Saved by the Bell is an American television sitcom that aired between 1989 and 1993. The series was originally a retooling of Good Morning, Miss Bliss (which was later incorporated into the backstory of Saved by the Bell, despite significant continuity problems). The series follows the exploits of a group of close friends and their principal at the fictional Bayside High School in Palisades, California. Each season of the series represents a full academic year of high school for the students. The sitcom name is an idiom for being "saved" by a school bell ringing, when a student is unprepared to answer a question asked near the end of a classroom period.
The show stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Dustin Diamond, Lark Voorhies, and Dennis Haskins, who appeared in Good Morning, Miss Bliss, as well as Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkley, and Mario Lopez, who joined the cast of Saved by the Bell. The show brought fame to the cast members and launched most of their careers. However, most of the cast struggle with typecasting to this day.
Although the series primarily showcased light-hearted comedic situations and corny jokes, it occasionally touched on some serious teen social issues, such as drug use, driving under the influence, homelessness, divorce, death, and environmental issues. This made it a precursor (with other teen sitcoms of the time, like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) for networks of more recent shows such as Beverly Hills, 90210, Dawson's Creek and The O.C. to introduce young target audiences to critical moral matters. Notably, intimate relationships were alluded to but not actually dealt with.
Saved by the Bell was named one of the 20 Best School Shows of All Time by AOL TV (no ranking). The show's popularity allowed for two spin-off series: Saved by the Bell: The College Years (1993–1994), a prime time series which followed several of the original characters' college experiences, and Saved by the Bell: The New Class (1993–2000), a Saturday-morning series which followed a new group of students at Bayside High School. The series also spawned two TV movies and a short-lived comic book series.