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Review: The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story

Absolutely nothing against the Lifetime Network, but it was going to take something pretty monumental for me to set the DVR to record any of their original offerings.

Then, earlier this year, they dropped this:


The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story premiered last night. And as one of the tens of thousands of Millennials that have seen every single episode of this show, I watched.

Excitedly. Probably too excitedly.

If you haven’t already, but were wanting to? Here’s 10 reasons not to.

1) It’s really not that controversial.

Unless you find a high schooler trying vodka for the first time controversial. Maybe the producers were afraid of law suits… but I’m 100% positive my high school experience was more controversial that what we saw last night.

2) It’s all about Dustin Diamond.

We knew this going in, since the movie is based on the book ‘Behind The Bell‘ he wrote in 2009. But, still. Lots of DD. And if a story is only as good as it’s narrator…

3) These dudes are tiny.

Distractingly tiny. The real life Mark-Paul Gosselaar (6’0) and Mario Lopez (5’10”) aren’t giants, but they look like it next to Dylan Everett (listed as 5’7″, guessing 5’4″) and Julian Works (unknown, guessing 5’6″).

It was like a miniature SBTB movie. You just wanted to pick Zack Morris up and put him in your pocket, not watch him in a boys blazer swigging off a champagne bottle half his body mass.

4) The wigs.

It’s like they went here and said ‘$8? Fuck it – good enough’.

5) It makes security look bad.

You know what the chances are an actor can walk directly into a network president’s office without being stopped are? Zero percent. And if you’re an actor on a Saturday morning kids show? Less than zero percent. Brandon Tartikoff wasn’t that easily accessible then and Bob Greenblatt isn’t now.

6) It all ends real peachy.

If you were expecting explosive TV, you were disappointed. In a way, this felt like a mea culpa from Screech to his cast-mates. They have all been estranged (I assume) since Diamond wrote that tell-all book. This, though, was an olive branch.


Do what you please with the ending, which was always going to be tough to pull off. But when you market something as ‘unauthorized’, I’m not sure you can actually give us ‘complete submission to what you’d think that the rest of the cast would want to see’.

7) Mr. Belding. And Violet. And Tori.

We got a whole bunch of Peter Engle. And the aforementioned Tartikoff. But virtually nothing from Belding. Even less from Violet. And literally nothing from Tori (sans a coverage shot). Part of the fun was seeing who Lifetime was going to cast in these rolls.

8) The Attic.

Not even a passing mention. Probably because the fake Zack couldn’t give the bouncer an fake ID with a straight face.

9) Iconic Episodes.

Quick – think of your favorite episode.

Unless your was the famous caffeine pill one, then you didn’t get to see any re-enactments. Or mentions, even. No Zack Attack ones. No Slater/Morris fight ones.

No Maui Sands ones!


Plus this movie only had two sets – The Max and a unrealistic copy of the hallway.

10) It just wasn’t that good.

Probably the biggest reason you shouldn’t worry too much about seeing this? It wasn’t all that good.

Grade: D (Impossible to give anything SBTB related an F)

Photo: TV Rage