The first episode of the long-anticipated Girl Meets World finally premieres on Friday night. So what does that mean? Are the nostalgic dreams of all those who grew up with the original Boy Meets World destined to be crushed when they sit down to watch the first 22 minutes of the next gen? Will current youngsters latch onto this show the same way so many did when the original started airing in 1993?
Having watched the pilot, I feel confident in saying that Girl Meets World is exactly what it needs to be. It should be noted, though, that it is a Disney Channel show. That's a different rubric than the vast majority of what airs on ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, or even The CW: This is kid's television, and in this case, it's practically mandated to be saccharine and morally heavy-handed. But that doesn't mean its sweetness isn't palatable, or lovable.
The first episode of Girl Meets World focuses on the beginning of the coming of age story of Riley Matthews, daughter to legendary '90s TV couple Cory and Topanga. She is in middle school and constantly shadowed by her best friend, a rebellious kid with a sketchy family life who Riley must pull out of trouble. The genders are swapped, but you get the picture: Riley's pretty much right where her dad was with Sean when we first met them over a decade ago, and the torch has been passed.
Girl Meets World is thoroughly sweet with two strong leading ladies and, yes, a strong bent toward nostalgia whenever Cory Matthews is on the screen. You can see it in his eyes every time he looks at his daughter: He recognizes himself, and his friends, and his journey. And who knows, if this series really commits to itself, Girl Meets World could have what it takes to grow with the current generation the way that Boy Meets World did with the previous one.
Image: Disney Channel