Star Rating:

A League Of Their Own 15

Streaming On: Watch A League Of Their Own on Amazon Prime

Season: 1

Episode: 8

Actors: Abbi Jacobson, D'Arcy Carden, Nick Offerman

Release Date: Thursday 11th August 2022

Genre(s): Comedy, Drama, Sports

Running time: 400 minutes

One of the more frustrating aspects of remaking and reimagining existing movies and TV shows is there's this constant push-and-pull between honouring and ignoring the source material. Do you slavishly replicate every facet of it, do you strike out boldly into new territory with the framework that came before, or do you try the highwire act of doing both? Watching the first few episodes of Prime Video's reimagining/remaking of 'A League Of Their Own', you really struggle to put Penny Marshall's 1992 sports comedy out of your mind.

Abbi Jacobson, who writes as well as stars in this, has some commonality with Geena Davis' character - but she isn't her and her story ultimately ends up in a completely different place. Rosie O'Donnell does turn up, but she's not playing her character at all. More pointedly, much of the series is split into two distinct stories - one follows the Rockford Peaches, the other follows Chanté Adams' character Max, a black woman who is refused a chance to play for them and her own attempts to get onto the pitch by any means necessary. In the original movie, there's a key scene where an unnamed black woman throws the baseball back onto the field and stings the hand of one of the players. The black woman silently nods to Geena Davis' character, acknowledging the fact that black women were refused entry to the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

The new series sets out to rectify this by telling that story, and it's frequently the better of the two main threads throughout the series. In fact, you almost get the sense that the writers put more weight and effort into that than the rest of it. This of course begs the question as to why you'd even bother doing a remake/reimagining of 'A League Of Their Own', and not simply go out and make something original and unique so as not to be bound or beholden to it.

All this aside, 'A League Of Their Own' is enjoyable and good fun. The cast assembled is the likely mixture of personalities you'd expect - Abbi Jacobson plays an Idaho housewife who flees her home to become a baseball player, 'The Good Place' breakout D'Arcy Carden is a smooth-talking operator, Kelly McCormack plays a no-nonsense "tomboy" type, Kate Berlant plays an overly sensitive, high-strung type, Melanie Field plays the Rosie O'Donnell-type role from the original, and on it goes. They're all vaguely familiar characters from the original, almost as if they've been written by someone who had the movie on in the background and caught the general shape of them. Even Nick Offerman's coach, replacing Tom Hanks, has some aspects of his character, but then plays it vastly differently.

If you've never watched the original movie, chances are you'll have a better time with this than someone who has and keeps trying to connect it with the original. If Prime Video continues on with another season, the best thing to do would be to simply move the whole thing to another team and start completely fresh so as to avoid comparisons.