The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years (2021 Reboot) logo.jpg
Genre
Created bySaladin K. Patterson
Inspired by
Starring
Narrated byDon Cheadle
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes22
Production
Executive producers
Camera setupSingle-camera
Production companies
Release
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 22, 2021 (2021-09-22) –
present (present)
Chronology
Related showsThe Wonder Years

The Wonder Years is an American coming-of-age comedy television series developed by Saladin K. Patterson that premiered on ABC on September 22, 2021. Inspired by the 1988 series of the same title, it stars Elisha "EJ" Williams as Dean Williams, and follows his life as he grows up in Montgomery, Alabama, in the late 1960s. Don Cheadle lends his voice as the narrator for the series as the adult counterpart of Dean. In May 2022, the series was renewed for a second season.

Premise

The Wonder Years is set in the late 1960s and takes a nostalgic look at the Williams family, Black middle-class residents of Montgomery, Alabama, through the point of view of imaginative 12-year-old Dean.[2]

Cast

Main

Recurring

Guest

Episodes

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title [3]Directed byWritten byOriginal air date [3]Prod.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
11"Pilot"Fred SavageSaladin K. PattersonSeptember 22, 2021 (2021-09-22)1EDT013.23[4]
Dean organizes the first integrated baseball game between his team and his friend Brad's team, the Williams family and their friends deal with the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and Dean gets his heart broken.
22"Green Eyed Monster"Fred SavageMary FitzgeraldSeptember 29, 2021 (2021-09-29)1EDT022.69[5]
33"The Club"Fred SavageMax SearleOctober 6, 2021 (2021-10-06)1EDT032.45[6]
44"The Workplace"Shiri ApplebyMeredith Dawson & Kendra ColeOctober 13, 2021 (2021-10-13)1EDT052.72[7]
Dean spends the day at his mother's office. Lillian is an accounting executive with a master's degree. Dean finds new appreciation for how hard his mother works, despite the fact that her co-workers generally do not. At the end of the episode, she is promoted over Coach Long (who also works in the office).
55"The Lock In"Molly McGlynnAmberia AllenOctober 20, 2021 (2021-10-20)1EDT062.08[8]
66"Be Prepared"Numa Perrier & Fred SavageBob DailyOctober 27, 2021 (2021-10-27)1EDT072.57[9]
77"Independence Day"Robert TownsendJacque Edmonds CoferNovember 3, 2021 (2021-11-03)1EDT042.23[10]
88"Science Fair"Matthew A. CherryYamin SegalNovember 17, 2021 (2021-11-17)1EDT082.47[11]
99"Home for Christmas"Fred SavageBob DailyDecember 1, 2021 (2021-12-01)1EDT092.18[12]
1010"Lads and Ladies and Us"Ken WhittinghamJacque Edmonds CoferJanuary 5, 2022 (2022-01-05)1EDT112.41[13]
1111"Brad Mitzvah"Fred SavageYael GalenaJanuary 12, 2022 (2022-01-12)1EDT102.54[14]
1212"I'm With the Band"Victor Nelli Jr.Jordan BlackJanuary 19, 2022 (2022-01-19)1EDT122.14[15]
1313"The Valentine's Day Dance"Victor Nelli Jr.Brett MelnickFebruary 2, 2022 (2022-02-02)1EDT132.36[16]
1414"Country Dean"Fred SavageBob DailyFebruary 23, 2022 (2022-02-23)1EDT142.24[17]
1515"Black Teacher"Fred SavageAmberia AllenMarch 2, 2022 (2022-03-02)1EDT152.25[18]
1616"The Sleepover"Shiri ApplebyJordan BlackMarch 16, 2022 (2022-03-16)1EDT161.99[19]
1717"Jobs and Hangouts"Aisha TylerJacque Edmonds CoferMarch 23, 2022 (2022-03-23)1EDT172.04[20]
1818"Goose Grease"Ken WhittinghamYael GalenaApril 6, 2022 (2022-04-06)1EDT181.97[21]
1919"Love & War"Numa PerrierKendra ColeApril 13, 2022 (2022-04-13)1EDT192.01[22]
2020"Bill's New Gig"David Robert JonesDioverd Danny BatistaApril 20, 2022 (2022-04-20)1EDT201.88[23]
2121"Where No Dean Has Been Before"Ken WhittinghamBo ZengaMay 11, 2022 (2022-05-11)1EDT211.84[24]
2222"Love, Dean"Saladin K. PattersonYamin SegalMay 18, 2022 (2022-05-18)1EDT222.05[25]

Production

Actor Don Cheadle is the show's narrator
Actor Don Cheadle is the show's narrator

The Wonder Years was announced on July 8, 2020, when ABC gave the project a pilot order with Fred Savage, the star of the original series, attached to direct and executive produce.[26] In January 2021, the pilot was confirmed, with production taking place in Atlanta, Georgia.[1][27][28] In March 2021, Saycon Sengbloh,[29] Elisha "EJ" Williams,[30] Dulé Hill, Laura Kariuki,[31] Milan Ray, Julian Lerner, and Amari O'Neil joined the cast,[32] with Don Cheadle announced to serve as the show's narrator.[33] On May 14, 2021, The Wonder Years was given a series order.[34][35] In July, Allen Maldonado was cast in a recurring role.[36]

At a Television Critics Association panel discussion in August 2021, crew members revealed that the series would tackle major events from 1968, including the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. When asked about casting Maldonado, whose character at the time was speculated to be Afro-Latino like Maldonado, writer and executive producer Saladin K. Patterson said they "wanted to represent the diaspora of Blackness for sure. And some of that is in appearance and looks but some of it is just in the background and those individual stories that come from those mixes of cultures. He certainly fits into that tableau that we want to set."[37] The first season was originally given a 9-episode order. On October 26, 2021, the first season was expanded to a full season of 22 episodes.[38] In November 2021, it was reported Richard Gant and Spence Moore II would also star.[39]

In May 2022, Savage was fired from his roles as executive producer and director after allegations of inappropriate conduct, including "verbal outbursts and inappropriate behavior".[40] Seven days later, ABC renewed the series for a second season.[41]

Release

In the U.S., the series premiered on ABC on September 22, 2021, airing on Wednesdays at 8:30 pm, with availability the next day on Hulu.[42][43] In Canada, the series aired on CTV.[44] The series premiered as an original series in selected countries on Disney+ via Star on June 1.[45][46][47] In Latin America, the series debuted on Disney+ as a Disney+ Exclusive.[48] On November 8, 2021, Hollywood Records made the show's theme song available to stream and download. The song is written by Roahn Hylton and Jacob Yoffee and features vocals by Scotty Granger.[49]

Reception

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 96% of 24 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.7/10. The website's consensus reads, "Sweetly nostalgic without sacrificing substance, The Wonder Years captures the magic of the original while adding necessary nuance and context to its tale of Black life in America."[50] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 75 out of 100 based on 18 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[51]

The pilot episode was given to critics to review the series ahead of its premiere, and TVLine's Dave Nemetz gave it a "B," praising The Wonder Years for its vintage soundtrack, comedic tone, and focus on minorities for a story set in the 1960s. Nemetz summarized the series as "a decent enough remake, but one that lacks the groundbreaking verve of the original and pulls its punches a bit."[52] In their review for Variety, Daniel D'Addario said that while parts of the 22-minute pilot felt "rushed," its focus on the time period made "its characters' relationships feel vivid and real against the backdrop of changing times." In his final points, D'Addario gave positive feedback to the cast and said "the pilot's final insight is nicely communicated."[53] The Hollywood Reporter's Angie Han had similar comments, writing that "the series manages to invoke nostalgia for bygone days while also remaining relatively clear-eyed about the challenges of that period ... and it accomplishes this while delivering the cozy appeal of the best family sitcoms."[54]

Ratings

Viewership and ratings per episode of The Wonder Years
No. Title Air date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
Ref(s)
1 "Pilot" September 22, 2021 0.67 3.23 TBD TBD 1.82 6.40 [4][55]
2 "Green Eyed Monster" September 29, 2021 0.50 2.69 TBD TBD TBD TBD [5]
3 "The Club" October 6, 2021 0.47 2.45 TBD TBD TBD TBD [6]
4 "The Workplace" October 13, 2021 0.54 2.72 0.13 0.68 0.67 3.40 [7]
5 "The Lock In" October 20, 2021 0.39 2.08 0.17 0.68 0.56 2.76 [8]
6 "Be Prepared" October 27, 2021 0.43 2.57 TBD TBD TBD TBD [9]
7 "Independence Day" November 3, 2021 0.41 2.23 TBD TBD TBD TBD [10]
8 "Science Fair" November 17, 2021 0.40 2.47 0.17 0.63 0.57 3.09 [11]
9 "Home for Christmas" December 3, 2021 0.34 2.18 0.10 0.62 0.44 2.79 [12]
10 "Lads and Ladies and Us" January 5, 2022 0.44 2.41 TBD TBD TBD TBD [13]
11 "Brad Mitzvah" January 12, 2022 0.50 2.54 TBD TBD TBD TBD [14]
12 "I'm With the Band" January 19, 2022 0.40 2.14 TBD TBD TBD TBD [15]
13 "The Valentine's Day Dance" February 2, 2022 0.48 2.36 TBD TBD TBD TBD [16]
14 "Country Dean" February 23, 2022 0.38 2.24 TBD TBD TBD TBD [17]
15 "Black Teacher" March 2, 2022 0.33 2.25 TBD TBD TBD TBD [18]
16 "The Sleepover" March 16, 2022 0.30 1.99 TBD TBD TBD TBD [19]
17 "Jobs and Hangouts" March 23, 2022 0.31 2.04 TBD TBD TBD TBD [20]
18 "Goose Grease" April 6, 2022 0.33 1.97 TBD TBD TBD TBD [21]
19 "Love & War" April 13, 2022 0.34 2.01 TBD TBD TBD TBD [22]
20 "Bill's New Gig" April 20, 2022 0.31 1.88 TBD TBD TBD TBD [23]
21 "Where No Dean Has Been Before" May 11, 2022 0.29 1.84 TBD TBD TBD TBD [24]
22 "Love, Dean" May 18, 2022 0.33 2.05 TBD TBD TBD TBD [25]

Awards and nominations

Awards and nominations received by The Wonder Years
Year Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2022 NAACP Image Awards February 26, 2022 Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Elisha "EJ" Williams Nominated [56]
Outstanding Performance by a Youth Nominated
Peabody Awards June 6–9, 2022 Entertainment The Wonder Years Won [57]

References

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