Fall TV Preview

'90210': The Next Generation

Dishing out as much drama behind the scenes as in front of the camera, the CW breathes new life into an iconic series -- as the network's fate possibly hangs in the balance

90210 | 90210 'S NEW CLASS (From left) Shenae Grimes, AnnaLynne McCord,Ryan Eggold, Dustin Milligan, Jessica Stroup, Tristan Wilds, and Michael Steger
Image credit: PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLIAMS + HIRAKAWA
90210'S NEW CLASS (From left) Shenae Grimes, AnnaLynne McCord,Ryan Eggold, Dustin Milligan, Jessica Stroup, Tristan Wilds, and Michael Steger

The sideburns are gone. The Peach Pit is shuttered. And those Walsh parents — who knows where they've taken their G-rated life lessons? But here in the hallowed halls of West Beverly High School, something is sounding eerily familiar. Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), Beverly Hills princess with a heart of 24-karat gold, is all gushy about the new guy in her life. Apparently, he's quite literary. ''This is probably really boring for you,'' she says to a friend, while fixing her perfectly bouncy blond hair.

Boring? Not to any Beverly Hills, 90210 fan who watched Kelly through 10 years of Steve, Dylan, Brandon, unimportant guy, and Dylan again. So who is this new object of Kelly's affection? None other than Sammy...her 4-year-old son. The director yells cut, and Ryan Eggold, who plays Kelly's West Beverly colleague Ryan Matthews, chivalrously offers Garth a hand as she descends the stairs leading off set. ''You're a mom now,'' he jokes.

Kelly Taylor — supermom? Turn off those SOAPNet reruns because it is so not the '90s anymore. Just one look around the Manhattan Beach set of The CW's new update of 90210 reveals how much has changed: The West Beverly cafeteria now offers sushi, the Peach Pit and its lame reincarnation the Peach Pit After Dark have morphed into a music lounge called The Pit, and not one of the fresh-faced, skimpily clothed cuties is contemplating losing her virginity to a high school hallway DJ.

But this 90210 has some powerful lineage. Taking an iconic show of yesteryear and making it relevant to young viewers in 2008, while also paying homage to the past and the now thirtysomething fans who made it so popular the first time around, is not going to be easy. Especially when you lose your showrunner before filming even begins. Especially when major script revisions cause episodes to be filmed out of order. Especially when some of the famous former faces returning to the show used to engage in on-set screaming matches. Welcome to the new 90210, where drama is, once again, never in short supply.

NEXT PAGE: ''We're getting scripts at the last minute. There are so many people commenting. Gabe and Jeff are writing, The CW is reading, then [the studio] CBS Productions. There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen because everyone is scared.''

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