1. It has lasting youth appeal
Even Justin Bieber is in on the Bell love. In June he wore a Kelly Kapowski T-shirt to an awards show. Never mind that the Biebs was born a year after the show?s original run ended.
2. It lives on in syndication
The ?90s may be all that thanks to the new TeenNick block reairing some of the decade’s favorite Nickelodeon programming, but Saved by the Bell was one of the first examples of the blooming teen-TV nostalgia revival. The show has remained in continual syndication on TBS since 1994. Die-hard viewers have never had to say goodbye to Slater, Zack & Co., and new audiences have signed on every year.
3. It showed that teens could be serious, too
While known for its high jinks, Bell had a dramatic side as well. It filtered environmental and social concerns through a teen lens and — along with Beverly Hills, 90210, which started a year after SBTB — dealt with a variety of high school issues. (Who can forget Jessie?s harrowing caffeine-pill addiction?!)
4. It knew its archetypes
Bayside had all the high school regulars — preppy, jock, cheerleader, nerd, and even lovable adult mentor — a format that flourishes in shows like Glee.
5. Its alumni are everywhere!
Mark-Paul Gosselaar stars on the new series Franklin & Bash, Tiffani Thiessen is on White Collar, Elizabeth Berkley found a permanent place in camp culture with Showgirls, and Mario Lopez is still showing off his abs.
6. It has an unforgettable theme song
A great theme song is essentially the entrance fee to the TV Hall of Awesome, of which SBTB is an eternal member. See: Gilligan?s Island, The Brady Bunch, and others.
7. It acknowledged and embraced the cheese factor
Every time Zack called a ”time out” and broke the fourth wall, it took us into a corny realm that only Saved by the Bell was capable of executing at the time. Many shows after SBTB attempted it, but few succeeded.
8. It featured appearances from future stars
If we may use the term ”star” loosely, Scott Wolf, Denise Richards, Leah Remini, Tori Spelling (pictured), and Eric Dane (who was barely recognizable) all had to suffer through the ?90s with the rest of us. There’s video proof.
9. It didn?t go overboard with extra characters
The temptation to bring a funny background character into the forefront is something few teen shows today can resist. Thankfully, Bell always knew when side characters with a funny shtick were past their prime and elegantly phased them out. Sorry, Max.
10. It managed to keep the full cast of teens to the end
Sure, four seasons doesn’t seem like a lot, but considering that cast drama on other shows has been known to start much earlier, it?s an accomplishment. And losing any member would have been a terrible blow to the balance of the gang. After all, they were ”friends…while under contract.”