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Characters from the original series
Brandon Walsh (Jason Priestley)
- '80s Hair: In the first couple seasons. The guy even sported a freaking mullet in The Pilot!
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The responsible to Brenda's foolish.
- Flip-flopped. HE is the one who got drunk and almost drove as such and he's the one whose car got trashed after he left it outside a seedy nightclub (he was again impaired, though unwittingly; his drink had been spiked with Ectasy)
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic, though not depressive. (shares this with Kelly)
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The sensitive guy to Dylan's manly man.
Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty)
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The foolish to Brandon's responsible. To some exent, she was the more rebellious twin, especially later on.
Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth)
- Breakout Character: She became the female lead after Brenda left.
Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering)
- Better as Friends: From Kelly's perspective, though he doesn't agree.
Andrea Zuckerman (Gabrielle Carteris)
- Naked People Are Funny: She once has a nightmare about forgetting to put on her clothes and going to school naked, without noticing until dream!Brandon points it out.
Dylan McKay (Luke Perry)
David Silver (Brian Austin Green)
- Jewish and Nerdy: He was definitely geeky in the beginning.
Donna Martin (Tori Spelling)
- Character Development: She started as Kelly's shallow, ditzy sidekick but later the character's depth was more explored.
- Domestic Abuse: She was repeatedly abused by her boyfriend Ray Pruitt.
Scott Scanlon (Douglas Emerson)
Jim and Cindy Walsh (James Eckhouse and Carol Potter)
Nat Bussichio (Joe E. Tata)
- Team Dad: Especially after Jim and Cindy leave the show.
Valerie Malone (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen)
- Really Gets Around: All characters qualify to an extent, but Valerie more than everyone else.
- Remember the New Guy: We were supposed to always know she was Brandon and Brenda's cousin.
Clare Arnold (Kathleen Robertson)
Characters from the sequel series
Annie Wilson (Shenae Grimes)
- Beneath the Mask: Pointed out by Liam saying that the whole good-girl routine that she was displaying in front of him was just a mask covering the frustration, jealousy, rage and anger that she's hiding.
- Break the Cutie: At the end of season 1, she suffers a major fallout from her peers after Naomi falsely accuses her of sleeping with Liam and narcing out to the police about the after-prom party at Naomi's house. Even getting into a hit-and-run accident, resulting in the death of a homeless man who happens to be the uncle of her then-boyfriend Jasper.
- Broken Bird: Slides into this in the beginning of season 2 while still suffering a falling out with her friends, popularity, getting into a hit-and-run accident and having a naked photo of her surfacing around the school in the process.
- Dude Magnet: According to Dixon, almost every guy at their old school in Kansas had a crush on Annie.
- Expy: Of Brenda Walsh.
- Good Bad Girl: Apparently, she claims that she's not the good girl that she appears to be.
Dixon Wilson (Tristan Wilds)
Erin Silver (Jessica Stroup)
- Ambiguously Jewish: She's half-Jewish on her father's side, though it's never brought up.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Silver is a nice girl, but if anyone ever offends her, she would intentionally insult people on her blog call The Vicious Circle by posting mean videos, animated shorts or comments for everyone to see.
- Break the Cutie: In season 1 with her bipolar disorder. Made even worse in the series finale when she's diagnosed with cancer.
- Dude Magnet: She's been romantically involved with the five main men on the show.
- Former Friend of Alpha Bitch: Her and Naomi were best friends up until middle school when Naomi betrayed her by telling everyone about her parents' sex tape. Thankfully, they've patched things up at the end of the first season.
- Last Name Basis: She prefers to be called by her last name Silver, but she doesn't seem to mind when her mother calls her by her first name Erin.
Naomi Clark (Annalynne McCord)
- Alpha Bitch: Naomi's not that bad. She genuinely has a nicer side, but would still act like a bitch if anyone has ever hurt or betrayed her in anyway.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Slides into this in the later seasons.
- Character Development: She developed into a more nicer person during the course of the show, despite having cruel tendencies.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Towards Ethan when he was dating Annie in season 1.
- Evil Former Friend: Of Silver's, but the two finally patch things up at the end of the first season.
- Hidden Depths: Although she comes across as a snobby airhead, she's a good person at heart and very protective of her friends.
- The Millstone: She has a bad habit of making things worse whenever she tries to help.
Ethan Ward (Dustin Milligan)
- Put on a Bus: He moves to Montana in season 2.
- Satellite Character: Besides having an autistic brother, the show never really delved into Ethan's background.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: He only lasted only one season without having any character development at all and is never mentioned again throughout the show's run.
- Your Cheating Heart: He was cheating on Naomi with someone else in the first season.
Adrianna Tate-Duncan (Jessica Lowndes)
- Ascended Extra: She was billed as a recurring character in season 1, but became a series regular in the second season.
- Bi the Way: She enters in a bisexual relationship with Gia in the second season, though the relationship doesn't last.
- Broken Ace: In the first season, she was on top of the popularity food chain with her career as an actress, but dealt with a lot of drama with her drug addiction and her unplanned pregnancy.
- Character Development: She started off as a troubled actress in the first season who struggled with her drug addiction and her pregnancy, but in the later seasons, she gotten better and is no longer the "Drama Adrianna" we knew before.
- Give Her A Normal Life: She gave her daughter Maisie up for adoption after giving birth to her.
- Manipulative Bitch: She was called this by Silver after she leaked a demo of Michaela's song and says that she hasn't changed a bit since high school.
- Prom Baby: She gives birth to her daughter Maisie on prom night.
- Reformed, but Rejected: Despite saying that she's changed her ways, she's coldly rejected by her friends in season 4 after her fallout with fame and swapping Silver's bipolar medication with unknown meds.
- Suddenly Sexuality: In season 2, though it didn't last very long.
- Teen Pregnancy: In season 1, she becomes pregnant with her daughter Maisie after a one-night stand with Ty.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In season 3 with her newfound fame.
Navid Shirazi (Michael Steger)
- School Newspaper News Hound: He was the head of The Blaze at West Bev High.
Liam Court (Matt Lanter)
- Freudian Excuse: He's been abused by his stepfather so many times, which could be the reason for his bad boy behavior.
Teddy Montgomery (Trevor Donovan)
- Missing Mom: Like Silver, he also lost his mother to cancer to the show's prior.
- Remember the New Guy: He was first introduced in season 2 as Adrianna's first boyfriend from her past.
Ivy Sullivan (Gillian Zinser)
- Broken Bird: Right after Raj's death in season 4.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: She disappeared in season 5 without explanation.
Harry Wilson (Rob Estes)
- Happily Married: To Debbie until season 3 when they file for divorce.
- Put on a Bus: In season 3 after his divorce from Debbie.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Is the princial of West Bev High in seasons 1-2.
- Remember the New Guy: We're told that he was Kelly Taylor's neighbor and longtime friend, but was never mentioned or seen in the original series.
Debbie Wilson (Lori Loughlin)
- Happily Married: To Harry until season 3 when they file for divorce.
- Mama Bear: Towards Dixon when he was dating Sasha.
- Put on a Bus: In season 4, she moves to Paris with Ryan Matthews.
Ryan Matthews (Ryan Eggold)
Jen Clark (Sara Foster)
Jasper Herman (Zachary Ray Sherman)
- Yandere: Has shades of this over Annie.