#FIRSTLOOK: “A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN” (2022)
By Mr. Will Wong
We absolutely adore Penny Marshall‘s A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. The 1992 Sports Dramedy about All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Team, the Rockford Peaches, will always hold a special place in my heart. Living-up to that legacy really is a tall order and after a failed 1993 TV Series, this 2022 eight epsodes at one-hour-each reboot looks to give us all the things we love about the original Film, but also tell some of the untold stories its acclaimed Predecessor didn’t tell.
At first glance, the Series appears a very faithful remake of the original Film but before the end of the first episode, we realize there were story lines the original didn’t dare go. Though the Series doesn’t quite have that same bright energy the Film has, over eight episodes, we get a chance to let these Actors tell these women’s stories about how baseball changed their lives and the time they lived in, during World War II.
At the core of the story is Broad City’s magnetic Abbi Jacobson as Carson Shaw, teased for her dowdiness. But quickly, with a new hairdo and a spot among the Peaches, she begins to find her own purpose rising as a leader among the girls. And there might even be a sexual awakening to be had as well. We meet a new character in Max (Chanté Adams), a young black woman who struggles to land a spot because of the colour of her skin, despite a smashing try-out and having the credentials, playing regularly with male counterparts. Greta (D’Arcy Carden) has plenty of sass to balance Carson‘s calm, while Nick Offerman leads the team as Casey Porter who’s looking to get himself back on-the-map.
Though the Series doesn’t hit quite the same notes emotionally the original does, and at moments it feels outside the era it’s set, there are bright spots and fans of the original Film will appreciate that this Series gets the space and time to properly tell these women’s stories. The Series’ focus on the struggles these women face being taken seriously – and ultimately winning their naysayers over – yet are expected to adhere to gender standards of the day rings true like the original, but it goes a layer deeper with its thoughtful exploration of race relations and sexual identity among these women. And this in itself makes it warrant a watch because it’s saying something new. Be patient, you might even notice a few exciting familiar faces sprinkled throughout the Series!
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN arrives August 12, 2022 on Prime Video Canada.