My best guess is that by the time I’m looking for something other than football to watch on Sunday nights, ABC’s Brothers and Sisters will be off the air. Then again, I’m likely not part of the show’s target audience.
This week’s premiere introduced viewers to the Walker family, as daughter Kitty (Calista Flockhart) returns home to interview for a co-host position on a political talk show. Plenty of time is spent with the children marveling at the long and still openly loving relationship of their parents (Sally Field and Tom Skerrit). Yet, as the adult siblings begin to try to take a larger role in the family business, questions about their father’s fidelity and business ethics abound. The show ends with the father collapsing with an apparent stroke.
I tuned in to see Sally Field who always seems to bring a solid presence to her roles, yet I wasn’t too impressed. She seemed caught between playing the docile wife and the strong-willed woman. I never quite got Flockhart in Ally McBeal, and her politically-charged character wasn’t doing much for me here. Skerrit’s character seemed promising, but it looks like he was just there to set the stage for a drama about a family that’s just lost its patriarch.
It’s tough to judge a drama series on its pilot with so much “introducing” going on. But this show just seems like it has more drama than it knows what to do with. A show with one scene in which the estranged mom and daughter pretending to reconcile while dad looks on as a person waits for him on the phone for a conversation that begins with him angry that he or she called him at home simply needs to cut back. Throw in an Iraqi war debate, a gay family member, and an uncle helping dad cover up something, there may be a bit too much going on.
Football widows and those of us who will be looking for something to watch on Sunday nights in January may find Brothers and Sisters serviceable. But only watch it for fun while looking for something better.