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The Wonder Years (2021): Anticipation

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The new incarnation of Wonder Years chronicles how a middle-class Black family in Montgomery in the turbulent late-1960s — the same era as the original series — made sure it was the Wonder Years for them too.

 

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Picked up to series!

https://deadline.com/2021/05/the-wonder-years-queens-maggie-abbott-elementary-picked-up-to-series-abc-1234756301/

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Inspired by the classic series of the same name, The Wonder Years is a coming of age story set in the late 1960’s that takes a nostalgic look at a black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama through the point-of-view of imaginative 12 year-old Dean. With the wisdom of his adult years, Dean’s hopeful and humorous recollections show how his family found their “wonder years” in a turbulent time.

The Wonder Years stars Don Cheadle, narrating the series as Adult Dean Williams, Elisha “EJ” Williams as Dean Williams, Dule Hill as Bill Williams, Saycon Sengbloh as Lillian Williams, Laura Kariuki as Kim Williams, Julian Lerner as Brad Hitman, Amari O’Neil as Cory Long and Milan Ray as Keisa Clemmons.

Saladin Patterson serves as writer and executive producer. Lee Daniels and Marc Velez of Lee Daniels Entertainment also executive produce along with original series star, Fred Savage. The series is produced by 20th Television, a part of Disney Television Studios. The pilot episode is written by Saladin Patterson and directed by Fred Savage.

 

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My split-second first reaction at seeing a Wonder Years reboot, set in the exact same period, was "why?" but that was before I got to the part about it being a black family. 

That's actually an incredible idea.  The stories to be told are very different, and actually probably very necessary. 

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55 minutes ago, Kromm said:

but that was before I got to the part about it being a black family. 

Not just a black family, but a black family in Alabama.

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I don’t know why they name these “reboots” after an old show, when the new one is nothing like the original like one day at a time. Just pick a new name.  I always have my hopes up that it’s s continuation or has some of the original cast. 

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On 7/9/2021 at 4:52 AM, chediavolo said:

I don’t know why they name these “reboots” after an old show, when the new one is nothing like the original like one day at a time. Just pick a new name.  I always have my hopes up that it’s s continuation or has some of the original cast. 

To me, some of the original cast or a continuation is a “revival”. A reboot is the same concept done again. 
 

So this one would be a “reboot”- a young boy’s coming of age, with a structure and style like the original. 

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The original was one of my favorite series. Wasn't happy about the way it ended though. I'm excited to see where this one goes. 

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So they got rid of the middle kid? The Arnolds had three children: Kevin, Wayne and Karen.  No Wayne equivalent!  

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9 hours ago, PRgal said:

So they got rid of the middle kid? The Arnolds had three children: Kevin, Wayne and Karen.  No Wayne equivalent!  

It's one way to show that it's not going to be an exact copy of the original series, I suppose.  But I'm guessing that if the show lasts long enough, mom will get pregnant with a third sibling.

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On 5/14/2021 at 7:15 PM, Kromm said:

My split-second first reaction at seeing a Wonder Years reboot, set in the exact same period, was "why?" but that was before I got to the part about it being a black family. 

That's actually an incredible idea.  The stories to be told are very different, and actually probably very necessary. 

 

On 5/14/2021 at 8:11 PM, AimingforYoko said:

Not just a black family, but a black family in Alabama.

I understand what you guys are saying, and I am giving the show chance- I think it can be really good. But Black Families in 1960s Alabama are represented in the media quite a bit. Black families lived places outside of Alabama, we had interesting lives before the Civil Rights movement and the process of mass desegregation. I kind of think the time period was cop out as far as themes and current events (within the world of the show) is concerned. Its like the joke "a tv show about black people that isn't about the inner city, civil rights or slavery".

I think the perspective of this young boy will be a good one, and I am a sucker for a coming of age story, but they better DELIVER.

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What would have been REALLY interesting would have been a series about a middle eastern (millennial) kid growing up in post-9/11 America.  Too controversial?  

Edited by PRgal
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2 hours ago, PRgal said:

What would have been REALLY interesting would have been a series about a middle eastern (millennial) kid growing up in post-9/11 America.  Too controversial?  

That would've been great. And would have given middle eastern actors of all ages representation in a network show. 

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37 minutes ago, Scarlett45 said:

That would've been great. And would have given middle eastern actors of all ages representation in a network show. 

Canada had a series called Little Mosque on the Prairie (CBC) back in the early 2000s which was HILARIOUS.  It went on for a few seasons, too.  It wasn't all middle eastern characters, but it was about Muslim and non-Muslim residents in a small Canadian town.  It's too bad they didn't go that direction with this show.  And though I'm slightly too old to be considered a millennial, it would have been good nostalgia for 40-something me.  LOL.  

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3 hours ago, PRgal said:

What would have been REALLY interesting would have been a series about a middle eastern (millennial) kid growing up in post-9/11 America.  Too controversial?  

There was Aliens in America, a one-season wonder (07-08) featuring a muslim Pakastani teen transplanted to the Midwest. But I don't know how good or bad it was; never watched.

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On 5/14/2021 at 7:15 PM, Kromm said:

My split-second first reaction at seeing a Wonder Years reboot, set in the exact same period, was "why?" but that was before I got to the part about it being a black family. 

That's actually an incredible idea.  The stories to be told are very different, and actually probably very necessary. 

I'm still asking why. It's already been done although from a different perspective.

Looking at wikipedia I see the original series took place 20 years before the time it was made. I'm not saying that you have to stick rigidly to a 20 year time difference. And I also understand why the 60s would be chosen since it was a time of racial and social unrest. But look at the 90s. A lot went on in the 90s that could've been looked at through that lens. Rodney King, the LA Riots, OJ Simpson, the rise in popularity of rap music and hip hop culture. Outside of that there's other events tat happened in the 90s that could be explored like the Waco standoff and the Oklahoma City bombing and school shootings. These are just some of the things I've found from a quick internet search of the 90s. I'm sure there's more.

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13 minutes ago, Aryanna said:

m still asking why. It's already been done although from a different perspective.

Looking at wikipedia I see the original series took place 20 years before the time it was made. I'm not saying that you have to stick rigidly to a 20 year time difference. And I also understand why the 60s would be chosen since it was a time of racial and social unrest. But look at the 90s. A lot went on in the 90s that could've been looked at through that lens. Rodney King, the LA Riots, OJ Simpson, the rise in popularity of rap music and hip hop culture. Outside of that there's other events tat happened in the 90s that could be explored like the Waco standoff and the Oklahoma City bombing and school shootings. These are just some of the things I've found from a quick internet search of the 90s. I'm sure there's more.

I can't think of one coming of age sitcom set in the 60s that features a black middle class aspirational family looked at through a nostalgic lens. So that could be one big why. 

But the 90s were seen as a heyday of black sitcoms many of which looked at different families and teenagers coming of age:  Moesha, The Parkers, Sister to Sister, Smart Guy, Fresh Prince of Bel Air.    Everybody Hates Chris comes was set in 80s and a nostalgic look at life in the 80s.   We even had stuff set in the 70s,

But there is a dearth of that sort of examination of middle class black life in the 60s. 

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16 minutes ago, DearEvette said:

I can't think of one coming of age sitcom set in the 60s that features a black middle class aspirational family looked at through a nostalgic lens. So that could be one big why. 

 

But there is a dearth of that sort of examination of middle class black life in the 60s. 

I agree.

This is a bit of a new perspective n the 60s. I just feel like hte 60s have been so overdone by now. There was racial unrest in the 90s with Rodney King and the LA Riots but there was also good things in the 90s like the Fresh Prince etc. I think it would've been interesting to look at the highs and lows through the eyes of a black kid in a middle class family in the 90s. I feel like it's a missed opportunity.

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More promo photos for the pilot are out: https://www.spoilertv.com/2021/09/the-wonder-years-episode-101-pilot.html

Pilot synopsis:

Spoiler

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 22

8:30-9:00 p.m. - THE WONDER YEARS: "Pilot" (101) (Series Premiere)

As the youngest in the Williams family, Dean is struggling to figure out where he fits in. Between his brother's athleticism, sister's popularity, mother's intelligence and dad's overall coolness, everyone else seems to have their lane figured out.  He decides to pursue his calling as "The Great Uniter" and attempts to organize the first integrated baseball game between his team and his friend Brad's team. (TV-PG, L)

Inspired by the beloved award-winning series of the same name, "The Wonder Years" is a new original coming-of-age comedy that tells the story of the Williams family during the late 1960s, all through the point of view of imaginative 12-year-old Dean. With the wisdom of his adult years, Dean's hopeful and humorous recollections of his past spotlight the ups and downs of growing up in a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama, and the friendship, laughter and lessons along the way.

The pilot episode of "The Wonder Years" was written by Saladin Patterson and directed by Fred Savage. Lee Daniels, Saladin K. Patterson, Fred Savage and Marc Velez serve as executive producers.

 

Not sure if this needs to be in spoiler tags, but just to be safe --

Spoiler

So there is a brother? Why isn't he in the main cast? Hmmm... is he in the military?

 

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On 9/8/2021 at 5:45 PM, Trini said:

 

Not sure if this needs to be in spoiler tags, but just to be safe --

  Reveal spoiler

Hmm, interesting. I agree this isn't a spoiler but since you tagged it I will too, lol  

 

Spoiler

Most articles mention the sister only. One article specifically said Wayne's counterpart wouldn't be in the reboot. But this article  https://deadline.com/2021/08/wonder-years-reboot-original-stars-conners-home-economics-goldbergs-casting-1234822524/.  mentions Brad as a sibling, even though he has a different last name in all other articles I've seen (including IMDB) and is said to be one of Dean's best friends in another article. 

I'm thinking he's a friend, not a brother but we'll have to wait and see, I suppose. 🤷

 

Edited by kassandra8286

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From EW's Fall preview article/slideshow:

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The Wonder Years (Sept. 22, ABC)

This reimagining of the beloved coming-of-age series follows 12-year-old Dean Williams (Elisha "EJ" Williams) growing up in a middle-class Black family in 1968 Montgomery, Ala. (Don Cheadle narrates the show as Dean's future self.) To help give the new series a familiar flavor, showrunner Saladin K. Patterson brought on original Wonder Years star Fred Savage to direct the show's pilot and executive produce. "Fred helps me hold the line on the tone that we want this version to have," Patterson explains. Adds Savage, "We want to keep that same sense of nostalgia and warmth, and really toe that line between comedy and drama that I think the original did so well."

WY_843678.jpg

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