Beverly Hills 90210: The Fifth Season – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

How do you know that a television series has made an impact on the American viewing audience and pop culture in general? A good measuring stick for that might be when that television show gets “remade” and brought back to life almost 20 years later. Of course, if you went with that only Beverly Hills 90210 would fall in that category. Then again, it is the “teen drama” that started them all. But before a new generation of kids gets to witness a “remade” version of the legendary show, they can still get educated on the original show on DVD. The fifth season of the show is newly released and with the departure of one of the main actors, Shannon Doherty, this show might actually look different from the outside. But once inside has the show changed any or is still the same 90210 we all know and love?

In season five, the kids from Beverly Hills are entering their sophomore year at California University. That means they are busy making new friends, starting new relationships, and of course getting into trouble and drama. Each episode of the show continued to address issues affecting American teenagers such as drugs, gang violence, and rape on campus. College is when you start to become an adult and figure out who you actually are, and every character on the show is well on their way to do just that during this season.

The major change from this season and the previous four is the departure of Shannon Doherty, who played Brenda. She was a main character, but she thought she could be a big movie star and left the show. Brenda also left to pursue an acting career in London. Fortunately for viewers, though, Doherty was capably replaced by Tiffani-Amber Thiessen a.k.a. good girl Kelly Kapowski on Saved by the Bell. On 90210, though, Tiffani played the Walshes’ niece, Valerie Malone. Move over Brenda, the new bad girl of Beverly Hills has arrived. She does all the cliche things that a bad girl does like drinking, doing drugs, lying, scheming, going after other women’s boyfriends, and just causing trouble between friends.

Meanwhile, other major storylines between the rest of the main cast include Kelly (Jennie Garth) involved with both Brandon (Jason Priestley). The good guy/confused girl/bad boy love triangle is in full force this season. Dylan has also fallen on hard times both financially and personally, causing him to face his inner demons and try to get his life back on track. David (Brian Austin Green) and Donna (Tori Spelling) break up and find new relationships for now with David dating good bad girl Clare Arnold (Kathleen Robertson) and Donna falling in love with handsome singer Ray Pruit (Jamie Walters). Andrea (Gabrielle Carteris) juggles between college, being a new mother to her baby girl, and a new wife to up-and-coming lawyer Jesse (Mark Damon Espinoza), but their marriage will soon be tested due to temptations.

The only complaints you could have for this season is the fact that most everyone looks 5-10 years older than the characters they play on this show. There are some more strong “adult” storylines played out during this season and, unlike the early seasons, story arcs actually continue over from episode to episode. Fans of the show will not even miss Shannon Doherty as Tiffani-Amber Thiessen fills in for her quite nicely and as a result the show moves right along without missing a beat. Much credit goes to Thiessen for that. This would be the last season with the older cast members Gabrielle Carteris, James Eckhouse, and Carol Potter as well, so after this season the show would look completely different. Overall this is a solid season of Beverly Hills 90210. Not as good as some of the previous seasons, but there was some new blood injected into this season that helped the series seem fresher than it probably should have been by this point.

Episodes:

Disc One:

Episode 1 – What I Did on My Summer Vacation and Other Stories – Brenda decides to stay in London, and Dylan returns from an alcohol-fuelled trip to Mexico.

Episode 2 – Under the Influence – Dylan is angered by Brandon’s involvement with Kelly. Donna considers becoming a debutante.

Episode 3 – A Clean State – During his campaign for a student government position at California University, Brandon witnesses a tragedy. Dylan sleeps with Val.

Episode 4 – Life After Death – Brandon fights to keep his student organization position and helps Steve out when a fraternity party is busted. Clare becomes fond of David.

Disc Two:

Episode 5 – Rave On – Kelly grows suspicious of Val, and Andrea catches her husband flirting with another woman. Dylan is seen stealing.

Episode 6 – Homecoming – Dylan cheats on Val, and Brandon confronts an alleged human rights violator. A plot is hatched to steal a rival university’s mascot.

Episode 7 – Who’s Zoomin’ Who? – Steve and Dylan fight after Steve discovers Val at Dylan’s house. David finds himself handcuffed to Clare’s bed and has to think fast when her father arrives.

i>Episode 8 – Things That Go Bang in the Night – Dylan’s dangerous habit for drugs and guns progresses, and Val informs the Walshes of his rocky finances.

Disc Three:

Episode 9 – Intervention – An explicit videotape of David and Clare ends up with Donna’s parents, and Dylan’s problems escalate when he checks in and out rehab.

Episode 10 – The Dreams of Dylan McKay – Dylan experiences a series of disturbing dreams as he recovers from an accident, and Steve makes a play to run the Peach Pit After Dark.

Episode 11 – Hate Is Just a Four-Letter Word – When a controversial speaker visits California University, the students confront anti-semitism. Dylan is threatened by his drug dealer.

Episode 12 – Rock of Ages – The gang experiences a series of adventures at a rock concert, and Dylan agrees to relinquish his share in the Peach Pit After Dark.

Disc Four:

Episode 13 – Up in Flames – Emily sees Brandon during a short visit from Paris and a underground rave party turns disastrous.

Episode 14 – Injustice For All – Steve suffers the fallout from his role in the ill-fated rave party and Dylan emerges from rehab.

Episode 15 – Christmas Comes This Time Each Year – As Andrea and Jesse struggle with their relationship and parenthood, the gang arrives to celebrate the holiday.

Episode 16 – Sentenced to Life – Steve builds an unlikely friendship with an Alzheimer’s patient. Dylan’s driver’s license is suspended.

Disc Five:

Episode 17 – Sweating It Out – Brandon and Dylan unexpectedly learn lessons in Native American culture. Kelly and Val attend a psychology seminar.

Episode 18 – Hazardous to Your Health – Dylan and Val uncover a shady operation in Mexico. Brandon and Kelly clash over Professor Finley.

Episode 19 – Little Monsters – Kelly drifts away from her friends as her belief in Professor Finley grows. Val demands money from Dylan and Andrea kisses a married man.

Episode 20 – You Gotta Have Heart – Val checks into a high-end hotel and plots to coax Ray to her room. The Peach Pit After Dark hosts a telethon.

Disc Six:

Episode 21 – Stormy Weather – Brandon and Dylan convince Kelly to leave Professor Finley’s cultish group. Dylan is devastated when Kelly gets back together with Brandon.

Episode 22 – Alone at the Top – Val tries to manipulate Dylan into using drugs again and California University is plagued by a rash of crimes.

Episode 23 – Love Hurts – David saves Donna from an attempted assault and news of a student’s criminal past triggers unrest at California University. Andrea makes plans to leave Jesse for Peter.

Episode 24 – Unreal World – David and Clare videotape a faux documentary about a group of roommates. They break up after Clare spots David kissing Donna. A surprise revelation complicates Andrea’s attempt to salvage her marriage.

Disc Seven:

Episode 25 – Double Jeopardy – Competition to secure a slot on a popular game show causes tension between Clare and David, and Andrea steals the limelight.

Episode 26 – A Song For My Mother – As Ray’s behavior grows troublesome, David learns that his mother struggles with mental illness.

Episode 27 – Squash It – Tempers flare when a rowdy band shows up at the club. Under hypnosis, Dylan has a past-life experience.

Episode 28 – Girls on the Side – Kelly develops insecurities about her looks after appearing on the cover of a magazine. Ray’s affair with Valerie is revealed.

Disc Eight:

Episode 29 – The Real McCoy – Dylan continues with hypnosis treatment, and becomes convinced that he and Kelly share a special bond. Brandon pursues re-election to the California University student government.

Episode 30 – Hello Life, Goodbye Beverly Hills – Brandon proposes to Kelly, and Dylan asks her to travel around the world with him. Jim is offered a lucrative business opportunity, and Andrea prepares for a life away from Beverly Hills.

Episode 31 – P.S. I Love You (Parts 1 and 2) – Dylan seeks vengeance for his father’s murder. When his parents relocate to Hong Kong, Brandon must move out of his old house. Val’s bad habits cause Brandon problems with the police, and Steve has a surprising encounter with a mysterious “goddess”.

The video is given in fullscreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The transfer is good, and is about as good as you can expect for a show that is this old. No major problems at all.

The audio included is English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. There are subtitles available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese as well. The dialogue and music come out loud and clear. There are no major problems here either.

There are no extras for this season of the show, which will disappoint fans of the show for sure. What are these actors doing today anyways? They are too busy to talk about the show today? Shameful.

Fans of the series will be disappointed by the lack of extras, but will still most likely buy the season anyways if they are hardcore fans. This is a solid season that basically resets the series for the “second era”. If you can’t really jump right into this season, since you will miss a lot of the background stories. But if you have start with this season, it would be easier to do than other seasons. Basically, if you like “teen dramas” you have to at least rent this show.

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Paramount presents Beverly Hills 90210 – Season 5. Created by Aaron Spelling and Darren Star. Starring Jason Priestley, Luke Perry, Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, Ian Ziering, Brian Austin Green, Gabrielle Carteris, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, James Eckhouse, and Carol Potter. Running time: 1399 minutes. Rated: NOT RATED. Released on DVD: July 29, 2008.
Available at Amazon.com

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