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The Wonder Years' Dulé Hill Discusses How Fans Of The OG Show Have Responded To The Reboot

Dulé Hill on The Wonder Years
(Image credit: ABC)

The Wonder Years reboot found a way to tap into the same nostalgia that the original found but did so using a distinct perspective. The dramedy has been well received during its freshman season due to its smart storytelling and stellar cast, which includes Dulé Hill in the role of family man Bill Williams. Of course, any reboot or revival of a beloved show can receive a myriad of responses from fans of the predecessor. And now, as the series prepares to close out its first season, Hill is discussing the responses that he's heard from OG devotees.

Because the late-'80s/early-'90s TV classic is so revered, strong reactions from fans were to be expected.  Dulé Hill, who felt excited to be joining ABC's Black-led revamp, seemed to be more than prepared for any strong responses. The West Wing alum appeared on The Bakari Sellers Podcast and was asked how veteran Wonder Years viewers have received the new iteration. The actor said about his interaction with fans of the vintage sitcom:

I think a lot of fans, which from what I’ve received is they were skeptical at first because of their affinity for the original. But when they’ve given it a chance, they are falling in love with the show, and they’re so thankful, grateful that they’ve gone on the journey, and grateful that we are even doing the journey. Because nostalgia isn’t just owned by one particular group of people. Nostalgia can be different for different groups of people, but it still exists.

Ultimately, fans – new and old – seem to have connected with the Alabama-based Williams family as they did the Arnold's of Any Town, USA and have likely enjoyed the nods to the OG show. (The heartbreaking Winnie Cooper connection was particularly poignant.) Dulé Hill, who connected with the character of Bill Williams early on, believes the series is incredibly relatable. In the same interview, the multihyphenate went on to explain that this is a major reason why viewers likely appreciate the storytelling:

With African American families or Black families in the late 1960s, it wasn’t all dogs and water hoses. That part of what was going on at the time. There were moments of love, moments of laughter, moments of BS-ing, talking trash and having marital conflicts and trying to raise your kids and going to work and trying to build a life for your family. And I think that you know it’s important to be able to tell that story is to show the audience that the original version is not the only version out there. That’s not the only Wonder Years that exists. There’s a Wonder Years for Black families. There’s a Wonder Years for Latin families. There’s a Wonder Years for Asian families. And all these stories are true, American stories. All these stories are the Wonder Years for these American families.

As the actor astutely pointed out, TV shows should reflect the experiences of all families, not just a specific one. In recent years, audiences across all demographics have become accustomed to more inclusive casts and stories like the ones seen in the the recently concluded black-ish and Fresh off the Boat. Hopefully, such representation will continue to flourish on both the small and big screens as time goes on.

The appreciation for the show is what's earned it a renewal for a second season, which will be without executive producer and OG Wonder Years star Fred Savage. Despite that behind-the-scenes shakeup, Dulé Hill and his collaborators should still be able to deliver humor and heart through a brand-new set of stories that will delight both new and seasoned fans alike.

As you wait for more news on The Wonder Years Season 2, you can check out the 2022 TV schedule to see what new and returning shows are headed your way.

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).