Two pop culture phenomena that became the guilty pleasure of legions of fans in the 1990s will make their long-awaited DVD debuts on November 7th. That's the day "Beverly Hills 90210: The Complete First Season" and "Melrose Place: The Complete First Season" will be released by CBS DVD and Paramount Home Entertainment. (Variety reports that this is made possible - in part - due to the CBS/Viacom split-up.)
From legendary Executive Producer Aaron Spelling and Creator Darren Star, "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Melrose Place" were two of the definitive shows of their decade, compelling viewers to rearrange their schedules to tune in each week.
Before "The OC" and "Laguna Beach," "Beverly Hills 90210" pioneered the teen drama, tackling serious issues as well as the love triangles, personal crises and teen tragedies of a group of privileged students at West Beverly High School.
One of the landmark shows of the 1990s, "90210" quickly became an important fixture on the fledgling Fox network and in the popular discourse of adolescents and young adults. The first season's main characters, Dylan, Kelly, Donna, Steve, David, Andrea and twins Brandon and Brenda, all attended high school in ultra-rich Beverly Hills.
Brandon and Brenda Walsh and their parents, transplants from Minneapolis, were the stable nuclear family with strong values; their home was a safe haven for the whole gang and the center of much of the drama. The show dealt with a steady stream of love triangles and other romantic entanglements and touched on more serious issues as well.
Prinicipal cast members in the First Season included Jason Priestley, Shannon Doherty, Luke Perry, Jennie Garth, Brian Austin Green, Tori Spelling and James Eckhouse.
A sexy spin-off of "Beverly Hills 90210," "Melrose Place" became the standard bearer for shocking plot twists and steamy storylines as it followed the trials and tribulations of a group of young people living in a trendy southern California neighborhood.
"Melrose Place" follows the lives and loves of a group of young people living in an apartment building in a trendy neighborhood in California. The show was a spin off of "Beverly Hills 90210" and guest starred Heather Locklear as the scheming Amanda Woodward, head of her own advertising agency and eventual owner of the apartment building.
Principal cast members in the First Season included Grant Show, Andrew Shue, Thomas Calabro, Josie Bissett, Heather Locklear, Dapne Zuniga, Vanessa A. Williams, Doug Savant, Amy Locane, Marcia Cross and Courtney Thorne-Smith.
The "Beverly Hills 90210: The Complete First Season" DVD will be a 6-Disc set featuring all 22 episodes plus a wealth of cool special features including "Beginnings With Darren Star," character profiles, commentary by Star on select episodes, behind-the-scenes footage and more.
The 8-Disc "Melrose Place: The Complete First Season" DVD set will include all 32 episodes as well as revealing special features including featurettes on the residents of Melrose Place, the style of the show and the notorious Amanda Woodward, plus behind-the-scenes footage.
Purists should be warned that the musical soundtracks on both "Melrose" and "90210" have been altered due to the inability to secure affordable license fees for some of the contemporary music used on the original episodes.
This is happening more and more as older shows are being released on DVD. (Even some newer shows like "Dawson's Creek" and "Felicity" had music clearance obstacles that prevented them from being released earlier than they were.) In many cases, producers only negotiated the original broadcast rights to the tunes, not anticipating a huge demand down the road for home video use.
The rights to each song must be acquired separately and can sometimes add a cost of $1.00 or more per song to the home video release. To release "Melrose" and "90210" with its original music might add twenty dollars or more to the cost of each boxed set.
With the altered soundtrack, however, Paramount is able to release each of these sets for the Suggested Retail Price of $54.99; both shows will also be available together in a 2-Pack called "The Good, The Bad and The Beautiful" with an SRP of $115.64.
"Beverly Hills 90210: The Complete First Season" will be a 6-Disc collection presented in full screen with Dolby Digital English Stereo. Music has been changed for this home entertainment version.
-- Pilot Parts 1 and 2
-- Commentary by Creator Darren Star
-- The Green Room
-- Every Dream Has Its Price
-- The First Time
-- One On One
-- Higher Education
-- Perfect Mom
-- Seventeen Year Itch
-- The Gentle Art Of Listening
-- Isn't It Romantic?
-- One Man And A Baby
-- Slumber Party
-- East Side Story
-- Palm Springs Weekend
-- Fame Is Where You Find It
-- Stand (Up) And Deliver
-- It's Only A Test
-- April Is The Cruelest Month
-- Spring Training
-- Spring Dance
-- Commentary by Creator Darren Star
-- Home Again
-- "Beginnings With Darren Star" Featurette
-- "Meet The Class Of West Beverly High":
-- "90210 Behind The Scenes" Featurette
-- Looking Back - Season One - The Recap
"Melrose Place: The Complete First Season" is an 8-Disc collection presented in full screen with Dolby Digital English Stereo. Music has been changed for this home entertainment version.
-- Friends And Lovers
-- Lost And Found
-- For Love Or Money
-- Leap Of Faith
-- Second Chances
-- My Way
-- Lonely Hearts
-- "Beginnings" Mini-Featurette
-- Responsibly Yours
-- A Promise Broken
-- Polluted Affairs
-- "Friends & Neighbors" Mini-Featurette
-- Dreams Come True
-- Drawing The Line
-- House Of God
-- The Whole Truth
-- "Neighbors & Friends" Mini-Featurette
-- Jake vs. Jake
-- A Melrose Christmas
-- Single White Sister
-- Peanut Butter And Jealousy
-- Season One - Episode Guide
-- Melrose Place: Behind The Scenes
-- Picture Imperfect
-- Three's A Crowd
-- My New Partner
-- Bye Bye Billy
-- "Amanda" Mini-Featurette
-- Irreconcilable Similarities
-- End Game
-- The Test
-- Pushing Boundaries
-- "Melrose Place: New Style Profile" Mini-Featurette
-- Pas De Trois
-- Carpe Diem
-- State Of Need
-- Suspicious Minds