Prime Video's new A League of Their Own series has pulled off a feat as rare as a perfect game: a critical success that's also dominating the charts. And to pull that off with a reboot of sorts, when you're treading in tricky waters where people might have high hopes?
Released on Friday (August 12), the new A League of Their Own series jumped onto the top of the Prime Video most-watched series list per FlixPatrol — unseating the Chris Pratt-led military drama The Terminal List.
The Terminal List (which itself unseated The Boys, one of the best shows on Prime Video) was Amazon's most popular show for a total of 42 days. A League of Their Own has held that top spot down since Saturday (August 13), the day after it came out.
But sheer popularity is far from a complete metric for measuring a TV series or show. This is where the critics come in, as the cast and crew that brought the Rockford Peaches (and their friends and acquaintances) to life are being showered with praise at the moment. A League of Their Own currently has a score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, going up from 94% over the weekend.
All of the above are good indicators that you should watch if you haven't already, but let's break this all down to see if A League of Their Own is a show for your own queue.
What is A League of Their Own (2022) all about?
Prime Video's A League of Their Own adapts Penny Marshall's 1992 film of the same name, but it only keeps some of the original elements. These Rockford Peaches are emerging during World War II as the need for men in the military is pulling guys out of MLB games, the Peaches' manager is still a rough former ball-player and they're still funded by a candy magnate.
Once you get to the lineup, though, you see how everything's different. Carson Shaw (Abbi Jacobson) is the star of the show, and looks to be the Peaches' catcher. She's joined on field by pitcher Lupe García (Roberta Colindrez) who has a hell of an arm and the two women Carson meets on her way to tryouts: slugger Jo Deluca (Melanie Field) and the charming Greta Gill (D'Arcy Carden). Oh, and their coach is Casey "Dove" Porter (Nick Offerman), a former ballplayer himself.
But that's not the only story of the series. Unlike the film, Prime Video's A League of Their Own also focuses on the struggles faced by women of color trying to break through segregation in baseball. That plight is viewed through Maxine "Max" Chapman, who faces struggle everywhere she goes.
Throughout the series, though, we learn that the Peaches' struggles to get a win isn't their only difficulty. A League of Their Own is also about being gay in the 1940's. Multiple characters in the show are struggling with life in the closet, and fearful of how their families and society will reject them.
A League of Their Own (2022) reviews: What critics think
As noted above the consensus around A League of Their Own is phenomenally positive, with a strong 95% Rotten Tomatoes score. Kristen Baldwin at Entertainment Weekly commends the show for building "a diverse and three-dimensional world to tell the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, whereas the film — wonderful as it is — could only show us the Hollywood-glossy surface."
Rebecca Nicholson at The Guardian states that even though she is writing "as a fan of the film," the series "feels like a more complete version of the story. It is as touching as it is funny, even if it turns out that there is crying in baseball, after all."
Daniel D'Addario at Variety compliments the series as offering "strong performances throughout a deep ensemble and a winning eagerness to be openly, earnestly emotional — this show is suffused with the unironic softheartedness that distinguished Jacobson from her comedy partner Ilana Glazer on Broad City." He also notes that the dialogue can sometimes feel a bit too modern, making "its characters so far ahead of their time that they sometimes seem to be from nowhere."
At IndieWire, Ben Travers is less effusive, noting that "A League of Their Own is burdened by outsized expectations, and that can magnify every bump in the road. But most of its first season problems are common issues for freshman TV shows, and the Prime Video original smooths out with each passing episode."
Should you watch A League of Their Own (2022) tonight?
I'll explain more about why I love this A League of Their Own in a later piece, but I have been raving about this show to everyone who can stand my presence since I watched it this past weekend.
If you want an ensemble comedy/drama that has a sprinkling of sports — it's more plot device than the soul of the show — much like Ted Lasso, then Prime Video's A League of Their Own is right for you. This series will especially strike a chord with anyone who's been waiting for something to fill GLOW's space on TV since its abrupt late 2020 cancelation.