THE SHOW "Girl Meets World"
WHEN | WHERE Premieres tomorrow at 9:45 p.m. (regular time 8:30 p.m. starts July 11) on Disney Channel
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Ah, yes, TGIF -- ABC's much-loved family comedy block of the 1990s, home to the warm and wacky kids, parents and Urkels of "Full House" and "Family Matters." Plus a little seven-season sitcom called "Boy Meets World," which ended its original run in 2000. It's not like this coming-of-age tween fave is nostalgically revered or anything, having been released twice on DVD, with tube repeats running pretty much all the time.
But tube TVs have been surpassed by flat screens, laptops, tablets and smartphones. And the pilot of "Girl Meets World" -- the hit's new 14-years-later sequel -- has been streaming for a month already. The kids who care probably downloaded it long before tomorrow's Disney cable debut.
It's not like there's much surprise anyway. "Girl Meets World" is a "Boy Meets World" gender-flip update with next-generation kids. Young '90s lovebirds Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel) have grown into adults living in lower Manhattan to raise Riley (Rowan Blanchard), their eager-to-spread-wings tween daughter. She takes the subway with rebel best friend Maya (Sabrina Carpenter) and transplanted Texas cutie Lucas (Peyton Meyer), while oddball Farkle (Corey Fogelmanis) helps juice classroom humor.
Where '90s Cory learned a lot from wise teacher Mr. Feeny (William Daniels), Riley has dad imparting history at John Quincy Adams Middle School. He's an old hand in life lessons discovered through soft-edged identity dilemmas. And heartfelt family support. And superfluous slapstick.
MY SAY The premiere also has one Deadly. Laugh. Track. Disney should be sent to detention for passing off such aural plasticity, unfairly fouling the repute of the live-audience sitcom. (For organic laughs, try "I Love Lucy" or "The Dick Van Dyke Show.")
But the rest of "Girl Meets World" does its job of bringing tween-based family viewing into the 2010s. "Boy" star Savage is loose enough as Dad to seem a modern adult, and "Girl" Blanchard feels cute/clever/confused. "Boy" co-creator Michael Jacobs also runs this new show after scripting the pilot, probably with one hand behind his back.
BOTTOM LINE See what your 21st century kid thinks.