Abbi Jacobson, Rae Gray, D'Arcy Carden, and Melanie Field in Amazon's 'A League of Their Own'.

Amazon’s ‘A League of Their Own’ Is a Thrilling, Essential Reboot

5/5 baseballs.

Despite what Hollywood would tell us, not every reboot is necessary. While nostalgia has an enduring hold on fans of an original film or series, some stories are fine and finished as they are. But that’s not enough to deter studios from the chance at striking gold twice with a piece of beloved intellectual property. Some reboots however, are deeply necessary and merit a remake. Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is a perfect example, offering a brilliant and culturally authentic retelling by casting Latine actors in Latine roles.

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A League of Their Own makes a winning case for itself by expanding on the critically acclaimed 1992 film. The Amazon series, co-written and co-executive produced by Broad City‘s Abbi Jacobson and Mozart in the Jungle‘s Will Graham, delivers on all the heart and humor that made the original a classic. But where it excels is in its authentic and deeply moving exploration of racism and queerness in the 1940s. Both topics are shied away from in the film, but they are brought to the forefront in the series.

The series follows the Rockford Peaches, a team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), a real baseball league created in1943 to provide sports entertainment while male athletes were fighting in World War II. But its an all new cast of characters, led by Carson Shaw (Jacobson) a Nebraska housewife who joins the team while her husband is overseas. There, she meets savvy best friends Greta (D’Arcy Carden) and Jo (Melanie Field), and the rest of the women at team tryouts. Viewers also meet Max (Chanté Adams), a Black ball player who isn’t allowed to try out due to her race.

As the teams are formed and we get to know the Rockford Peaches, the series splits its focus: half on the team, and half on Max’s journey to find a team to play for. Max’s world is richly developed, including her best friend (and scene stealer) Clance (Gbemisola Ikumelo), a comic book nerd and aspiring illustrator. The storylines run parallel to one another, as the team comes together while Max struggles to decide whether or not she should keep playing baseball or take over her mother’s salon. Racism is also explored within the Peaches, as Latine players Lupe (Roberta Colindrez) and Esti (Priscilla Delgado) fight to carve out space for themselves outside of stereotypes.

The stories are tied together via a friendship between Max and Carson. But the larger ties are the societal expectations placed on these women, and their own stories of sexuality and gender identity. The series is unabashedly queer, with multiple queer storylines and characters. A League of Their Own delves into the importance of queer friendships and community, as well as the very real threat that being outed carries. An especially poignant episode explores the world of underground gay bars, with Rosie O’Donnell making a cameo as a lesbian bar owner.

While the show’s bifurcated approach to storytelling is unusual, it works thanks to the richness and compelling nature of both worlds. Both stories have fantastic casts, brilliant performances, and build out their culture with strong storytelling. The series does a terrific job of channeling the feel-good vibes of the original film without drowning in meta references. A League of Their Own simply knocks it out of the park, and the results are heartwarming to watch. Finally, a reboot that lives up to the legacy of its predecessor.

 A League of Their Own premieres on August 12 on Amazon Prime Video.

(featured image: Amazon Prime Studios)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.