In these difficult times, it’s only natural that we want to turn to the things that provided us with relief and comfort in the past. The high-strung political energy coursing through the nation, the lingering trauma of enduring a disastrous pandemic and the general malaise of life in general have led many of us to seek out the gooey warmth of nostalgia, a reminder of a time when life seemed simpler. Corporations are fully aware of this, which is why they’re rebooting the remember berries of yesteryear, hoping to glom onto your pop culture therapy with a little cash grab of their own. Sometimes, this can lead to new, exciting spins on old ideas, in classic characters are mined for fresh insights and importance for our time and place. And then sometimes you get Saved by the Bell.
Yeah, the gang’s all here. Based on the first trailer, Zack Morris, Kelly Kapowski, A.C. Slater and Jessie Spano all still seem to have lives that revolve around their old high school, which could be seen as a sort of depressing metaphor, but this doesn’t look like that kind of show. It’s not clear what kind of show it is.
Who is this for? A lot of the viewers that propelled Saved By the Bell to classic status have high schoolers of their own now. Are grownups really hankering for a new teen drama to whisk them back to locker rooms of yesteryear in-between bingeing episodes of Westworld and Succession? Maybe today’s tweens are the real target audience here, in which case these “timeout!” callbacks are going to fly right over their heads and the “privilege” lines come across as almost insultingly elementary. Is it for fans of comedy? Based on the jokes here … let’s hope not.
Look, the original Saved By the Bell wasn’t exactly Twin Peaks, and franchise reboots aren’t obligated to be game-changers. But in these trying and difficult times, it’s not asking too much that a TV show not set out to actively lower the morale. The series will debut on November 25 on NBC’s streaming service Peacock. In the words of a famous Bayside High alum: “I’m so scared.”
Tyler Huckabee is RELEVANT's executive editor. He lives in Nashville with his wife, dog and Twitter account.