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Greatest '90s teen TV hits: Friday Fiver

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Saved By The Bell

© Rex Features

Our hearts swelled with fond nostalgia this week when actor Dennis Haskins - better known as Principal Belding - called for a Saved by the Bell reunion. Who didn't dig the groovy goings-on at Bayside High back in the early '90s?

Fans might be split on the idea of a reunion - some argue that the cast are now too old, that the show is best left in the past - but there's no denying that, at its peak, Saved by the Bell was premium teen television.

Like so many great youth series of the '90s, the show was the brainchild of American producer Peter Engel, so this week's Friday Fiver is a tribute to early '90s teen TV hits and to Engel's work in particular - they just don't make 'em like these anymore...

> TV's Greatest Legal Dramas: Friday Fiver
> Shows We Want Saved From The Axe: Friday Fiver

Saved by the Bell
A revamp of the earlier kids series Good Morning, Miss Bliss, Saved by the Bell was Engel's first and arguably greatest contribution to cheesy '90s entertainment. Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) was the coolest kid on TV and his love interest Kelly (Tiffani Thiessen) was every young male viewer's first crush. From nerdy Screech (Dustin Diamond) to macho Slater (Mario Lopez) to bumbling Belding, this brilliant show was packed with amazing comic creations.



California Dreams
Engel's next series was the equally cheesy but damn entertaining California Dreams - originally intended as a family sitcom, the show was later retooled in its second season to focus on its teen characters and their band. Like Saved by the Bell, this show boasted plenty of memorable characters - the band's pompous manager Sly Winkle (Michael Cade) and ultimate cool dude Jake (Jay Anthony Franke) among them. Oh, and that theme tune? Simply awesome.



Hang Time
Engel's third outing gave his familiar teen format a basketball twist. Focusing on a fictional Indiana high school's boys' basketball team - and its one female member - Hang Time had a fluid cast across its six-season run, but - post-season one - retained a rocking theme tune throughout.



Student Bodies
We're stepping out of the Engel zone for this fourth entry, but Student Bodies more than deserves its place on this list - like Engel's best work, it had an awesome theme tune and a loveable cast of characters. Cody the cartoonist (Jamie Elman) was a particularly endearing lead, with his wacky thoughts springing to animated life - we'd go so far as to say that Student Bodies is at least partly responsible for our career in journalism...



Sweet Valley High
"Could there be two different girls who look the same at Sweet Valley High?" - well, yes, it's fairly basic genetics. Beyond the theme song's seeming bafflement at the notion of identical twins, there was much to love about this hit teen drama based on Francine Pascal's book series. In case you're wondering what happened to the show's stars, the Daniel sisters, Brittany - who played Jessica - recently appeared on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia while her sis Cynthia - who starred as Liz - has retired from acting to become a photographer. So now you know.



Honourable Mentions: There was also plenty of support in the DS office for Sister, Sister, Moesha and Boy Meets World - which is soon to receive a sequel series. God, the '90s were great, huh?

Which were your favourite '90s teen hits? Share your own fond memories below!

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