31 episodes on 8 DVDs. 1994-95/color/23 hrs., 19 min/NR/fullscreen.
The most popular zip code of the '90s changes dramatically in the fifth season, the halfway point of the show's 10-year run. With the departure of one of the primary characters--Brenda Walsh (Shannon Doherty)--multiple new faces arrive (and stick around) on Beverly Hills 90210
for the first time. The most well-known and well-remembered is Tiffani Thiessen as bad girl Valerie Malone, an old family friend of the Walshes, who arrives in Beverly Hills seeking refuge after her father's suicide. Valerie almost immediately becomes the love interest of both Steve (Ian Ziering) and Dylan (Luke Perry) and displays a penchant for smoking pot in the Walsh's house and shooting pool in comically seedy pool halls in the middle of the day. The two other new romantic storylines feature Kathleen Robertson as Clare Arnold, first seen as Brandon Walsh (Jason Priestley)'s stalker and eventually as David Silver's (Brian Austin Green) rebound girl after he breaks up with Tori Spelling's Donna (who's holding onto her virginity until marriage); and Jamie "How Do You Talk to an Angel?
" Walters as working-class Ray Pruit, the new boyfriend of Donna.
Season five firmly establishes the new 90210 soap-opera formula and shifts from message-driven plotlines to character-based action. Perry definitely has some of the finest moments this season as we find him completely broke and fallen very far off the wagon. From alcohol to cocaine to heroin to rehab, Dylan hits bottom with a car crash and we're forced to endure one of the most ridiculous (but accidently hilarious) episodes in Beverly Hills 90210 history: "The Dreams of Dylan McKay." The other characters don't have nearly as dramatic storylines this season, but there's still plenty of action. Brandon and Kelly (Jennie Garth) are figuring out how to be in a relationship while he's constantly fighting bureaucracy and special interests in campus politics. Donna is falling in love with Ray, but finding out a bit too late that he's not quite who she thought he was. Things get a lot more ridiculous, amusing and fun this season and 90210 remains as compulsively watchable as ever.---Kira Canny