Beverly Hills, 90210: Season Nine
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Beverly Hills, 90210: Season Nine

If appears that every new television season includes at least a few prime time soap operas targeting teens. Most of the series manage to hang on for a few years before giving way to the latest batch of young and beautiful aspiring actors and actresses. This is just not the kind of show that seems conducive to longevity. There is a touch of irony in the fact that the progenitor of the genre lasted a full decade; ‘Beverley Hills, 90210’. When it first hit the television screens across America back in 1990it was considered just another show about high school kids. Few could have predicted that this show would gather a loyal group of fans and grow into one of the defining influences in popular culture. For an entire generation ‘90210’ exemplified the nineties setting one trend after another in fashion, music and television style. For quite awhile now this seminal series has been released to DVD by CBS Paramount, holders of the distribution rights to some of the most popular television in the history of the media. They have now reached the penultimate ninth season and like the others it is as much fun now as when we first enjoyed it. Since this series ended there have been many pretenders to its throne but thus far none have come close to ascending to those heights. There has even been a new series to serve as a sort of sequel or ‘Next Generation’ but even that approach could not coming close to phenomena that was this original. This DVD is just the right thing to help put the others off to the side and go old school to see how a prime time soap opera should be done. For a lot of people you grow up with this series so even though it only ended a decade ago it is certain to invoke some nostalgic feelings.

When a series lasts as long as this one did changes are to be expected. Originally the central theme of the show was following a pair of fraternal twins from Minnesota that moved to the extremely up scale Beverley Hills. This was a great place to start when both of them where in high school but let’s face life goes on and children grow older. There were a lot of jokes about the cast playing the oldest teenagers in the world but actually the producers went through a lot to make sure the characters were allowed to grow up and continued to face age appropriate problems. This definitely worked in favor of the show’s ability to last since the audience was pretty much aging at the same rate. Also consistent with reality the core group of close friends remained pretty much in tack but people did come and go over time. All of this exhibited a synergistic effect of the show helping it to maintain a level of quality and freshness difficult to do for so long. In this next to last season several new characters were introduced to help spice up the concluding story lines.

This season picks up directly after the previous one. Kelly (Jennie Garth) and Brandon (Jason Priestley) had been waffling with their relationship almost getting married in the last season’s two part finale. The do, however, succumb to their feeling and sleep together after calling off the ceremony. This night of passion doesn’t have a lasting effect on Brandon who wants to move on. One of the many socially relevant themes pops up when Valerie (Tiffani Thiessen) gets tested for AIDS, overjoyed when it comes back negative. This incites her to being completely honest with her friend causing them to rapidly tire of this new affectation. Ultimately it leads to a shocking confession concerning the untimely death of her father. This season sees the return of one of the most popular characters; the always rebellious Dylan McKay (Luke Perry). It turns out his missing father was in witness relocation program after faking his death. His bad boy image is secure adding a relapse to heroin addiction to his already established alcoholism. Dylan is still in love with Kelly reigniting one of the most famous romantic triangles on TV. When she rebuffs his insistence at renewing their relationship he seeks out the new bad girl on the scene, Gina Kincaid (Vanessa Marcil), the poor cousin of series staple Donna Martin (Tori Spelling). Naturally, the plots in this season include most of the elements that subsequently have become requirements in the genre. There is a nanny-cam that inadvertently is responsible for a scandalous sex tape, rape blackmail, and one night stands. The producers knew the end was near and pulled out all the stops in preparation for the conclusion/ this series still has everything you want in a guilty pleasure and more.

Posted 01/29/2010

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