1 9 8 9 – 1 9 9 3 (USA)
90 x 30 minute episodes
The comedic misadventures of six students at Bayside High School in California.
Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) was the cool troublemaker, A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez) was the kind-hearted jock, “Screech” Powers (Dustin Diamond) the smart and funny nerd, Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen) the teen dream (who is Zack’s obsession), Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies) the gossiping fashion lover, and Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley) the feminist straight-A student.
The series was notorious for frequently introducing new characters who subsequently disappeared in later episodes.
Some of the more glaring examples of characters who fell victim to this trend were Jessie’s new stepbrother, Eric Tramer (Joshua Hoffman), who, after agreeing to live with Jessie permanently, was never seen or spoken of again; Violet Bickerstaff (Tori Spelling), Screech’s girlfriend, who disappeared mid-way through season three; and Laura (Jennifer McComb), a homeless girl and Zack’s love interest from the two-part Christmas episode, who was to live with the Morris family until her father found a job, but who was never seen or referred to after these episodes.
The most obvious example was Tori Scott (Leanna Creel), who transferred to Bayside at the beginning of season four and appeared sporadically throughout the season, but she disappeared before the graduation episode. Her fate was never revealed.
Saved By The Bell spawned two unnecessary spin-offs – Saved by the Bell: The New Class, which inexplicably ran for seven years, and Saved by the Bell: The College Years which was just ill-conceived.
College Years struggled to adapt its parent series’ enduring corny humour to the heavy-handed “mature” situations it portrayed and introduced completely dull replacements for Lisa and Jessie. At least the one-season non-wonder ended on a good note: Zack and Kelly finally got married in a Vegas-set TV movie.
Samuel ‘Screech’ Powers
Mr Richard Belding