A Saved By The Bell revival is incoming, starring Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley (as AC Slater and Jessie Spano) while also apparently featuring Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s Zach Morris as the Governor of California (Gosselaar isn’t officially onboard, but he’s in talks, according to The Hollywood Reporter) and a story about school closings and making kids from different economic stations learn together. Timely! Depthy! Nostalgiariffic! But is this going to be ’90s kid catnip, helping NBC’s Peacock streaming service standout amongst the competition (for more than its name)? Will it even be as popular (and oddly compelling… just me?) as Fuller House has been for Netflix, giving Peacock a family-friendly sitcom with something for parents to latch onto? We’ll find out in time, but for now, we wanted to focus on some other questions about this somewhat surprising reboot.
Is Zack Morris an outright villain?
Zack was doubtlessly the hero of the original series, even if time and the ingenuity of Funny Or Die’s Zack Morris Is Trash has proven that he was kind of a shithead. The synopsis for this new show seems to build on that by having Morris close down a bunch of low-income schools, but is he going to be a straight-up villain or is this going to be a redemption story? That probably depends, in part, on Gosselaar’s commitment to the show. If he’s a regular, then the latter seems likely. It’s also the more interesting of the two options, allowing the character a chance to (once again) realize that there are consequences for his actions and a need to fix what he broke and change in an everlasting way. If it goes the other way and he’s simply a black hat/corrupt politician, then it’ll surely be a less nuanced/complicated story with benefits that come from lighting up the embodiment of privilege and smarm. Even if that might alienate fans of the original series. Time will tell but there’s no more important question at this stage.
Are Slater And Jessie Together?
Zack and Kelly got all the attention, but Slater and Jessie’s chemistry and pairing always did its job as a B-story/ alternative. In hindsight, it may have even been the better pairing as both characters seemed to have more depth and verve than Zack and Kelly when they were courting each other or paired. THR indicates that they’ll be parents in this series, but we don’t know if they’re going to be in it together, broken up, or completely apart. And if it’s the latter, does that mean that they’re going to try to reconnect? It’s hard to imagine the new show not playing off their past heat in some way.
Are Very Special Episodes On The Table?
The original tried (too hard at times) to speak on important social and youth issues. Will the reboot? My gut says yes, but to a much more subtle degree that leaves the more overt messages to the adults, allowing Slater and Jessie to embrace the cheese of parenthood that lines up nicely with the show’s roots (like Jessie’s infamous reaction to overdoing it on caffeine pills). Doing that would allow the show to check a box from its past and embrace a level of wholesomeness that may have some appeal without causing younger audiences to roll their eyes. Remember, original fans were practically a captive audience in the early ’90s with limited entertainment options. They had to listen when they were getting a well-meaning but ham-handed lecture. Teenagers and kids are not subject to those same limitations now.
Is All The Action Going To Be Contained To Bayside?
Again, Gosselaar’s involvement could influence this. If we’re going to focus on the Governor of California in any kind of significant way, then the show is going to spend some time off campus unspooling that thread. Regardless, though, the halls of Bayside and the homes (or home) of Slater and Jessie figure to be well-used bases of operations. But what about nostalgia-heavy options like The Max or even the mall or the Malibu Sands Beach Club? It may come down to how much Wigfield wants to work in and rely on elements from the past over simply using them and the familiar cast as a jumping-off point for a fresh look, feel, and story.
Are We Going To See Other Members From The Core Cast? What About Characters From The College Years Or The New Class?
THR didn’t name names but said other original cast members were in talks along with Gosselaar, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see characters like Kelly, Lisa, and Mr. Belding pop up here and there. Dustin Diamond’s Screech seems maybe less likely considering the controversy around his post-series troubles and the fact that he hasn’t been involved in some of the other micro reunions, such as the pop up on The Tonight Show. Diamond, of course, served as the bridge to the original series (besides Dennis Haskins’ Mr. Belding for a time) through the bulk of The New Class, but besides him, is there anyone else that really stands out enough to have a purpose on a continuation? Again, this all hinges on Wigfield’s interest in leaning into nostalgia. Especially when you’re talking about characters that aren’t going to have that “wow” factor when you see them again.
Is This Show Going To Get Weird?
From Zack Morris’ never explained ability to freeze time by calling “Time Out” to dream-sequence episodes that allowed the cast to go through the rise, fall, and return of a rock supergroup (The Zack Attack), to other less involved but still goofy fantasy scenes featuring Elvis, Angels, operating rooms, and more, Saved By The Bell had a penchant for weirdness and fun that explains some of its charm and enduring favor. It seems smart to tap into that on occasion with this new thing, even if it’s just a casual mention. As with anything, there’s a fine line, but if you’re going to put hands on a specific title and its history, you may as well throw a wink and a nod at its fans on occasion.