The '90210' Reboot Is A Show Within A Show Within A Show — Here's How To Keep Up

Shane Harvey/FOX

On Wednesday, Aug. 7, Fox will premiere an updated version of a '90s fan favorite — with a twist. Beverly Hills, 90210 is coming back with most of your favorites along for the ride. However, don't make a beeline for the Peach Pit just yet, because this isn't your average revival. While it does contain the same beloved, sun-kissed characters with their soapy, melodramatic storylines, it's more complicated than that. But while the BH90210 premise is initially confusing, don't overthink it too much.

Beverly Hills, 90210 ran from 1990-2000, kicking off with twins Brandon (Jason Priestley) and Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) moving from Minnesota to Los Angeles. There, they met friends like Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering), Donna Martin (Tori Spelling), and Dylan McKay (Luke Perry), among others, who were teenagers in the wealthy Southern California ZIP code. Fans of the original series can likely still recall the opening notes of the Golden Age Orchestra, feat. Paul Summer song that scored the opening credits. These characters eventually made the jump to college and, eventually, adulthood, learning plenty of after-school-special lessons along the way.

Doherty left the series after four seasons, per Entertainment Weekly, and cast members like Saved By the Bell veteran Tiffani Thiessen (who played Valerie Malone) and Lindsay Price (Janet Sosna) joined the series later on. In fact, the only actors to appear in every season were Spelling, Garth, Brian Austin Green, and Ziering, per EW.

As for the 2019 version, BH90210 won't exactly pick up where it left off — at least not in the traditional sense. "It's not technically a reboot, because I feel like everyone has seen the reboot," Spelling explained to E! "We don't want to be the last ones like doing the reboot thing, and no one wants to see like old versions of ourselves, but they do want to see us playing our characters, so what we're doing is the entire cast is playing heightened versions of themselves."

That's right, instead of simply playing Donna Martin, BH90210 will depict Spelling as both herself and Donna, with her other co-stars doing the same with their characters. "Think Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes, in an hour long show, and we're all playing heightened versions," the reality star continued, "so it could be fictional, it could be non-fictional, people will have to guess. And then we will have pop-ins, because we're behind the scenes trying to do the reboot." If that sounds meta, you're absolutely right.

In other words, audiences will be privy to double the drama — both onscreen and off. According to a review from Slate, the first episode depicts the gang back together again for a Beverly Hills, 90210 convention, during which they discuss whether to revive their beloved teen soap. It's certainly an odd choice, and the premise seems to be effective for some critics and less successful for others.

Shane Harvey/FOX

In addition to this 2019 revival, the Beverly Hills franchise had several other iterations, all created by Darren Star (who is also responsible for Sex and the City and Younger). Melrose Place premiered in 1992 as a Beverly Hills spin-off, which then begat 1994's Models Inc., which begat 90210, premiering in 2008 on The CW. Then there was the ill-fated 2009 Melrose Place reboot, which received poor reviews and only aired one season. So while it's noteworthy that the series is coming back, it's certainly not the first time to do so (though the first time with nearly all the original cast).

One notable exception is the late Luke Perry, who won't appear in the show. Even before his tragic death in March 2019, he wasn't slated to appear in the show very often, according to the same E! story, due to his busy schedule on Riverdale. Perry's last onscreen role was a cameo in the Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood, where he played a cowboy named Wayne Maunder. But while Perry won't be in the Fox series, his presence will almost certainly be felt.

So now that fans have the run-down on how exactly the BH90210 revival is being staged, they'll be more than ready to watch all of the soapy drama unfold in the glamorous, sunny ZIP code.