Last summer brought the news that a reboot of The Wonder Years from Lee Daniels was in development at ABC and now we've learned that the show has been formally given a pilot order by the network. The original series followed a white middle-class family in the 1960s while the reboot will instead focus on a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Saladin K. Patterson (The Big Bang Theory, Frasier, The Bernie Mac Show) is set to write the pilot and executive produce with Daniels. Neal Marlens, co-creator of the original series, will serve as a consultant while original series star Fred Savage will executive produce and direct the pilot.
The original version of The Wonder Years ran from 1988 to 1993, telling the story of Kevin Arnold, a man (voiced by Home Alone's Daniel Stern) telling stories from when he was a boy (played by Savage) growing up in an average middle-class American town, during the turbulent era of the 1960s. The change from a white to Black family for the new film will no doubt result in a much different style of narrative and a different definition of "turbulent," especially with its Deep South setting.
The Wonder Years and its style of storytelling, featuring the adult version of a character narrating their younger life, has become a staple of sitcom formulas in the years since with ABC's The Goldbergs a notable example of following a similar structure. Over the years it was on the air, The Wonder Years won four Primetime Emmy awards including the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy in its first season on top of twenty four other nominations throughout its tenure.
This new version of The Wonder Years marks the first of three pilots ordered by ABC in the new year with the others including: Maggie, based on a short film by Tim Curcio with Maggie Mull and Justin Adler (Life in Pieces) co-writing. The series will follow its titular character who "tries to cope with life while coming to terms with her abilities as a psychic. She can see everyone's future, but her present is a mess;" and also an untitled multicamera comedy Regina Hicks that "revolves around three sorority sisters who lost touch after college who reunite during a pivotal point in their lives. They realize that sometimes it's OK to crack, and when you do, no one will be there for you like your friends."
(Cover Photo by Earl Gibson III/WireImage/ABC)