Inside ‘The Wonder Years’ Show’s Legacy After More Than 30 Years: ‘It Captures Everybody’s Youth’

Everyone carries on about how the 2000s are the true Golden Age of Television, but many seem to forget there have been a lot of shows along the way that played a role in getting us here. One of them was The Wonder Years, the 1988-debuting TV series that still “captures everybody’s youth” after more than 30 years, director Steve Miner once told Closer Weekly.

However, when fans were first introduced to the show, viewers weren’t quite sure what to expect. As the first half-hour episode aired, we met young Kevin Arnold, played by Fred Savage, and Winnie Cooper, portrayed by Danica McKellar — two kids just trying to be exactly that, but not always being allowed to do so because of the times they were living in (the late 1960s).

The Wonders Years quickly grew up in popularity, and fans knew the series wasn’t going to be similar to anything else on TV. Whereas a show like Happy Days took nostalgia for the ’50s and presented it in a way people would like to remember it, The Wonder Years edged much closer to reality.

Reflecting on the six-season series, Fred Savage said he has nothing but amazing memories with his fellow castmates. “I look back on it all fondly and I wouldn’t be who I am now without those experiences. I enjoy where it’s all led,” the star told Esquire in 2014, pointing out the sitcom’s legacy.

“The whole show was about looking back,” Fred marveled. “Looking back on this time in his life that meant so much to him. I think you can look back at that time in your own life with the narrator and smile. I was in lockstep with Kevin the whole way. It was almost like a workbook. I would do it on the show and then do it in real life.”

Though it’s been more than three decades since The Wonder Years hit the air, the lessons the characters taught us are still relatable as ever today. The pain, the joy, the suffering and the triumphs managed to tap into the memories of a generation, and Closer takes a look back at the highs and lows of The Wonder Years in exclusive interviews with the show’s creators.

We begin with the fact that the stories of The Wonder Years were presented through the dual perspective of the unseen 34-year-old Kevin Arnold and his 14-year-old version. The adult character, whose narration was by actor Daniel Stern, added a modern slant to his memories, while the younger version lives out the events on-screen from an adolescent’s point of view.

For Closer‘s complete inside look at The Wonder Years, scroll through the gallery below!