The Williams family is back! The Wonder Years returns for its sophomore season on June 14, and ET is exclusively debuting the first look at a brand new season of the family’s laughter, love, and the lessons they learn along the way.
Season 2 of the Peabody Award-winning series returns on Wednesday, welcoming back stars Don Cheadle, who narrates the series as Adult Dean Williams, Elisha “EJ” Williams as the younger Dean Williams, Dul? Hill as Bill Williams, Saycon Sengbloh as Lillian Williams, Laura Kariuki as Kim Williams, Julian Lerner as Brad Hitman, Amari O’Neil as Cory Long and Milan Ray as Keisa Clemmons.
Musical legend Patti LaBelle is set to guest star in two episodes in the upcoming season, portraying Bill Williams’ mother, Shirley Williams. The network revealed in September that Shirley is also the church choir director. Known affectionately as “Mother Williams,” she is “as sweet as she can be but has another side to her when choir members don’t quite hit the right notes,” per her character description.
The new season will also welcome guest stars Wayne Brady, Tituss Burgess, Donald Faison, Phoebe Robinson, Bradley Whitford, and many more.
Brady will play Melvin, Bill’s older brother who is described as “a blowhard who is super-successful and insufferably smug about it, including being favored by their father.” Burgess will guest star as Lonnie, “a drag performer with Southern roots who befriends Bill and Dean when they’re in New York.”
Faison will appear as Terrence, “Cliff’s (Allen Maldonado) gregarious frat brother and real estate agent. Since the housing act passed, he is pushing hard for Cliff to be among the first Black families to buy a house in Eastdale, an all-white neighborhood.” Robinson will portray Jackie, “Lillian’s younger sister and Kim and Dean’s favorite aunt. A mischief maker and rule breaker who’s usually a magnet for trouble.” Whitford guest stars as Alan, “Dean’s music teacher, who surprises Bill with his knowledge of the jazz music scene.”
Watch the teaser for season 2 above.
Inspired by the beloved award-winning series of the same name, The Wonder Years is an original coming-of-age comedy that tells the story of the Williams family during the late 1960s, spotlighting the ups and downs of growing up in a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama, and the friendship, laughter and lessons along the way. Lee Daniels, Saladin K. Patterson, Bob Daily and Jacque Edmonds Cofer serve as executive producers with Patterson also serving as the series’ showrunner.
While the series follows the template of the original, which starred Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold, the cast of the reboot previously explained to ET how their series is more than a simple remake.
“It’s a remix,” said Williams, who takes over the central role. The young actor added that while making the series, it was important not to “let people compartmentalize what the show is going to be about.”
“It shows that Black people in the ’60s were not always dealing with pain. They were happy. They had a lot of joy. They had humor in their life,” Kariuki noted. “Our show does a really good job at showing that.”
Additionally, the series aims to bring a balance to the important issues and experiences of that time. “There is no way to deal with all of the seriousness and those experiences without having levity,” Sengbloh added. “It’s important that a show like ours be on the air and provide that vision, provide that levity and also paint a picture not of injustice but a picture of independence.”
Sengbloh pointed out that Laura is an accountant while her husband, Bill (Hill), is a music professor. “The fact that Black people were being educated and doing a lot of amazing things at this time,” she continued, “People need to see that in the tapestry in between the trauma.”
And bringing it all together is Patterson. “He brings this authentic Black experience of his own personal life to the writing,” Sengbloh explained. “And it just all gets tied up into a nice, neat bundle of flyness.”
She added, “This show is so fly, y’all. I don’t think y’all understand how fly the ’60s were. It wasn’t just a lot of hard things that people think about. There was some smoothness and flyness to it that we can’t wait for everybody to see.”
The Wonder Years season 2 premieres on Wednesday, June 14 at 9 pm ET/PT on ABC and is available to stream the next day on Hulu. All season 1 episodes are available to stream on Hulu.
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