A Little Help From My (Black) Friends: A Reboot of The Wonder Years Featuring a Black Family Is Coming to ABC

Lee Daniels, left; Saladin Patterson, center; Fred Savage, right
Lee Daniels, left; Saladin Patterson, center; Fred Savage, right
Photo: Ron Eshel/Invision/AP, Andy Drew , Courtesy 20th Century Fox TV

“What would you do if I sang outta tune?” Well, if I do it in front of a Black family, I’ll probably get roasted—followed by being accused of clapping on the 1 and 3.

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Speaking of Black families, we have another reboot on our hands! This time, it’s The Wonder Years. That’s right, the popular and beloved coming-of-age TV show that aired from 1988-1993 will be rebooted as a half-hour comedy and returning to its original home at ABC. This time, though, the newer version will be following a Black family.

Here are the new show’s deets, from a press release via ABC sent to The Root:

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.

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So, it looks like the upcoming show will be set in the same time period as the original, but of course, following a Black family during that time period means there’s a completely different set of aspects and themes to explore. Saladin K. Patterson (The Big Bang Theory, Frasier, The Bernie Mac Show) will write the script as well as executive produce. Lee Daniels will also executive produce along with his Lee Daniels Entertainment banner president Marc Velez. And for the purists out there, the original star of the show, Fred Savage, will be involved in this reboot as executive producer and director (speaking of, Savage has been racking up TV director credits for many years now). Plus, the original series co-creator Neal Marlens will serve as a consultant for the reboot.

It’s been nearly 30 years since The Wonder Years stopped airing after its six-season run. For those of you who need a refresher on the original show and its accomplishments, The Hollywood Reporter has got you covered:

The Wonder Years ran for six seasons between 1988 and 1993. Savage starred as Kevin Arnold, a teen growing up with his middle-class family in the suburbs, though exactly where was never revealed. The series earned a prestigious Peabody Award and an Emmy for best comedy after its first season. Savage at 13 also became the youngest actor ever nominated for a lead actor in a comedy series Emmy in 1988. Danica McKellar, Dan Lauria, Alley Mills, Olivia d’Abo, Jason Hervey and Josh Saviano co-starred, with Daniel Stern providing the show’s trademark narration as a grown-up Kevin.

Will we get an epic young Black romance just like Kevin and Winnie (originally portrayed by Danica McKellar)? Will the matriarch and patriarch ask the kids whether they have McDonald’s money or tell them that they “smell like outside”? Though I am hesitant about this trend of Hollywood hopping on a bandwagon to “Blackify” an originally white-led show or film to showcase how progressive they are (instead of creating more opportunities for Black-created original content), I am, at the very least, intrigued to see how this goes, since I did watch the original series (and believe the Joe Cocker remake of The Beatles song for the theme is far superior).

The Wonder Years reboot is expected to air during the 2021-22 television season.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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DISCUSSION

When I saw this announced one twitter comment summed up my feelings, “we already had this. It was called ‘Everybody Hates Chris.” Yeah a different time period, but if they’re going to make it a comedy isn’t it the same idea?