Beverly Hills, 90210

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Beverly Hills, 90210 TV Poster Image
Classic '90s teen soap with famous a zip code.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

This series presents an unrealistic portrayal of teenagers, but it deals with the very real issues that teens face. Themes also include disparities between socioeconomic classes. The consequences of negative behaviors are sometimes not always discussed (or shown).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some members of the group do work and participate in volunteer activities. Not all characters are good or nice; some frequently cheat, scheme, and manipulate. Despite the large ensemble cast, there are only a few characters of multicultural background featured.

Violence

Some of the plotlines feature characters surviving violent crime, including physical abuse, shooting, and rape. A character is murdered in a later season.

Sex

Frequent scenes of teens kissing and "making out." Frequent references to sexual activity. Discussions about teen pregnancy and sex are also featured, including discussions about virginity (particularly Donna's) and unexpected pregnancy (Andrea's). The episode in which Dylan and Brenda had sex for the first time was a big deal when it first aired.

Language

Pretty mild: "Damn," "hell," "bitch," etc.

Consumerism

Many (but not all) of the characters are presented as wealthy, materialistic members of the upscale Beverly Hills community.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teen cigarette use (accompanied by a clear discussion of their consequences). Alcohol and drug abuse (including steroids) are shown to have clear negative consequences. But the underage characters still do plenty of drinking outside the context of abuse.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while producer Aaron Spelling's soapy 1990s teen melodrama was about as realistic in its depiction of everyday teen life as The Brady Bunch was back in the '70s, it did address some serious topics, including alcoholism, drug abuse, premarital sex, gambling, teen pregnancy, and teen suicide. Characters are constantly coping with the dramatic ups and downs of their friendships and romantic relationships. Many of them are wealthy, and few have strong or even positive relationships with their parents. Parents may want to preview before allowing young tweens and young teens to watch.

User Reviews

Adult Written byTrami Nguyen August 15, 2013

Beverly Hills, 90210 is a good show or not?

I watch this show before, because it's too much sex and kissing!
Adult Written bycadiomals August 15, 2011

Good show

Let's face it, this show is a lot tamer than what we see on TV now. There's a lot less swearing, sex, violence and substance abuse than today's d... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byshakmora02 April 12, 2015
Beverly Hills 90210 is a great show. The story lines are very mature, the show tackles issues like rape, addiction, relationships, death, sexuality, and other s... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old November 16, 2013
my mom used to watch it and i watch it

What's the story?

Earning a place in the Aaron Spelling hall of fame, BEVERLY HILLS, 90210 is a guilty pleasure soap opera about a group of teenagers in the upscale Southern California suburb of Beverly Hills. Created by renowned TV producer Spelling (Charlie's Angels, Melrose Place) and Sex and the City creator Darren Star, this popular 1990s series follows twins Brandon (Jason Priestley) and Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty), who move to L.A. from Minneapolis and attend the fictitious West Beverly High School. Their circle of friends includes pretty Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), insecure Donna Martin (Tori Spelling), ambitious Andrea Zuckerman (Gabrielle Carteris), aspiring musician David Silver (Brian Austin Green), happy-go-lucky Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering), and rebellious Dylan McKay (Luke Perry).

Is it any good?

Over its 10-season run, 90210 delved deeply into the (mostly) privileged but often-troubled lives of its core characters. While full of teen-oriented storylines about friendships, deep-seated rivalry, and troubled romance, the series was first and foremost a prime-time soap; consequently, characters frequently schemed, cheated, and manipulated their way through the world of high school and beyond.

That said, 90210 did address some very serious issues faced by teens of any decade, including coping with peer pressure to smoke, drink, abuse drugs, and have sex. The series also dealt with subject matter that was controversial for its time, including teen suicide, physical abuse at the hands of a boyfriend, surviving rape, and struggling with alcohol- and drug-dependent parents. By the show's fifth season, many of the original gang had transitioned to college life and other pursuits. As a result, the problems portrayed on the show became more sophisticated to the point of being contrived, and the show lost much of its original appeal. Nonetheless, the series will forever be remembered as a cultural phenomenon that defines the 1990s.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how teenagers are presented on television. How realistic are the lives of the teens you see on television vs. the teens in your family or at your school? How have TV teens changed over the years? What do Brenda, Brandon, and co. have in common with today's TV teens? How are they different? Do you think real teens' lives would be as much fun to watch on TV? Why or why not? Families can also talk about some of the difficult issues teens have to deal with today. Who are the people you can go to if you or someone you know has a problem?

TV details

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