Why Critics Are Calling the ‘BH90210’ Reboot ‘Weird’ and ‘Too Clever’

Fans of the iconic 90s show Beverly Hills 90210 are eagerly awaiting the reboot of the series, BH90210. While viewers will get to see most of their favorite characters from West Beverly, the reboot offers something of a twist, which may or may not sit well with 90210 loyalists.

‘BH90210’s’ Gabrielle Carteris, Tori Spelling, Brian Austin Green, Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, and Ian Ziering | FOX via Getty Images

Remembering Perry

The main cast members are back to reprise their roles – Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, Ian Ziering, Brian Austin Green, and Gabrielle Carteris. Though the reboot has a unique spin for its premise, the entire 90210 team unanimously wanted to pay homage to the one actor who could not join their reunion.

Sadly, Luke Perry passed away in early March. Seeing the reboot, viewers can innately sense the actor’s absence, with a reviewer from Rolling Stone writing, “His loss is still deeply felt, not just because Dylan McKay (Perry’s character) was the show’s most enduring character, but because he was one of the few members of the ensemble with the range to tackle all the things BH90210 is trying to do.”

Garth said that it was healing to reunite with original cast members following Perry’s death. “He was with us every second of the time,” she said, according to Us Weekly. “The timing was something that seemed horrific, but in a weird, sort of universal way, it was a way for us to all be together during an incomprehensible painful time,” she said.

Spelling also referenced how the show will be paying tribute to Perry, being sure to handle his memory honorably. “We really wanted to honor him and to pay tribute to our friend that we greatly miss,” Spelling said, as reported by Us Weekly. “We didn’t want to make it a spectacle or kind of make it feel like it was capitalizing on anything unfortunate that happened … What plays out in the first episode is a little bit based on the story that played out in real life.”

A different spin

Fox Network has described the 90210 reboot as a show that “follows the original cast playing heightened versions of themselves in a brand-new serialized dramedy showing the making of a show within a show,“ according to Entertainment Tonight.

Spelling told the entertainment news program that she and Garth started thinking of a reboot so they could work together again, yet they knew it had to be different. “We were like … ‘What if we did an entire ensemble cast playing a heightened fictitious version of themselves?’ Everyone would be like, ‘Is it real? Is it not real?’ And then the show within the show — coming back together as a family, as friends — to do the reboot.”

Garth admitted that it may a little disorienting at first glance. “It’s quite a confusing concept to grasp at first, I understand,” Garth told Entertainment Tonight. “People were very confused, so we had to break it down for people and explain it slowly. At first they 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 … “I like to look at it as if we’re playing characters that we’re creating that have the same names as us … And we’re also taking people’s perceptions and images that they think they know about us, and using that to create these characters. [We’re] poking fun at it and sort of flipping it upside-down and inviting people to look at things different, but at the same time familiar.”

What critics say so far

If fans are still a bit confused at the synopsis that has been promoted so far, they are not alone. Some critics took a sneak peek at BH90210, and so far, reviews are a bit mixed.

Newsday said the show “isn’t bad as much as regrettable,” and adds, “BH90210 unintentionally makes the case why there must never be a Friends reboot or reunion show. Ever.”

Yet some critics went along for the ride. Time called the reboot “weird as hell,” saying “the tone of BH90210 is bizarre,” but adds “this mayhem works.” Rolling Stone wrote that the series is “pretty damn strange,” yet some plot lines were “so ridiculous and yet perfect,” and viewers will watch since “the sheer oddity of it all becomes a bit of a hook unto itself.”

Fans won’t have to wait long to decide for themselves. BH90210 premieres August 7 on Fox!