21 April 2007

Brothers and Sisters Primer

I drafted this in my blog months ago... And since it will be on local TV soon, via Studio23. It's time to publish this.


In all honesty, I would’ve not expected I’d like Brothers and Sisters. Give me a ridiculously funny sitcom or ridiculously mysterious action series I can obsess about anytime, I’d bite it. But a sappy family story? Normally, I’d have to think twice. I rarely stick to a show that’s purely drama, not unless I’m fond of the actors in it or if it involves conspiracy theories or have doctor-characters named House.

But with every viewing of B & S, I discovered that the show keeps getting better and better and better and better. And that's no BS (bullshit).

Just when I call the last episode I’ve seen as “the best episode yet”, the one that will follow it the next week, would raise its bar even higher.

This is Quality TV, a reason why, for all its sappiness, it's one of the shows on my favorite list.

I’ve been raving about this Brothers & Sisters for quite sometime now and realized I haven’t done a very good introduction of what it’s all about. So, better late than never, here is a Brothers and Sisters primer.

What is it about?

Obviously, it is about brothers and sisters. It is about a family dealing with family issues.

What is it like?

It could be a lot like your family. Brothers and Sisters may strike something very familiar in all of us. Each one of us relates to a family member we either love or hate or both. The highs and lows the characters in this show represent real people we interact with daily.

How many episodes so far?

19 as of April 15. The season first aired in September 24, 2006. It has been confirmed to return a second season in September 2007.

Why would I watch it?

As Sally Field said in an interview:

Family - You love them, you hate them. You want to get away from them and then you're completely drawn back to them. They're where you go when anything is wrong. You really want to talk to them and, when they call on the phone, they're the last people on earth you want to talk to. All the other television shows are about, you know, the friends who come together and form a family. Or the coworkers who come together and form a family. But we haven't seen in a very long time a show that really is about how complicated family really is.

- When Brothers and Sisters first aired for a test audience in the summer of 2006, they didn’t like a lot of what the show was about. So a major overhaul was done… actors and storylines were changed. The change turned out for the better. While the show is not a constant favorite among viewers, it has however, a very loyal fanbase and has for the first time appeared in the Top 20, ratings-wise, last January 2007. It continues to be a consistent Top 40 rater. Not bad for a show that had its production problems.
- It is produced by people who’ve brought you Alias and Everwood.


Nora Walker
The Mother
(Played by Sally Field)

Nora is very opinionated and seems to be a meddler. In spite that, she is a very devoted wife and mother. She remains loyal to her (now deceased) husband even though she is aware of his indecencies.

The First Born
(Played by Rachel Griffiths)

Sarah, aside from the eldest of five, is also the Corporate Vice-President of the family business. She juggles handling her family’s corporate affairs with motherhood. She has a teenage stepson and a daughter who is sick (diabetes I think).

The Second Child
(Played by Calista Flockhart)

She was a former right-wing radio host turned TV host/political analyst; a favorite of her father who doesn't seem to get along with her mother before (they clash a lot of the times with their opinion on many things) but is building a good relationship with her now.

The Middle Child
(Played by Balthazar Getty)

He also works in the family business. He knows of his father's affairs even before the dad died. He and his wife are working on having a baby, they have been childless for so long.

The Fourth Child
(Played by Kevin Rhys)

Kevin is a lawyer and is openly gay. He is often the voice of reason for the family. He is also looking into the possibility of getting involved with a guy and finding love.

The Youngest
(Played by Dave Annable)

Justin, being the youngest, is treated as the baby. He is also the most problematic child. At the start of the show, we see Justin as an addict who seems to have no direction in life. But he once served his country in the war in Iraq and is ordered to go back to service, after drug rehabilitation.

The extended family:

The Uncle
(Played by Ron Rifkin)

Uncle Saul is their mother's brother. He is also part of the family business. He has been aware his brother-in-law had a mistress and it was hinted in the show that he also liked the mistress.

The Sister in Law
(Played by Sarah Jane Morris)

Tommy's wife. She's your typical in-law, an outsider who tries her best to deal with the crazy Walker family but isn't really so into the craziness.

The Brother-in-Law
(Played by John Pyper-Ferguson)

He is Sarah's husband. He has a son from another marriage whom Sarah is now taking care of. He is a musician. It is hinted that there is a problem with his marriage to Sarah, because he seems to have a wandering eye. In the last episode of April 15, it was also hinted that he kissed his wife's half-sister.

Senator McAllister
The Boss
(Played by Rob Lowe)

Rob was an addition to the cast. I'm not sure if he was originally part of the cast. He plays Kitty's boss and boyfriend.

Holly Harper
The Other Woman
(played by Patricia Wettig)

This is the reason why you don't see her on Prison Break. She plays the role perfectly. Kinda bitchy, but kind of in the right place, I know that's to hard to understand but I get her role. Holly has never told her daughter who her father is until only recently.

Rebecca Harper
The Illegitimate Daughter
(played by Emily Van Camp)

Rebecca, upon realizing she is a part of another family, wants to build a relationship with them, albeit uncomfortably. She has a very good relationship with the Walker's youngest - Justin. Her eldest sister Sarah is trying to reach out to her. Kitty though does not want a relationship with her. She is accepted with reservation in the Walker household, so to speak.

If this were Philippine TV, I'd describe it best as your telenovela, without the baduy factor (let's be honest) or the absurdities of an American daytime soap opera.

Other commentaries on B & S:

Entry 1
Entry 2
Entry 3
Entry 4
Entry 5

Brothers & Sisters
Season 1
Network: ABC