People still have an imagination, but it seems as if they rely on the imagination of others in many cases. Perhaps that is why we are seeing so many TV series that were popular in the past getting a reboot.
ABC is jumping on the bandwagon with a reboot of The Wonder Years. That show originally ran for six seasons starting in 1988. Fred Savage was the star, who played the young son of a middle-class suburban family that thrived during the 1960s and early 1970s.
They are going to use the same time era for the reboot, but it will be a black family in Montgomery, Alabama that plays the lead. The co-creator of Empire, Lee Daniels, will be the producer and Saladin K. Patterson of The Big Bang Theory is the showrunner and co-creator of the original series. They also have Neil Marlens as a consultant. The executive producer and director is none other than Fred Savage himself.
You can learn a lot from the official description, which, according to Entertainment Weekly, reads: “How a black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama in the turbulent late 1960’s, the same era as the original series, made sure it was The Wonder Years for them too.”
There certainly were some interesting events that were taking place at that time in Alabama associated with the American civil rights movement. One that sticks out in our mind is Rosa Parks, but there was also the five-day March to Montgomery led by Martin Luther King and a white supremacist church bombing in 1973.
Savage has spoken out many times against reviving The Wonder Years, so it’s interesting that he is on board with it at this point. He was even asked if his opinion would change, should they use a different family than the original. When he talked to Vanity Fair, he said: “No, it’s not going to happen. 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.”
Rebooting this show makes a lot of sense in the grand scheme of things but focusing on a black family during the same turbulent time adds an interesting twist and one that is topical today.
There were 115 episodes in the original Wonder Years that ran from 1988-1993. As was mentioned, Savage played Kevin Arnold, but other members of the staff included Dan Lauria as Kevin’s father, Alley Mills as his mother, Olivia d’Abo as his older sister, Jason Hervey as Kevin’s older brother, Josh Saviano as his best friend, and Danica McKellar as his girl-next-door love interest.