'One of the Year's Best TV Shows' Is a Surprise

'LAT' critic says 'Saved by the Bell' reboot 'starts out well and just gets better'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2020 11:48 AM CST

Tracey Wigfield loved Saved by the Bell growing up. The show "is my Star Wars," the 30 Rock and Mindy Project writer tells Vanity Fair. But given the opportunity to reboot the series that ran on NBC from 1989 to 1993 (followed by TV movies, sequels, and reunions), she didn't want to do more of the same. And it's a good thing. According to TV critic Robert Lloyd, the reboot focusing on a new generation of students at Bayside High—overseen by coach Slater (Mario Lopez), guidance counselor Jessie (Elizabeth Berkley Lauren) and California governor Zack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and his wife Kelly (Tiffani Thiessen), who are also parents—"is, somewhat implausibly, one of the year's best TV shows." "I have only good things to say about it," Floyd writes at the Los Angeles Times. "Ironic and sincere, mocking and affectionate ... it starts out well and just gets better."

It's "aimed at the now-grown kids who watched" the original. But you'll enjoy it now even if you didn't watch then, writes Lloyd, who applauds the returning cast and younger actors. Mitchell Hoog plays Zack and Kelly's son, Mac, who attends Bayside with Jessie's son, Jamie (Belmont Cameli), and transgender "campus queen," Lexi (Josie Totah). After Zack slashes school budgets, kids of color (played by Haskiri Velazquez, Alycia Pascual-Pena, and Dexter Darden) from an inner-city school enter the fray, and a new gang is formed. The messages conveyed "are essentially those of the original: Be true to yourself, be true to your friends, be true to your school, be good, and if you can't be good, be careful, and, the new series would add, if you can't be careful, be rich," Lloyd writes. The show premieres Wednesday on Peacock. (Lark Voorhies said she was excluded, though she does make a cameo.)

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