Tracey Wigfield, the showrunner of Peacock’s Saved by the Bell revival, explains why the series has to do more than just reference the past.
The Saved by the Bell reboot will be about more than just inside jokes, according to the showrunner. Initially intended to premiere on Peacock in the summer, before being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the series begins when California governor Zack Morris (Mark Paul-Gosselaar) makes the decision to shut down several low-income schools. In order to make up for his controversial mandate, Zack suggests sending the displaced students to the far more affluent Bayside High. A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez) and Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley), formerly enrolled at Bayside in the original series, are now employees of the school and do their best to welcome the new students.
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While the revival will include acknowledgements from Saved by the Bell’s history, it will also focus on more the new additions to the franchise. Haskiri Velazquez, Mitchell Hoog, Alycia Pascual-Peña, Belmont Cameli, and Dexter Darden will all portray characters who are introduced in the Peacock series. Saved by the Bell showrunner Tracey Wigfield, who previously wrote for 30 Rock and The Mindy Project, recently offered some insight into how she prioritized the revival’s large ensemble cast a.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Wigfield elaborated on her vision for the series. She specifically explained why she felt that the reboot had to consist of more than just inside jokes and references to the past. While she noted that the original cast would have a noticeable presence in the reboot, she was mindful of relying too heavily on what came before. You can read Wigfield’s full comments below.
“It was important to me, just creatively, to be able to have them in the show here and there and get jokes out of them, while at the same time not making the show just a bunch of inside jokes and, ‘Hey, remember this thing?’” Wigfield said. Her focus, she explained, was making sure the young cast remained the reboot’s core. “I think if you just do a thing that’s really a reunion and kind of all based in Easter eggs about the old show and nostalgia, that feels to me like a one-off that you kind of can only do one time.”
Wigfield’s remarks get to the root one of the biggest problems associated with Hollywood’s trend, across film and television, of relying on familiar franchises. Some attempts, like Hulu’s limited run of Veronica Mars, aim to offer a new perspective, but most reboots and revivals are largely content to play it safe by turning to jokes and tropes which were relevant in the show’s first run. Even in cases where the reboot features a newer cast to along with the veterans, most fans tune in to see the characters that they’ve grown to love. And when those characters are put in uneven storylines or receive unsatisfying conclusions, the backlash can sometimes be strong enough that it retroactively dims the legacy of the original series. The X-Files experienced this with its two-season reemergence, as many viewers were displeased with the fates of Mulder and Scully.
By showing right from the outset that the focus will be on the next generation of Saved by the Bell students, Wigfield sets the expectation of the audience accordingly and lessens the chances that longtime viewers will feel disappointed. Ahead of its Peacock premiere on November 25, the revival has already been met with a strikingly positive reception. Reviews have praised the series for its sharply satirical edge, noting that the comedy possesses the right balance of nostalgia and social awareness befitting the current moment. By all accounts, it seems that the Saved by the Bell reboot succeeds by striking a balance between Bayside High’s iconic alums and the new students who are still muddling through their teenage years.
More: Saved By The Bell: Every Character Returning In Peacock’s Reboot
Source: Vanity Fair
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