A Different World

Watch A Different World

  • TV-PG
  • 1987
  • 6 Seasons
  • 6.9  (7,650)

A Different World was a highly popular American television show, produced by Carsey Werner and premiered in 1987. The show was a spin-off of the Cosby Show, focusing on the life of Denise Huxtable, played by Lisa Bonet, as she embarked on her college journey at the fictional Hillman College.

The show was centered on the lives of a group of students at the Historically Black College - Hillman College in Virginia. The show tackled serious issues, such as racism, sexism, and social inequality, while also exploring topics such as love, friendship, and self-discovery.

The show starred an ensemble cast of highly talented actors, which included Glynn Turman as Colonel Bradford Taylor, Marisa Tomei as Maggie Lauten, Loretta Devine as Stevie Rallen, Vernee Watson-Johnson as Winifred "Freddie" Brooks, Cree Summer as Winifred's half-sister, Summer, Mary Alice as Lettie Bostic, Dawnn Lewis as Jaleesa Vinson, Lou Myers as Vernon Gaines, Karen Malina White as Charmaine Brown, Ajai Sanders as Gina Deveaux, Darryl M. Bell as Ronald "Ron" Johnson, Charnele Brown as Kimberly Reese, Sinbad as Coach Walter Oakes, Ted Ross as Dr. Harris, Jasmine Guy as Whitley Gilbert, Kadeem Hardison as Dwayne Wayne, and Jada Pinkett Smith as Lena James.

One of the most distinct features of the show was its portrayal of African American characters in various forms of life. For instance, the cast was not only limited to college students but also included military veterans, non-traditional college students, and college staff, among others. This diversity allowed the show to tackle a range of issues and challenges from various perspectives.

Throughout the series, viewers watched as the characters navigated their way through college life while also tackling personal challenges. Dwayne Wayne, for instance, had to figure out how to balance his love life and academics, while Denise Huxtable attempted to redefine her identity outside of her famous family. Meanwhile, Whitley Gilbert attempted to figure out her place in the world while grappling with her feelings for Dwayne Wayne.

Despite dealing with serious issues, A Different World never lost its lightness or sense of humor, making it a show that could balance dramatic moments with comedic exchanges. This was due in part to the show's cast, made up of talented comic performers like Sinbad, who brought laughs to the show with his coach character.

The show also features great musical performances, with various music stars of the time such as Tupac Shakur, En Vogue, Erykah Badu, and Boyz II Men, among others, making appearances on the show.

A Different World was highly influential in its time, with many viewers citing it as an inspiration in their college lives. The show tackled issues that were relevant not just to African American college students but to all college students. It allowed viewers to see themselves in the struggles and triumphs of the characters and helped to humanize and normalize the experience of attending college.

Overall, A Different World was a groundbreaking show that broke new ground in both the representation of African Americans and the depiction of college life on televison. Its themes continue to resonate with viewers today, making it a timeless classic that will be remembered for many years to come.

A Different World is a series that is currently running and has 6 seasons (144 episodes). The series first aired on September 24, 1987.

A Different World
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A Rock, a River, a Lena
25. A Rock, a River, a Lena
July 8, 1993
Everyone at Hillman is anxiously awaiting the visit of Miss Lena Horne. She's inspired many people, from the Dean, who's singing her praises, to Mr. Gaines, who claims to have met her years ago.
College Kid
24. College Kid
July 1, 1993
Lena, Gina, Charmaine, Dorian and Terrell decide to rent a house together. While seeing the temperamental landlord about a plumbing problem, Gina, Charmaine and Terrell discover that he is Langston Paige, a former major league baseball star.
Homie, Don't Ya Know Me?
23. Homie, Don't Ya Know Me?
June 17, 1993
Lena's childhood pals from Baltimore visit her at Hillman and proceed to butt heads with her new college friends.
Cabin in the Sky
22. Cabin in the Sky
June 10, 1993
Dwayne and Whitley want to spend a quiet weekend away but they must share the cost of a cabin with another couple. They get Mr. Gaines and his wife, Velma, to come along. What a mistake!
Dancing Machines
21. Dancing Machines
June 3, 1992
Whitley agrees to baby-sit a prankster student, Deshawn, for the weekend. She thinks it will be a good opportunity to turn the student into a lady. Deshawn is always into mischief, such as rigging the phone and radio not to work.
Lean On Me
20. Lean On Me
May 27, 1993
Dwayne is applying for a summer management position at a company in Japan. He seems like the perfect man for this job, so much so, his friends are already planning a celebration.
Great X-Pectations
19. Great X-Pectations
June 24, 1993
When Terrel and Charmaine are harassed by a street gang, Terrel is embarrassed by his inability to defend himself. Dorian suggests he report the incident but Terrel's solution is to start carrying a gun.
When One Door Closes... Part 2
18. When One Door Closes... Part 2
May 8, 1993
It's official, Dwayne and Whitley are expecting a baby, Kimberly and Spencer are engaged and Dwayne's new job means they're moving to Japan! Things get complicated by the meddling, future grandmoms, who aren't so pleased about the Japan move.
When One Door Closes... Part 1
17. When One Door Closes... Part 1
May 8, 1993
It takes Kimberly to make Whitley realize she's got all the signs of pregnancy. Whitley is reluctant to tell Dwayne who's all wrapped up pursuing an idea for a computer game that a corporation is very interested in.
Mind Your Own Business
16. Mind Your Own Business
January 21, 1993
Ron convinces Mr. Gaines to become his business partner in managing a dance club. However, they each have a different opinion on what the club should be. Ron wants a hot, booty-shaking place and recruits fly girls on campus for cocktail waitresses.
Happy Birthday to Moi
15. Happy Birthday to Moi
January 14, 1993
Dwayne and Kim are planning a surprise birthday party for Whitley. Dwayne discovers Whitley not only knows about the party but is suggesting the guest list. He decides to give her a jolt.
To Whit, With Love
14. To Whit, With Love
January 7, 1993
Whitley has found work as an elementary school teacher in a class full of unruly, disrespectful kids. Not only are the kids challenging, but all signs indicate she's not cut out for this type of work.
White Christmas
13. White Christmas
December 17, 1992
Freddie's mother Joan, who is white and a real hippie of the "˜60's, comes to visit for Christmas and creates a stir. She gets the whole dorm chanting and feeling auras.
Occupational Hazards
12. Occupational Hazards
December 3, 1992
Whitley is up for a job interview and wants a new outfit. Without Dwayne's knowledge she borrows his credit card and buys a $700 suit, intending to return it.
Original Teacher
11. Original Teacher
November 19, 1992
Freddie has a group of youth offenders brought to Hillman as part of a pa Program. Dwayne gets two really difficult kids, Michael and Billy. They think only of violence and they're about to kill each other over gang affiliation.
Faith, Hope, and Charity, Part 2
10. Faith, Hope, and Charity, Part 2
November 12, 1992
Whitley and Dwayne's mothers are both visiting them for Thanksgiving! It's a constant battle as the two moms try to overtake each other starting with Thanksgiving dinner.
Faith, Hope, and Charity, Part 1
9. Faith, Hope, and Charity, Part 1
November 12, 1992
As Whitley is pounding the pavement looking for secretarial work to help pay the bills, her mother phones with a pre-Thanksgiving message; she's coming to visit for the holiday.
Baby, It's Cold Outside
8. Baby, It's Cold Outside
November 5, 1992
No matter what Whitley tries, she can't seem to keep Dwayne's interest. She's convinced that the romance in their marriage is lost. Whitley becomes so desperate that she calls in to the Montel Williams Show for advice.
The Little Mister
7. The Little Mister
October 29, 1992
A Halloween costume party prompts Dwayne and Whitley to discuss male and females. Soon Dwayne has a bizarre dream where male and female positions in the political world are switched.
Don't Count Your Chickens Before They're Axed
6. Don't Count Your Chickens Before They're Axed
October 29, 1992
Whitley believes her pay raise is imminent and so she persuades a reluctant Dwayne to invest $3,000 for a painting. Ron has also been doing a lot of persuading and finally gets Kim to let him spend the night. Is the grass always greener?
Really Gross Anatomy
5. Really Gross Anatomy
October 22, 1992
Whitley is out of town for a 3-day business trip and Dwayne, missing her, immediately tries to keep himself occupied. When the Colonel, Ron and Mr. Gaines drop by, their conversation only makes Dwayne miss Whitley more.
Somebody Say Ho!
4. Somebody Say Ho!
October 15, 1992
Charmaine is such a mathematics know-it-all that Terrel posts a note on her back in class which reads "Digital Ho". Charmaine, not taking kindly to use of the word "Ho", decides to file an official complaint on the use of derogatory language.
Interior Desecration or Sofa So Good
3. Interior Desecration or Sofa So Good
October 8, 1992
Sharing their first apartment, newlyweds Dwayne and Whitley find themselves in a constant argument over whose belongings will go and whose will stay.
Honeymoon in L.A. Part 2
2. Honeymoon in L.A. Part 2
October 1, 1992
Whitley and Dwayne celebrate their honeymoon in Los Angeles just as the riots break out! Perfect timing! During the chaos, the two get separated from each other.
Honeymoon in LA Part 1
1. Honeymoon in LA Part 1
September 24, 1992
The new semester has brought some startling new changes to Hillman. Dwayne and Whitley are back... as a married couple!
Where to Watch A Different World
A Different World is available for streaming on the Carsey Werner website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch A Different World on demand at Max and Amazon Prime and Amazon.
  • Premiere Date
    September 24, 1987
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (7,650)