What Only True Fans Notice In BH90210

Before there was BH90210there was Beverly Hills, 90210On Oct. 4, 1990, TV's Walsh family made the move from Minnesota to Beverly Hills, and American audiences were forever changed. Centered on a couple of midwestern transplants as they navigated the posh Los Angeles landscape, 90210 wasn't all fancy cars and expensive clothes (it was a lot of that, but not all). The teen soap, a precursor to later hits like Gossip Girl and The O.C., dealt with real issues that real teenagers faced. And, in spite of its melodramatic storytelling, it was relatable to '90s kids.

But nothing lasts forever, and, in 2000, Beverly Hills, 90210 said goodbye (until that subpar CW spinoff happened, that is). Nearly two decades passed, as fans were left to wonder whatever became of Brandon, Brenda, Kelly, Donna, and the rest of the 90210 crew. That all changed in August 2019 with reboot series BH90210. Bringing back nearly the entire original cast, BH90210 premiered to the highest ratings Fox had seen since 2017.

BH90210 has something for everyone, fan of the original series or not. But if you were a fan, there are a few things you're sure to notice that no one else will.

BH90210 isn't like the original 90210

The premise of BH90210 can seem a little confusing at first, as the original cast plays "heightened versions" of themselves coming back to produce a Beverly Hills, 90210 reunion show. It's something stars Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth told Entertainment Tonight was actually a selling point for returning to the series that made them famous. So BH90210 plays out as a show based on a show within another show. It's all very meta. 

"It's quite a confusing concept to grasp at first, I understand," Garth explained. "At first [people] thought, 'Oh, this is reality show! You're playing yourselves?' But no, it's not a reality show — and no, it's not a straight reboot." Think of BH90210 as the Curb Your Enthusiasm of '90s teen dramas. Spelling, Garth, and the rest of the cast are playing "Tori Spelling," "Jennie Garth," etc. But this 90210 cast is dealing with issues the real actors wouldn't — at least, we'd hope the real Tori Spelling would have better sense than to steal some fan-owned memorabilia.

BH90210 has a killer soundtrack

These days, Color Me Badd looks and sounds like one of those dad bands who only plays wedding receptions. But back in 1992, they were a Grammy-nominated R&B group with some serious star power. So it makes sense that they would have appeared on the original Beverly Hills, 90210. In the Season 2 episode "Things to Do on a Rainy Day," the group not only makes a cameo, but they sing to the West Beverly Hills High gang at the Peach Pit.

Of course, in the BH90210 dream sequence opener, it would only be fitting to hear the group play on the jukebox. Tori Spelling's comment to co-star Brian Austin Green, "Do you remember when we used to make out to this song underneath the bleachers?" is a sweet nod to the many bands that have appeared on the original series during its decade-long run. Just thank Color Me Badd for setting the 90210 musical precedent. Just imagine if BH90210 leads to a 90210 musical guest reunion tour featuring Monica, Wild Orchid, and Powerman 5000.

The real-life BH90210 rumor mill abounds

From BH90210's onset, Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling wanted it to play on the public's perception of the Beverly Hills, 90210 cast. "I think definitely everyone was wanting to poke fun at themselves and poke fun at the image that other people have of them," Spelling told Entertainment Weekly. "We do want people to question, like, 'Wait, is that based on a story from real life or is that something fictionalized?'"

Spelling added fuel to the rumor fire in BH90210's premiere episode when she alluded to the idea that she had lost her virginity to the actor behind one of her on-screen boyfriends, Brian Austin Green. Turns out, it may actually be true — sort of. In 2015, Spelling admitted on Lifetime's Celebrity Lie Detector that she had, in fact, dated Green while they were filming the show. But the biggest bombshell? Turns out she took things off set with Brandon Walsh himself, Jason Priestley. According to Entertainment Tonight, Priestley chose to take the high road, and he said that whatever may have happened wasn't anyone's business.

BH90210's Shannon Doherty has a great sense of humor

If there's one thing true Beverly Hills, 90210 fans will remember, it's the on-set drama that forced Shannen Doherty into unemployment. The actress spoke of her infamous feud with Jennie Garth to HuffPost in 2012. "I think that the one thing we can all agree upon is that I'm a brutally honest human being, and sometimes that has not served me very well," she said, adding, "I like the fact that I'm honest, and I'm not going to pretend to be friends with somebody when I'm not friends with them." 

Ten years after 90210 ended, Doherty and Garth had made amends, and the pair now consider each other friends. So it only makes sense that their feud — and Doherty's famous reputation — should take center stage in the reboot. Since this is a heightened reality, though, that means that the fictional BH90210 version of Shannen Doherty is a hardcore animal conservationist and humanitarian — so much so that the mere mention of her philanthropic endeavors brings a round of eye rolls from the rest of the cast during the first episode's reunion.

BH90210's Tori Spelling harbors a lot of fashion resentment

In the premiere episode of BH90210, after Shannen Doherty's appearance, the actors decide to hit the hotel bar, and at least one (or three) of them winds up making a stupid drunk decision. The one in question here is Tori Spelling, who — as the heightened version of herself — is severely strapped for cash these days and looking for someone to take the blame. That someone winds up being the original show's production, and, since Spelling feels she's owed, she decides to steal her infamous "Spring Dance" episode red dress, with everyone else's help, of course.

While in the original series episode, Donna had some definite difficulty maneuvering in the over-frilled crimson ballgown, the fictional version of Spelling, on the other hand, seems to have no problem at all with it. After successfully lifting the dress from its display case, the group escapes via Brian Austin Green's private jet, and Spelling makes a drunken toast to everyone aboard. "This dress belongs to all of us," she says. And she's absolutely right.

Remember that whole "Donna Martin graduates" thing? BH90210 does.

BH90210's version of Tori Spelling isn't the only one with a fondness for vino. Beverly Hills, 90210 fans may remember back in Season 3 of the series that Donna Martin wound up drinking a little too much at Senior Prom and nearly got barred from graduating West Beverly because of it. Spelling spoke to Vulture in 2013 about the episode with fondness, saying, "I'm really proud. We did ten seasons and hundreds of episodes, so it's obviously something that makes me really proud that this is the one that stands out the most to people."

But BH90210 Spelling feels a little differently about the whole thing, as well as the ensuing "Donna Martin graduates" fan phenomenon. When she sees a girl wearing a "Donna Martin graduates" T-shirt at the show reunion, she's less nostalgic of the original episode's impact and more upset she wasn't able to share in the financials. "Look at that," she says to Jennie Garth. "I can't even pay my bills, but that show is cashing in on our faces."

The characters in BH90210 are still trying to rave

The Beverly Hills, 90210 characters were always good kids at heart, but that doesn't mean they didn't at least try to find trouble on one or two occasions. In the Season 2 episode "U4EA," temporary resident bad girl Emily Valentine (played by Christine Elise) brings the gang to an underground rave, which winds up having disastrous effects. Not only is Brandon roofied by his girlfriend, but he basically loses his beloved Mustang as well.

Not everyone had the night Brandon did, though — Steve (Ian Ziering) and Andrea (Gabrielle Carteris) couldn't even find the rave, although they definitely gave it their best shot. Confusing a regular gas station clerk for one with ties to the party, the pair tries to "exchange an egg," a code that would grant them access. It didn't work out for them in 1991, but the egg thing has found a way to live on in BH90210 land. In the series premiere, a dream sequence sees Ian and Gabrielle reenacting their famous egg scene, with Jennie Garth in the role of the confused clerk.

BH90210's version of Jennie Garth faced a lot of trauma as Kelly Taylor

Jennie Garth played Kelly Taylor for the entire ten-season run of Beverly Hills, 90210, and, in those 292 episodes, her character went through some serious trauma. Having navigated a diet pill addiction, a sexual assault, a cult, and a bullet wound, Kelly has survived pretty much anything a person — real or fictional — could survive.

The beginning of BH90210's second episode, "The Pitch," was an homage to everything Kelly Taylor. In a dream sequence, Jennie walks the halls of West Beverly Hills High and is approached by her friends/co-stars/90210 characters, who mention particular Kelly-centered storylines to her as she passes. "Are you on diet pills again?" Jason/Brandon asks. "We talked about this!"

According to Garth, the choices were made purposefully. "I think we just played on the fact that so many dramatic things happened to Kelly over those 10 years," she said at the Television Critics Association party (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet), adding, "She had a lot of unfinished business with all that trauma."

Jennie Garth's relationship with her daughter in BH90210 feels familiar

One of Jennie Garth's biggest storylines on BH90210 has to do with her relationship with her teenage daughter, Kyler (Karis Cameron). Kyler wants nothing more than to be an actress, while Jennie wants her to do anything with her life except that. They're in a constant battle of wills when it comes to fame, so much so that Kyler wants to be emancipated so she can pursue her dream without her mother's permission.

But wait. This feels a little familiar. Maybe it's because on Beverly Hills, 90210, Kelly was always fighting with her mom, Jackie (Ann Gillespie) over nearly the same exact thing. Except on the original 90210, Kelly wanted nothing to do with being in the limelight, while Jackie pushed her (and in later seasons her younger half-sister, Erin) to model. While BH90210 Jennie Garth is clearly a little more invested in her child's best interests than 90210's Jackie was, the power struggle between teenage daughter and showbiz mother is definitely one we've seen before.

Watch out for cameos in BH90210

While BH90210 is made to be a show that doesn't stick too closely to its original, the greatest fun in watching it is seeing all the best Beverly Hills, 90210 characters make their return. Prior to the show's premiere, Jennie Garth teased that any number of stars could come back for the reboot. "We're gonna have fun with [guest appearances] over the course of the first season, for sure," she told Us Weekly. "You'll just have to keep your eyes peeled for recognizable faces." 

The first big cameo happened at the end of "The Pitch," when the cast learns that the person in charge of producing their reboot is none other than Christine Elise. When asked if this new iteration of Christine would be anything like her original character, Emily Valentine, Elise said at the Television Critics Association party (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet), "That has yet to be seen," adding, "I can't decide that. Fans do."

Later, the episode "The Photo Shoot" saw Carol Potter (the Walsh family matriarch) play a therapist for the group. If this is what "heightened" characterization is all about, we are here for it.

BH90210 embraces Kelly and Brandon forever

Fans of the original Beverly Hills, 90210 were split when, in its finale episode "Ode to Joy," Kelly made the decision to go after Dylan. Up until that point, she had gone back and forth between him and Brandon, had fallen in love with both, and had never really given herself completely to one without still harboring feelings for the other. It felt like the longest-running love triangle of the '90s, and, while plenty of Dylan fans were happy with the show's ending, there were still those Brandon fans who weren't.

BH90210 sees you, Brandon Walsh fanatics, and it's dealing with that unresolved romantic tension head-on. From its onset, the show has shown the fictional versions of Jennie Garth and Jason Priestley to not be on the best terms (there's never been anything to suggest the pair had a real-life feud, to be clear). But it's also played up the pair's sexual chemistry — by having them hook up before the first hour was even over. It's the Kelly/Brandon happily-ever-after fans always hoped for, so long as that whole adultery thing can be overlooked.

Luke Perry will truly be missed in BH90210

In March 2019, Luke Perry, the actor who brought bad boy Dylan McKay to life on Beverly Hills, 90210, died after suffering a massive stroke. The rest of the cast felt it appropriate to pay homage to the late star with the revival.

From a small remark — Jason Priestley responds to Gabrielle Carteris' comment about all of them being back together with, "I wish that were true" — to a toast in Perry's honor, the actor's presence is felt throughout the premiere episode of BH90210. At the end, Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling are watching a scene from an old episode of 90210 that ends with Dylan telling Brandon, "Welcome to Paradise, man." It cuts to a title frame with the message, "For our friend Luke Perry. 1966 – 2019."

Spelling told Us Weekly that they wanted to honor Perry in the most thoughtful way possible. "We didn't want to make it a spectacle or kind of make it feel like it was capitalizing on anything unfortunate that happened," she said. "What plays out in the first episode is a little bit based on the story that played out in real life."