Logo
Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

Rebooting nostalgia

The Wonder Years gives a new take on a classic sitcom


ABC

Rebooting nostalgia
You have {{ remainingArticles }} free {{ counterWords }} remaining. You've read all of your free articles.

Full access isn’t far.

We can’t release more of our sound journalism and commentary without a subscription, but we can make it easy for you to come aboard.

Get into news that is grounded in facts and Biblical truth for as low as $3.99 per month.

LET'S GO

Already a member? Sign in.

Nostalgic TV shows try to paint a picture of simpler times, portraying life as it was in a bygone era. From 1988 to 1993, The Wonder Years looked back on the late 1960s through the eyes of Kevin Arnold, a white boy growing up in the suburbs with typical prepubescent troubles and adventures, in the midst of an America that seemed a safe yet exciting place.

Thirty years later, a new version of The Wonder Years on ABC portrays the same era through the experiences of a young black boy in Montgomery, Ala. Dean Williams (Elisha “EJ” Williams) is an awkward, bespectacled youth with romantic troubles and friendship woes. His heroic older brother serves in Vietnam, while his older teenage sister gets in different sorts of trouble than 12-year-old Dean. With two working parents, a station wagon in the driveway, and wood paneling everywhere, the Williams family home in the city seems just as safe and idyllic as the Arnold’s neighborhood of the earlier series.

The old version of The Wonder Years largely avoided politics and issues of race in favor of the personal stories of Kevin and his friends. Working in more serious content—which also includes Kevin’s mom’s progressive ideas on sexual norms—the new show loses some of the innocence and humor that made the original so successful. Producers try to be funny in other ways, but the new version of The Wonder Years doesn’t quite have the humor of the original—even if its new premise is promising.


Marty VanDriel Marty is a TV and film critic for WORLD. He is a graduate of World Journalism Institute and CEO of a custom truck and trailer building company. He and his wife, Faith, reside in Lynden, Wash., near children and grandchildren.

COMMENT BELOW

Please wait while we load the latest comments...

Comments

Please register, subscribe, or login to comment on this article.

Aaron Friar

This is a good start, but I encourage World to take a second look at this show. Agreed on the theme of the second episode and its cock-eyed sexual norms, but tonight's show about bullying and becoming a superhero was CLASSIC Wonder Years and quite Christian as well: "Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you".

Rarely do I disagree with World's assessment on media, but I have to beg to differ with your off-handed dismissal of this reboot. Take a second look!