‘Saved By The Bell’ Series Premiere Review: Class Is Definitely In Session

Saved By The Bell is a very rare TV show. The show takes everything that was cheesy about the 90s and makes us laugh at it but also appreciate its nostalgia. This series serves as the third sequel to the original show and puts the underprivileged children of Bayside High at its center, and not as background characters. Zack Morris (Mark Paul Gosselaar), now governor of the state of California, is put under pressure to send the underprivileged of California to the wealthy schools because he cut $10 billion in education spending. He sends the majority of them to Bayside where guidance counselor Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley) and PE teacher AC Slater (Mario Lopez) are on hand to guide the children through the first day.

Saved By The Bell is one of those shows that should’ve fallen flat on its face because it tried to bring back the nostalgia of the 90s to a time that no longer find those characters or their setting relevant.  The creators of the new series Sam Bobrick and Tracy Wigfield really do an excellent job of showing what it would be like if you lived in California, but you didn’t have any money for the resources that the kids Bayside have.  For that perspective, we are introduced to Daisy Gimenez (Haskiri Velazquez) and Aisha Garcia (Alycia Pascual-Peña) who have never caught a break in life and Bayside is their first experience with being around privilege.  We’re also introduced to Mac Morris (Mitchell Hoog) and Jamie Spano (Belmont Cameli) which are Zack Morris’s son and the son of Jesse Spano who married a failed writer.  Mac is exactly like his father but somehow more self-centered which makes their attempt to help Daisy and Asia fit in all the more endearing when it occurs.

I love this show because these are not the type of kids that want to be pandered to, they just desire to be heard.  The show does a really good job of giving everyone a voice.  Not a single character is meant to be exactly like the characters you remember from the old series.  The character I like the most is actually one that I have not mentioned yet. Lexi Haddad-DeFabrizio is a sharp tongue transgender cheerleader.  I love this character because she owns the school more than Mac Morris does and makes no apologies for it.  No this is only episode one so the kids have not had time to grow and change in the ways we would hope but I have the same strong feeling about the show that I had about a Fox show called Glee.  Every character is strong and while they may not be likable, they are relatable to someone.

The one emotion I didn’t think that I would come across when watching this show is empathy.  Right now, I feel empathy for every character in the show because they’re all stuck between a rock and a hard place. They are all in one form or another the new kid. Some are new in their own school that they’ve ruled for years because new students have come in that check the place up.   The others are new because they’re in a completely new environment. Saved By The Bell works purely because it shows her being different is the best strength we all have whether we’re privileged or not and that’s a lesson I think we can all learn from.

Written by
Chike has been a film critic in Illinois for the last 10 years with Urbana Public Television. Most of his work can be found on their YouTube channel where his show Reel Reviews is posted. The films he enjoys most are the kind that surprise you with characters that are deeper than you could ever suspect. As much as he loves reviewing it’s the stories that are unexpected that bring him the most joy. He lives in Champaign with his parents surrounded by cornfields.

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