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'Beverly Hills, 90210': What the critics said when it premiered 25 years ago


The "Beverly Hills, 90210" cast in its later seasons, clockwise from left: Tori Spelling, Brian Austin Green, Jennie Garth, Tiffani-Amber Theissen, Ian Ziering, Jason Priestley, Kathleen Robertson. Photo Credit: FOX

It's 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, 1990, and a special 90-minute episode of a new youth-appeal show, executive-produced by Aaron Spelling and written by a relative newcomer named Darren Star, is about to debut.

Star, who would go on to create "Sex and the City," crafted a drama about a Minneapolis family transplanted to Southern California, whose 16-year-old twins were about to experience the strange new world of West Beverly High.

Of course, we speak of "Beverly Hills, 90210," a series that would become a fondly remembered touchstone for a generation (maybe two).

Problem is, it wasn't met so fondly when it debuted. Most TV critics -- who arguably did not belong to its target audience -- greeted "90210" with about as much praise as they'd lavished 30 years earlier on another show about a family of SoCal transplants, "The Beverly Hillbillies."

Here's a sampling of what they had to say:

"Beverly Hills, 90210" is still one of those programs that parents will want their children to like and the kids, in turn, will want no part of. -- BOSTON GLOBE

A ZIP code for stereotypes and stock characters, "Beverly Hills, 90210" is nothing if not predictable. -- LA TIMES

Given Fox's proclivity for outrageousness, "Beverly Hills, 90210" is like totally tame, dudes. -- CHICAGO TRIBUNE

In a way, what they've done is amazing. They've created a vacuum, a perfect void, a black hole in the already vast and empty TV schedule. Not so much a black hole actually as a beige one. -- THE WASHINGTON POST

Twin teenagers from the Midwest learn the meaning of "culture shock" when they move to a Beverly Hills ZIP code. Warning: This is not a comedy, at least not intentionally. -- NEWSDAY

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