The Wonder Years reboot trailer is out, offering viewers a first-look tease of what this new take on the classic coming-of-age TV series is all about. The Wonder Years teaser wastes no time dropping its collection of big-name talent involved in the show - especially that of Don Cheadle (Armor Wars), who will be taking on the all-important role of being the narrator/older version of the show's protagonist, a young black boy named Dean Williams (Elisha Williams). This new version of The Wonder Years will still be set in the pivotal era of the late 1960s-1970s, but obviously taking on a very different point of view and themes than the original show.
The new Wonder Years is coming our way courtesy of Lee Daniels (Empire, The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Saladin K. Patterson (Dave, The Big Bang Theory, Psych), and original Wonder Years star, Fred Savage. The first teaser doesn't give much away about the larger status quo of the Williams family and the time/place they live in; instead, we get a big nostalgia play with the teaser evoking all-American tropes like riding bikes, hanging out with buddies at school, staring at that person in class you have a crush on - and of course, playing baseball. It's all driven home by the heartfelt theme of the original Wonder Years show playing over the footage: Joe Cocker's rendition of The Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends".
However, if you look closely and with a keen eye, already there are clues of just how different of a story this new The Wonder Years is telling. It's pretty clear that segregation (whether institutional or social) is very much at play, and patriarch Bill Williams (Dulé Hill) looks like he will be a complicated character, as a black man struggling against the times while still trying to instill a sense of - well - wonder in his children. It will be interesting to see how the full show compares to this nostalgic first teaser in terms of how heavy or light the material is treated. Lee Daniels is directing the pilot episode so it could really go either way.
Here's the synopsis for The Wonder Years that came with the casting of Elisha Williams:
"Dean [is] an inquisitive and hopeful 12-year-old who's coming of age in a turbulent time and trying to figure out his place both within his family and in the larger world. Dean is a little insecure, a tad awkward and a bit self-conscious, but he is determined to make his mark on the world around him."