Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth on the future of BH90210 and the Brenda Walsh of it all
Warning: This article contains spoilers from BH90210 season 1 finale, “The Long Wait.”
Not many people understood what the sort-of reboot BH90210 was before it premiered — reuniting the cast of Beverly Hills, 90210 — but as the sixth and final episode airs tonight on Fox, many fans aren’t ready to say goodbye to Tori Spelling, Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty, Gabrielle Carteris, Jason Priestley, Brian Austin Green, and Ian Ziering.
And that’s exactly what series creators Spelling (whose father, Aaron Spelling, created the original series) and Garth were hoping for when they set out to bring lots of drama back into the lives of viewers from the most famous ZIP code on television. The finale, titled “The Long Wait,” sets things up perfectly for the network to announce that the show will be back for another season — including the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers.
Spelling and Garth spoke to EW about everything that happened on the show’s extremely short debut season, the Shannen Doherty of it all, and where things can go from here.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The finale sets up a second season perfectly. Do you guys have some news to share?
TORI SPELLING: We hope to! We definitely wanted to keep it very meta, as the whole show has been. In our minds, writing the last episode was foreshadowing another season. Going forward, the second season would be more laser-focused on the reboot. So the fans would get a much bigger percentage of us playing ourselves and our characters from the original 90210 as we would dive into what the reboot would look like.
What was it like to step back into these characters after so many years? Was all the drama behind you?
JENNIE GARTH: It was great and it was scary. And I needed therapy after it. But it was fun to be back with my old family.
SPELLING: Strictly speaking personally and not from what’s on the show, personally it was great to come full circle. I think it made all of us really realize that we’re meant to be together. Our fate is for all of us to be together, somehow, in each other’s lives. It’s so crazy that we were on a show together that lasted 10 years. We truly were like brothers and sisters. We all had our ups and downs, and we were a family no matter what.
Can we discuss the Brenda Walsh and Kelly Taylor of it all? It was great the way it was handled through comedy.
GARTH: We didn’t want to ignore any of the things. We wanted to tackle things straight on and own it, because whether people said things about us or whether it really happened doesn’t matter, because it was out there. We wanted to be able to use that stuff to tell stories, and it was really the most fun and creative aspect of the project. It’s all so juicy, right?
SPELLING: Before we did the show, we all got together to discuss what we wanted to do and how we wanted to collaborate. Shannen, Jennie, and I specifically got together to talk about taking the perception of what people had back then versus what the tabloids wrote versus the friendship that Kelly and Brenda and Donna had that was so unique and girls everywhere loved. [Shannen] was fully on board with poking fun of that. I think that’s the whole reason this show works, because everyone was game to do that at this point in their careers and lives.
Did you find that being able to laugh about the past and use comedy to poke fun at it all has helped heal any animosity from the past?
GARTH: I think it was definitely a cathartic experience, but everyone came together in a really neutral zone. We were all there because we love the show and because we have a great love for each other individually. So there was none of that petty stuff that was there from the beginning. Everyone has different personalities and everybody has different ways of working. In any work environment, you’re bound to have ups and downs, for sure. I’m not going to say that didn’t happen during this run, but it’s different when you’re an adult because you handle it differently.
As creators, did you decide not to include Shannen’s real-life cancer battle on the show, or what that her decision?
SPELLING: Every actor did create their character and everyone had a different opinion about what was important to include and what they wanted to keep private. So everyone was able to make that choice.
At the end of the finale when the pilot gets picked up, it’s announced that they’ll have to reshoot it and there’s no budget for everyone to come back. Who isn’t coming back?
SPELLING: Well, we had to have a cliffhanger! We’ll have to keep who it is a mystery. Maybe they’ll all be back, who knows? Here’s the thing, I feel like we left it as a cliffhanger. We said the stalker set the fires, but we never admitted to the stalker that they caught at the red dress doing the mutilated dolls or any of the other creepy things that were happening to them. So that’s open-ended.
It’s unfortunate that things didn’t work out with Wyatt [Brendan Penny] but it leaves the door open for TV Jennie and Jason. What’s the scoop?
GARTH: [Penny] was really great to work with and we were all sad to see him go, and it happened really quickly. But we realized it was episode 6 and we need to leave the lane open for Brandon and Kelly, potentially, if we go forward. Doing the hotel scene with Jason was hilarious. We would just look at each other and say, “Okay, let’s do this!” It was fun, for sure.
Tori, how does your husband, Dean McDermott, feel about how he’s being portrayed on the show? Everyone knows that it’s not all based in truth, but some of the stuff is rough!
SPELLING: My husband is super-supportive. There’s a major difference [between the character and McDermott]. He was in the whole way. At first we talked about how we’ll be pretending all this other stuff is going on that people are saying about me, but what do we do about the home life? So he told me to go for it. Go with all the rumors that are out there. Go with everything that is written about us. There’s always crap written about us every day. He’s that confident and comfortable in our relationship, and he supports me 100 percent. And Ivan Sergei, who plays my husband on the show, is so lovable and such a great guy. Even though the husband character isn’t very supportive, he’s still likable anyways.
The series had some great guest stars, including ’90s hunk Jamie Walters. What was it like reuniting with him, and who else would you like to see come back in future seasons?
SPELLING: We have 10 years of amazing casting pieces to stunt-cast in future seasons. We want to use them in interesting ways, like how we used Christine Elise coming back — not as Emily Valentine, but coming back in real life as Christine Elise, who is now a network executive. We loved shifting the bad-girl role to just her real life, which isn’t her at all.
I was so excited to see Jaime, that was another thing that really came full circle for me. We were such good friends and we had lost touch, so we were so happy to reconnect. He was so happy to be back together with the group. When we talked about the reboot, I knew his character, Ray, had to be in some scenes with Donna. I really hope we can keep doing this so we can keep bringing people back. I feel like my dad was a genius at stunt casting. The Love Boat always had someone playing themselves, and with our show, it’s perfect to have someone come aboard. In episode 6, we had Denise Richards play herself. I think we’ll have some amazing stunt casting if we get season 2.