||This article possibly contains original research. (June 2013)|
|Created by||Brett Dewey
Ronald B. Solomon
|Written by||Bonnie L. DeSouza
Ronald B. Solomon
|Directed by||Don Barnhart
Kevin Charles Sullivan
William James Jones
Jay Anthony Franke
|Opening theme||"California Dreamin'"|
|Ending theme||"California Dreamin'"
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||78|
|Executive producer(s)||Peter Engel|
Ronald B. Solomon
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||NBC Productions
Peter Engel Productions
|Original run||September 12, 1992– December 14, 1996|
California Dreams is an American teen-oriented sitcom that aired from 1992 to 1996 on Saturday mornings during NBC's Teen NBC programming block. It was created by writers Brett Dewey and Ronald B. Solomon and executive produced by Peter Engel, all known for their work on Saved by the Bell.
California Dreams is about a multi-ethnic group of teens and their band. The show's plots combined real-life issues with zany adventures. It covered a range of topics such as fear, using drugs for a competitive edge, racism, falling for scams, letting greed overtake friendship, accepting a divorced parent dating, forgiving others for past wrongs, and dealing with general teen social problems.
Original format and character history
California Dreams was originally intended to be a family sitcom, mainly centering on the Garrison family. In the first season, the main characters were the teenage son and leader of the band, Matt Garrison (Brent Gore), and Matt's younger sister Jenny (Heidi Lenhart), the pianist/vocalist. The rest of the Garrison family included dad Richard (Michael Cutt), mom Melody (Gail Ramsey), and the youngest son, Dennis (Ryan O'Neill).
The other three main characters would be the only three characters who appeared throughout the show's entirety. They are bass player Tiffani Smith (Kelly Packard), drummer Tony Wicks (William James Jones), and the band's teen manager, Sly Winkle (Michael Cade).
NBC executives did not like the show's original format. By Season 2, the focus of the show changed from the Garrison family to the teens who formed the California Dreams band.
In Season 2, a fifth member of the California Dreams band was introduced. Jake Sommers (Jay Anthony Franke) became the band's second guitarist. Jenny's character was the first to leave the show very early into Season 2 (for a music school opportunity in Italy). In the following episode, the show brought in its first replacement character, Samantha "Sam" Woo (Jennie Kwan), a foreign exchange student from Hong Kong whom the Garrisons take into their home. When Sam's singing voice is noticed by the band she becomes the band's new vocalist in Jenny's old place.
By Season 3, the sitcom's original premise ended when Matt left the show (signaling the idea that the entire Garrison family moved away). In Matt's place in the band was Mark Winkle (Aaron Jackson), Sly's shy cousin from New York. Another character added to the cast was Lorena Costa (Diana Uribe), a band groupie from a rich family who takes Sam into their home after the Garrisons' departure.
The series finale found the band on the verge of embarking on new crossroads in life. As high school ends, Tiffani is planning on attending school in Hawaii to study marine biology, Sam is moving to England to study physics, Tony is off to study acting at an undisclosed location, Mark is moving back home to New York to study at Juilliard, while Sly and Lorena are to attend Pacific University. All of the members are excited and looking forward to starting the new stages with their lives, except for Jake, who wants to keep the band together. When a music producer offers Jake a record contract, he initially refuses, because the rest of the band are not given one themselves. Tiffani convinces Jake that she and the rest of the band have moved past the Dreams and want to discover the new phase of their lives, rather than continue on as a band. The episode ends with the California Dreams playing one last gig, and their tearful goodbyes to one another.
Seven members of the cast (Brent Gore, William James Jones, Jennie Kwan, Jay Anthony Franke, Kelly Packard, Michael Cade, and Heidi Noelle Lenhart) were reunited on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on March 4, 2010, where they performed the theme song from the show after being briefly interviewed by host Jimmy Fallon. This segment of the show also featured actor Dennis Haskins, who had attempted to help Fallon organize a reunion for his similar teen comedy, Saved by the Bell, in 2009.
- Brent Gore ... Matt Garrison (1992–1994) - The original guitarist of the group.
- Heidi Noelle Lenhart ... Jenny Garrison (1992–1993) - The original rhythm keyboardist of the group and younger sister of Matt. She left in Season 2 to study in Italy and ex-love interest of Jake.
- Kelly Packard ... Tiffani Smith - The bass player of the band and loves surfing. She`s had an on-off relationship with Jake.
- William James Jones ... Antoine "Tony" Wicks - The drummer of the band and boyfriend of Sam.
- Michael Cade ... Sylvester "Sly" Winkle - The band manager who is always looking to make easy money one way or another and the boyfriend of Lorena.
- Jay Anthony Franke ... Jake Sommers (1993–1996) - The lead guitarist and 'bad boy' of the group. He has dated Jenny,Tiffani & Lorena.
- Jennie Kwan ... Samantha "Sam" Woo (1993–1996) - The lead singer of the group and girlfriend of Tony.
- Aaron Jackson ... Mark Winkle (1994–1996) - The keyboardist of the group and cousin of Sly. It was revealed in Season 3 episode 1 that he has stage fright.
- Diana Uribe ... Lorena Costa (1994–1996) - Ex-girlfriend of Jake and filthy rich and later girlfriend of Sly
- Burke Bryant ... Keith Del (1996)
- Michael Cutt ... Richard Garrison (1992–1993)
- Gail Ramsey ... Melody Garrison (1992–1993)
- Ryan O'Neill ... Dennis Garrison (1992–1993)
- Barry Coffing ... Singing voice for Jay Anthony Franke
- Zachary Throne ... Singing voice for Aaron Jackson
When Jake is first introduced at the beginning of Season 2, there was a mild flirtation between him and Jenny. The romance never came to fruition because Jenny was written out of the series soon after. Later into Season 2, Jake and Tiffani began dating. In the Season 2 season finale, Jake refuses to attend the prom with Tiffani and after a misunderstanding, Jake breaks off the relationship.
With Lorena introduced in Season 3, the pairings and romantic situations become more complex. It begins with Sly's attempts to win Lorena's affections. A few episodes later, Sam and Tony became a couple and remained together throughout the show's entirety. Late into this season, Jake and Lorena begin dating. In the Season 4 premiere, Jake and Lorena break up and then it is discovered that both Lorena and Tiffani still had feelings for Jake (creating the first love triangle). Jake chooses to get back with Tiffani for the rest of the series. Sly then renewed his attentions towards Lorena, making his character much less obnoxious and more charming than he'd previous been portrayed as, and by the midpoint of Season 4 they became a couple and remained one for the rest of the series.
|Season||Number of Episodes||Season Length|
|1||13||September 12, 1992 – December 5, 1992|
|2||18||September 11, 1993 – February 5, 1994|
|3||17||September 10, 1994 – January 7, 1995|
|4||15||September 9, 1995 – April 6, 1996|
|5||15||September 7, 1996 – December 14, 1996|
Shout! Factory has released the first four seasons of California Dreams on DVD in Region 1. Season 4 was released on January 18, 2011 as a Shout! Factory select title, available exclusively through their online store.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|Seasons 1 & 2||31||March 31, 2009|
|Season 3♦||17||May 18, 2010|
|Season 4♦||15||January 18, 2011|
♦ - Shout! Factory select title, sold exclusively through Shout's online store
Awards and nominations
|1996||NCLR Bravo Awards||Nominated||Outstanding Program for Children or Youth||
|1993||Young Artist Awards||Nominated||Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Youth Series or Variety Show||Michael Cade, Brent Gore, William James Jones, Heidi Lenhart and Kelly Packard|
|Best Young Actress in a New Television Series||Heidi Lenhart|
|Best Young Actor in an Off-Primetime Series||Ryan O'Neill|
|1994||Nominated||Outstanding Youth Ensemble in a Cable or Off Primetime Series||Michael Cade, Jay Anthony Franke, Brent Gore, William James Jones, Kelly Packard, and Ryan O'Neill|
- Braxton, Greg (November 27, 1992). "'Bell' Hearing the Sounds of Success : Television: With a TV movie, foreign broadcasts, syndicated reruns and a plethora of merchandise, 'Saved by the Bell' intends to be noticed.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- You, Brenda (June 28, 1994). "Beat It, Bad Guys". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- California Dreams at the Internet Movie Database
- California Dreams at TV.com
- California Dreams at epguides.com