Girl Meets World Series Premiere Review: “Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)



Disney decided to give fans a treat this weekend and released the pilot of their latest sitcom, Girl Meets World, online. The show is a follow-up to the popular teen comedy Boy Meets World, which aired as part of ABC’s second wave of TGIF shows in the mid-90’s, so many of the parents of today’s Disney generation should be fairly familiar with the original story.

Girl Meets World follows Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga’s (Danielle Fishel) daughter Riley (Rowan Blanchard), as she attempts to figure out what it means to be her own person and finally step out of her father’s shadow. Thankfully, the writers didn’t try to recreate the wheel with this show, and instead went with a lot of the same motifs that were involved in the original series, meaning there are a decent number of parallels that run between the two.

Like her father, Riley spends most of her time with her best friend and resident troublemaker, Maya (Sabrina Carpenter). We don’t see a lot of Maya’s backstory come through in the pilot, which is not too surprising (this is Girl Meets World, not Girls Meet World), but it’s already plain to see that she comes from a troubled household. Given the fact that Girl Meets World is airing on Disney Channel, as opposed to the original airing on ABC, those issues will almost certainly not be as extreme as those that were present in the home of Cory’s best friend, Shawn (Rider Strong). Still, the new show is clearly trying to establish a connection between Maya and Shawn. And by establish a connection, I mean knock you over the head with one.

And you can’t have a Shawn without a Topanga – or in this case, a Maya without a Lucas (Peyton Meyer). Riley may only be in middle school, but she’s already developed a healthy interest in the opposite sex, and Lucas seems poised to serve as her love interest for many years to come.

Another blatant connection between Girl Meets World and its predecessor is Riley’s strong family structure. Cory and Topanga, in keeping with the end of Boy Meets World, live in New York City with Riley and her brother Auggie (August Maturo). The pair has obviously come a long way since audiences last saw them, over a decade ago, as Cory is now a middle school history teacher (much to his daughter’s dismay) and Topanga works at the New York City law firm she was originally offered an internship at in Boy‘s series finale.

While parts of the pilot episode were a little disjointed and hard to believe, fans of both the Disney Channel and Boy Meets World should be able to agree that the network’s somewhat successful efforts to recreate and modernize the characters and feel of Boy Meets World weren’t wasted. Girl Meets World is a cute and witty series, to say the least, and it shouldn’t have much trouble finding an audience. Releasing the pilot early was a smart move on Disney’s part, and should work to build up the anticipation for what will likely be an enjoyable show for both fans of Boy Meets World and newcomers to the franchise.

Girl Meets World premieres on the Disney Channel on June 27th.