ABC's Reboot of 'The Wonder Years' Gives the Same Story but from a Different Perspective
The award-winning 1988 coming-of-age TV series The Wonder Years told the story of a 12-year-old boy named Kevin Arnold growing up in the late '60s and early '70s. The show was an enormous hit and ran for 115 episodes over the span of 5 years.
During that time, The Wonder Years was nominated for over 25 Primetime Emmy Awards and won four times for the categories — Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series, and Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series.
Now, ABC is giving the series a reboot that tells a similar story, except this time, we see the world through the eyes of 12-year-old Dean Williams as he recalls what it was like growing up in a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama. Like the original The Wonder Years, the reboot is also set in the '60s.
Cast & Release Date
The protagonist of The Wonder Years reboot, Dean Williams, will be played by Elisha EJ Williams (Puppy Dog Pals). Don Cheadle (Avengers: Endgame and Hotel Rwanda) will narrate the story as the adult Dean.
Bill Williams, Dean’s music professor father who is also a funk musician, will be played by Dulé Hill (Ballers and Suits). Saycon Sengbloh (Respect and In The Dark) will play Bill’s wife, Lillian. The last member of the Williams family, Kim Williams, Dean’s popular sister, will be played by Laura Kariuki (Black Lightning).
The time and setting aren’t the only similar things the reboot will have with the original. Like Arnold, Dean will also have a love interest named Keisa Clemmons. The character will be played by Milan Ray (Charm City Kings).
Danica McKellar, who played Winnie Cooper, Arnold's love interest in the original series, took to Instagram to congratulate Ray and wish her luck.
Milan, you are already far more seasoned an actress than I was when I joined the cast of The Wonder Years many moons ago. From what I’ve seen of your work and from what I read in the script, you’re gonna knock it out of the park!! Go get ‘em, girl!
According to ABC's website, Saladin K. Patterson will serve as writer and executive producer. Lee Daniels and Marc Velez of Lee Daniels Entertainment are also executive producing the show alongside the original series star Fred Savage, who played Arnold.
Alongside executive producing the reboot, Savage will also direct it. Savage expressed his excitement at the project, noting that he got to relive his time starring in the original series when he read the script.
I remember when I got the script, it really blew my mind. It was incredible to relive it all over again, but this time from a totally different seat. While the environment is different, the point of view of a kid growing up is the same.
The series will premiere on September 22, 2021, at 8:30/7:30c on ABC.