Boy Meets World joined the ABC network's successful "TGIF" lineup in 1993, and instantly distinguished itself from the dewy-eyed hokum that passes for much family viewing with its relative sophistication, emotional complexity, and smart, stylish dialogue. In a way, Boy Meets World, starring Ben Savage, picked up where ABC's The Wonder Years (1988-1993), featuring older brother Fred Savage, left off. Both shows looked at the world from the point of view of largely unformed and untested boys as they faced dilemmas concerning love, loyalty, and ethics within their families, among friends, and at school. But where The Wonder Years was an arch and poignant series with nostalgic, grown-up appeal--and which had a young hero often at a loss for words--BMW looked more like a broader, conventional sitcom where chatter never ceased. The show was and is more easily taken for granted, but its unusual gracefulness and wit can't be denied after a couple of viewings.
Boy Meets World lasted seven seasons, and one of the real pleasures of following the series is that its story and character changes are largely organic, rather than forced by cast departures or other pressures. Thus the auspicious first meeting of Savage's 11-year-old Cory Matthews and his classmate Topanga (Danielle Fishel) in season 1 leads, quite sweetly and logically, to a deeper relationship in subsequent seasons. Cory's attachment to his formidable yet compassionate 6th-grade teacher, Mr. Feeny (William Daniels in a tailor-made performance), who also happens to be Cory's neighbor, grows and deepens as Feeny eventually becomes the principal at Cory's high school and a mentor beyond. Season 1 also introduces Cory's likeable father (William Russ), a grocery store manager, and mother (Betsy Randle), a homemaker and realtor, as well as appealing siblings Eric (Will Friedle) and Morgan (Lindsay Ridgeway) and best friend Shawn (Rider Strong). A slightly surreal tone (a little similar to Family Ties) keeps the jokes coming, but BMW is at its most touching when Cory's awareness of and empathy for the needs of others expands. --Tom Keogh
Go back to the beginning with Cory, Topanga, Shawn and all your favorite characters in Boy Meets World's hilarious first season. With the help of his family and his teacher, Mr. Feeny, Cory (Ben Savage) explores life, relationships and the strange, wild world of sixth grade.