In 1989, teen comedy-drama, Saved By the Bell arrived on US television screens. The show followed the adventures of a group of school students who spent their days attending Bayside High, while figuring out the complexities of adolescence.
Thanks to its mix of laughs and colourful characters, as well as its teen-focused storylines, Saved By the Bell became a big hit with young audiences. But did you know, a couple of years before the show first aired, Saved By the Bell (sort of) existed under a different name, and with a different cast?
Are you also aware of the Saved By the Bell spin-off shows, as well as the TV movies? And what about the revival series, are you familiar with that too?!
Heck, there is a lot more to Saved By the Bell than you might realise, and if you’re trying to navigate your way through it all, it can become a little confusing. But fear not, I’m here to help.
In this post I am providing a simple-to-follow guide to Saved By the Bell, with the aim of presenting the viewing order for all of the series – not just the most iconic one! This post will take into account all of the shows, and the movies, to offer up the Bayside chronology from start to finish.
Explaining Saved By the Bell
As mentioned above, before Saved By the Bell made its way to television screens, it initially existed as something else. That something else was another teen drama show called Good Morning, Miss Bliss.
On July 11th 1987, a pilot episode for Good Morning, Miss Bliss was commissioned by NBC. The show focused on school teacher Carrie Bliss, as played by Hayley Mills, and the students she teaches at John F. Kennedy Junior High School.
But despite efforts to get the show off to a strong start, and a cast that included Brian Austin Green, Jaleel White, and Jonathan Brandis, this pilot episode didn’t quite land as intended. NBC didn’t take to it, and it fell by the wayside.
However, keen not to let the show stumble at the first hurdle, series creator Sam Bobrick and producer Peter Engel took the concept to Disney, to give it a second shot. This second shot saw Good Morning, Miss Bliss find a new home on the Disney Channel, but with an almost entirely new cast.
With the exception of Hayley Mills, every actor from the pilot was dropped. Newcomers took their place, including Dennis Haskins (Mr. Belding), Dustin Diamond (‘Screech’ Powers), Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle), and Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zack Morris), and the show was given a makeover.
This reworked version of Good Morning, Miss Bliss aired from November 1988 onward, remaining on the air for 13 episodes. But once again, something still didn’t quite gel with audiences, and after it performed badly in the ratings, Disney canned the series.
However, there was clearly something here which did work, and convinced that it could still become a hit, Peter Engel took the show back to NBC. Here it was given yet another reworking, with a new setting, new cast members, and most important of all, a new name.
Hayley Mills and the entire Miss Bliss character was abandoned, but Dennis Haskins, Dustin Diamond, Lark Voorhies, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar survived the changes. They were to be joined by new cast members, Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater), Tiffani-Amber Thiessen (Kelly Kapowski), and Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Spano), who rounded out the team of the newly titled show, Saved By the Bell.
The first episode of Saved By the Bell – which was set at Bayside High School – arrived on NBC on August 20th 1989. It might have taken two years, and various format and cast changes to get to this point, but finally the concept struck gold – the show was a sizeable hit and audiences loved it!
The first season ran for 16 episodes. It was followed in 1990 by a second season, comprising 18 episodes, a third season in 1991 comprising 26 episodes, and a fourth season in 1992, also comprising 26 episodes.
In addition to the 86 episodes, the show was accompanied by a television movie, Saved By the Bell: Hawaiian Style. The movie aired in 1992 on NBC and was set during the events of the show’s fourth season.
But after four seasons on air, it was time for the show to come to a natural end. The cast of high school students were all ready to graduate, and that meant Saved By the Bell had to conclude.
Well, sort of.
Although it was certainly time to wave goodbye to the students of Bayside High, audiences weren’t quite ready to say farewell to the cast, and neither was NBC. Beginning in May 1993, Saved By the Bell: The College Years hit television screens, with Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Dustin Diamond, and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen on board, as Zack, Slater, Screech, and Kelly headed off to college.
Despite the retention of four key cast members, The College Years did not prove quite so popular, and the show was dropped after one season, comprising 19 episodes. But because the series ended on an unresolved cliff-hanger, NBC commissioned another television movie, Saved By the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas, to tie-up the loose ends.
Wedding in Las Vegas brought Saved By the Bell to an end point, but it wasn’t the definitive end. This was merely a resting point for NBC, who had plans in place to keep Saved By the Bell going.
Although The College Years was conceived as the next logical step for the original cast of Saved By the Bell, it wasn’t the only road NBC decided to take with the property. Rather than put all their eggs in one basket, the network commissioned a second show in 1993, in the shape of Saved By the Bell: The New Class.
As the title suggests, this show followed a new group of students at Bayside High School. The only cast member to carry over from the original series was Dennis Haskins, who remained on the show as Principal Belding.
Saved By the Bell: The New Class proved popular enough with audiences to dodge cancellation (something The College Years had failed to do), and with a slight adjustment to the cast, the series returned for a second season in 1994. For this second run, Dustin Diamond jumped on board as another link to the previous incarnation of Saved By the Bell, and from here, the show remained on air through seasons three, four, five, six, and seven.
After 143 episodes, Saved By the Bell: The New Class came to an end. During its lifespan, the series had multiple cast changes, but it proved to be the longest running series so far.
The final episode of the show aired on January 8th 2000. At this point in time, and for the next twenty years, it seemed as if Saved By the Bell had run its course – but that proved not to be the case.
In 2020, the streaming service, Peacock, revived Saved By the Bell for a new generation. The show focused on yet another new collection of characters, but brought back many of the original cast for small roles, including Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Elizabeth Berkley, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, and Lark Voorhies.
Saved By the Bell in order
If you wish to watch Saved By the Bell in chronological order, beginning with Good Morning, Miss Bliss, and running through the original show, the TV movies, The College Years, The New Class, and the revival series, then stick to the list below.
- Good Morning, Miss Bliss: Season One (1987 – 1989) – TV series
- Saved By the Bell: Season One (1989) – TV series
- Saved By the Bell: Season Two (1990) – TV series
- Saved By the Bell: Season Three (1991) – TV series
- Saved By the Bell: Hawaiian Style (1992) – TV movie*
- Saved By the Bell: Season Four (1992 – 1993) – TV series
- Saved By the Bell: The College Years: Season One (1993 – 1994) – TV series
- Saved By the Bell: The New Class: Season One (1993) – TV series
- Saved By the Bell: Wedding in Vegas (1994) – TV movie
- Saved By the Bell: The New Class: Season Two (1994) – TV series
- Saved By the Bell: The New Class: Season Three (1995) – TV series
- Saved By the Bell: The New Class: Season Four (1996) – TV series
- Saved By the Bell: The New Class: Season Five (1997) – TV series
- Saved By the Bell: The New Class: Season Six (1998) – TV series
- Saved By the Bell: The New Class: Season Seven (1999 – 2000) – TV series
- Saved By the Bell (Revival): Season One (2020) – TV series
- Saved By the Bell (Revival): Season Two (2021) – TV series
*Please note: Saved By the Bell: Hawaiian Style takes place during the events of Saved By the Bell Season Four. It is best watched either before or during the fourth season, preferably before the conclusion of the show.
If you’re a fan of Saved By the Bell, and you want to watch or re-watch the show, then you may wish to know that all the episodes of the original series are available on DVD.
The Saved By the Bell: Complete Series DVD box set includes all the episodes of the show’s four-season run, in one handy collection.
The Saved By the Bell: Complete Series DVD box set is available from all good entertainment stockists, including Amazon US and Amazon UK.
Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read through this post about Saved By the Bell – I hope it has proved useful. Did you know there was so many Saved By the Bell shows? Well, you do now!
For more useful posts, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.
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