow up on a yacht right before your very eyes. Or did he? Hmmmm! The series was so incredibly over the top, but it knew how to keep your attention and make sure that you wanted to tune in next week to find out exactly what would happen. And it did it without all the cheesiness that daytime soap operas hurl at you on a daily basis. 90210 did it with lovable characters that knew how to suck you in and make you feel their pain, sadness, heartache, joy, love, and exuberance with them. That makes for a great show.
This season would see a lot of new things going on as the trivial problems of high school are now a thing of the past and the awful things associated with the real world begin to take center stage. Everyone is going off to college and Brenda even decides to head back home to Minnesota and go to school there. Only that doesn’t last very long and she heads back to Los Angeles with the mindset that college just isn’t for her. Dylan of course doesn’t think he is college material either and thus starts up the on-again off-again Brenda/Dylan saga. This also leads the way to Dylan’s deterioration into the drinking, fighting, not caring about anything personality.
Andrea is focused on a good bit in this season, but I never really cared much about anything she did anyway. Her joining her college’s newspaper and having a relationship with a teacher isn’t that exciting because she is a dull character to begin with. Donna and David have been together almost two years now and she finally has agreed to sleep with him, but something always manages to get in their way. David also gets hooked on drugs in order to help him get through school making his relationship with Donna, and also Kelly, very strained. Speaking of Kelly, she is kind of lost in the shuffle for most of this season along with Brandon. It is very fitting then that by the time the end of the fourth season rolls around, they finally (and inevitably) become a couple. Thank God because there is only so much Emily Valentine one can take, and she just wasn’t right for Brandon. It would also make way for next season when Brandon is the series’ centerpiece after Brenda exits from the show all together.
It seems like a lot to grasp and like way too much drama for anyone to deal with, but it’s so much fun in the process. You’re going to find yourself caring about these people as if you are in their group of friends. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself still yelling at the screen when they make dumb mistakes or decide to date the wrong person. I still did it just like I did when this season originally aired during my high school years. Those who are fans of the series can pick right up in this season and enjoy it to its full worth. If you are new to 90210, then get the first three seasons and learn the lives of the gang. You’ll be glad you did because this season is red hot and it only gets better from here.
So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye
The Girl From New York City
Greek To Me
Strangers In The Night
Twenty Years Ago Today
And Did It My Way
Take Back The Night
Somewhere In The World It’s Christmas
Thicker Than Water
The Labors Of Love
Scared Very Straight
Addicted To Love
A Pig Is A Boy Is A Dog
Cuffs And Links
Time Has Come Today
Truth Or Consequences
Mr. Walsh Goes To Washington (Parts 1 & 2)
The episodes are shown in 1.33:1 Full Screen format and it is really not all that good. The episodes resemble exactly what they did when on television and I don’t mean in reruns recently either, but back fourteen years ago. A lot of the colors are faded and things just aren’t that pretty looking.
The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Sound and it does the job for a series that is virtually dialogue driven. Every now and then there will be some background music or scene change tunes, but they are heard OK.
A Look Back With Charles Rosin – The former executive producer of the show talks about his time spent with the show and kind of builds himself up for a while before moving on to the success of the series. He goes in-depth about how there were serious concerns whether the show could continue on once the kids moved out of high school. It is a very interesting look at the history of the series up until now in this feature which runs twelve minutes and thirty-seven seconds.
The Loves Of Season 4 – Three of the random love interests from the past season are interviewed in this feature which lasts a little over seven minutes. Scenes of their time on the show are shown while they talk about the experiences they had being a part of 90210.
Beverly Hills Moms – This six minute and twenty-four second feature shows multiple scenes from different episodes of all the mothers from the series. Most of the actresses are then interviewed and give their thoughts and such on the time they spent on the show.
Everything You Need To Know About Beverly Hills 90210: Season 4 – Chris Romano and Kathryn Fiore sit down and casually, and supposedly humorously, discuss the happenings from season four. This feature lasts almost nineteen minutes and has some cute moments, but nothing you haven’t seen already.
90210 Genre Benders – There are two parts to this feature and the first one is called “Bad Apples” with the second being “Get The Girl.” These are actually two really cheesy, but quite humorous, faux trailers. They are short and to the point and even have a fake movie voiceover guy, but they are good for a couple laughs.
7 Minutes In Heaven – Seven minutes of some of the best and most important moments from the season.
Come on now everyone, it’s 90210 for goodness sakes. You know you enjoyed this show when it was on the air and you longed for the new episode each week to see who was dating who and what tragedy Dylan would be going through now. You also know that you watched the reruns when they would be shown four or five times a day on different channels. This is the only series I know of that was probably shown in reruns more then Saved By The Bell. Anyway, season four is absolutely awesome and has some really good turning points for everyone involved. Brenda is finally on her way out and good riddance while everyone else actually becomes better the longer she is gone. There are some really decent special features which is unusual for a television series DVD set so there is even more of a reason to grab this one. Fans snag it right away and those interested for the first time; grab seasons one through three first and catch up. Da-da-da-da Da-da-da-da CHHH CHHH!
Paramount presents Beverly Hills 90210: The Fourth Season. Created by: Aaron Spelling. Starring: Luke Perry, Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green. Running time: 1444 minutes on 8 discs. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: April 29, 2008. Available at Amazon.com