90210 to critics: Drop dead! Critic to 90210: Game on!

90210_lVariety reports that some TV critics are upset that the CW has decided not to send out advance review copies of its new 90210 to reviewers before the show premieres on Sept. 2. My first thought upon hearing of this decision was, what took them so long?

As a critic, part of my job is to preview new shows for you, to describe them and provide some guidance about whether you’d be interested in watching. (Thus, to point to just one example, EW’s annual, massively thorough Fall TV Preview.)
But the CW knows damn well it has just about the only show that’s creating real buzz this season, and it just makes good business-sense on their part to avoid any chance of buzzkill by not sending it out to critics, some of whom are inevitably going to give it a negative review, or — even more predictably — whine that it’s not as good as the original Beverly Hills 90210. Variety notes that a piece in the St. Louis Post Dispatch has already appeared in the wake of the CW’s review-copy ban, headlined, "How Much Does The New ‘90210’ Suck?" That’s exactly the kind of old-media, preemptive negativity that the CW is trying to defuse.

Does it seem like I’m a traitor, standing on the side of the network against my colleagues and my own best interests as a reviewer? Not at all. In today’s 24/7 media world, either I or my TV critic colleague Gillian Flynn will undoubtedly watch 90210’s premiere along with the rest of America, and file a review immediately for EW.com. That situation seems like a win-win to me: We watch along with you, we publish our reaction — positive, negative, or mixed — and you get to respond, because you’ve also been watching.

No one’s freedom to express an opinion has been squelched. We all know where we stand. If the CW doesn’t want to send out advance copies, it still can’t stifle opinion — and if anything, it’s inviting you to make immediate comments even more critical of or positive about the show than I might be.

In short: Game on, CW. EW and EW’s readers will be waiting to get a look at 90210. Then we, the viewers, will be the ones in control of the spin and the judgments, not the CW.

addCredit(“‘90210′ cast; Frank Ockenfels”)

Comments (18 total) Add your comment
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  • Tate

    I’m pretty sure this will blow. That’s not to say it won’t succeed. Lots of shows that blow succeed – Lipstick Jungle anyone?

  • Broadway Baby

    Well that makes perfect sense – I was sure it was only because they knew they had a sucky product on their hands. More Ken Tucker! And will Gillian Flynn ever make an appearance on popwatch? Please?

  • Raven_Moon

    I’m betting the show probably isn’t that great. Of course, I never really cared about the original, either.

  • kaf

    I was and am a huge fan of the original, which if we’re being honest, was hardly intelligent entertainment. Therefore, I certainly am not expecting the new show to be thought-provoking in any way. If it’s faithful to the original, I think the new show will get panned by critics, but as fan of the original will tell you — mindless TV sure can hold a viewer’s interest!

  • Matt

    Did the CW pay Ken Tucker to write this!?!
    I think movie studios should stop holding advance screenings of their movies, too. Then we can all waste our time and money together to find out a movie sucks!
    I cannot think of a better scenario.
    Oh, wait! Yes, I can! If I could find out in advance that a TV show sucks, then I could be spared from wasting my time watching it.
    But how to achieve this? Hmmm, maybe if critics were given advance screeners of a TV show, then critics could voice their opinion of a show before it airs! And then I could make an informed decision as to whether or not I want to watch the program!
    Now that I’m aware of Mr. Tucker’s incredibly poor judgment, I know to ignore any opinion he expresses, of anything, ever.

  • Nathan Poitras

    I’m really excited to see how terrible this show is gonna be, every bit as bad as the original and then some, I’d bet.

  • Tate

    I think the most insulting, insidious, annoying moment of the original 90210 was when they were in college. Donna was strumming an acoustic guitar and singing “Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz”. Considering the background of her character, that was pretty lame.
    Almost as lame as MTV not getting that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was pretty much a smack at everything they ever stood for…

  • Mr.Nigel

    I think half the time Critics opinions are worth nothing i have never ever agreed with a critic and the one time i took a critics word i wound up not watching a show that wound up being my favorite. 90210 might be success it might not, but if you know you have the most buzzworthy show in years of course you are going to keep it under wraps, if you dont you are a stupid studio, why ruin the surprise for the people who want to watch just so you critics can have a half decent paycheck. 90210 has tonnes of buzz because it was the most popular show and the first one of it’s kind and now they are bringing it back hopefully it does well, and the critics are mad just cause now they cant put negative reviews out. to the critics good god get over it.

  • tasha

    I couldn’t agree more with you Ken. I read some other negative online responses to the CW’s tactic but it makes perfect sense to me! As someone who grew up with, and was a devoted viewer of, the original series, I will be eagerly tuning in to see how they’re going to do it all over again. Of course, casting old faves like Brenda and Kelly doesn’t hurt either!! Wooo, Team Brenda!

  • Alex

    I’m all for guilty pleasures and the like, but does the world even need a 90210 remake? Its probably going to be mediocre, and if it fails the most upsetting thing about it will be seeing Tristan Wilds be involved in something so vapid after delivering such powerful performances in The bleedin’ Wire…

  • donner

    Who is really asking for a new 90210 anyway? no one I know has ever mentioned they’d love to see a remake of it…it was what it was, can’t we leave it alone in the bowels of TV hell, never to be seen again? isn’t it enough to torture us with Tori Spelling and her family? I need a drink…

  • Anne

    I loved 90210. Loved it. Watch the reruns on soapnet. So cheesy. So good. I would love a reunion TV movie, or something to that effect (or is it affect?) just so we can have a bit of closure (are those crazy kids Donna and David still together? Is Kelli back on the coke?) I must confess that I am not terribly interested in the new show. I suppose that at 35 I don’t really care what the kids at WBHHS are doing (something tells me a lot of what they did in the original show). On top of that, it comes on at 9. Too late to watch to conclusion for oldtimers like myself. I eagerly await the ew review.

  • Tate

    I would imagine Tori’s husband is asking for a new 90210. He probably looks at it like her family can never have enough money…

  • Jesse

    I’m already getting “the shakes” not being able to wait patiently until 9.02 to see the premiere of the new 90210!
    (btw…that premiere date is genius – GENIUS! :)
    Loved the original and hoping this one can compare to the awesomely-bad 90’s goodness of it all! =)

  • Stephanie T.

    So now that Shanay is on 90120, how is her role on DTNG going to play out? I mean on the season finale Hotsalakos’es son (Shanay’s boyfriend on the show)asked Mr. Vanzandt how to declare himself independent?

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