To skip or not to skip: Is A League of Their Own worth watching?

League of Their Own -- Courtesy of Prime Video
League of Their Own -- Courtesy of Prime Video /

A League of Their Own, the new Prime Video series based on the 1992 film of the same name starring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks, is a period sports dramedy inspired by the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

It’s 1943 in the show and, while American men are being drafted and sent to fight in World War II, American women are stepping into roles traditionally held by men, in factories and on the field.

The league, which aims to entertain the masses with America’s favorite pastime, is an opportunity for young women (married or single) to become professional ball players and do their part in the war effort by bringing joy and excitement to the public.

They still have to uphold traditional gender roles (at least publicly) and are supposed to be a shining example of femininity in sports. This means no swearing, no lewdness, no displays of masculinity (including wearing pants), and more. Basically, they’re supposed to pretty up baseball and take harassment with a smile on their faces and nothing else.

Of course, that’s not entirely possible, but these ball players will do what they must to achieve their dream of playing professionally. However, A League of Their Own is more than what’s described above.

Yes, the characters deal with sexism and misogyny in baseball just like their counterparts from the original film, but the series breaks out of the mold of its predecessor to expand the history being told in its eight episode run.

Is A League of Their Own worth watching?

A League of Their Own puts marginalized identities in the driver’s seat of the series. It’s a split narrative that follows Carson Shaw (Abbi Jacobson, star and co-creator of the show with Will Graham), the Rockford Peaches’ catcher, and Max Chapman (Chanté Adams), a pitcher whose race and gender are impeding her ability to even join a team let alone play professionally.

Carson, prone to going along with what’s expected of her, tries out for the Peaches without letting her husband, Charlie, know she’s going to do so. He’s fighting in the war, and she seizes the chance to take up space in a way she’s never done before. Making this leap of faith puts her on the same path as Greta Gill (D’Arcy Carden), a fellow Peach who pushes Carson to step fully into herself and her abilities.

As their connection deepens so, too, does their attraction and feelings for one another. Greta opens Carson’s eyes to possibilities she didn’t know were available to her and, in the process, she begins to learn that she’s more than she’s ever given herself a chance to be.

League of Their Own — Courtesy of Prime Video
League of Their Own — Courtesy of Prime Video /

But, while Carson’s dreams are coming true, Max is simply trying to get her shot. She’s got a wicked arm, but she’s Black which means she doesn’t “count” as an All-American girl. The local factory team won’t take her because she’s not a man, and if Max can’t get anyone to see her potential, she could end up running her mother’s hair salon.

Becoming a respected businesswoman wouldn’t be a terrible life, but it’s not the one Max wants. She’s not willing to give up on the dream of becoming a professional baseball player. And, with the help of her comics nerd and wickedly talented artist of a best friend, Clance Morgan (Gbemisola Ikumelo), Max fights to hold onto a goal that seems to be slipping from her grasp.

Like Carson, Max is a queer woman navigating a world that wants to box her in and dictate how far she can go in life, but she has more obstacles in her way and more to overcome.

A League of Their Own is essentially the tale of America from the perspective of those who don’t often get to see their stories realized on the big or small screen. It’s an intimate slice of American history that’s honest about the limitations placed on those who aren’t white, cis, straight men set within the confines of the ’40s during wartime.

But the series is by no means dry. Nor does it traffic through trauma with a voyeur’s lens looking to carve out the horror of what the government and the American public has done to its least protected citizens to put it on display and be consumed.

This is a period piece about everyday people, predominately women, making history. It takes place during an extraordinary point in time when social norms were forced to relax and change was ushered in due to a desperate need for bodies in the workforce and a desire for a sense of some kind of normalcy.

What this show does right is let its characters be both flawed and warm. They encourage one another and at times tear one another down. They’re selfish and selfless. It opens the door for other stories to be told, for other points in American history to be referenced–revivals, the Negro Leagues, underground gay clubs, women working in factories, comics, trans masculinity and, of course, women on the baseball field.

A League of Their Own is also funny. Carson is one of the most awkwardly endearing characters on the small screen. The Peaches are a delight together. The banter between Max and Clance is unmatched. The show is romantic, not just in its ideals but also in its relationships. There’s a necessary core of friendship, family, and sisterhood that supports the range of stories unfolding in the series.

To be honest, this is one of the best shows on streaming right now and one of the best sports dramas ever committed to film. A League of Their Own hasn’t officially been greenlit for a season 2, but it’s my sincere hope this first outing isn’t the last we see of this cast of characters. What makes or breaks a sports drama is its heart and this show, which is partly a comedy, wears its heart on its sleeve.

Next. A League Of Their Own cast guide: Who is each actor playing?. dark

Stay tuned to Hidden Remote for more streaming news and coverage! All eight episodes of A League of Their Own are available to stream now on Prime Video.