In the mid 80s I lived without a television. When, for various reasons, I bought a new set, I discovered this American series. It was broadcast by Channel 4 each Sunday evening and for the first three series, at least, I was charmed by its portrayal of growing up in the 60s. As this was the era when I grew up, it particularly appealed to me. This was an age when the differences between America and Great Britain were still remarkable so it still had the sense of a different world and I thought all things American were bigger, brighter, better than what we had in the UK.
Fred Savage as Kevin was truly remarkable, mostly because he was so unremarkable as a school kid. He could have been the school kid next door.
The evocation of an era played well with my age group as we had reached the age when we realised that we could be nostalgic for an earlier time just as our parents had been, and which we found so annoying! For this reason the narration by an older Kevin, voiced by Daniel Stern, worked particularly well.
Kevin, his best friend Paul Pfieffer, and Winnie Cooper formed the small circle around which the normal trials of childhood and adolescence played. We had Kevin’s point of view to guide us. Later series moved the story on from the 60s to the 70s but I tuned out before then, not though without keeping fond memories for this slice of television history.
‘The Wonder Years’ is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?