‘Girl Meets World’ delivers on nostalgia

Spinoffs are often sloppy and short-lived. The bigger the show, the bigger disaster it seems to be (looking at you, “Joey”). Which is why when the Disney Channel announced its plans to revive the cult classic “Boy Meets World,” ‘90s kids cringed.

Nostalgia for the ’90s has been in full force with Justin Timberlake performing with his *NSYNC bandmates at last year’s VMAs and Beyoncé with Destiny’s Child at the Super Bowl. Still, bringing back a show the caliber of BMW is daunting. If the pilot episode of “Girl Meets World” is any indication of future episodes, then Disney has a polished show worthy of both new audiences and fans that grew up with the original.

The coming-of-age tale follows the same format of BMW, but this time the focus is on a new Matthews child — Riley (Rowan Blanchard), the daughter of Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga Matthews (Danielle Fishel). The new generation includes 5-year-old Auggie (August Maturo).

The series finale of BMW left us with the couple moving to New York for Topanga to attend law school at New York University. GMW picks up with the family living in the Big Apple where Cory works as a history teacher and Topanga is a lawyer.

Riley possesses the same benevolent and innocent nature as Cory did in BMW. Much like Cory’s best friend Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong), Riley has a troubled and intrepid sidekick, Maya Hart (Sabrina Carpenter). Cory spent the greater part of his childhood saving while simultaneously trying to be like Shawn, something that Riley is now doing with Maya.

Cory’s mentor, George Feeny (William Daniels), is a large influence on him. Following in his footsteps not only with his career path, the omnipresence of the beloved teacher is clear with Cory now sharing Feeny-isms with Riley and Maya. The pilot includes a cameo from Mr. Feeny, which is reason enough to tune in.

Later in the season, the show will feature appearances by Cory’s parents, Alan (William Russ) and Amy (Betsy Randle). Strong will also be reprising his role as Shawn in future episodes.

While GMW is geared toward current Disney Channel watchers, it has enough elements of the classic to attract 20-somethings into watching it. With its subtle throwbacks to BMW (spoiler: Stuart Minkus (Lee Norris) is the father of Cory’s quirky student, Farkle (Corey Fogelmanis)), it will be a revisitation of childhood for older viewers. With BMW creator and producer Michael Jacobs in charge of GMW, it might just beat the spinoff curse.

“Girl Meets World” premieres Friday on the Disney Channel.

Reach the reporter at jurgiles@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @MrsMathers94