Zack to the Future Podcast Review (2020 to 2021)

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.

Saved By The Bell Flirt GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Throwback Thursday: Hang Time (1995-2000)

Everyone has that one thing in high school that defines those years and that experience. It could be sports, music, art, etc.

Hang Time aired on NBC from 1995-2000. This high school sitcom followed the lives of seven members of a high school basketball team at fictional Deering High School.

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.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Throwback Thursday: One World (1998-2001)

There is no one way to become a parent. While many go the traditional route, others choose either fostering or adoption.

The NBC 1990s 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.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Flashback Friday: Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style (1992)

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.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

RIP Dustin Diamond

Whether they like it or not, when an actor plays an iconic character, that character stays with them for the rest of their life.

For a certain generation, Dustin Diamond will always be known as Samuel “Screech” Powers, one of teenagers on the 90’s high school sitcom, Saved by the Bell. He passed away from cancer earlier today, he was 44.

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.

May his memory be a blessing. Z”l.

Best New TV Shows of 2020

  1. Bridgerton (Netflix): This Jane Austen inspired series is based on books by Julia Quinn. Sexy and romantic with a feminist twist, it is the perfect BPD (British Period Drama) to lose one’s self in.
  2. Saved by the Bell (Peacock): The re-imagining of this much loved 1990’s teen comedy program will thrill both new fans and old.
  3. Cursed (Netflix): Based on the comic book by Frank Miller, it revisits the Arthurian myth via Nimue (Katherine Langford).
  4. World on Fire (PBS): This PBS/Masterpiece follows a group of individuals as World War II is on the horizon.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. The Baby-Sitters Club (Netflix): This Netflix series is based on the books by Ann M. Martin.
  8. Flesh and Blood (PBS): Natalie (Lydia Leonard), Jake (Russell Tovey), and Helen (Claudie Blakely) are unsure about their widow mother’s new boyfriend.
  9. The Weakest Link (NBC): A delightful reboot of the early 2000’s game show of the same name. Hosted by Jane Lynch.
  10. The Windemere Children (PBS): World War II has just ended. 300 child survivors of The Holocaust are taken to England to heal. The adults have their work cut out for them.

Throwback Thursday: Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas (1994)

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.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Saved by the Bell Review

Reboots, revivals, and re-imaginings are all the rage these days. However, there is a catch. Not every television program or movie is worthy of its predecessor.

The reboot of Saved by the Bell premiered last night on the Peacock network.

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.

Throwback Thursday: Mario Lopez: Saved by the Baby (2010-2011)

Impending parenthood often brings a mix of emotions. Especially when this is the first pregnancy.

From 2010-2011, Mario Lopez: Saved by the Baby aired on VH1. It followed actor and TV host Mario Lopez (Saved by the Bell) and his then-girlfriend (now wife), Courtney Mazza as they prepared for the birth of their first child.

As most celebrity centered reality shows go, this was far from the worst program within the sub-genre. But it was not all that special either.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Thoughts On the Saved by the Bell and Punky Brewster Reboots

In every generation, it is expected that one looks to the past for entertainment. This leads to reboots and re-imaginings of beloved classics of the past.

These days, it seems like television networks and movie studios are relying on material from the 1980’s and 1990’s to grab the attention of audiences.

The latest programs to be rebooted are Saved by the Bell and Punky Brewster.

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.

%d bloggers like this: