Televisual Advent Calendar #14 – The Wonder Years

“When it came to surveillance, the KGB had nothing on my mother.”

The Wonder Years

This is my 2019 Televisual Advent Calendar. I did a musical version in 2011 and a cinematic one in 2012. It is in no particular order and I make no apologies for the TV series that I am blogging about. These TV series have either made me think, I have enjoyed or have had some impact on me. These are scripted TV series, some are drama, some are comedy, some are both. I found it really hard to narrow this down to just 24.

As I go through the series I like for this calendar, I am starting to see a thread for nostalgia, so maybe no surprise that the series I am focusing on today is The Wonder Years.

The Wonder Years
Jason Hervey, Dan Lauria, Olivia d’Abo, Alley Mills, Fred Savage in the premiere of “The Wonder Years”. Jason Hervey, Dan Lauria, Olivia d’Abo, Alley Mills, Fred Savage in the premiere of “The Wonder Years”. ABC Photo Archives

Launched just over thirty years ago, back in 1988, The Wonder Years went on to become one of the most cherished, acclaimed and influential comedy dramas of all time. I loved the trials tribulations of the growing up in the 1960s and early 1970s, in an America that was troubled by the Vietnam War and Nixon, as well as the Cold War. It was also about the wonderment of the future when the space race was in full force. I most certainly did not grow up in the USA in the 1960s, so there isn’t that frame of reference, but the stories I could certainly relate to from when I was growing up.

Kevin and Winnie

I loved the gentle tone of the series, I loved the music and whenever I hear “With a Little Help from My Friends,” I am reminded of the series. The show’s opening theme, Joe Cocker’s rendition of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends,” was not the Beatles one, but it was a great cover.

There was also something about the structure, a grown up narrator remembering his childhood. You never see the narrator, but he was the bookends of each episode. This format has been copied many times since, notably on the recent The Big Bang Theory spin-off, Sheldon.

I think I must have watched The Wonder Years when it was broadcast live on Channel 4, and it’s not a series I had subsequently purchased on VHS (or DVD) nor have I streamed it either. 

I find it somewhat amusing that I am being nostalgic about a series which was all about nostalgia.

Get The Wonder Years on DVD.