Fresh from Shout Factory: ‘SAVED BY THE BELL’ series gets a new school finish on DVD

Preston Barta // Features Editor

SAVED BY THE BELL: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

TV-PG, about 46.5 hours.
Creator: Sam Bobrick
Cast: Mark-Paul GosselaarMario LopezDustin DiamondLark VoorhiesDennis HaskinsTiffani ThiessenElizabeth BerkleyEd AlonzoHayley MillsJoan RyanMax BattimoHeather HopperT.K. CarterAnne TremkoKiersten Warren and Bob Golic
Available today on DVD through Shout Factory.

I didn’t get into SAVED BY THE BELL until I was in high school. When it was on the air, it was always that show that came on after the show I was more interested in was over. Now it’s special to me. I found it when I was ready.

There are countless Funny or Die videos out there about how much of a jerk Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) is and how racially and culturally insensitive the show is in hindsight. Saved by the Bell has its fair share of wrinkles, but it remains an adventurous snapshot of youth.

Shout Factory has put together the ultimate collector’s edition of Saved by the Bell on DVD. It includes GOOD MORNING, MISS BLISS (the 13-episode pre-SAVED BY THE BELL series), all four seasons of SAVED BY THE BELL,SAVED BY THE BELL: THE COLLEGE YEARS (the 19-episode post series) and the two films (1992’s HAWAIIAN STYLE and 1994’s WEDDING IN LAST VEGAS). And it all comes in a sturdy cardboard box set made to look like a school locker with pictures of friends (the cast) on it. There’s also a new 45-minute documentary (the cleverly titled Past Times at Bayside High) that features some cast members, directors, writers and showrunners looking back on their experience making it, where it went right, where it went wrong, how it evolved and what the show means to them now almost 30 years later.

The rest of the special features include other documentary featurettes (a making-of, the music and other analysis pieces), audio commentaries, photo galleries and a 16-page booklet (that resembles a school journal and provides plot descriptions of each episode in case there are certain episodes you want to revisit).

I had never seen GOOD MORNING, MISS BLISS before, but I, weirdly, found myself gravitating towards it the most out of everything. I suppose as an adult now I appreciate the balance between the teachers’ issues (chiefly those of the titular Miss Bliss, played by Hayley Mills) and the kids’ issues (which only features Zack, Lisa, Screech and Mr. Belding from SAVED BY THE BELL). As the showrunners note in the documentary, the series didn’t go on because the network was understandably confused about whether it was a kid’s show or an adult one. But if it were made today, I’m willing to bet it would have survived a little longer before SAVED focused more on the kids.

Like any show, SAVED BY THE BELL has its problems, but it also has many takeaways and valuable lessons to take to heart. The most meaningful lesson I learned from the series is perhaps the true meaning of friends. Whether it’s the episode Zack confronts Jessie (Elizabeth Berkley) about caffeine pills, or when the guys get fake IDs and find Kelly’s (Tiffani Thiessen) boyfriend dancing with another girl at a bar, the characters taught me a true friend is willing to tell you the things you don’t want to hear.

So, if you can handle all the goofy hairstyles (just wait when the gang is in the band Zack Attack), tracksuits and denim-on-denim outfits, Shout Factory’s complete collection of SAVED BY THE BELL is a worthy of voluntarily signing up for in-house suspension and binging the whole darn thing.

Grade: B+

Visit shoutfactory.com/shop to pick up your DVD set today.

Official release information via Shout Factory:

Missing your favorite pals from Bayside High? It’s alright, ’cause you’re SAVED BY THE BELL! Conduct your own class reunion with this Max-ed out collection of the iconic 90s Saturday morning sitcom. The adventures of Zack and his friends – Kelly, Slater, Jessie, Lisa, and Screech – were a cultural touchstone for a generation of teens. Now, you can relive the laughter, lessons, and love (Zack + Kelly 4EVER) all over again. From JFK Junior High to Cal U, Miss Bliss to Mr. Belding, Malibu Sands to Hawaii, and dance contests to “dearly beloved!”

With 118 episodes from all three series – GOOD MORNING, MISS BLISS; SAVED BY THE BELL and SAVED BY THE BELL: THE COLLEGE YEARS, plus both movies and a locker full of special features, this Zack Morris mega-set is a must-have for fans!

A Note About SAVED BY THE BELL: The Junior High Years (1988-89): These episodes were originally aired under the title GOOD MORNING, MISS BLISS starring Hayley Mills in the title role. Set in John F. Kennedy Junior High in Indianapolis, MISS BLISS features Zack, Screech, Lisa, and Mr. Belding in its cast of characters. Although no explanation is given for how or why the four simultaneously transplanted from Indiana to California, these thirteen MISS BLISS episodes were repackaged as part of SAVED BY THE BELL’s run in syndication.

A Note About The Episode Order For SAVED BY THE BELL (1989-1993): Like many television series, the order in which SAVED BY THE BELL’s episodes were produced does not necessarily reflect the order in which they were aired. Consequently, some episodes aired noticeably out of sequence in terms of depicting the ages and shifting relationships between the characters. This is particularly pronounced in Season Three, when SAVED BY THE BELL began airing two episodes a week — usually a school-based episode followed by an “adventure” episode which saw the gang journey beyond the halls of Bayside. In spite of these anomalies, we have attempted to present the episodes in airing order with the notable exception of the “Malibu Sands” story arc, which is presented in sequence here at the end of Season Three, in order to best serve the viewing experience for fans. Executive Producer Peter Engel was consulted on this matter, and he approved our decision to present the episodes in this manner.

Bonus Features:

  • NEW Documentary: “Past Times At Bayside High: Making SAVED BY THE BELL”
  • NEW Documentary: “Bayside’s Greatest Hits: The Music Of SAVED BY THE BELL”
  • Saturday Morning: From Toons To Teens
  • It’s Alright: Back To The Bell
  • The First Of Its Class: From Sit-Com To Icon
  • Audio Commentaries
  • Photo Galleries
  • 16-Page Episode Guide

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