“The Wonder Years” reboot will follow the story of a Black family during the same time period as the original series
Nostalgia is pretty huge these days when it comes to our preferred entertainment and lately, streaming services are majorly delivering. We just got new episodes of Unsolved Mysteries and Netflix dropped original episodes of Supermarket Sweep earlier this week. Now, major networks are getting on board with reboots and ABC’s new version of The Wonder Years is the latest offering we can’t wait to see. It includes a key update — this time, the storyline will focus on a Black family.
Go ahead and absorb the classic theme song. The nostalgia is strong with this one.
The original series ran for 115 episodes from 1988 to 1993 and followed the Arnold family: Fred Savage starred as teenage Kevin; Dan Lauria as Kevin’s father; Alley Mills as his mother; Olivia d’Abo as his older sister Karen; Jason Hervey as his older brother Wayne; Josh Saviano as his best friend Paul; and Danica McKellar as his love interest, Winnie Cooper.
The new series will feature a Black family living in the same time period as the Arnold family — the late 1960s and early 1970s. The reboot of the beloved coming-of-age dramedy will take place in Montgomery, Alabama. The show will be executive produced by Empire co-creator Lee Daniels, with The Big Bang Theroy’s Saladin K. Patterson as showrunner. The original series co-creator, Neal Marlens, will be included as a consultant. Savage is going to direct and be an executive producer, which is very exciting to hear.
In the past, Savage hasn’t been warm about the idea of rebooting the series, though this version is arguably very different from merely rebooting with the original cast years after the 1993 series finale. This time, the story is brand-new.
When asked his thoughts on rebooting back in 2017, he had this to say: “My answer will remain the same — so I won’t get tired of people asking if everyone else doesn’t get tired of me saying, ‘No, it’s not going to happen,’” Savage told Vanity Fair. “You know, I’ve always said that The Wonder Years, it’s not just the name of the show — it’s a time in your life, a very special, finite time in your life. And the way the show was written, it’s about looking back with some longing. I think we all look back at that time in our lives and long for it and idealize it. One of the reasons it takes on this kind of mythic, almost haunting quality in our lives is because it’s something you can’t go back and can’t revisit. It only exists in our memories, in our shared experiences with people who went through it with us. That’s really what the show was all about. And I think that the idea of revisiting the show mirrors that. And I like that… I love all the reboots and revisitations and reimaginings of all these [other] shows, but I don’t think it works, conceptually, for The Wonder Years.”
But with Alabama as the site of so many historic events including Martin Luther King Jr.’s march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 and Rosa Parks’ bus protest, watching the lives of a Black family in that time period will be wholly different from the white Arnold family in a suburban town in an unnamed state.
The update to the series is a very timely one amid ongoing protests against systemic racism and police brutality. No word yet on the premiere, but it sounds very promising.
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