The final bell has sounded at Bayside High. NBC’s streaming network Peacock has canceled the Saved by the Bell reboot after two seasons. Deadline is reporting that the cast and crew were notified of the decision to pull the plug on Tuesday. The cancellation came as a surprise to many, as the original series still has a strong fan following, and the reboot was highly anticipated.
After a seemingly successful first season hit the streaming service in November of 2020, a second season dropped late last year. A new cast of students mixed in with returning actors, and the show attempted to replicate the light, breezy humor of the original series, with a handful of “very special episodes” mixed in. The Saved by the Bell reboot returned to Bayside High as the setting, where California Gov. Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) has sent kids from underfunded schools to get a better education. Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Spano) and Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater) were the only original cast members to return as series regulars. The other cast members (including Lark Voorhies and Tiffani Thiessen) made limited cameos, and Dennis Haskins, who played Principal Belding, did not appear. Dustin Diamond, who famously played Screech in the original series, died of cancer in February of 2021 and did not appear.
The new cast members took center stage in the Saved by the Bell reboot, including John Michael Higgins (as Principal Toddman), Belmont Cameli, Dexter Darden, Mitchell Hoog, Alycia Pascual-Peña, Josie Totah and Haskiri Velazquez. Although original show fans were initially excited for the reboot, many became disillusioned with the show’s direction. Still, the show was recently recognized by the GLAAD Media Awards, winning Outstanding Comedy Series at the ceremony.
Strangely, many of the Saved by the Bell cast members have been silent about the announcement. Mario Lopez, who has been active on Twitter and Instagram since the announcement, has not mentioned it at all, despite appearing in every episode. Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played lead character Zack Morris in the original series, only appeared in seven episodes of the reboot. He expressed his regrets on Twitter.
Not everyone was happy with the direction of the Saved by the Bell reboot. Superfan Tony Maurizio took to Twitter with a devastating thread, calling out the showrunners for turning the reboot into a “parody” that lacked the humor and heart of the original. He also called out the show’s reliance on demonizing the Zack Morris character with “Zack Morris is Trash” (ZMIT) jokes (more on “ZMIT” below). “This wasn’t an Engel vision,” Maurizio argued, referencing original series writer and producer Peter Engel, who served as an executive producer for the reboot, but was not a showrunner.
Saved by the Bell saw new life thanks to a wave of nostalgia that saw a number of classic shows get reboots or new episodes in recent years. With so many new streaming services now competing for content, shows with built-in fan bases were mined for new episodes. Saved by the Bell was a prime candidate for reboot, especially after the YouTube channel Funny or Die began posting “Zack Morris is Trash” videos, which recapped classic episodes and argued that Zack was a sociopath. The videos had a strong fan following.