Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday School: Saved By The Bell: The New Class (1993)

NBC didn't want to let their new Saturday morning tentpole, Saved By The Bell, go by the wayside after the original class graduated at the end of season 4.  Zack, Screech, Slater, & Kelly moved to primetime with the short-lived College Years series, which ended with Zack & Kelly getting married.

Meanwhile, a new ensemble was formed over on Saturdays as season 5 began with the sub-title, The New Class, added to the title. Dennis Haskins (Principal Richard Belding) was the only holdover until season 6, when Dustin Diamond (Screech) returned to Bayside, and, as you'll see in this season 7 episode, got top billing. Screech was older, but not exactly wiser. He's still a moron.

To me, New Class was a continuation of the series, rather than starting from scratch. It made sense to reload and keep the franchise going, in the hope that, like Saturday Night Live, the series would continue to create new stars. Unfortunately, in that regard, it wasn't successful, as cast turnover was on a seemingly annual basis. New Class lasted 7 seasons, ending in 2000, but because the original gang remains popular, reruns from 1989-93 remain in demand (cable rights are shared by TBS & MTV2), but New Class is being ignored. How fair is that?

Screech wasn't the only alumni to return. Zack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), Lisa (Lark Voorhies), & Slater (Mario Lopez) would all return for a 1-shot sometime after Screech had returned to Bayside in order to save the school. Meanwhile, Screech brings some of the kids to Cal U (not to be confused with the real University of California), but, as per normal, his inflated sense of self-esteem takes a big hit........

And you wonder why there isn't a rush to release New Class on DVD anytime soon......

Rating: C.


magicdog said...

I didn't watch this show (I had only caught 2-3 eps of the original series and didn't care for it), but from your description, it's just as well.

It's too bad Screech was still an idiot. I know it was for comedic reasons, but it would have been nice if his character did grow up, but remain somewhat eccentric.

It's interesting how far many of the original show's cast has come; Mark Paul Gosselaar went on to star in "Franklin & Bash" (not to mention Hill Street Blues before that), Tiffany Theissen on "White Collar", Mario Lopez on "Extra", Lark Voorhies continued as a TV/music video actress and singer while the class embarrassments Dustin Diamond & Elizabeth Berkley became D list punchlines.

Wonder what "Miss Bliss" would think of all this??

hobbyfan said...

You're thinking of NYPD Blue in re: Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Hill St. was a distant memory by the time he'd graduated "Bell".

"Miss Bliss" might be amused, I don't know. Last I knew, Elizabeth Berkley actually had upgraded with a gig on CSI: Miami. Lopez is also doing America's Best Dance Crew for MTV. Gosselaar's resume also includes Hyperion Bay & Raising The Bar. Lark Voorhies did some soaps, as did Tiffani Thiessen (when she dropped the Amber part, I don't know), who joined up with Beverly Hills 90210, then did Class of '96. White Collar's her first series gig since then, I believe.