‘A League of Their Own’ series is a stellar update to a classic story

I fear I might need to take a break from TV for a while—after watching the new Amazon Prime series “A League of Their Own,” I’m not sure anything I move on to could ever compare. The show is a complete triumph and left me frantically googling any confirmation of a second season . The series is a fictionalized account of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, an all-women’s baseball league that was started when many male players were fighting in World War II. The show was inspired by the 1992 movie of the same name, and just like in the film, the story focuses on the Rockford Peaches team. 

The new “A League of Their Own” does a fantastic job of developing multiple characters’ storylines without ever making the plot feel disjointed. All of the Peaches players are equally compelling characters, all coming together to fight for a spot in the League championship.The main character, Carson Shaw (played by the show’s creator Abbi Jacobson) discovers her sexuality and gains confidence as a baseball player. Greta Gill, her love interest, goes through her own journey as she learns to feel comfortable with her role on the team and grapples with her past. We also follow Max Chapman, a talented Black pitcher barred from trying out for the League because of her race. Over the course of the show, Max fights for a chance to play baseball professionally, supports and is supported by her best friend, Clance, and wrestles with the tensions between her mother’s expectations and her own desire for independence and self-expression. 

Of course, it’s impossible to talk about the show without talking about the iconic movie that inspired it. While the characters are all different, many moments derive inspiration from the film. There’s the “Victory Song” sung by all the teammates, which made me shed a tear because it plays such an important emotional role in the original movie. There’s the presence of Rosie O’Donnell, who played a Rockford Peach in the original and now plays the owner of a gay bar that several of the team members visit. But the biggest throughline is the focus on family—both biological and chosen. In the movie, the central relationship is between two sisters who play on the team together, but the whole group becomes a kind of family and supports each other throughout the story. In the series, Greta and her best friend Jo are a beautiful testament to the found families that queer people form in the face of rejection. Max’s reconnection with her transmasculine uncle Bertie allows her to meet someone who can fill a parental role in her queer journey and helps her to connect with Rockford’s Black LGBTQ+ community.

The unabashed queerness of the series is the starkest contrast with the film. Many viewers have commented on the delight they experienced when they found out that “A League of Their Own” featured not just one central gay relationship, but many LGBTQ+ key characters. And while the series doesn’t shy away from the danger the characters face for being themselves, it also depicts their joyful moments—moments of connection with queer elders, playful friendships, whirlwind first-time romances and liberating dance parties. The series is one of the first I’ve seen that not only acknowledges the existence of queer characters in history, but depicts a vast spectrum of experiences within the LGBTQ+ community. 

The film version starts and ends with older versions of the main characters going to a reunion for former players in the women’s baseball league. The ending is a famous tearjerker, as the players look at photos of their past selves, whom viewers have just gotten to know over the course of the movie. Unlike in the film, the series has yet to  zoom out to the present to show elderly women looking back on their past glory. Because of this, the show doesn’t feel reminiscent—it feels relevant. Despite the series being set in the 1940s, the characters and their lives are accessible, compelling and fresh. As a fan of the movie and someone who’s always looking for queer stories in media, I wholeheartedly enjoyed this show, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new take on a classic story.

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