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Wednesday September 3, 2008 11:27 am

90210 review: Old Zip, New Drama

90210 Cast

That’s right, the wait is finally over. After keeping their new spin-off tightly under wraps, the CW premiered last night for two solid hours. The network refused to send out media copies, sparking rumors that the show is so terrible it was necessary to keep everything a secret.

Or was it just so fabulous that the CW wanted to surprise us all? Slick, polished production, beautiful sets and great costumes immediately impressed, but I was careful to hold my opinion until I learned a little something about the script.

Oh, who am I kidding? I was hooked right away, the very first second, and frothing at the mouth to see ’s entrance. I waited for that little moment, like everyone else, for exactly one hour and twenty-right minutes.

90210 debuted last night to the tune of 4.9 million viewers, making it a success for the CW. But did the premiere episode whet public appetite for more?

The introductions came so quickly in the first few minutes, it was almost impossible to keep track. I almost screamed when Hannah Zuckerman-Vasquez was featured; I did scream when I saw as Kelly Taylor. I find it unlikely that this pretty Beverly Hills princess grew up to be a guidance counselor at the very high school that was so tumultuous for her for four years, but we have to buy it for the sake of the show. Joe E. Tata as Nate (owner/operator of the Peach Pit) was introduced about fifteen minutes in.

Main character Annie and her brother Dixon very quickly found themselves forging friendships and ending romances in the series opener, acclimating immediately to their new environment. Annie became fast friends with Erin Silver, a character who appeared on as an infant (she’s the daughter of Kelly Taylor’s mother and David Silver’s father - remember, they were married for a spell) and spoiled girl Naomi, whose mother had a fling with Annie’s father when they were teenagers. A twist was added to this right away - Annie’s father and Naomi’s mother have a son, now an adult, as a result of their torrid relationship.

We still don’t know where that’s going.

Annie was quickly given two love interests. One is Ethan, lacrosse player and now ex-boyfriend to Naomi as a result of his publicized extra-relationship exploits. The second is dark-haired cutie Ty Collins, richest guy in school, who took Annie to dinner in San Francisco via his private jet.

Kelly Taylor was also given a love interest: somewhat rumpled, unshaven Mr. Matthews, who freaked out a little when he learned of Kelly’s four-year-old son. I freaked out, too, and when are we going to get the backstory on this little development? The kid, by the way, has curly blonde hair…a little bit like Ian Ziering’s Steve.

Finally, Brenda Walsh met Kelly at the Peach Pit in her introductory scene. Brenda is in town for “a play,” and in a later scene became a convenient babysitter so Kelly could go on a date with Matthews. Two scenes, just a few minutes, and that’s all we got to see of Brenda Walsh. It took two hours to watch the premiere of 90210, and Shannen had a total of about fifteen lines.

It was worth it. I’m not so crazy about the young love triangles being set up or the weird history between Naomi and Silver, but I am holding my breath for more scenes with Brenda and Kelly. I just think they both deserve a more interesting love interest than Matthews. Really, is this the best we can do?

Overall, the show offered drama, a little bit of mystery and plenty of room to give us more scandal, sex and secrets. What else do you expect from 90210?

(NOTE: An encore of the two-hour premiere will air on Thursday, Sept. 4.)

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