Dean Williams’ journey won’t continue for a third season. The Wonder Years has been cancelled by ABC. The second season of ten episodes finished airing a month ago.
A coming-of-age comedy series, The Wonder Years TV show was inspired by the original 1988 series. This incarnation stars Don Cheadle, Elisha “EJ” Williams, Dule Hill, Saycon Sengbloh, Laura Kariuki, Julian Lerner, Amari O’Neil, and Milan Ray. Guests in season two include Patti LaBelle, Wayne Brady, Tituss Burgess, Donald Faison, Phoebe Robinson, and Bradley Whitford. Set in the late 1960s, the series takes a nostalgic look at the Williams family — Black middle-class residents of Montgomery, Alabama. The story is told through the point of view of Dean (Williams), the imaginative 12-year-old son of Bill (Hill) and Lillian Williams (Sengbloh), and the younger brother of Kim (Kariuki). Dean’s friends include Cory (O’Neil), Brad (Lerner), and Keisa (Ray), Dean’s secret crush. Dean narrates the story, looking back at his childhood as an adult (Cheadle). His hopeful and humorous recollections of his past spotlight the ups and downs of growing up in that time and place and the friendship, laughter, and lessons Dean encountered along the way.
Airing on Wednesday nights this summer, the second season of The Wonder Years averaged a 0.21 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 1.78 million viewers. Compared to season one, that’s down by 50% in the demo and down by 25% in viewership in the live+same day ratings (includes DVR playback through 3:00 AM).
A year-to-year decline was not unexpected given that season two was delayed until summer when audience levels are lower. There were also 13 months between the end of the first season and the start of the second.
Hill reacted to the cancellation on Instagram and wrote:
“Be cool…. when chapter ends, another begins. Congrats to Saladin Patterson, this talented cast and our amazing crew on bringing this beautiful story to our TV screens for the last two seasons. I had hoped to share this story a little bit longer but that’s how it goes sometimes in this thing called show business. Grateful. What’s next?”
Original series cast member Danica McKeller responded to Hill’s post and wrote, “Oh no! Thank you for continuing our legacy in a beautiful way.”
Williams wrote to Hill, saying, “You will never stop being an inspiration to me. Been an honor being a part of this show with you. Cheers to what the future holds.”
What do you think? Have you watched The Wonder Years TV series on ABC? Are you disappointed that the show wasn’t renewed for a third season?