'The Wonder Years' - a new generation premieres Wednesday on 6abc

Alicia Vitarelli Image
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
‘The Wonder Years’ reboot premieres Wednesday on 6abc
The much-anticipated reboot of the classic series is seen through the lens of a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's been 28 years since we watched Kevin Arnold's coming of age in the late 1960s on the beloved, award-winning series "The Wonder Years."

The much-anticipated reboot of the classic premieres Wednesday night and is seen through the lens of a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama.

It's produced by West Philadelphia's Lee Daniels, who wanted to show what life was like in the very same year, 1968, for another 12-year-old experiencing his own coming of age, in middle class Black America.

"We don't want this Wonder Years to be a copy," said newcomer Elisha "EJ" Williams, who plays 12-year-old Dean Williams. "That wasn't the point of making it. The point of making it it was so you can tell a different story."

Alicia Vitarelli speaks with the cast of the "Wonder Years." The new ABC shows debuts Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.

Like Kevin Arnold, Dean is moving through the awkward stages, facing bullies, having that first crush and navigating friendship.

"This show is a remix of the original," Williams sajd. "The remix has some of the same lyrics and the universal coming-of-age theme. But this remix is a different family and the struggles were different."

Dule Hill plays Dean's dad. He's loving, but strict. Hill says he was a fan of the original, but never felt seen.

"I did not see myself reflected as much as I would have liked," he said. "So I like the idea to be able to re-explore that time from a different point of view. It's very intriguing to me."

Saycon Sengbloh plays Dean's working mom, Lillian.

She says the show doesn't shy away from the struggles Black families faced, reminding us how far we've come, and how much work there's still to do.

"It was a great, huge change that happened in in our country and in the world in the late 1960s. ," said Sengbloh. "We are coming back to relive it through the gaze of writers who are living now, in 2021."

Fred Savage is on board as Executive Producer and Don Cheadle is the narrator.

"We're making magic," said Sengbloh. "We really, really are. I think you'll be moved and you'll fall in love with us."

Catch Alicia Vitarelli's full interviews with the cast right now on our family of streaming apps like Apple TV and Roku.

"The Wonder Years" debuts Wednesday, September 22 at 8:30 p.m. on 6abc.