In 1988 a high school-set teen sitcom produced by NBC aired one season on the Disney Channel. The following year NBC retooled the show and moved it back on its own network as perhaps one of the most iconic sitcoms for young audiences in the early 1990s: “Saved by the Bell.” While it gained spinoffs especially one with a new set of characters, it is the original cast that is most remembered. Perhaps that is why the new “Saved by the Bell” sitcom being developed by Universal TV for NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service brings back some of those cast members to make the show a direct sequel, but with bite.
Comic Book Resources reports that while still a sitcom, the upcoming “Saved by the Bell” series on Peacock will have more of an edge to its presentation. That comes from the mouth of actor Mario Lopez himself. Lopez, famous for portraying lovable jerk jock Slater from the first series, is one of four known cast members back to support the next generation of misfit students in California’s Bayside High. He does promise that despite an up-kick in atmospheric grittiness, there will still be lot of hilarious fun to be had.
Lopez notes that the difference in style and sensibility comes from no longer having a live studio audience for taping as with the old sitcom. “It’s shot on film this time and Tracy Wigfield, who’s the show-runner who did ‘30 Rock’,” he explains, adding that the new edginess of the current-generation Bayside students will still be clever and hip for audiences. The actor also comments on the changes that he and the old cast reprising their previous roles as adults have undergone in their backstories to make them as they are presented now; he himself is back in Bayside as the high school’s gym teacher.
The in-universe justification of gritty hipness to the new “Saved by the Bell” is due to some questionable educational policies of California’s state governor, former Bayside High alumnus Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar). With so many low-income high schools shut down, their students must now be distributed to California’s remaining, highly-funded secondary institutions, including Bayside, where Zack and Kelly’s (Tiffani Thiessen) own son Mac (Mitchell Hoog) is attending. He is not the only generation Xerox around, as Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley) has her son Jamie (Belmont Cameli) as football team captain. Principal Belding’s successor Principal Toddman (John Michael Higgins) has his work cut out for him.
Gosselaar, Thiessen, Berkley, Mario Lopez and Tracy Wigfield are all executive producers of the sitcom, with Wigfield also being show-runner and head writer. The new “Saved by the Bell” series will arrive on NBCUniversal Peacock streaming sometime later this year.
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