The Wonder Years : Season 1

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  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 31, 1988
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
The Wonder Years Image
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: "The Wonder Years" was a hit comedy series starring Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold the main character, a boy facing rites of passage on his way to adulthood. Kevin lives with his brother Wayne (Jason Hervey), his sister Karen (Olivia d'Abo), his father Jack (Dan Lauria), and his mother Norma"The Wonder Years" was a hit comedy series starring Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold the main character, a boy facing rites of passage on his way to adulthood. Kevin lives with his brother Wayne (Jason Hervey), his sister Karen (Olivia d'Abo), his father Jack (Dan Lauria), and his mother Norma (Alley Mills). Kevin grows up with his on-and-off girlfriend, Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar), and his best friend, Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano).The show had a successful 6 year run.Theme Song:
    "With a Little Help From My Friends" by John Lennon & Paul McCartney -- performed by Joe CockerABC Broadcasty History:
    January 1988 - April 1988 --- Tuesdays 8:30 October 1988 - February 1989 --- Wednesdays 9:00 February 1989 - August 1990 --- Tuesdays 8:30 August 1990 - August 1991 --- Wednesdays 8:00 August 1991 - February 1992 --- Wednesdays 8:30 March 1992 - September 1993 --- Wednesdays 8:00
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  • Genre(s): Comedy, Drama

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Miami Herald
    Reviewed by: Steve Sonsky
    Feb 14, 2014
    100
    The Wonder Years is full of wonderment -- and grace, and charm, and wit, and insight, and poignancy and humor. The Wonder Years, in a word, is wonderful. [15 March 1988, p.1]
  2. Reviewed by: John J. O'Connor
    Apr 30, 2013
    90
    The Wonder Years is at least off to an unusually winning start.
  3. Washington Post
    Reviewed by: Tom Shales
    Feb 14, 2014
    90
    No one could maintain that the show deals in grueling realism. But the characters and their time do seem affectionately and thoughtfully portrayed, and genuineness along these lines is rare in TV. The Wonder Years is first-class time travel. [15 Mar 1998, p.1]
  4. Christian Science Monitor
    Reviewed by: Arthur Unger
    Apr 30, 2013
    80
    Viewers are in for a pleasant surprise. Narrator Kevin Arnold looks back at his seventh-grade adventures with a nice combination of rosy-hued tenderness and contemporary perspective. His adventures with the class bullies, the lunchroom proctor, and his first love are familiar bits of literary nostalgia, done with a certain amount of halting charm and psychological authenticity. The jarring, but valid, note is the intrusion of the Vietnam war into the lives of the youngsters. [29 Jan 1988, p.22]
  5. The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    Reviewed by: John Haslett Cuff
    Feb 14, 2014
    70
    It's a likeable enough show, handsomely produced and acted and shot through with intelligence, humor and sentimentality. If it is as true to the times as it promises to be, the show could be a big hit with audiences in their mid-30s. [17 March 1998]
  6. San Diego Union-Tribune
    Reviewed by: Robert P. Laurence
    Apr 30, 2013
    60
    It is beguiling and original, yet awkwardly executed. [28 Jan 1988, p.D-6]
  7. Newsday
    Reviewed by: Bill Kaufman
    Apr 30, 2013
    60
    A pleasant but routine sitcom that uses that decade of significant social change as a hook...The Wonder Years handles its period details - clothing, hairstyles - well. The look of the '60s is rendered with an authentic, evocative feel. Like virtually every sitcom, it has its banal moments, and here and there the gags fizzle. [30 Jan 1988, p.11]

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Jan 21, 2013
    10
    Absolutely flawless show. Never got old. I didn't grow up when this show was actually on the air but watching it since I can really relate toAbsolutely flawless show. Never got old. I didn't grow up when this show was actually on the air but watching it since I can really relate to it because I am around Kevin's age. Collapse
  2. Jul 12, 2011
    10
    It's hard to rate this less than a 10 in my book. Even being born in the 80's, watching this as a kid I still related to it. As an adult it'sIt's hard to rate this less than a 10 in my book. Even being born in the 80's, watching this as a kid I still related to it. As an adult it's a refreshing breath of fresh air compared to the stale family tv shows we have now that can barely make a mark into true family drama. I can only wish that someday soon, the season sets will be released. If you're a classic tv lover, then this show should be very high on your watch list. Expand
  3. Mar 4, 2017
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. In 1988, "The Wonder Years" hit the airwaves as a mid-season replacement show. In the span of just six short episodes, however, it captured the imagination of baby boomers everywhere.

    Basically, "The Wonder Years" is the story of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage), a kid starting junior high in 1968. The show touches on all aspects of his life, including best friend Paul Pffiefer (Josh Saviano), crush Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar), father Jack (Dan Lauria), mother Norma (Alley Mills), and siblings Karen (Olivia d'Abo) & Wayne (Jason Hervey).

    The primary reason this show became so popular is because it played to the nostalgia of the baby boomers. For example, my father (whose own junior/high school experiences were set exactly in the same time frame as Kevin) considers this to be one of the greatest shows of all-time. The show creators were really able to capture the essence of 1960s life from a child's perspective. It was also the first show to have a narrator voicing the inner thoughts of the main character. The show was initially mocked for this, but without that innovative strategy "The Wonder Years" would have been a complete failure (as it is the "narrator thoughts") that provide the bulk of the really funny humor.

    At the same time, the show (though slowed by legal wrangling over music rights, thus delaying any sort of release for decades) manages to remain relevant because it also portrays the junior high and high school experience. I first was introduced to the show when I was roughly 10-12 years old, and I could instantly relate to the characters even though the show was based in the 1960s. Again, the writers/creators expertly captured what life is like at that confusing, yet wonderful age.

    In this first season, specifically, the groundwork is laid for what is to come. All the main characters are introduced (if somewhat briefly), and the viewer gets a feel for the show's unique blend of comedy and drama (much like "All In The Family", but just with a different sort of vibe). Besides maybe "The Phone Call", I can't really say that any of the other five episodes in this super-short "season" are incredible (granted, I've seen most of the episodes already so I know what is to come), thus the four-stars instead of five.

    For an interesting parallel to today's television, I consider "The Wonder Years" to be something like a "Mad Men". Both shows are set in the 1960s are are incredibly detailed and careful about portraying those times accurately. The only different is that whereas "Mad Men" focuses on adults in business (and then branches out into family/relationships), "Wonder Years" begins with the family/school and branches out from their.

    Overall, this six-episode introduction to "The Wonder Years" will leave you wanting more.
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  4. Jul 20, 2015
    8
    I'd recommend watching this with captions -- while some people might love the hackneyed sound over - the audio drags this down just as it didI'd recommend watching this with captions -- while some people might love the hackneyed sound over - the audio drags this down just as it did with Outsiders which is even better. Expand

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