Power Rankings: Saved by the Bell

19 Sep

(Power Rankings sum up:  Each week, we’ll pick a television show and rank the actors/actresses/contestants/correspondents/etc. based on what they’ve done after the series ended (unless we’re ranking a current series, in which case we’ll have to bend the rules).  Preference will be given to more recent work, but if the work was a long time ago, but much more important/relevant, that will be factored in as well)

We’re taking on Saved by the Bell this week, which like most rankings has some pretty good winners and some pretty miserable losers.  Note ahead of time that I’m not mentioning Saved by the Bell: The College Years for everybody; that’s just kind of assumed.

7.  Dustin Diamond (as Samuel “Screech” Powers) – Diamond’s post Saved by the Bell career has been much more as a punchline than as an actor.  He was one of two Saved by the Bell cast members to put their inevitable career decline on hold with a spot in Saved by the Bell: The New Class, which ran until 2000, and in which he appeared in 67 episodes as principal Belding’s assistant.  After that his career consisted mostly of a handful of cameos as himself and appearances on reality shows.  The cameos include in Big Fat Liar, Pauly Shore is Dead and Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star and the reality shows include The Weakest Link, Celebrity Boxing 2 and Celebrity Fit Club.

6.  Dennis Haskins – (as Richard Belding) Like Diamond, Haskins appeared as his Saved by the Bell character in Saved by the Bell: The New Class, but he actually appeared in just about every episode and was the only consistent character throughout the run of the series. He’s had few roles since then, mostly appearing in single episodes of TV shows, but at least, unlike with Diamond, it’s been as a character and not as himself.  These shows include The Practice, JAG and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  He also showed up most recently in three episodes of Men of a Certain Age.

5. Lark Voorhies (as Lisa Turtle) – After Saved by the Bell, Voorhies worked for a year in soap The Bold and the Beautiful before she left when her character was asked to do sex scenes, which she declined to do for religious reasons.  She was a recurring character in NBC and later UPN sitcom In the House which starred LL Cool J and Maia Campbell.  She appeared in single episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Family Matters, Malcolm & Eddie, and Grown Ups.  She played a major character in the 2001 film How High.  She also appeared in music videos, including Boyz II Men’s On Bended Knee and Dru Hill’s These Are The Times, amongst others.

4. Elizabeth Berkley (as Jessie Spano) – Post Saved by the Bell, Berkley is best known for what she did immediately after, which is appear in cult film and massive critical and commercial failure Showgirls, one of the only mainstream films with an NC-17 rating.  She played a small role in The First Wives Club after that.  In the 2000s, she has appeared in a number of TV shows, such as in two episodes of NYPD Blue, three of Titus, a CSI, a Without a Trace, and a Law & Order Criminal Intent.  She also featured in four episodes of The L Word and nine of CSI:Miami.  In addition, she’s had a successful stage career, appearing in such plays as Sly Fox and Hurlyburly.

3. Mario Lopez (as A.C. Slater) – Lopez’s first big role after Saved by the Bell was as Greg Louganis in 1997’s Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis story.  In 1998, he got the role of Bobby Cruz in USA’s cop drama Pacific Blue, which he held for two seasons.  He guested in episodes of Popular and Eve and in 2006 worked a year on The Bold at the Beautiful.  In 2009, he started an eight episode run as a plastic surgeon in Nip/Tuck.  In addition to a successful acting career, Lopez has become a successful host.  He co-hosted short-lived talk show The Other Half, designed as a male counterpart to The View.  He hosted a show on Animal Planet called Pet Star, America’s Most Talented Kid on NBC, and several Miss America and Miss Teen USA pageants.  He currently hosts America’s Best Dance Crew on MTV and will host H8R on the CW.

2. Mark-Paul Gosselaar (as Zack Morris) – Gosselaar’s first significant roles post-Saved by the Bell were 1998’s feature film Dead Man on Campus (the last film he’s been in) and 1998 WB drama Hyperion Bay which lasted one season beginning in 1998.  He starred in another short-lived WB series, D.C., in 2000.  He guested on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2001 before getting partnered up with Dennis Franz in season 9 of NYPD Blue, replacing Rick Schroder.  He played the role of Detective John Clark for four years, until the end of the series.  He appeared in ten episodes of short-lived ABC Geena Davis series Commander in Chief.  He was in three episodes of HBO”s John from Cincinnati and starred for a season in TNT’s Raising the Bar, as a public defender.  TNT didn’t blame the failure on the show on him, casting him in his current role as Bash in Franklin & Bash, again as a lawyer.

1. Tiffani Thiessen (as Kelly Kapowski) – going with the “Amber” in the middle of her name for much of her career, it’s now been eliminated in her more mature days.  Immediately after Saved by the Bell ended she landed a role in Aaron Spelling’s Beverly Hills, 90210 as bad girl Valerie Malone.  She entered in season 5 and stuck around until season 9, being generally micheivious and dating nearly all of the major and minor male cast members.  She starred in a number of made for television movies in the mid-90s, and starred in two short-lived series, Fastlane, with Bill Bellamy and Peter Facinelli in 2002, and ABC’s What About Brian in 2007.  She appeared in three episodes of Will and Grace, eight of Two Guys, a Girl, and A Pizza Place and 11 of the two season Good Morning Miami.  Most recently, she found success with a lead role, albeit the smallest lead role in the show, but still, in USA’s very successful White Collar as FBI agent Peter Burke’s wife, Elizabeth.

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