The Wonder Years reboot made news earlier this year. According to a report from USA Today, ABC announced it committed to a pilot of a reboot back in July. It sounds good, on the surface. Let’s take a look at what we know about the new series and why this might be a bad idea.
About The Wonder Years reboot
According to the USA today report, there are a few things working to the Wonder Years reboot’s advantage. For one, original creator Neal Marlens is attached to consult on the show.
Two, we have former series star Fred Aaron Savage (Kevin Arnold) directing. Third, the series will be set in the same time period as the original. It’s even going to be on the same network that was home to the original.
However, let’s look at Star Wars a minute. George Lucas was also a consultant when Disney took over Star Wars. All reports indicate he was rarely listened to and the series suffered from a focus on social justice messaging rather than making a good story the priority.
Then, there was the Gilmore Girls revival. The entire cast was back, save the late Edward Herman (Richard Gilmore) as well as the series creators. That four-episode reboot had some good moments. Unfortunately, they were few and far between. One episode was almost completely unwatchable and made us not care about another revival season.
Can The Wonder Years reboot capture the magic?
As kids growing up in the ‘80s, this was appointment TV. The chemistry between the cast and the obvious, almost obsessive attention to detail was part of what made the show so magical. Many people have tried to use an existing franchise and couldn’t make lightning strike twice.
This isn’t because all reboots are inherently bad. The first season of Roseanne’s reboot showed a reboot done right. The full original cast came back and they stayed true to the spirit of the original. However, these moments are few and far between.
One can never discount how powerful a combination of specific actors at a specific moment in time can make a show something far greater than we can imagine. It’s energy. It’s intention. And that’s where all the reboots get it wrong.
The Wonder Years Reboot changes
Again, this is set in the original time period. That means it would be impossible for the original cast to come back as their characters. Plus, there’s a difference in the timing. When the original came out, the show was set 20 years in the past from present day.
Now? We’re looking at close to 50 years removed from the time period of the series. That’s a huge gap and it might not have the same effect for that reason.
Finally, this brings a common issue with the reboot thing. The new Wonder Years will center around, “a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama, in the turbulent late 1960s.” Points for changing the location and not being “The Arnolds” as a different race.
At least that adds new characters to the landscape instead of changing an existing character, as they’re about to do with Tinkerbell in a new Peter Pan. We hope for the best with this show, as we loved the original so much. We’ve just been burned too many times by people looking to cash in on existing properties.
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