Middle-school student Riley Matthews (Rowan Blanchard) faces many problems growing up but finds solace in Maya Hart (Sabrina Carpenter), her best friend, who helps her overcome all the obstacles.
One of the biggest reasons why Michael Jacobs’ and April Kelly’s Boy Meets World was as highly successful and beloved as it was, was because it was a show that at its core, focused on a group of young teens that faced actual, real-world problems, hence the title.
Of course, since the show was a sitcom, it delved into hilarious territory and was chalked full of iconic moments that many fans are still quoting decades later. But as funny as that show was, the comedy aspect to it was not my favorite part. My favorite part was seeing what important life lesson young Cory Matthews and his friends would learn.
The show ran for a total of one-hundred and fifty-eight episodes, and yet each and every single one of them taught a valuable lesson for its protagonists as well as the viewers at home. The first time I watched the show was just recently – back in January – and even I learned some valuable things from the program. It’s not a series only meant for kids. It’s meant for viewers of all ages.
But I got a really weird feeling the very instant I clicked play on Girl Meets World season one episode one. You can tell just in the opening sequence alone that it’s a Disney Channel series and that’s definitely one of the show’s biggest problems. Boy Meets World was not afraid to be bold and discuss some subject matter that may get a little bit uncomfortable. The show had an entire episode about the dangers of alcohol, abuse, and many, many more.
In Girl Meets World, characters that once felt like real people such as Cory and Topanga, feel a little bit reduced to cartoon characters. Don’t get me wrong – every single time these two were on screen it was an absolute delight. It was genuinely heartwarming to see a grown-up Cory Matthews as a school teacher and Topanga as a lawyer.
They don’t feel overly animated in every scene, but they do feel that way quite a bit. There are some moments of goodness sprinkled throughout bits and pieces of their characters here, and gratefully, the Cory and Topanga we know and love are still mostly intact here. They don’t feel like completely different characters at the end of the day.
And the show is quite funny to watch and there were plenty of episodes that caused me to laugh and feel emotional, but it never comes close to hitting the emotional highs that its predecessor seemed to hit in every episode.
Along the way, I did feel an attachment to the two protagonists of the series Riley Matthews and Maya Hart and they are by far the greatest aspect of the show. Their friendship is seriously infectious and an absolute delight to watch. In real life, Carpenter and Blanchard are great friends and it’s very clear by watching Girl Meets World that their chemistry and love for one another is just as strong on television as it is in the real world.
Nostalgia is something that a lot of franchises are running on these days and it’s been dividing people for years. Some argue that nostalgia in films such as The Force Awakens is just a distraction from the fact that the film or show has no actual plot, and so the filmmakers are just trying to win audiences over by showing a fan-favorite character from years ago in the hopes that they will get happy and remember better days.
I personally don’t mind nostalgia like this in shows and movies, as long as there is an actual storyline to follow in addition to that. Girl Meets World is a fun show to watch with some entertaining storylines along the way and yes, it does bring back nearly every single major Boy Meets World character.
Seeing a grown-up Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong) was particularly interesting and his arc here is one that was immensely rewarding and will prove to be highly beloved by fans of his character in the 90s.
Old relationships are rekindled and the world in Girl Meets World feels surprisingly lived in for a Disney Channel show. Although it never holds a candle to the excellence of the show that came before it, this is nevertheless a sequel show that Boy Meets World fans should definitely check out, just to finally get some closure and see what’s next for Cory, Topanga, and their kids.
Overall Grade: B
Network: Disney Channel