June 30, 2008 Jill

Karen Hill is our guest blogger today with a review of the 90210 pilot script:

Forget the 20th century Darren Star series where Brenda worried about a lump in her breast, or Kelly tangled with a date rapist, or Donna’s graduation is jeopardized by her failure to respect the Beverly Hills High dress code.

No issues, no hugs, no learning with a new version for a new millenium. Just hot teens, pills and plenty of scheming.

The 64-page pilot written by Rob Thomas (and re-written by the team of Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah) is smutty, funny and fast. It’s a great read, tracking multiple intersecting stories, avoiding the grossly expository as it sets up the series.

90210 eschews the cornball humour of the original series in favour of a hip, wry tone. There’s tons of banter and the de rigueur hyper-articulate TV adolescents who bear zero resemblance to the pimply mumblers trolling food courts everywhere. The parents get their own juicy storyline that moves them far away from the Cleaver-esque Mr. and Mrs. Walsh show of old.

While it’s a big ensemble cast, the structure reveals that the show is Annie’s (the Brenda’ character). As for that structure:

Act One: 11 pages
Act Two: 10 pages
Act Three: 12 pages
Act Four: 8 pages
Act Five: 10 pages
Act Six: 13 pages

Although there’s neither a clearly delineated teaser nor a hint in the script about where the credits fall, the first three scenes seem to lend themselves to a tease.

Act breaks vary between emotional epiphanies for the lead character, Annie, dilemmas forcing her to make a choice or reveals about other characters. (With five act breaks, it would be a challenge to make every act out Annie’s without the writers seeming doctrinaire and ham-fisted.)

It will be interesting to see if the solitary flashback — a great little cutaway to Annie’s previous life — makes it to the pilot.

And when a b. j. is a plot point in a series opener, I’m pretty sure I’ll be setting my PVR.

Comments (4)

  1. Jill, I’d love to get a copy of the script if you’re willing to share. I’m sorry I didn’t have my e-mail address up on my blog. I’ve fixed that little problem.

  2. JK

    Thanks for the review. I also would be curious to see the script if you’re willing…I have a few that might interest you if you’d like to trade.

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