Lee Daniels and Saladin K. Patterson are bringing a new version of The Wonder Years to ABC. The family-friendly series will operate in the same format as the original which followed the daily misadventures of Kevin Arnold, a wholesome young boy coming of age in an average suburb. Each episode of the show would focus on events that took place years prior to the air date and the adult Arnold would narrate his childhood stories for the audience with humor and love.
American viewers adored Arnold, portrayed by Fred Savage, and his family. They rooted for him as he worked to achieve good grades in his classes, help out his friends, and woo his crush Winnie Cooper. The show first aired on ABC from 1988 to 1993, running for 115 episodes. The relatability of the simple but charming storylines made the them universal even though the show wasn’t diverse.
Daniels and Patterson’s version of The Wonder Years will center on a typical Black family in 1960s Alabama. The new cast includes Don Cheadle who will be narrating the series as the Adult Dean Williams. Elisha “EJ” Williams (Puppy Dog Pals) is portraying the younger Dean.
Dulé Hill (Black Monday, Ballers) will portray Bill Williams, Saycon Sengbloh (Respect, Delilah) will portray Lillian Williams, Laura Kariuki (Black Lightning, Along For The Ride) will portray Kim Williams, Julian Lerner (Yes Day, From Now) will play Brad Hitman, Amari O’Neil (All American, Raven’s Home) will play Cory Long and Milan Ray (Modern Love, Boomerang) will play Keisa Clemmons. Savage is directing the pilot episode written by Patterson.
See the first glimpse of the cast’s transformation into a run-of-the-mill ’60s family exclusively on ESSENCE below.