[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
In rebooting A League of Their Own for an episodic series, it would have been easy to just expand on the film with the narrative that it pursued back in 1992. Instead, Prime Video’s reimagined version, conceived by Abbi Jacobson and Will Graham, keeps the framing notion of women baseball players for the Rockford Peaches during World War II and then goes off on two paths — one following the lives and loves of the women in the uniform, and the other of the women who weren’t allowed to play.
Jacobson, who is also co-showrunner and writer for the show, plays Carson, who flees her rural life for the opportunity to play ball and finds not only that adventure, but a new definition of self when freed from the constraints of a life that she settled into but didn’t necessarily choose. Chanté Adams is Max, a Rockford local and second-generation beautician who is desparate to play ball but the segregated all-white league won’t even let her try out
Carson is our point of entry into the Peaches, populated by an assortment of women who have their own reasons for pursuing the game.
- Greta (D’Arcy Carden) — an LA-bound bombshell whose inner life and outer life are at odds and who lives by a carefully calibrated set of safety rules
- Jo (Melanie Field) — Greta’s bolder BFF who’s brassy and takes no bullshit on or off the field
- Shirley (Kate Berlant) — the judgy-in-spite-of-herseff stats whiz
- Lupe (Roberta Calindrez) — the pitcher who has a killer arm and an even more lethal mouth
- Jess (Kelly McCormack) — a Canadian import who just wants to play ball without all the quid pro quo required to keep the league owners happy
- Esti (Priscilla Delgado) — the teenage phenom who can outrun everyone but feels left out because she doesn’t speak English
- Maybelle (Molly Ephraim) — a would-be pinup who is enjoying every moment of the fan club that comes with playing ball
- Beverly (Dale Dickey) — the ladies auxiliary chaperone who loves her girls but still has to toe a certain line
Also look for Rosie O’Donnell as Vi, whose bar is a safe space in Rockford; Patrick J. Adams as Carson’s husband, Charlie; Nick Offerman as Dove, a former MLB star assigned to coach; and Nat Faxon of The Connors as Marshall, a rep for the league.
Rounding out Max’s world are:
- Clance (Gbemisola Ikumelo) — her BFF and an aspiring animator who’s hitting her own walls
- Gary (Kendall Johnson) — her longtime friend who’d like to be more
- Toni (Saidah Arrika Ekulona) — her mom, who can’t fathom Max not following the path she carved out for her
- Edgar (Alex Désert) — her dad and true BFF who champions her love of the game
- Guy (Aaron Jennings) — Clance’s husband, who’s facing a deployment
- Bertie (Lea Robinson) — her aunt, a kindred spirit who made a choice that fractured the family
Over the course of the eight-episode season, we follow the women on and off the baseball field as they navigate and rail against issues of gender, race, and identity while trying to be true to themselves during a time when keeping quiet and laying low were the safer paths.
It’s a rich season-long arc that gives all of the characters a chance to shine, a remarkable feat considering the size of the cast and essentially a six-and-change-hour roadmap. I hope we get to see all of them again.
A League of Their Own premieres all eight episodes at 12:01 am ET on August 12th on Prime Video. Here is a sneak peek. In case you missed it, my exclusive conversation with Kelly McCormack is here.
Photos and video courtesy of Prime Video.
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