On Friday June 26th Disney Channel premieres a brand new series called Girl Meets World. This would be just another Disney Channel premiere if not for it being a sequel to one of the most beloved sitcoms of the 90s, Boy Meets World. The original series was one of the deepest and yet silliest half hour comedies ever. Its ability to swing from over the top slapstick humor to salient emotion stirring drama made it more than a throwaway half hour of ABCs T.G.I.F. evening block. Breaking the fourth wall, scene stealing scenery chewing performances and heartbreaking histrionics weren’t just elements of the show they were part of its standout features. This new series, Girl Meets World is built in quite the same way. That said with all of the hype the internet has put into this series can it even hope to live up to its predecessor?
Girl Meets World will never escape its history. The series will always live in the shadow of the original. Returning characters in the pilot are Ben Savage as Cory Matthews and Danielle Fishel as his wife Topanga. There is also a cameo that should not be spoiled so I won’t mention it but another major character from the original series returns as well. From the cold open we are introduced to our new series stars, Rowan Blanchard as Riley Matthews and Sabrina Carpenter as Maya, and the theme that it is now time for the world to become Riley’s. That said Cory’s impact will definitely be felt as he now falls into a familiar space as a hybrid of his own father Alan (William Russ) in the original series and his teacher/neighbor Mr. Feeney (William Daniels).
The plot is definitely of the sort seen in the original series’ first season. There is a question of Riley and Maya’s friendship. There are fated meetings with future love interests. The idea that Riley needs to understand herself and that you can learn lessons both in school and out in the world. I could break down the details of the episode but what’s most important here is how the episode feels. It FEELS like Boy Meets World. Mostly, 1st season but definitely with hints of the shenanigans that grew to define the series. I also saw a trailer with a little glimpse of the future of the season and it looks like the over the top slapstick humor will return.
As it comes to the pilot it was an enjoyable first episode. It didn’t feel like a money grab on the part of Disney. Obviously, they know this series will have an audience of fans of the original. They’re going to want to know what happened to Shawn, Angela, Rachel, Eric, Minkus and Morgan. They’re also definitely going to want to have some level of Mr. Feeney interaction and that will be part of the challenge for Disney. As adults we are not the only ones who will be watching, they’re going to have to cater to the kids who are their channel’s bread and butter. So it will be interesting to watch the show’s dynamic. I hope it will balance the past and the present well enough to give Riley her due but also give the older viewers what they came to see.
I’m looking forward to future episodes. Disney could have a crossover hit on their hands if they handle it correctly.