Every era and every age group has its own archetypal character that sort of sums up the creative ideas of the time.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, this character was Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) on Saved by the Bell. Zack was an overconfident, smooth-talking kid with a slightly used salesman con artist veneer. He had a good heart, but it wasn’t always on the surface.
Zack to the Future (2020 to 2021) is a rewatch podcast in which Gosselaar sits down with co-host Dashiell Driscoll to watch the program with adult eyes. Having never watched the show, it is an opportunity for the cast, crew, and fans to reminisce about the gang at Bayside High.
I looked forward to this podcast every week. Gosselaar’s insight provides a unique perspective on his time playing one of television’s most well-known teenage characters. Unfortunately, it has since been canceled. But like its small screen predecessor, there are always returns.
In short, this show was Saved by the Bell on the basketball court. Other than the sports angle, the only thing that made this show stand out was that the team consisted of both male and female players. I can recall watching an episode or two, but I was not a regular viewer. Obviously, there was enough of an audience to keep the series on the air for five years. I was not among them.
There is no one way to become a parent. While many go the traditional route, others choose either fostering or adoption.
The NBC1990s series, One World (1998-2001), followed a married couple Dave and Karen Blake (Michael Toland and Elizabeth Morehead) as they do their best to raise their six kids, who all come from various backgrounds.
Unlike other shows of this era (i.e. Saved by the Bell) that focused solely on the kids in the school setting, I like that the younger characters were seen both at home and on campus. I also appreciate that the creators went through the extra efforts to create a world with diversity as the backbone.
Sometimes, getting out of the house and away from our everyday surroundings is the thing that we need at that particular moment.
In 1992, the gang from Saved by the Bell left California for a vacation in Hawaii. The TV movie was entitled Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style. Kelly Kapowski’s (Tiffani Thiessen) grandfather owns a hotel in Honolulu. Harry Bannister (Dean Jones) has invited his granddaughter and her friends (chaperoned by Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins)) to enjoy their time off at the Hawaiian Hideaway. But as usual with SBTB, it is more than a week to chill and enjoy each other’s company. Unless Harry can save the Hideaway, he will be forced to close his hotel. It is, therefore, up to the kids to save the day.
Is it Shakespeare? Obviously not. But it is on brand for the series, taking fans out of Bayside High and into a larger world.
Looking on the show with adult eyes, I have a new appreciation for Screech. Unlike the rest of the main cast, he was not one of the “pretty people”. He was socially awkward, far from modelesque, and despite his academic intelligence, not always the brightest bulb in the box. Forever chasing after Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies), Screech never quite understood that the crush he had on her was one sided. But he had the biggest heart and never failed to be there for his friends.
Screech was more than just the comic relief. He was representative of many teenagers who want to be cool, but never completely figure out how to be cool.
Though his career profile after SBTB was not the same as his co-stars, he will always be remembered for being part of a show that defined a generation.
World on Fire (PBS): This PBS/Masterpiece follows a group of individuals as World War II is on the horizon.
Mrs. America (F/X/Hulu): In the 1970’s, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was close to becoming the law of the land. A tug of war begins between one group of women that is for it and another that is against it.
Sanditon (PBS): Based off the unfinished book of the same name by Jane Austen, we follow Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams), a young woman who leaves her family for the seaside resort town of Sanditon.
Anyone who has ever planned a wedding can attest to how complicated it can become.
The 1994 TV movie, Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas, was the conclusion to the fan-favorite 90’s teen show, Saved by the Bell. After years of dating, Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen) are engaged. But not everything is sunshine and roses.
Zack’s parents worry that their son is too young to marry. Kelly’s parents do not have the funds to give their daughter the wedding they would like to. The obvious place to say “I do” is Las Vegas. It all seems so simple. But like every rom-com about an upcoming marriage, there are a few hurdles placed in the way of the couple before they can be pronounced as married.
While there are some conclusions to television programs that appeal to a wide array of viewers, this movie strictly for the fanbase. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. What I like about this program is that it gives both the characters and the fans the ending that feels right and fits in perfectly with the the series as a whole.
When Governor of California Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) wastes a bunch of money, the ax falls on a low performing high school. Daisy Jimenez (Haskiri Velazquez), Devante Youg (Dexter Darden), and Aisha Garcia (Alycia Pascual-Pena) are forced to transfer to Bayside High School.
Used to a lower income neighborhood and a school lacking in resources, they are shocked to see what the kids at Bayside view as normal. Paired up with Mac Morris (Mitchell Hoog), Jamie Spano (Belmont Camell), and Lexi (Josie Totah) as “Bayside Buddies”, they don’t always see eye to eye or understand each other.
Trying to help the new students adapt are alumnus turned staff Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkely Lauren) and A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez). Above them is Principal Ronald Toddman (John Michael Higgins). Though we only see First Lady Kelly Morris (nee Kapowski) briefly, she is ever present in the background.
I only watched the pilot, but I can say with certainty that is as close to a perfect remaining as one can get. Old school fans of the original series (myself included) will instantly be taken back thirty years. Younger viewers will be able to connect to the story, as it is very relevant for 2020.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Saved by the Bell is available for streaming on the Peacock network.
As much as the writer in me loathes reboots and re-imaginings because Hollywood often takes the easy way out, I cannot say anything bad thing about these programs. They take me back to a simpler time when I didn’t have to worry about everything that comes with being an adult. For a short time, I can look back and remember why I loved these shows as a kid.
With everything that is going on these days, its easy to get caught up in the intensity that is adulthood. If I can sit back, relax and go back to a simpler time, if only for thirty minutes once a week, I will take it.