Inspired by the 1988 comedy of the same name, “The Wonder Years” returns in 1968, starring Sean Semblow as Dean Williams and Lillian Williams.
Music plays a major role in the show, as Dean’s father’s character is a hard-working musician, and co-composers Jacob Effie and Rohan Hilton were tasked with creating a sonic landscape to connect the story with the era.
“Our hope is that people feel the humanity of music,” Effie said. “It’s important to us that every piece can perform without the use of‘ Studio Magic ’except for the band. In the world of shows, Dad has his own band, and our view is that the whole score can be performed by that band. So we are using instruments that were then common in jazz, funk, soul and R&B. It’s exciting because this era is one of my favorites in terms of music, so painting with these words is a real gift. “
Hilton added: “When we heard that Bill Williams (Dean’s father, played by Dully Hill) was a jazz musician and Saladin K.
Although the original series resonated with the growing number of music-makers, they were thrilled to be able to present the story of Dean Williams’ upcoming age in today’s tick-tock crowd and beyond. Hilton says: “What’s really nice is that a new generation of kids will share the same experience, and for many of those kids, it will be the first time the family has looked like them on screen.”
The show’s rich musical canvas allows the duo to explore a variety of voices and vocals from the 1960s, ranging from funk rhythms and grooves, to jazz musicians, R&B and the heart of the soul. From Aretha Franklin and Bill Withers to Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye, “many voices embodying the consciousness of the sixties” serve as their inspiration, Hilton suggests.
“The challenge is always to find a way to channel the sounds of those records, but it works as a score,” Effie said. “Everything can’t be big and bold, so it has to work in a subtle way that doesn’t take a scene.”
See a behind-the-scenes feature above.
“The Wonder Years” airs on ABC on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.