The long-awaited reboot of Beverly Hills, 90210 did not disappoint. According to The Hollywood Reporter, BH90210 scored high during its premiere on Fox this past Wednesday evening. The show’s premiere scored higher than any other new network series premiere this summer, with a rating of 1.5 in the 18-49 demographic. Additionally, this score is double that of the top rating from all other scripted broadcast series that aired this summer. In fact, it even had the best rating for any Fox shows, besides sports, during the summer since 2016. Despite this large rating, the actual audience total of 3.84 million viewers did not beat out Big Brother‘s total of 3.93 million.
Although the rating were high, fans were highly confused. The reunion episode tied in both reality and fantasy, with the characters playing themselves, but not. Fans took to Twitter, expressing their frustration:
— laura weatherston (@lauweatherston) August 8, 2019
However, other fans were able to catch on to the storyline and its “mockumentary” style and the nods to the original series:
I’m so glad this reboot was done cleverly. Tons of hidden jokes only the hardcore fans would get. #BH90210
— KD (@skd215) August 8, 2019
As explained by Ian Ziering, who played Steve Sanders on the original series, the 6 episode miniseries follows Tori Spelling’s attempts to get the reboot on the air. The actors all play versions of themselves rather than their characters, which is what seems to have confused some viewers. It also appears in documentary style, which further confused fans, causing them to wonder if this was a reality-style show. Even more convoluted is the fact that the actors — who go by their actual names — are in fact playing characters of themselves. For example, Christine Elise Mccarthy plays a Fox executive with a ruthless persona. As Ziering explained, “I think it would be better said that the characters are more sensationalized, because there is a good smattering of our real selves woven into the fabric, where it’s not on the nose, it’s kinda on the cheek, that’s how… we get away with it. But it is scripted. The stories are heightened, but they are our authentic voices coming through.”
Ian also described his emotions on entering the Peach Pit, which had been recreated almost exactly: “we’ve all aged a little bit but to see them in that environment kind of gave me goosebumps. It was really exciting. It’s like time has folded in on itself, and I’m revisiting all the things that I did, you know, 29 years ago.”
As had been teased earlier, Luke Perry was absent, but not forgotten. Although Perry claimed he could not be a part of the reboot due to his regular appearance as Fred Andrews, the father of Archie in Riverdale, Perry did say he would try to be a part of as many episodes as possible. Since his passing on March 2019, the cast was determined to create a special tribute to Perry in the premiere. The end of the episode shows Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth watching an old scene of Luke Perry, followed by a dedication to him. The scene they are watching is actually from the original pilot episode of Beverly Hills, 90210. It shows Perry as Dylan driving Brandon to see the beach for his first time. Dylan’s words brought fans to tears, as he told Brandon, “Welcome to paradise, man. Welcome to your dream come true.” It wasn’t until after Perry’s passing that Shannen Doherty decided to join the reboot, making the series a true reunion. She will also make an appearance on Riverdale’s tribute episode to Perry, which airs on The CW October 9th.
Watch BH90210 on Fox Wednesdays at 9 PST.