Fans of the Williams family on The Wonder Years must say a sad goodbye as the ABC dramedy has been canceled after two seasons.
Deadline reports that the reboot of the popular 1980s sitcom starring Fred Savage suffered in the ratings department. Even though Season 2’s finale earned 1 million total viewers, that still wasn’t enough for ABC to keep the show for a third season.
The Wonder Years starred Elisha Williams as Dean, a boy growing up in late 1960s Montgomery, AL, with his middle-class family. With the worst of the Civil Rights Movement behind and the Black Power movement ahead, the series chronicled the family’s ups and downs as they faced societal changes, family situations and coming-of-age lessons.
The series also starred Dulé Hill, Saycon Sengbloh, Laura Kariuki, Spence Moore II, Milan Ray, Julian Lerner, Amari O’Neil and Allen Maldonado, with Yvonne Orji, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Patti LaBelle and Richard Gant guest-starring.
Kariuki and Sengbloh talked to Shadow and Act during the second season’s run about the show’s focus on a happy Black family.
“I think us being able to see this whole idea of Black boy joy and Black girl magic manifested on camera, and from this specific time period…seeing representations of themselves…seeing Black people happy on television is always a plus,” said Kariuki, with Sengbloh adding that she tries to keep joy in her life as a practice.
“I always have really fun things around me, whether it be dolls or just things that kids like,” she said. “I try to lighten up and not take things so seriously as much as I can because I can be a serious person in general. But I’ve made a new habit for myself to just lighten up and not take things so seriously.”
Hill and Williams also talked about bringing the Williams family to life.
“We don’t have another show out there that I can think of right now that shows a Black family dealing with all the challenges of being a Black family in America, but at the same time loving each other, having normal family, family moments, moments of laughter, moments of sorrow and everything in between,” Hill said. “There is power in seeing yourself reflected on the screen. That aspect of Black life has not been shown or is not being shown right now may have had something to do with why people have really desired to see this.”
“I think the only thing that was different was, as you said, the time period – because I think a lot of things that some people forget and I was even blind to see before having this information was just because it was within that time frame years ago, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t have normal lives,” said Williams.