BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Season One on DVD
Starring: Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths, Ron Rifkin
Producer: Ken Olin
Anything produced by Ken Olin [thirtysomething] has to be good. In the 90s, I loved watching thirtysomething, maybe because it represented what my life might have been like in ten years [it's not]. There's something comfortable, real and addictive about this type of storytelling. A bevy of seemingly different characters who have commonalities. This is what makes ABC's break-out television drama Brothers and Sisters a television show on my TiVo season pass list. Of course, I discovered it toward the end of its first season and the DVD box set is the perfect way to catch up before season two begins next week, on September 30. Once you watch one episode, you will be glad you can watch the next and the one after that.
Undoubtedly much of the show's appeal, besides the phenomenal cast and smart writing, is that this is the type of family that everyone wants. I do not have relationships with either my younger or older brother and do not have any sisters. So I look at the show's intricate relationships and support systems with some envy though I realize its television.
When Sally Field recently took home her Emmy for this show, everyone heard her attempt to state that "If more mothers ran the world, there wouldn't be any god damn wars." This is an extension of her character, Nora, a mother greatly affected by her son's role in the military and the toll it has taken on the family-she stopped speaking to her daughter Kitty [Flockhart] and when her son, Justin, arrived home he couldn't keep a job or steer clear of the heavy drugs. Nora grounds the family and drives them all crazy at the same time. She meddles, she worries, and she lives for them until finally she has started to choose activities that please her. It's a remarkable, juicy role for Field. I loved Sally in Gidget and Norma Rae and here is another role with immense promise. She's finding out who she is in her 60s. Gives hope for many who feel that they may have made sacrifices or missed out on something in their formidable years.
Then there is the conservative pundit/communications officer Kitty [smugly played by Ally McBeal's Flockhart], who at 38 understands that everyone thinks she should be getting married. She has strong career goals and isn't so lucky with the boys. She's not completely neurotic, she has her brothers and sister to analyze things with her, but she is funny and bears her imperfections to the distain of her mother and other family members. One who she has a definite love-hate relationship with is Sarah [Six Feet Under's Griffiths], the MBA in the family, the eldest and the one who seems to have it together. That is until her marriage starts to crumble.
There's the gay son Kevin [Matthew Rhys], a lawyer with a penchant for quality threads, classic films and working out, the hard working middle son [Balthazar Getty of Alias], the conflicted, ex-addict youngest Justin, who finds he is being sent for a second tour in Iraq (his tour in Afghanistan destroyed him mentally].
Sometimes the show veers toward soap opera mode but it is actually just really layered and fantastic. Family is the bond that keeps everyone grounded and moving forward.
Yes, at times unbelievable and maddeningly but savvy writers save Brothers and Sisters from falling into that Desperate Housewives/ throwaway type of show. There are plenty of twists and turns on Brothers and Sisters that make it a show you want to tune into week to week and you will want to own this DVD collection.
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