Today, Saved By the Bell is one of the most iconic shows of the 1990s. Stars like Mario Lopez and Tiffani Thiessen launched their stardom through the portrayal of characters who are still popular with nostalgic fans.
Now, like so many other shows in the age of revivals and reboots, Saved By the Bell is headed back to the screen to wow a whole new generation of viewers and capture their old fans’ hearts all over again.
The new version will bring back A.C. Slater and Jessie Spano as well as feature guest appearances from some other beloved characters.
As fans dig back into their memories in anticipation of this upcoming reboot, they might be surprised to learn that there was actually a precursor to the hit series on the Disney Channel.
‘Saved By the Bell’ ran for four seasons
The original series premiered in 1989 and ran for four seasons, exiting in 1992. During its run, the show brought fans a mix of comedy, drama, and romance by following the lives of six close friends at Bayside High School. The show had the familiar tropes of a high school saga, showcasing the jock, the nerd, the beauty queen, and the cool kid. By starting from this sort of recognizable framework, the series had a comfortable feel that fit for audiences who were already primed by ’80s hits like The Breakfast Club.
The show also displayed a lot of heart. The ups and downs for on-again, off-again couple Zack and Kelly broke hearts and kept the teen audience glued to the screen to see what would happen next. The series also wasn’t afraid to drop the comedic overtones now and then and dive into some serious issues impacting young people. By exploring the tensions between teenage impulsivity and the nearing promise of adulthood, the show provided more than just laughs.
Sequels kept the fun going
When your show revolves around high school students, there is always a ticking clock for the series. After all, high school is only a brief period in time, and the characters — not to mention the actors — are going to age out of their roles and setting really quickly. Some shows solve this problem by bringing in new characters to fill the roles of those who have graduated (think Glee or Skins). Others move on with their characters as they grow, showcasing the drama as they navigate college and young adulthood (the tactic of other 90s shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Boy Meets World).
Saved By the Bell officially ended after four seasons, but it did continue to explore the characters’ lives through sequels. The show was so popular that it produced several spinoffs. Basically, Saved By the Bell couldn’t pick just one strategy for handling the aging out problem, so they gave them all a try! Saved By the Bell: The New Class stayed focused on Bayside High School but brought in a new cast of students. It ran from 1993 to 2000. Meanwhile, those who wanted more of the original cast could follow them on Saved By the Bell: The College Years, which lasted for a single season.
There was a lesser-known prequel
What some fans may not know is that in addition to the sequels, there was also a prequel to Saved By the Bell. The series found its long-running home on NBC, but back when it was a new idea, NBC wasn’t sold on the concept and took a pass. Instead, the idea was picked up by the Disney Channel, according to Mental Floss.
NBC aired a pilot for the show Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which featured Brian Austin Green and Jaleel White as students. When NBC decided not to move forward with the idea, Disney swooped in and added Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Lark Voorhies, and Dustin Diamond to the cast. It ran there for thirteen episodes before getting dropped by Disney. At that point, NBC decided to give it another go, and they made some major changes. This included making the students a little older and adding some more characters. When it premiered on the new network, it had also been renamed to Saved By the Bell.