Every morning during middle school, I would watch Saved by the Bell. It didn't matter that the episodes weren't in any sense of order--I was obsessed! When I heard there was a new Lifetime movie based on Dustin Diamond's life, I was skeptical but interested. Sure, Dustin Diamond is a creep, but there must be some exciting tales behind the scenes of a hit show?
Well...let's just say I learned absolutely nothing new about Saved by the Bell's cast other Dustin Diamond played pranks and was blackmailed. Even if you are thinking, "eh okay, that sounds kind of good", NO! The blackmail scene is completely expected and telegraphed, and the "pranks" are terrible. At one point, he puts a fake tarantula under an orange bucket. Not even a real tarantula?! C'mon now.
Other than that, it's a long slog from initial casting to the show's high school graduation finale. With 6 characters, we only get the smallest tidbits of personality. Lark (Lisa Turtle) was actually a Jehovah's Witness and Elizabeth (Jessie Spano) was a dancer trying to get into movies! In the final few scenes, we see short clips of the actors and the journey they have gone through...unfortunately, it only highlights how little development each character had. Mario Lopez is basically down to an audition scene and a photoshoot!
The plot was uneven, also, in terms of the intended audience. It seemed to be for people who have never seen the show, as a lot is spent on how the characters acted (obvious to anyone who had seen the show once--not that deep of a show). Also, a lot is explained about the earlier series Miss Bliss, but nothing about the TV movie with the wedding?! The Las Vegas movie was so bad that it needed a mention in this!
As for the good, the Zach-like "time outs" was a cute device with Screech. The adults in the movie were passable actors, and were believable as industry execs. The clothing and styling was great-some of the scenes (Winter Formal, anyone?) were exactly as I remembered them.
Overall, I would really hesitate recommending this to anyone. Even if you are a Saved by the Bell fan and Lifetime movie watcher, it's a really hard sell. You won't be missing out if you miss this.