So yes, it is true that Lee Daniels and Fred Savage will be bringing back The Wonder Years, and it is true that it will be centered on a black family in Montgomery, Alabama, in the same time period that featured Kevin Arnold and his family, as well as his friends. At this time though a lot of people are already chiming in, as should have been fully expected, concerning the fact that the show is being rebooted and that it’s been changed in such a drastic manner. In all fairness it’s likely to be a different show, one would hope, with different names and obviously different experiences since growing up black in the 60s was a very different experience for a lot of people of color. There are plenty of people that will be likely to say ‘no’ to this new series and some that will even be watching just to see if it flops. Cynical as this is, the fact that reboots and remakes are such a prevalent idea does make it hard to really take anything too seriously these days since the level of creativity appears to have just about given up the ghost at times in favor of latching onto old ideas that were over and done with in their own time. By trying to bring them back one can reasonably assume that Hollywood is all but admitting that they’ve run out of fresh ideas that they’re willing to give to the public.
In all fairness, the show could be a new look at an old idea that will keep people thinking and even get them interested in seeing how it pans out. For some it might very well appear to be yet another concession to the times that we live in since at this point it does feel, every now and again, that the concessions made in the name of entertainment and fairness aren’t being given simply because they’ll be entertaining and widely accepted, but because people will threaten to stop watching, riot, or perform some other demonstrative act in order to get their way. Yes, that sounds entirely cynical and not fully grounded in reality, but it also carries a bit of weight since for so long the idea of diversity in entertainment has been building and expanding, but following the murder of George Floyd the radical changes that have taken place throughout society have only grown more and more noticeable and in some ways have sounded more like the whining of a populace that might have wanted diversity, to begin with, but didn’t have the backbone to say anything until a radical movement stood behind them to lend its own manic power to their voice. In other words, few people thought to truly contest any perceived lack of diversity in movies and television until they were backed by a group that simply couldn’t be ignored.
Could this be a successful show? Yes, it very likely could be. Will it be opposed by anyone? Yes, it probably will be on basic principle by some folks since they don’t want to see or even think about change in terms of a show that many people enjoyed when they were younger. But will that mean it might suffer in the process? It’s likely, but the hope is that the positive idea of the show will be able to shine through and make it stand out in a way that will highlight the fact that it’s not exactly the same and it’s bound to have enough differences from the original show that it could be its own entity and therefore not so easily judged as a reboot. It’s very true that the first reaction of some folks was to be shocked and even appalled that someone would bring back this show as anything but what it once was. But this is how change works, and in this day and age, more and more diversity is what’s being sought as people want to see just what can happen if they change up the formats a bit in order to make do with what’s already there. At some point, it does feel as though the old shows might be a little too worn and possibly outdated to really work, but as of now it’s going to happen and The Wonder Years will make a comeback that a lot of folks will likely tune in to see.
Whether it’s going to offer up the same style of narration that the original had or if there will be something different is hard to say, but the show is going for the original feel then it’s very likely that someone will be narrating the life of the young lead and will be taking us through the events of their life as the show goes on.