Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
Looking to keep the Saved by the Bellgravy train rolling, NBC commissioned the production of not one, but
two spin-offs of the popular teen comedy. Half of the original cast would be
followed into higher education in Saved by the Bell: The College Yearsduring the week while a new class of Bayside High students would
return to Saturday morning in Saved by
the Bell: The New Class.
Developed by Bennett Tramer,
the show debuted the same week as The
College Years, offering viewers a double dose of Bell each week for the 1993-94 season. The New Class aired as part of the TNBC programming block, which
featured teen-oriented shows developed as a result of the success of the
original Bell. Helping with the
transition and serving as an introduction to the new show was a special
re-airing of the television movie Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian
Style, which featured bumper segments where the original cast met the
new students for a symbolic passing of the torch. Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), A.C.
Slater (Mario Lopez) and Lisa
Turtle (Lark Voorhees) would
also go on to make appearances in the show together, with Slater getting an
additional one alone. Remaining with the show from the original was the lovable
goofball principal Richard Belding (Dennis Haskins).
Zack returns to try and save Bayside from demolition.
Students hanging out in a different hallway, for a change.
Despite lasting 3 seasons longer than its predecessor, New Class was largely panned by critics
and audiences and featured steadily declining ratings during its run. One
particular area of criticism was the fact that many episodes recycled plots
from the previous series. After its first season, producers tried to shake the
stigma of being a poor copy of the original by changing the look of Bayside’s
halls and Belding’s office, and The Max, the restaurant where the characters
from both shows hung out, was redesigned after a fire. However, the original theme
and opening animation were retained for the duration of the show’s run.
The season 1 cast: Haskins, Angel, Cigliuti, Lawson, Telfer, Lidsky and Russavage.
The changes the show became most infamous for were to the cast.
Contributing to the decreasing ratings was the constant removing and adding of
characters without any explanation, keeping audiences from developing any kind
of bond with them. In the first season, the students included schemer Scott
Erickson (Robert Sutherland Telfer), a transfer student from rival Valley High
who broke the fourth wall to speak to the audience much like Zack Morris did
before; Tommy D (Jonathan Angel) was the quarterback on the football team and
the steady boyfriend of Lindsay Warner (Natalia Cigliuti), the most popular
girl in school who was involved with every school organization and also the
object of Scott’s desires; Megan Jones (Bianca Lawson) was an over-achiever and
not shy about that fact; uber-nerd Barton “Weasel” Wyzell (Isaac Lidsky) had an
unrequited crush on Megan and was Scott’s best friend, who often got caught up in
Scott’s schemes as a result; and Vicki Needleman (Bonnie Russavage) was Megan’s
neurotic best friend and a cheerleader who developed a crush on Scott.
The season 2 cast joined by Diamond, Lancaster, Oliver and Rodgers.
The second season saw the first major cast shake-up as Scott, Weasel and Vicki
were all written off the show as producers felt that they resembled the
original characters of Zack, Screech and Jessie a bit too much. Replacing them
was Brian Keller (Christian Oliver), a transfer student from Switzerland; Bobby
Wilson (Spankee Rodgers), the cool kid; and Rachel Meyers (Sarah Lancaster),
the school’s fashion expert and shopaholic. Rachel had previously appeared in a
season 1 episode as a guest star. The second season also mirrored the third
season of the original show, with the students taking a summer job at a country
club. Also like the original show, the summer episodes were aired between the
regular school episodes. However, the summer episodes seemed to have an
inexplicably direct bearing on the school episodes as if they were taking place
at the same time. It happened again later on when the class was simultaneously
on a trip to France and still at Bayside.
Don't worry, Richie--we feel your pain.
The most notable change was the return of Dustin Diamond as Screech
following the cancellation of The College
Years, serving in a work/study program from the fictional California
University as Belding’s assistant. Screech would remain until the end of the
show, with little to no mention of his college life outside of Bayside.
Although older, Screech was still the consummate dork and caused chaos and
mishap in his endeavors. Against his better judgement, Belding often entered
into various business partnerships with Screech including running a school
store and selling low-fat yogurt at the mall. Diamond became the only original
cast member to have a starring role in every incarnation of the franchise since
its 1988 debut as Good Morning, Miss Bliss.
Season 3 welcomed Grant, Jackson and Esteban.
Before season 3 began, Lawson, Oliver and Rodgers left the show.
Replacing their characters were Ryan Parker (Richard Lee Jackson), the new
schemer; Maria Lopez (named after Mario Lopez, played by Samantha Esteban), a lively
and outspoken cheerleader and eventual host of a talk show at Bayside; and
fashion-forward R.J. “Hollywood” Collins (Salim Grant). All were transfers from
Valley. By the end of the season, the last of the original cast, Cigliuti and
Angel, decided to leave the show. Grant was also let go.
Comparison of the season 3-7 cast as shown on the DVD covers.
The fourth season brought in Nicky Farina (Ben Gould), Ryan’s stepbrother
from New York; Katie Peterson (Lindsey McKeon), a goody-two-shoes; and Eric
Little (Anthony Harrell), the star of the football team. Lancaster left at the
end of the season and was replaced by Liz Miller (Ashley Lyn Cafagna), star of
the school’s swim team who was romantically pursued by both Ryan and Nicky.
With season 6, Parker was replaced by new Valley transfer student Tony Dillon
(Tom Wade Huntington), a new love interest for Maria.
The gang reminisce in the burnt-out remains of The Max.
The show was intended to end after season 6, but NBC decided to prolong
it by cutting the season in half and airing the remainder as a separate season.
Season 7, as a result, was the only season not to have a single cast change. As
the previous series had ended, the finale featured the class graduation from
Bayside with everyone going their separate ways: Eric headed to the Chicago School of the Arts to pursue a singing
career; Liz headed to Stanford to follow
Olympic aspirations; Maria went to UCLA and
Tony to SDSU, leading to their relationship
ending; Katie was accepted to Columbia
University, but due to financial difficulties decided to go to Cal State instead; Nicky was accepted to NYU, putting his future with Katie in question;
Mr. Belding was even offered the job of Dean of Students at the University of Tennessee, which he accepted. Although
the graduation episode was meant to end the show, “A Repair to Remember” was
delayed in its broadcast and was actually the final episode of the series.
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