As the 2023-2024 TV season’s fate hangs in the balance, series cancellations have been coming left and right as strikes put Hollywood at a standstill. The most recent casualty of this situation came when ABC announced that The Wonder Years reboot was ending after two seasons.
With rumors swirling about the ABC revival’s status, Variety confirmed The Wonder Years wouldn’t come back for a third season. Its cancellation was just the latest axing for the Alphabet network as it said goodbye to shows like Big Sky and The Company You Keep earlier this year.
I’m not surprised the ABC revival was canceled after the network made a life-changing decision last year. The Wonder Years was originally set to premiere during the fall TV season as the Alphabet network had planned to give the show’s sophomore season a similar treatment to Abbott Elementary during the 2021-2022 TV season. While the show had decent ratings during its first season, ABC wanted to give the comedy revival the same backing as the Emmy-winning school mockumentary.
However, before Season 2 was set to premiere, the network announced it was moving the premiere to Summer 2023 in favor of other mid-season fare. Not only did the series’ ratings dip, but long hiatuses and a reduced episode order (from 22 to 10) also existed. The WGA-SAG-AFTRA strikes didn’t help the matter either as the cast couldn’t promote the ABC sitcom.
Despite these facts, I’m still bummed by the cancellation. I enjoyed this new incarnation of The Wonder Years. It made clever callbacks to the original series like the Winnie Cooper connection while carving out its niche. Capturing the Black experience in 1960s Alabama allowed the series to tackle serious topics with good comedic timing. It seemed like Season 2 was hitting its stride as it expanded the world of Dean Williams and his family. There was a reliability element to the ABC comedy that aligned well with the original series, which led to a positive response from OG fans. So, it's hard to hear the revival isn’t moving forward with a third season.
I wasn’t the only one bummed by the announcement as series star Dulé Hill hopped on his Twitter account to speak on the series' cancellation. In true Bill Williams fashion, Hill kept things “cool, calm, and collected” as he praised the talent in front of and behind the camera. See his optimistic post below.
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Luckily, the Psych alum was able to put everything in perspective. He already knows there’s something bigger and better for him, the cast, and the crew after the Hollywood strikes end. Maybe the creative team and cast can come together for another project.
If you want to reminisce about The Wonder Years, you can watch both seasons through a Hulu subscription. You can dive deeper down the nostalgia rabbit hole by staying on the streamer to watch the original series. Once you’re done reminiscing, check out our 2023 TV schedule to see what new and returning shows are still premiering this fall during the writers' and actors’ strikes.