the vine


Rumor Mills: Family ties in new '90210'?

Meet the Mills, the three-generational Beverly Hills clan at the center of the CW's contemporary "Beverly Hills, 90210" spinoff. A detailed breakdown for the pilot released Monday night sheds more light on the plot and the characters of the untitled show, which is being written by Rob Thomas.

Like the original "90210," the spinoff revolves around a family with two teen kids the same age — a boy and a girl — who recently moved from the Midwest to Beverly Hills. But this time, the dad, Harry Mills, is a Beverly Hills High alum who moved after graduation and settled in East St. Louis. He is forced to come back when his 1970s movie star mother's alcohol problem gets out of control. Joining him are his wife, Celia, a former Olympic medalist; biological daughter Annie; and adopted son Dixon.

The breakdown includes five other characters, four of them 16-year-old students at Beverly Hills High. None of them seems directly related to any of the characters on the original series, however, 16-year-old Daphne Silver and her twentysomething brother, Max Silver, share the same last name as David Silver (Brian Austin Green), who married Donna Martin (Tori Spelling) in the original "90210" series finale. Although Max may be too old to be David's son, it nevertheless is intriguing that he and his sister live alone in a mansion as their parents have been "on a cruise" for as long as anyone can remember.

The spinoff also reflects the current realities at Beverly Hills High, where about 40% of the students are of Persian descent: One of the students is named Navid Shirazi.

To get the high-profile project ready for the network's upfront in May, CW and producing studio CBS Paramount Network TV opted to begin casting before the script has been completed, a practice also employed by other networks during the abbreviated post-strike pilot season. Mark Piznarski is set to direct the "90210" spinoff's pilot, which, according to the breakdown, is eyeing an April 3 production start date. (Nellie Andreeva)