Wonder Years: Volume One [VHS] [VHS Tape] (1988) Fred Savage; Daniel Stern
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These first two episodes of the charming and perceptive series The Wonder Years are an appropriate setup for the uninitiated and a must-have for fans. The original pilot introduces Kevin (Fred Savage), his best friend Paul (Josh Saviano), his childhood playmate and budding girlfriend, Winnie (Danica McKellar), and his typical late-1960s, early-'70s family: older brother and nemesis Wayne (Jason Hervey), beautiful liberal sister Karen (Olivia d'Abo), mother (Alley Mills), and father (Dan Lauria). Kevin and his friends are entering Robert F. Kennedy Junior High School, Winnie gets contacts, her brother Brian (Bentley Mitchum) is killed in Vietnam, and Kevin and Winnie share a first kiss. The opener also features some fantastic music (the Byrds' "Turn, Turn, Turn," Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now," Tommy James and the Shondells' "Crystal Blue Persuasion," and Percy Sledge's "When A Man Loves a Woman")--a trademark of the series. Great music (Buffalo Springfield, Aaron Neville, Judy Collins) also highlights "Swinger," which follows with Brian's funeral and Kevin and his pals' growing obsession with sex, fueled by their curiosity with Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask. Daniel Stern's narration is warm and engaging and the voice-over is never intrusive. This series continues to be enchanting because of its ability to mix comedy and pathos, as well as infuse a sense of dignity and history in a period many consider their most awful years. --N.F. Mendoza
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