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California Dreams is an Americanmarker teen-oriented sitcom that aired from 1992 to 1996 on Saturday mornings on NBC. It was created by writers Brett Dewey and Ronald B. Solomon and executive produced by Peter Engel, all known more for their work on Saved by the Bell.


California Dreams was 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, 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 of the show were Matt Garrison (the teenage son and leader of the band) and Jenny Garrison (the vocalist/pianist in the band who was also Matt's younger sister) along with the rest of the Garrison family, Richard (the dad), Melody (the mom), and Dennis (the eight year old younger brother).

The other three main characters would be the only three characters to have appeared throughout the show's entirety. They are Tiffani Smith (the bass player), Tony Wicks (the drummer) and Sly Winkle (the teenage manager of the band).

Season 2

NBC executives, however, 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 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, 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.

Season 3

By Season 3, the band (and the show's) original premise ended when Matt left the show (signaling the idea that the entire Garrison family left the show). In Matt's place in the band was Mark Winkle, Sly's shy cousin from New York. Another character added to the cast was Lorena Costa, a band groupie from a rich family who takes Sam into their home after the Garrisons' departure.


Character pairings

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 however, 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. During Season 4 onward, Sly tries to go after Lorena again and near the end of the series, they become a couple.

Series finale

The series finale found the band on the verge on 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 where he originally lives to study at Juilliardmarker, while Sly and Lorena are to attend Pacific Universitymarker. 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 aren't 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.

DVD release

On March 31, 2009, Shout! Factory released Seasons 1 & 2 of California Dreams on Region 1 DVD in the United States.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
Seasons 1 & 2 31 March 31, 2009
  • Let's Do It! Reuniting California Dreams - An intimate look back at California Dreams with members of the cast
  • Video Jukebox on each disc

See also

  • The Heights - A short-lived FOX TV series similar to California Dreams


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