One of the definitive, landmark shows of the 1990s, 90210 quickly became an important fixture on the FOX and in the popular discourse of adolescents and young adults. The second seasons main characters, Dylan, Kelly, Donna, Steve, David, Andrea and twins Brandon and Brenda all attended West Beverly Hills High School. Brandon and Brenda Walsh and their parents, transplants from Minneapolis were the stable nuclear family with strong values; their home was a safe haven for the whole gang and the center of much of the drama. The show dealt with a steady stream of love triangles and other romantic entanglements and occasionally touched on more serious issues as well.
From a pregnancy scare and a psycho girlfriend to a cameo by Color Me Badd, Beverly Hills 90210's sophomore year demonstrates why this was "the greatest TV show in history with a zip code in its title." That's what comedians John Aboud and Michael Colton (Best Week Ever) call it in a very entertaining bonus feature that affectionately roasts 90210 from its so-the-drama melodramatics to its stuck-in-the-'90s fashion sense (high-waisted jeans, buttoned-up shirts, and whatever the heck you call the outrageous wardrobe worn by Brian Austin Green's David). This is the season that catapulted 90210 from Most Likely to Succeed to BSOF (Best Show on Fox). Certainly, it was must-see viewing for teens who anxiously tuned in each week to vicariously chart the serial adventures of siblings Brenda (Shannon Doherty) and older brother Brandon (Jason Priestley), recent transplants from Minnesota to glitzy Beverly Hills. Season 2, one of the best in this series' decade-long run, is one for the time capsule, with episodes and story arcs that loom large in the 90210 phenomenon, among them: Brenda's tempestuous, on-and-off-again relationship with soulful bad boy Dylan (Luke Perry in his instantly iconic role), causing rifts between her and her increasingly disapproving parents; new girl Emily Valentine (Christine Elise) going all Fatal Attraction on Brandon (no rabbits are boiled but a homecoming float is in jeopardy); Kelly (Jennie Garthhooking up with Melrose Place-bound Jake (Grant Show), and Donna (Tori Spelling) in her mermaid Halloween costume.
Degrassi Jr. High has nothing on 90210 when it comes to issues-oriented episodes. Not four minutes into the season opener, Brenda announces she is five days "late." "I love Dylan, and I thought I knew what we were doing" she tells BFFs Kelly and Donna, "but I'm beginning to get the feeling that it wasn't worth it." Other episodes address abstinence, child abuse, the physically challenged, sexual orientation, racism, rape, and steroids. A heartbreaking story arc concerns David shunning his former best friend, Scott, who returns from an Oklahoma vacation all urban cowboy, making him even more of an outcast with the popular kids. "Cool it with the guns," David cautions, foreshadowing tragic events to come in the episode "The Next 50 Years." Throwing something of a wet blanket on precious memories of the show is the substitution of generic songs for 90210's originally killer soundtracks of alternative and classic rock and golden oldies. One would think that the Peach Pit has the lamest jukebox on Earth. --Donald Liebenson