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Characters from the original series
Brandon Walsh (Jason Priestley)
- '80s Hair: In the first couple seasons, although they were shot and set in the (early) '90s. The guy even sported a freaking mullet in The Pilot!
- The Ace: Successful, book smart, liked by everyone, and popular with girls.
- Back for the Finale: A variation. He left the series a few seasons prior, but in the last episode he sends a video of himself congratulating Donna and David on their wedding, while also complementing Kelly in the process.
- Betty and Veronica: The Nice Guy Betty to Dylan's Troubled, but Cute Veronica for Kelly's Archie.
- Big Man on Campus: After his initial difficulties with Beverly Hills, he becomes just as popular as Kelly and Steve.
- Character Filibuster: Brandon, on occasion, tends to make long rattling speeches on various topics.
- Chick Magnet: To a ridiculous degree and lampshaded many times. According to his sister, no girl is immune to his charm since when he was 12.
- 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)
- Gentleman and a Scholar: A very smart student, but also friendly, socially active, and an all-around pleasant person.
- The Heart: The moral center of the show and the glue that holds the gang together.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: He's best friends with both Steve and Dylan. During and after college, he even shares his house with Steve.
- New Transfer Student: At the beginning of Season 1, he just moved from Minnesota to Beverly Hills, and as such is a newly arrived student at West Beverly High.
- Nice Guy: Known for being a largely virtuous and morally good guy. Most of the time, anyway.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: The Noble to Dylan's Roguish.
- Only Sane Man: More level-headed and reasonable than most of his friends.
- Platonic Life-Partners: How he sees his friendship with Andrea, although she has a crush on him in early seasons.
- Put on a Bus: At the start of the season 9, Brandon leaves for Washington after accepting a job offer as a journalist there.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The mature and serious Blue Oni to Steve's Hot-Blooded Red Oni.
- Serial Romeo: With shades of The Casanova. He has many love interests throughout the series.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man:
Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty)
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: She's instantly attracted to, and later in a long-term relationship with, Troubled, but Cute Dylan—even though she's a pretty straight Nice Girl and he has issues (a.o., a bad temper, parental issues and alcoholism).
- Betty and Veronica: The Betty to Kelly's Veronica for Dylan's Archie. She was Dylan's first (and stable for a while) girlfriend on the show, while Kelly and Dylan's relationship was more complicated.
- Brainy Brunette: It's mentioned that she gets good grades.
- Daddy's Girl: Sometimes her father is protective of her, especially when it comes to relationships with guys.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Her father hates her "first love" Dylan at first.
- Deuteragonist: In the first four seasons, she is the female lead character, but she gets slightly less focus than her brother.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The foolish to Brandon's responsible. To some exent, she was the more rebellious twin, especially later on.
- Girl Next Door: In the first season, before her character begins to progress into being more rebellious and devious.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Has a close friendship with Kelly, at least before the love triangle with Dylan.
- Naïve Newcomer: In the early episodes of the first season, when she just has moved from Minnesota to Beverly Hills and has yet to get adjusted to the local culture; but she adapts well once she befriends Kelly and the others.
- New Transfer Student: Along with her brother in the first season, since the show starts with their family moving to Beverly Hills.
- Put on a Bus: In season 5 she leaves, explained In Universe as her moving to London to pursue an acting career. There were Real Life reasons she left too.
Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth)
- Alcoholic Parent: Her mother, Jackie, is an alcoholic who goes on and off the wagon throughout the show.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: With Dylan.
- Better as Friends: Though it's mentioned she has had sex with Steve once prior to the start of the show, she sees him as a friend throughout the series. In the early seasons, Steve aparently still hopes for a romantic relationship, but later they mutually see each other as friends.
- Betty and Veronica:
- Breakout Character: She became the female lead after Brenda left.
- Broken Bird: In later seasons. She goes through a lot on the show, both physically and emotionally (amongst others: she gets scars and PTSD after surviving a fire (during which her boyfriend cheated on her, to boot); goes through a cocaine addiction; is shot; undergoes a few rape attempts, sexual molestation by her boss, plus an actual rape; etc. etc.)
- Character Development: Kelly went from a spoiled rich girl with Alpha Bitch tendencies to the Only Sane Man of the group who was more likable, kindhearted, and willing to help.
- Convenient Miscarriage: Suffers one towards the conclusion of season 7. Incidentally, Jennie Garth was pregnant with her first child around the same time.
- Damsel in Distress: Raped, burned, placed in a cult, pregnant/miscarried, addicted to cocaine, shot, and so on. The girl needs a hug.
- Deadpan Snarker: She can be very snide, towards Steve or her other friends.
- Descent into Addiction: Suffered a cocaine addiction in season 6, though eventually kicked it.
- Disappeared Dad: Her father was a business man who left his ex-wife, Jackie, when Kelly was two years old.
- Dude Magnet: The only one who can compete with Brandon in terms of popularity with the opposite sex. She was loved by pretty much every male character, at different times: she had had a sexual relationship with Steve prior to the start of the show, and he still had feelings for her at the beginning of the show; David had a crush on her in the earlier seasons prior to them becoming step-siblings; and she had relationships with both Dylan and Brandon.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: Rich, beautiful, blonde Kelly is the most popular girl in high school.
- Good Bad Girl: Sleeping with pretty much everyone (but David), but still (generally) sympathetic.
- Hidden Depths: She is more than the typical spoiled rich girl she appears at first (especially in the first season).
- Hollywood Healing: Kelly suffered second-degree burns in a fire at Steve's rave in season 5, though seemed not to have many scars to show for it.
- Irony: In the first season she tries to hit on both Dylan and Brandon (in two different episodes) but was rejected by both. In later seasons, both guys are in love with her and fighting over her, leading the indecisive Kelly to Take a Third Option and reject both of their proposals.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Initially portrayed as a popular, stuck up snob but over the years she grows into a much more likable person.
- Near-Death Experience:
- Kelly nearly burned to death at the fire at Steve's rave, in the fifth season.
- She is shot and left for (almost) dead by a mugger later, and is in a coma for a while afterwards.
- Rape as Drama: Was raped in an alley in the penultimate episode of season 9. She later shot the rapist to death when he attempted to assault her again.
- Really Gets Around: One of the most infamous examples from this show, due to her promiscuous lifestyle.
- Trauma Conga Line: She probably had the worst luck of all the characters.
Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering)
- Alliterative Name: Steve Sanders
- Better as Friends: From Kelly's perspective, though he doesn't agree.
- Big Man on Campus: He has money, popularity, and a cool car.
- Boisterous Bruiser: He's brash, loud and muscular.
- Book Dumb: Not very academically focused, unlike his friend Brandon.
- Butt-Monkey: Sometimes, but it's usually Played for Laughs
- Casanova Wannabe: Played with, he can be quite the ladies man but not nearly as much as he thinks, since Brandon gets more girls than him.
- Dumb Blonde: He has blonde hair but he's more shallow and Book Dumb than stupid.
- False Rape Accusation: Laura claims Steve raped her. It's not clear if she genuinely felt violated because he both blew her off afterwards and turned out to have been cheating on his girlfriend with her or if she was just trying to get back at him for both of these transgressions, but either way, Kelly gets her to admit that she never told him "no".
- Happily Adopted: The rich, adopted son of two famous TV stars. Though technically, Rush Sanders turned out to be his biological dad, anyway.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: He's probably Brandon's closest friend.
- Hopeless Suitor: When he was pining over Kelly in early seasons.
- Hot-Blooded: Can be very impulsive.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Immature, brash, and cocky but also a loyal friend for everyone.
- Lovable Jock: A muscular, athletic, fun-loving student.
- Opposites Attract: He married Janet, who was intelligent, resourceful, and organized. Their marriage can be akin to an overexcited dog marrying a stoic cat.
- Really Gets Around: Less so compared to other character (and averted in early seasons) but he can still qualify. Considering he's been with Kelly, Clare, Valerie, and several other girls, and kissed Andrea. He also later married Janet.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Hot-Blooded Red to Brandon's serious and mature Blue.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The cocky, muscular Manly Man to Brandon's thoughtful, bookish Sensitive Guy.
- Small Name, Big Ego: He tends to overestimate himself many times.
Andrea Zuckerman (Gabrielle Carteris)
- Brainy Brunette: Has brown hair and is very book-smart.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Concerning Brandon. She doesn't like to see him with other girls.
- Holier Than Thou: Like Brandon, she has her self-righteous moments.
- Hollywood Nerd: She's supposed to be the nerdy newspaper editor of the school, despite being quite pretty.
- Hopeless Suitor: To Brandon, in early seasons. She has a hopeless unrequited crush on him.
- Go-Getter Girl: While coming from a poor background, she's extremely ambitious and driven to succeed academically.
- Jewish and Nerdy: A Jewish girl who is also very studious.
- Meganekko: Probably because Smart People Wear Glasses.
- 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.
- Platonic Life-Partners: Her friendship with Brandon is this. Despite her initial crush on him, he only sees her as his best female friend.
- Put on a Bus: To Yale, after season 5. She only makes rare appearances after that.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Her crush on Nice Guy Brandon.
- Teen Pregnancy: Downplayed. Andrea became pregnant as a freshman in college, making her roughly 18 or 19 at the time (also slightly less believable considering Gabrielle Carteris was ''many'' years removed from her character). However, this was written in because Andrea's actress was pregnant at the time.
- Your Cheating Heart: She had an affair in season five while married to Jesse, due to her loneliness and stress in her marriage. While the two seem to mend their issues and move to Connecticut for them to attend Yale, Andrea later reveals that the couple are getting a divorce in season 8.
Dylan McKay (Luke Perry)
- The Alcoholic: In season 5, Dylan's problems with alcohol and drugs come back after the events of the season 4 finale.
- Badass Biker: He rides a Cool motorcycle.
- Badass Bookworm: He's very well-read, cultured and still a badass.
- Betty and Veronica:
- Breakout Character: He doesn't even appear in the pilot and ends up being one of the most popular and iconic characters of the series, involved in a love triangle with two of the female protagonists.
- The Bus Came Back: He comes back to Beverly Hills in season 9 and 10.
- The Charmer: Part of Dylan's charismatic bad boy appeal.
- Chick Magnet: Not as much as Brandon, but he's definitely good at attracting many women. It has also been said that he was target of affection for most girls in high school.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has no problem showing his snarky side and telling people what he thinks about them.
- Freudian Excuse: Con artist dad, New Age hippie mom.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Has this relationship with Brandon for most of the series.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may be tough and anti-social, but he really cares for his friends.
- Lonely Rich Kid: He's a brooding loner and his parents are never around.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: Roguish to Brandons Noble.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He resembles a young James Dean.
- Parental Abandonment: His family grew divided during Dylan's childhood; his parents separated, and Dylan developed strained relationships with both of them.
- Put on a Bus: In season 6, after the death of his wife Toni. The Bus Came Back, though.
- Second Episode Introduction: He doesn't appear in the pilot.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Troubled, but Cute Manly Man to Brandon's Sensitive Guy.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: He has a snarky side.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Dark-haired, attractive, charming and taller than Brandon.
- Trauma Conga Line: A short list of the things he goes through include fighting drug addiction, witnessing his father getting blown up, losing his fortune and his half-sister to con artists, developing depression, nearly dying in a car accident, becoming a widower the day of his wedding...
- Troubled, but Cute: One of the original and most famous examples. He's portrayed as a aloof, brooding, tough, super-cool bad boy with abandonment issues, and very popular with girls (both in-universe and out).
- Widowed at the Wedding: Downplayed. Dylan and Toni are married without any problems, but Toni is shot and killed by a hitman hired by her father, who intended to kill Dylan instead; this caused Dylan to leave Los Angeles.
David Silver (Brian Austin Green)
- Advertised Extra: Despite being always credited as a main character, in Season 1 he was just a Plucky Comic Relief who was mostly seen around Scott and rarely interacted with the other, older teen characters, if not for being an insignificant Abhorrent Admirer to Kelly. He gets better in season 2.
- Ascended Extra: He was a relatively minor character in season 1, but from season 2 onwards he becomes part of the group and Donna's boyfriend.
- Beta Couple: With Donna in early seasons. They also have the longest-lasting relationship on the show.
- Chick Magnet: In later seasons he becomes popular with girls.
- Cool Loser: In season 1 he was looked down on by Kelly, Steve, and the others just because he was one year younger.
- Divergent Character Evolution: In season 1 he and Scott were both the unpopular Those Two Guys. Starting in season 2, David becomes part of the popular group and main cast while Scott remains unpopular, is Demoted to Extra, and eventually killed off.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Initially. In season 1 the others weren't too fond of him (especially Kelly) and he was hardly considered a friend. He gradually grows out of this in season 2, especially after he starts dating Donna.
- He Cleans Up Nicely: He goes from dorky and awkward to a handsome Chick Magnet over the years.
- Hopeless Suitor: To Kelly in season 1. He has a crush on her but she can't stand him. Ironically he and Kelly become step siblings later on.
- In with the In Crowd: Starting in season 2 to the point he stops hanging out with his other unpopular friend Scott (his best friend in season 1).
- Informed Judaism: David is mentioned to be Jewish a couple of times, but this is not really a big plot point.
- Jewish and Nerdy: He was definitely geeky in the beginning, though his Jewish background is downplayed, being brought up only a couple of times.
- Missing Mom: His mother was mostly absent from his life.
- Nice Jewish Boy: He's quite easygoing.
- Tagalong Kid: Initially he was seen as an annoying younger kid by the popular crowd.
- Those Two Guys: With Scott in season 1. Usually appearing together (though David gets more screentime), even in the opening credits. Both were just comic relief minor characters and not part of the main group.
Donna Martin (Tori Spelling)
- Beta Couple: With David in early seasons. They also have the longest-lasting relationship on the show.
- Book Dumb: She found out that she had a learning disability.
- Break the Cutie: Starting in season 5, with her abusive boyfriend Ray.
- Butt-Monkey: Occasionally in early seasons, she gets stuck in awkward and embarrassing situations and it's Played for Laughs.
- Character Development: She started as Kelly's shallow, ditzy sidekick but later the character's depth was more explored. Namely, she goes from being a girl who feels she couldn't be successful due to her learning disability to having the self-confidnece to run several successful business ventures by the end of the series.
- Daddy's Girl: Donna is much closer to her father than her mother.
- The Ditz: She is extremely ditzy and naive.
- Domestic Abuse: She was repeatedly abused by her boyfriend Ray Pruitt.
- Dumb Blonde: Not the sharpest tool in the shed, though she's occasionally seen with red hair in later seasons.
- The Fashionista: After college, where she studied fashion design, she opened a boutique with Kelly Taylor.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Kelly. They are best friends throughout the show.
- The Ingenue: In contrast to the other characters, she's sweet, innocent, and a virgin.
- Hidden Depths: She may seem a silly character, but she is actually very insecure. She also has a learning disability that makes it hard for her to concentrate in school.
- Nice Girl: The nicest of the girls and probably the most innocent in the entire group.
- Plucky Comic Relief: In early seasons, she's not much involved in the drama and is just there to be The Ditz of the group, sometimes to Butt-Monkey levels.
- Spoiled Sweet: Compared to Kelly, Donna is kinder.
- Upper-Class Twit: Extremely rich but sheltered and not very bright.
Scott Scanlon (Douglas Emerson)
- A Death in the Limelight: In "The Next 50 Years" he ends up accidentally killing himself.
- Advertised Extra: In season 1 he is credited as a main character and even appears in one of the covers instead of Dylan (simply because Scott was in the pilot and Dylan wasn't). However he was just a Plucky Comic Relief who served as David's sidekick, never did anything remotely relevant to the plot, and almost never interacted with the main group.
- Alliterative Name: Scott Scanlon
- All of the Other Reindeer: He doesn't seem to have other friends other than David.
- Back for the Dead: He's seemingly Put on a Bus after season 1 (he's removed from the opening credits). After he comes back from Oklahoma, he gets a couple of A Day in the Limelight episodes, before dying in the middle of season 2.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: When David becomes part of the cool crowd, he starts spending less time with his best friend Scott. He is mentioned a couple of times after his death, but otherwise absent.
- Satellite Character: He is David's friend and not much else.
- Those Two Guys: With David in season 1. Usually appearing together (though David gets more screentime), even in the opening credits. Both were just comic relief minor characters and not part of the main group.
- Too Dumb to Live: The way he dies is a What an Idiot! moment. He accidentally shoots himself while fooling around with a loaded gun at his own party.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: In season 1 he's often the voice of reason for David and sometimes realizes when David is making a fool of himself. In season 2 he acts as the more foolish, immature of the duo, which eventually leads to the trope above.
Jim and Cindy Walsh
Jim and Cindy Walsh (James Eckhouse and Carol Potter)
- Demoted to Extra: Their role on the show diminished as their children went off to college, and they were basically there to react to whatever they did. Eventually, both were Put on a Bus (or plane) to Hong Kong at the end of season.
- Good Parents: Both are caring parents to Brandon and Brenda.
- Happily Married: As a couple, they are stable, although not without their issues (both tempted to have extra-marital affairs in season one).
- Minnesota Nice: The Walsh family in Season 1, shown to be much more polite and down-to-earth than the Beverly Hills natives.
- Put on a Bus: After season 5.
Nat Bussichio (Joe E Tata)
- Advertised Extra: Credited as a main character from season 6 onwards. He has his occasional A Day in the Limelight but in most episodes he's just the owner of the Peach Pit diner who is on friendly terms with the main characters.
- Commuting on a Bus: Nat popped in and out for the show's final season, even though he had very little to do as a main character.
- Fake Guest Star: From his introduction, Nat appeared in most of the episodes, though doesn't get promoted until season 6.
- High-School Sweethearts: He marries his former high school girlfriend, Joan, after being separated for about 30 years.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: He survives one about halfway through the show.
- Nice Guy: He's a good friend or even father figure to everyone in the main cast.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: A recurring character since the beginning. He appears in the opening credits from season 6 onwards.
- Team Dad: Especially after Jim and Cindy leave the show.
Valerie Malone (Tiffani Amber Thiessen)
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Spends her first episode acting like an Expy of Kelly Kapowski. But at the episode's conclusion, she calls her friend in New York and ensuing conversation, reveals that she has nothing but contempt for everyone.
- Broken Bird: She is emotionally troubled due to Dark and Troubled Past and horrible family situation.
- Contrasting Replacement Character: A new girl introduced in the Walsh family after Brenda's departure. Unlike Girl Next Door Brenda, she's a promiscuous and manipulative Femme Fatale.
- False Rape Accusation: Zigzagged. Valerie accuses Noah of having drugged and raped her. Everyone, knowing the Manipulative Bastard she is, thinks she is lying about this, especially when she files a civil suit for a large sum of money against him. Turns out she was drugged with roofies, and she truly thought Noah had raped her, but that in fact she had been Roofied not by Noah but by someone else. She wins the civil suit, but upon finding out Noah is innocent, she gives him back the money.
- Femme Fatale: As seductive as she is manipulative.
- Freudian Excuse: Being the victim of Parental Incest.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Justified since she sleeps around and causes a lot of trouble for everyone. Kelly particularly hates her.
- Manipulative Bitch: A master of manipulation. She's revealed to be one since her first appearance.
- Parental Incest: she was sexually assaulted by her father multiple times, which led to Valerie killing him, which is the reason Val moved to L.A. in the first place.
- Really Gets Around: All characters qualify to an extent, but Valerie more than everyone else.
- The Reveal: Several retcons are employed for this, but it turns out Valerie shot and killed her dad.
- Remember the New Guy?: We were supposed to always know she was the daughter of friends of Brendon & Brenda's parents.
- The Tease: Acts like this around all the male characters.
- Token Evil Teammate: A sly, cynical, slutty, bad girl who also doubles as The Friend Nobody Likes.
- The Vamp: A shameless one, though she's not completely evil and some episodes reveal her Hidden Depths.
Clare Arnold (Kathleen Robertson)
- Character Development: At first she was wild-child bad girl, but she eventually matured and became an intricate part of the gang.
- Good Bad Girl: Becomes more sympathetic after a while.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: In season 6 and 7.
- Put on a Bus: Leaves the show after season 7.
- Rebellious Princess: The wild rebellious daughter of a wealthy diplomatic and CU chancellor.
- The Smart Girl: She's just as smart and academically focused as Brandon and Andrea.
- Stalker with a Crush: To Brandon, initially, but all her attempts to seduce him were unsuccessful.
- Teen Genius: Clare entered California University as a college sophomore, despite having graduated from high school only a couple of months earlier
Jesse Vasquez (Mark Damon Espinoza)
- Advertised Extra: Credited as a main character in season 5 but he's simply a Satellite Love Interest to Andrea. He has some storylines (helping Brandon to defend his presidency in one episode) but relatively minor compared to the other characters.
- Promoted to Love Interest: Started out as a caterer at the Walsh parents' wedding anniversary, soon became Andrea's boyfriend-turned-husband.
- Satellite Love Interest: He was simply Andrea's husband, and had little interactions with anyone else outside her.
- Token Minority: Jesse is the only Hispanic main character on the show, though only for a season.
- Your Cheating Heart: Cheated on Andrea whilst at a meeting in Kansas City.
Ray Pruit (Jamie Walters)
- The Bus Came Back: Twice. Ray returned late in Season 6 when the video company Donna and David were working for assigned them to do his video; Donna was terrified of him, but soon met his new fiancé and learned he was in therapy to deal with his anger issues, and they parted on friendly terms. Ray also made another appearance in Season 7, called in by the gang when David had a breakdown in Las Vegas, and was critical of them for not stepping in and helping him during his downward spiral.
- Domestic Abuse: He pushed Donna against a wall, and down the stairs. Ray later attempted to assault Donna at the beach house, only to get his ass kicked by Donna's then-boyfriend Joe.
- Fake Guest Star: In the fifth season, he appears in most of the episodes from his first appearance in episode 5.
- Freudian Excuse: His mother was an alcoholic, whilst his father was an abuser who later ran out on the family.
- Manipulative Bastard: Ray's charm often led Donna back to him, despite his abusive behavior.
- Promoted to Opening Credits: In season 6, for half the season.
- Put on a Bus: Left town after his trial against Joe Bradley was dismissed.
- Street Performer: Downplayed. Ray is a musician who usually plays for small audiences.
Noah Hunter (Vincent Young)
- The Alcoholic: After his assets was confiscated by the IRS, Noah descended into a drunken depression that led to reckless driving charges and other acts which almost cost him Donna's love, before he cleaned himself up and focused on running the PPAD.
- Cool Boat: Where he lives.
- Dark and Troubled Past: A former alcoholic, he drove drunk one time and ended in a car wreck that killed his girlfriend. He only escaped jail time due to his wealthy father's connections, but feels horrible about it.
- Expy: Of Dylan. A strange example, considering both were on the show at the same time.
- Rich Boredom: He is wealthy, though he lives modestly (on a boat) and isn't particularly enamored with material possessions.
- Troubled, but Cute: Having a dark past, he tends to attract many girls, including Donna and Valerie.
Carly Reynolds (Hilary Swank)
Janet Sosna (Lindsay Price)
- Asian and Nerdy: Janet is one of the most intelligent and down-to-earth characters on the show, and is of Japanese ancestry (the actress, Lindsay Price, is half-Korean in Real Life).
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Steve, whom she later married.
- Control Freak: When things don't go her way, Janet tends to freak out and can prove to be controlling.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Her parents wanted her to marry someone who was of Japanese descent, and were vehemently against her relationship with Steve, even cutting her off because of it. They later come around at the birth of Janet and Steve's daughter Madeline.
- Happily Married: To Steve.
- Imperiled in Pregnancy: Janet and her daughter Madeline initially suffered complications after the birth, though pulled through.
- Opposites Attract: Janet's often conservative lifestyle compared to Steve's lackadaisical personality, a match akin to a cat and a dog.
- Promoted to Love Interest: Starting in season 9.
- Promoted to Opening Titles: At the beginning of the ninth season, continuing into the tenth.
Matt Durning (Daniel Cosgrove)
- Crusading Lawyer: He was always there when the gang needed him for legal reasons, such as Noah's drunk driving charges, Valerie's self-defense plea, and David's bogus statutory rape charge.
- The Generic Guy: When compared to the other guys, Matt seems bland. It seems the one time he did have a personality was when he got high at a campfire retreat and slept with Amy.
- Oops! I Forgot I Was Married: He was married to a woman named Lauren, who was institutionalized for schizophrenia.
- The Rival: To Dylan, as both were in love with Kelly.
- Your Cheating Heart: Matt slept with a girl while at a retreat, which contributed to Kelly's breakup with him.
Gina Kincaid (Vanessa Marcil)
- Abusive Parents: Her mother was very resentful of her sister's lifestyle and wasn't particularly caring towards Gina. Whereas her father turned out to be Dr. Martin, so he wasn't in the picture when she was growing up.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Her most notable relationship was with Dylan, our Byronic local bad boy. However, she did date David for some time.
- Disappeared Dad: Gina's father didn't seem to be in the picture. However, shortly before his death, Dr. Martin was revealed to be Gina's biological father, a product of an affair he had with his wife's sister in the '70s.
- Jerkass: She has a bit of a bad attitude, and gets on everyone's nerves pretty quickly.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gina wasn't completely terrible as a person.
- Kick the Dog: At the receiving end by her own aunt, who told her to her face that Dr. Martin's death was somehow her fault.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Dr. Martin is her biological father, thus making Donna both her cousin and half-sister.
- Manipulative Bitch: She once helped her mother scam her aunt for money, out of spite. She seems to be very manipulative when she wants to be.
- Put on a Bus: Towards the end of the series, Gina leaves L.A. after her father's funeral, and intends to continue her career elsewhere.
- Remember the New Guy?: Introduced as Donna's cousin, though was never mentioned in the eight seasons before her introduction.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Gina and Valerie are very similar. Like Valerie, Gina appears to be a wholesome girl who turns out to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, and quickly becomes a Manipulative Bitch who Really Gets Around, who is the (previously unmentioned) relative of a main character, and has a bitter rivalry with Kelly. The icing on the cake? Gina arrives the very next episode after Val left L.A.
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.
- Betty and Veronica: The Betty to Naomi's Veronica for Ethan's Archie in season 1.
- 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.
- Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Gentle Girl to Liam's Brooding Boy.
- Dude Magnet: According to Dixon, almost every guy at their old school in Kansas had a crush on Annie.
- Expy: Of Brenda Walsh.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The responsible to Dixon's foolish.
- Happily Ever After: With Liam in the finale.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Naomi and Silver.
- High-Class Call Girl: She works as an escort in season 4. Averted however, as she only ends up sleeping with one man, whom she ends up dating.
- Naïve Everygirl: She's well-meaning, and more naive and innocent than her peers, especially at the beginning.
- Naïve Newcomer: At the start of the series.
- New Transfer Student: Start of the series.
- Nice Girl: She is generally a nice, down-to-earth, wholesome girl.
- Teens Are Short: she is 5'3'' and very petite.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Naomi in season 1.
Dixon Wilson (Tristan Wilds)
- Big Man on Campus: Voted Prom King in season 1.
- Black Best Friend: To Navid, and Liam.
- Expy: Of Scott Carlin.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The foolish to Annie's responsible.
- Functional Addict: He becomes addicted to ADHD medication in season 4. He uses them to help him work.
- Happily Adopted: by the Dixons.
- Lovable Jock: He's a lacrosse player and very nice.
- Naïve Newcomer: At the start of the series.
- New Transfer Student: at the start of the series.
- Nice Guy
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Sensitive Guy to Liam's Manly Man.
- Surfer Dude: he enjoys surfing
- Token Minority: he is the only African-American main character in the series.
Erin Silver (Jessica Stroup)
- Alcoholic Parent: Her and Kelly's mother.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She's a jaded and cynical teen with dark hair.
- 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.
- Deadpan Snarker: The character who is more prone to sarcastic remarks.
- 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.
Naomi Clark (Annalynne Mc Cord)
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: With Liam.
- Betty and Veronica: The Veronica to Annie's Betty for Ethan's Archie in season 1.
- Book Dumb: She is more or less average intelligence but it's frequently mentioned that she's a poor student. She is told she might not get into California University because her grades are not good enough. By her own admission, "I am terrible at tests. But I'm an excellent dater."
- Breakout Character: She gets a bigger role in the series by the end.
- 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.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: Blonde and the most popular girl in the school.
- Evil Former Friend: Of Silver's, but the two finally patch things up at the end of the first season.
- Expy: Of Kelly Taylor from the original series.
- The Fashionista: She has an Unlimited Wardrobe. To the point that everyone is shocked that one time she's seen in a tracksuit.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Annie and Adrianna.
- Hidden Depths: Although she comes across as a snobby airhead, she's a good person at heart and very protective of her friends.
- Light Feminine Dark Feminine: The light to Adrianna's dark.
- Lovable 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. She Took a Level in Kindness in later seasons.
- The Millstone: She has a bad habit of making things worse whenever she tries to help.
- Odd Friendship: With Ivy in seasons 2-4.
- Rich Bitch: she often brags about her money, and only wears designer clothes.
- Spoiled Brat: A spoiled rich girl and a bit of a brat, before you learn about her Hidden Depths.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Girly Girl to Ivy's Tomboy, initially as rivals and later as an Odd Friendship. Naomi is a fashion-obsessed shopaholic and Valley Girl, Ivy is a Passionate Sports Girl who hangs out with the boys and doesn't care about her looks.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: she switches between these two personalities often.
- Upper-Class Twit: Pretty much a shallow princess who was spoiled her entire life, and acts airheaded at times.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Annie in season 1.
Ethan Ward (Dustin Milligan)
- Chick Magnet: Only appears in the first season and manages to attract at least five girls, with three of them being part of the core cast.
- The Generic Guy: The reason why nobody really missed when he left.
- Lovable Jock
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.
- Former Child Star: her mother pressures her into pursuing the fame she once had as a child.
- Give Him a Normal Life: She gave her daughter Maisie up for adoption after giving birth to her.
- Happily Ever After: With Navid.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Naomi.
- Light Feminine Dark Feminine: The dark to Naomi's light.
- Like Brother and Sister: With Liam.
- 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.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: In season 2.
- Recovered Addict: after she finishes rehab in season 1.
- 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)
- Betty and Veronica: The Betty to Teddy's Veronica for Adrianna's Archie.
- School Newspaper News Hound: He was the head of The Blaze at West Bev High.
Liam Court (Matt Lanter)
- Abusive Parents: His stepfather. See Freudian Excuse.
- Badass Biker
- Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Brooding Boy to Annie's Gentle Girl.
- The Charmer: Due his bad boy charm.
- Chick Magnet: He's hardly ever short of female attention. This becomes especially common in season 4 when he becomes a model.
- Expy: Shares some aspects with Dylan McKay.
- Freudian Excuse: He's been abused by his stepfather so many times, which could be the reason for his bad boy behaviour.
- Happily Ever After: With Annie in the finale.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his tough, hostile exterior, he is a loyal, caring guy.
- Like Brother and Sister: With Adrianna.
- Lonely Rich Kid
- Mr. Fanservice: He gets a lot of shirtless scenes.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: In season 2.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Manly Man to Dixon's Sensitive Guy.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome
Teddy Montgomery (Trevor Donovan)
- Betty and Veronica: The Veronica to Navid's Betty for Adrianna's Archie.
- The Charmer
- Coming-Out Story: In season 3, he comes to terms with his sexuality, which is accepted by his friends.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold
- Idle Rich
- Missing Mom: Like Silver, he also lost his mother to cancer to the show's prior.
- Nice Guy
Ivy Sullivan (Gillian Zinser)
- Ascended Extra: In season 2.
- Betty and Veronica: The Betty to Naomi's Veronica for Liam's Archie.
- Broken Bird: Right after Raj's death in season 4.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: She disappeared in season 5 without explanation.
- Cute Bruiser
- Disappeared Dad: her dad is not really in her life, as her parents are divorced, and her dad is remarried with a new family.
- Granola Girl: Ivy's the West Bev version of this.
- The Lad-ette: a tomboyish surfer.
- Odd Friendship: With Naomi in seasons 3-4.
- One of the Boys: She hangs out with the guys more than the girls.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: In season 3.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Tomboy to Naomi's Girly Girl, initially as rivals and later as an Odd Friendship. Naomi is a fashion-obsessed shopaholic and Valley Girl, Ivy is a Passionate Sports Girl who hangs out with the boys and doesn't care about her looks.
Harry Wilson (Rob Estes)
- Happily Married: To Debbie until season 3 when they file for divorce.
Debbie Wilson (Lori Loughlin)
Ryan Matthews (Ryan Eggold)
Jen Clark (Sara Foster)
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: acts nice to everybody, but is actually very manipulative and scheming.
- Cool Big Sister: To Naomi, initially. However, when she learns that Mr. Cannon raped Naomi, she threatened to kill him.
- Manipulative Bitch: Kelly Taylor sees her for who she is. Her acts of manipulation include convincing Naomi that Annie had slept with Liam when in fact it was her, strung Ryan around when she wasn't really interested in him, and coaxed Naomi into sending an embarrassing photo of Annie to the entire school. And this is only in season 2.
- Put on a Bus: Around season 4.
- Really Gets Around: She had multiple partners on the show.
Jasper Herman (Zachary Ray Sherman)