Saved by the Bell: The College Years (TV Series 1993–1994)
|Content Rating||TV-PG (TV-PG)|
|Company||NBC Productions, Peter Engel Productions|
Saved by the Bell: The College Years
Saved by the Bell: The College Years is an American television sitcom, and sequel to Saved by the Bell, that ran for one season from May 22, 1993 to February 8, 1994. It is the third incarnation of the franchise. It is also the only series of the franchise to air on primetime television instead of Saturday mornings. It aired on NBC on Tuesday evenings.
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Saved by the Bell: The College Years is an extension of the original Saved by the Bell series with a very similar premise. The plot revolves around the six characters getting into trouble each week at the fictitious California University (Cal U), under the watchful eye of Mike Rogers (Bob Golic), their resident adviser. The fictional school is set vaguely near the city of San Francisco (likely a reference to the real UC Berkeley, commonly known as Cal, in the similarly located Berkeley, CA). The series includes Zack Morris, Samuel "Screech" Powers, and A.C. Slater (from the original Saved by the Bell series) as the main characters, along with newcomers Leslie Burke (Anne Tremko), Alex Tabor (Kiersten Warren) and Danielle Marks (Essence Atkins). After the pilot, however, Atkins's role was written out and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen returned to the show in her role of Kelly Kapowski.
During the first and second episodes, the series centers around Zack's schemes to try to get his suite-mate, Leslie, to fall for him. Starting with the third episode, however, the plot branches out to become more centered around the entire gang and their various college issues. At the start of the series, resident adviser Mike Rogers is portrayed as tough-as-nails though he begins to soften as the series goes on. Mike played for the San Francisco 49ers at one point, but later decided to quit to go back to school. In one episode, he trains to return to professional football, but after proving himself capable of doing it, decides to stay with his current job and continue his education. Beginning with episode 15 ("The Rave"), Holland Taylor became involved with the series, portraying the more authoritative Dean McMann. She takes on the role of the tough-as-nails authority figure that Mike had originally been intended to be at the beginning of the series. Somewhat similar to Mr. Belding, she takes a disliking to Zack's schemes and often punishes him in various ways because of his antics (albeit with a bit more malice than Belding ever displayed).
An overarching theme of the series is Zack's efforts to win back the affections of Kelly, who is in love with their anthropology professor, Jeremiah Lasky (Patrick Fabian). By the end of the series, Zack has won Kelly over again and they become engaged.
- Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Zack Morris
- Mario Lopez as A.C. Slater
- Dustin Diamond as Samuel "Screech" Powers
- Tiffani-Amber Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski
- Anne Tremko as Leslie Burke
- Kiersten Warren as Alex Tabor
- Bob Golic as Mike Rogers
- Essence Atkins as Danielle Marks (pilot only)
- Patrick Fabian as Professor Jeremiah Lasky
- Holland Taylor as Dean Susan McMann
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"Pilot"||Jeff Melman||Elaine Aronson||May 22, 1993||60500|
|Zack, Slater, and Screech start school at Cal U, where they find the adjustment to college life is harder than they expected.|
|2||"Guess Who's Coming to College?"||Jeff Melman||Andrew Guerdat & Steven Kreinberg||September 14, 1993||60501|
|Zack's pursuit of his suitemate Leslie is complicated by the arrival of a new transfer student – his old high school girlfriend, Kelly.|
|3||"Zack, Lies & Videotape"||Jeff Melman||Mark Fink||September 14, 1993||60502|
|Zack receives an interesting anthropology assignment from the class' new professor, Lasky. He has to conduct a field study of what women want. Meanwhile, Slater tries to gain weight to be a heavyweight wrestler, and Rogers offers to help Screech as his personal weightlifting trainer.|
|4||"Rush Week"||Jeff Melman||Jeffrey Duteil||September 21, 1993||60503|
|Zack and Slater worry that Screech might ruin their efforts to join a fraternity.|
|5||"Slater's War"||Jeff Melman||Renee Palyo||September 28, 1993||60504|
|Slater's involvement with a student activist leads him to embrace his Hispanic heritage.|
|6||"The Homecoming"||Jeff Melman||Debra Fasciano||October 5, 1993||60505|
|Zack is invited to a homecoming banquet by the guest of honor, a football hero who could help him score in some business, while Kelly is threatened with come-ons by the alum. Meanwhile, Slater feels embarrassed being with Alex who shows off her mascot uniform at the banquet and Leslie asks Screech to go with her to shock her visiting snobbish parents.|
|7||"The Poker Game"||Jeff Melman||Mark Fink||October 12, 1993||60506|
|Zack, Slater, and Screech try to set Rogers up on a date with a lit female professor to get him out of the dorm so they can have a poker game. Meanwhile, Kelly, Leslie, and Alex develop a crush on their new karate instructor, John Hammer, and vie with each other to try to win his affections.|
|8||"Prof. Zack"||Jeff Melman||Andrew Guerdat & Steve Kreinberg||October 19, 1993||60507|
|While the girls put together a male pinup calendar in order to buy a big screen TV, Zack poses as Lasky in order to date an admirer of the professor's.|
|9||"Screech Love"||Jeff Melman||Jeffrey Duteil||October 26, 1993||60508|
|Zack gets Screech to tutor a tennis star that he is dating, but the woman likes Screech and this causes conflict between Zack and Screech.|
|10||"Dr. Kelly"||Jeff Melman||Noah Taft||November 2, 1993||60509|
|Kelly's well-paying job as a waitress has her reconsidering her thoughts of becoming a doctor.|
|11||"A Thanksgiving Story"||Jeff Melman||Brett Dewey & Ronald B. Solomon||November 23, 1993||60510|
|After car trouble strands them at the college, the gang helps Mike, Leslie, and Screech prepare Thanksgiving dinner for a group of inner-city kids.|
|12||"Teacher's Pet"||Jeff Melman||Debra Fasciano||December 7, 1993||60512|
|While Screech hides a lab monkey destined for the zoo, Zack discovers Kelly's crush on Professor Lasky.|
|13||"Kelly and the Professor"||Jeff Melman||Mark Fink||December 14, 1993||60513|
|A jealous Zack strikes back at Kelly and Professor Lasky with a vengeance by spreading the word about their May–December affair, which climaxes at a costume ball. Meanwhile, Rogers gives the rest of the gang papers to fill out on a perfect mate profile for a psychology project, and Screech ends up getting the same mark as Alex.|
|14||"A Question of Ethics"||Jeff Melman||Renee Palyo||December 21, 1993||60511|
|After a very tough new professor takes over their ethics class, the gang faces a dilemma when Zack gets his hands on a copy of the midterm.|
|15||"The Rave"||Jeff Melman||Jeffrey Duteil||January 4, 1994||60514|
|With Mike gone and in need of money for a trip to Cancun, Zack and the gang stage a rave in the dorm.|
|16||"Bedside Manner"||Jeff Melman||Renee Palyo||January 11, 1994||60515|
|Kelly is still pining over Professor Lasky, and Zack is trying to find ways of getting her attention back on him.|
|17||"Love and Death"||Jeff Melman||Andrew Guerdat & Steve Kreinberg||January 22, 1994||60516|
|After a popular professor dies, Zack adopts a new attitude to life - one filled with risks.|
|18||"Marry Me"||Jeff Melman||Noah Taft||February 8, 1994||60517|
|Kelly is planning to go on a three-month cruise abroad for the summer. When Zack finds out, he desperately tries to cling onto her. He tries to make Screech drop out of travelling on the trip so he can take his place. Eventually, Zack make a big choice to hold on to Kelly: he asks her to marry him. Meanwhile, Slater feels guilty when he sees another girl behind Alex's back since she shares the same interest as he, whilst Leslie finds out and tries to make him come clean with Alex about his dissatisfaction with their romance.|
|19||"Wedding Plans"||Jeff Melman||Bennett Tramer||February 8, 1994||60518|
|Zack and Kelly talk about their futures, as they confront the possibilities of marriage. Slater is against the plans, while Screech wants to be Zack's best man, and decides to throw a bachelor party that goes incredibly wrong. Lisa Turtle arrives and wants to be Maid of Honor at Kelly and Zack's wedding. But she's got a battle on her hands, with Leslie and Alex also wanting to assume the position of Maid of Honor.|
Production and reception
The series was cancelled after only one season, due to low ratings, averaging only a 7.8/12 rating/share, and ranking 88th out of 118 shows in the yearly ratings. It had to deal with viewer competition from both Full House and the first half of Rescue 911, both of which ranked in the Nielsen Top 30 that season. Only 19 episodes were produced. The nineteenth episode, "Wedding Plans", left the series with a cliffhanger ending, where Zack and Kelly had not yet married.
To give closure to the series, a 90-minute TV movie, Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas, was produced to wrap up the series. All the main actors agreed to come back for the movie, except Anne Tremko, who declined a role in the movie. In Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Zack, Slater and Lisa (who only appeared in episodes 19 and 20) all appeared again in the episode "Goodbye Bayside: Part 2". Slater appeared one more time in "Fire at the Max: Part 2" of The New Class. Screech would return in The New Class, starting with its second season, as Mr. Belding's administrative assistant on a work-study program from Cal U. Slater and Jessie Spano, a character from the original series, became main characters in the 2020 sequel series while Zack, Kelly, and Lisa all made guest appearances.
Saved by the Bell: The College Years was released on DVD in Region 1 by Image Entertainment on August 17, 2004.
|Title||Ep#||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4||Distributors|
|Saved By The Bell: The College Years||19||August 17, 2004||N/A||N/A||Image Entertainment|
The events of the final episode of the series lead directly into the events of the second Saved by the Bell film: Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas.
Saved By the Bell: The College Years novels
Four novelizations based on the show were released in late 1994 by the publisher Aladdin Paperbacks, all written by Beth Cruise. The books all feature the main cast, and have similar storylines that relate to the main plots in the TV sequel.
|Title||ISBN Number||Release Date(s)|
|Freshman Frenzy||(ISBN 0020411154)||August 1, 1994|
|Zack Zeroes In||(ISBN 0020427891)||September 1, 1994|
|Exit, Stage Right||(ISBN 0020427921)||October 1, 1994|
|Mistletoe Magic||(ISBN 0020427948)||December 1, 1994|