Although Melrose Place has its own reputation for being a pretty wild show, it was actually a spin-off of Beverly Hills, 90210. The drama was meant to focus on an older crowd than the teens of the posh California address, but after some early episodes that were kind of lame, the series shifted to the nuts cliffhangers and storylines that people still talk about today.
10 Melrose Place: A Cohesive Setting
Watch even one episode of Melrose Place and it becomes super clear that there's one main setting: the apartment complex where all of the characters live. It's always smart when a TV show has one major setting (like the hospital on Grey's Anatomy or Monica's place on Friends). It not only provides a hang-out spot for the characters and is often the environment where all of the drama goes on, but it's also comforting for viewers.
Although the gang hangs out at the Peach Pit on Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place wins this round. Many people would love to call 4616 Melrose Place home thanks to its pretty architecture and pool... if it wasn't for the crazy stuff always happening there, of course.
9 90210: Enduring Friendships
Although Melrose Place has a better setting, 90210 did one thing much better than its predecessor: it featured lasting friendships. The core group managed to stay close throughout all of the twists and turns of their young adult existences. Since that doesn't always happen in real life, it's really nice to see.
Sure, Brenda (Shannen Doherty) left the series after only four seasons, but the rest of the characters keep hanging out at the Peach Pit, the beach, and even living together after high school was over. It was hard to buy any of the friendships on Melrose Place. Even if certain characters seem to like one another, they're always so manipulate that the friendships don't seem real.
8 Melrose Place: Truly Crazy Twists
Even the most surprising 90210 storylines (like when Dylan's new wife, Toni, dies) still make sense within the context of the show. Since the show follows friends as they handle various high school and college issues, the biggest plotlines focus on their dating lives. It's really nothing that would make you gasp at your TV set.
Melrose Place, on the other hand, is known for its truly crazy twists, and this is where the show really excels. Even just thinking about when Kimberly (Marcia Cross) destroys the apartment building, for instance, is mind-boggling to this day. The characters are always lying and scheming and it's almost too enjoyable and entertaining.
7 90210: Discussion Of Young Adult Issues
When comparing Melrose Place and 90210, it's pretty clear that the latter wins when it comes to portraying young adult issues in a way that viewers can relate to.
The show may be full of cheese and dated hairstyles and clothing, but it does deserve respect for bringing up topics. The first season alone talks about shoplifting, wealth, jealousy, the first time, cheating, and drinking.
6 Melrose Place: An Old-Fashioned Soap Opera Vibe
Sometimes TV dramas face criticism for being too much like a soap opera if they feature confusing storylines, characters coming back from the dead, or too much plot in one episode. This isn't always a bad thing because soap operas are pure entertainment.
In the case of Melrose Place, it has that kind of soap opera vibe, and that's why it has endured after all of these years. Viewers were completely hooked (even Jerry on Seinfeld couldn't help but get into the show) and every single episode delivers. Even though 90210 is still watchable today, it's not as bingeworthy.
5 90210: A Bigger Part Of Popular Culture
Even though Melrose Place is a popular show and many people loved tuning in, it definitely seems fair to argue that 90210 has left a much more lasting impression on popular culture.
Kelly, Dylan, Brandon, and Brenda have become classic, famous characters, and many aspects of the show, from the love triangles to the focus on problems that teens go through, are often talked about today. Like Saved By The Bell and Dawson's Creek, 90210 is considered a really big deal when it comes to teen shows.
4 Melrose Place: Keeping Fans Guessing Always
Would anyone have guessed that Kimberly would do any of the things that she does, from taking Jo's (Daphne Zuniga) baby to blowing up the apartment complex to wearing a wig to hide an ugly scar? Or what about Alison (Courtney Thorne-Smith) becoming an alcoholic and Amanda (Heather Locklear) becoming the head of the advertising agency D&D and going crazy with power?
If Melrose Place did one thing really, really well, it would be always keeping fans guessing. This was the joy of watching the show.
3 90210: Realistic Romance
Even though love triangles seem to exist more on teen drama than in actual life, it's still fair to say that the relationships on 90210 are more realistic than on Melrose Place.
For example, on Melrose Place, Amanda dates Billy (Andrew Shue) and he has no idea that she's actually a horrible person. And it's hard to know if Alison truly loves Billy or Jake (Grant Show) because she goes back and forth about her feelings so much. But no one ever doubts that Dylan (Luke Perry) and Kelly (Jennie Garth) really care about each other. It's even believable that she would move on with Brandon (Jason Priestley) because the emotions seem real.
2 Melrose Place: Big Names
The 90210 cast is famous now, thanks to their time on the series, but it's fair to say that Melrose Place did some big names on the show. They all played juicy characters.
Kristin Davis of Sex and the City fame was in 32 episodes of Melrose Place, playing Brooke Armstrong, a rich girl who marries Billy and is totally hated by Alison. Alyssa Milano played Michael's little sister Jennifer Mancini in 40 episodes. And Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star and actress Lisa Rinna was Taylor McBride in 66 episodes, a woman who gets involved with Peter (Jack Wagner) even though she has a husband and who sets off a whole chain of events.
1 90210: Two Reboots
Sure, Melrose Place got a reboot in 2009, but it only got one season and wasn't very well-received. It didn't feel like the same show and didn't give fans very much to work with.
90210 has gotten two reboots, so for that reason, it wins this round. Fans of the original might not love the CW series which aired from 2008 to 2013 because besides a few brief apperances by Kelly and Brenda, it didn't have much in common with the original. But fans have another chance with the recent reboot, BH90210, which is currently airing. Even if it's not what fans might have wished for (since it's a meta show that left some people baffled), it's still a way to hang out with the gang again.