Simulated Heather Locklear, Courtney Thorne-Smith, and others from The Unauthorized Melrose Place

Lifetime has released the cast list and a photo for its upcoming Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place projects, finally giving you a chance to look at a bunch of people who almost look like people you kind of remember from 20 years ago. Although the cast list is mostly made up of struggling young actors, earnestly striving in the hopes that someone might someday play them in a semi-tawdry unauthorized tell-all about the semi-tawdry unauthorized tell-all they’re currently making, there are a couple of known names on the list. Most notably, Dan Castellaneta of The Simpsons will be playing Aaron Spelling in both films, recreating the mega-producer’s proclivity for annoyed grunts, and Homer-like tendency to move on to new projects and side-stories without considering the destruction left in his wake.

Other cast members include Samantha Munro (Shannen Doherty), Ciara Hanna as Heather Locklear, and Ali Corbin, who gets to tick the coveted “Daphne Zuniga” box on her resume of dream performances. Interestingly, actress Alyssa Lynch, who played Tiffani Amber Thiessen in Lifetime’s similarly unauthorized Saved By The Bell film, will be reprising the role for 90210. (Thiessen starred for several years on the show after departing from Saved By The Bell.)


Said casting suggests that all of the Lifetime Unauthorized projects might exist in a sort of shared Thiessen-verse, bound together by pleasant smiles and well-kept hair, a hypothesis that only expands in depth when you realize that Castellaneta previously played Spelling in an unauthorized Charlie’s Angels movie for NBC. The rising wave of recursive docudrama complexity is a lot like the endless rabbit hole of interconnected continuity known as the Tommy Westphall Universe, except instead of being the product of a deranged mind desperately craving gratification and stimulation, the Tommy Westphall shows were created by an autistic boy looking into a snowglobe.