It unfolds primarily through two stories: Carson (Abby Jacobson, who co-created the series with Will Graham), who runs away from home while her husband is serving to play and comes to some important realizations about herself; And Max (Chante Adams), who has a killer fastball but stays out of the majors until after the war because black people are kept out of the women’s league.
Mostly, the series reminds us that the good ol’ days weren’t good for everyone — the male announcer exclaims, “These diamond girls are still housewives at heart!” — Capturing the ignorance that surrounds disadvantaged groups, one straight woman worries about being around gay people, which is said to “spread like a flu.”
Essentially, the producers have traded in the nostalgia factor that inspired the original to look more adamantly at the romantic portrayal of those years, and in that last case, that meant a black or gay woman. Norms and underground clubs lived in fear of police raids at a moment’s notice.
Rosie O’Donnell has a brief cameo, serving as a nod to the film, but to their credit, Jacobson and Graham clearly set out to build something new and unique around the equity in the title.
Especially with a narrative pace that moves as fast as a bunt down the third-base line in the first half of eight episodes. Things pick up after relationships are built and this “league” ends on a note that hints at the promise of more baseball in its future.
Inevitably building toward a bigger game, “A League of Their Own” doesn’t go down as an unqualified success at the box score — it’s basically a solid single — but an interesting idea for the producers, slickly constructed, feels a bit overextended and slowly spread over eight episodes. As for the streaming realm, that’s a league, frankly, in which the show has plenty of company.
“A League of Their Own” premieres August 12 on Amazon Prime.