We had so much hope for 90210 this season. The show narrowed its focus to its new, core characters; it set up a storyline that would take Annie to a dark place; and brought in Jen Clark to serve as the show's resident villain.
In the end, though, these developments didn't add up to a particularly exciting season. We examine why in this TV Fanatic Report Card (previous site evaluations include The Vampire Diaries and The Good Wife)...
Best character: Naomi. She's still written too inconsistently, as the show either portrays her as an outright bitch or a a total humanitarian. It needs to find a nuanced balance. But producers made the right decision in shifting the focus from the boring Wilsons to the more interesting Clarks, at least.
Worst character: Annie. She was too sunny in season one, too dour in season two. The hit-and-run angle never came together, and Shenae Grimes never sold her character's state of mind. She over-acted in every scene, an especially troubling fact because this lengthy storyline required subtle, ongoing pain, something Grimes most definitely does not specialize in.
Best episode: To Thine Own Self Be True. Silver and Kelly buried their mother during this installment. We got a glimpse at some seriously heartfelt acting by Jennie Garth and Jessica Stroup.
Best storyline: Gia and Adrianna... at least for a couple episodes. We were happily proven wrong about this relationship, as it came across as more than a ratings stunt. At first, 90210 treated the gals with the same time and respect as any other relationship. But it then made Gia out to be an insecure cheater and quickly jettisoned her from the cast. It would have been nice to really dedicate many months to this unique dating arrangement.
Hopes for 2010-2011: Slow things down, couples break up and get back together on an almost-weekly basis. Viewers need reasons to care about relationships, which can only happen if they remain steady. Also, give us some actual bad boys or girls. There's very little conflict between friends and characters. We need some trouble makers to stir things up.
Grade for season two: C. Look, we don't need this to be as extreme as Gossip Girl. But we do need more original, suspenseful storytelling. Teddy's father doesn't want his son seeing Silver? Liam's birth dad shows up for five seconds, then leaves? Deb barely smooches her Yoga instructor? This is boring, mundane, cliched material.
The one supposedly significant storyline, Annie's hit-and-run, resulted in absolutely no pay-off. The show has a lot riding on Naomi's season-concluding rape now, as fans won't stick around for much longer if this risky situation is not handled well.