“Brothers & Sisters” was a family drama that ran for five years. The first two seasons were phenomenal, while the following seasons were still very good but not as magical as the freshman and sophomore.
The show centered on a family, the Walkers, who had many troubles and even more secrets. The patriarch, William (Tom Skerritt), dies at the end of the pilot and the family finds out how much he was keeping from them.
The acting is phenomenal; the lead actress is Sally Field (she won the Emmy for the first season). Other big name actors that starred: Calista Flockhart (“Ally Mcbeal”), Rachel Griffiths (“Six Feet Under”), Ron Rifkin (“Alias”), Rob Lowe (“The West Wing”, now hilarious on the best comedy on TV, NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”), Emily Van Camp (“Everwood,” now starring on ABC’s delicious “Revenge”), Gilles Marini (“Dancing with the Stars”), and Patricia Wettig (“Thirtysomething;” her co-star from that show and real life husband, Ken Olin, also appears as a recurring character on this show!). There were also great actors that may not have highly recognizable names, such as Matthew Rhys, Balthazar Getty (more well-known than others), Sarah Jane Morris, Dave Annable, and Luke MacFarlane. Overall, they had a pretty great cast, every single one of them bringing it each and every week. By the way, this show is very fun for “Alias” fans, as they get to see Ron Rifkin in a character so different from the evil Arvin Sloane!
Along with a great cast, they also had great writers (some of their writers worked/work on “Alias” and “Fringe,” which are two other great shows). The show’ strong suit is heavy drama, but comedy works well sometimes too, such as in one of their best episodes, which has some very funny scenes, season one’s “Game Night.” However, in the last season it seemed like they were trying to be more comedic than dramatic overall and it didn’t work very well.
When the show is dramatic, it’s dramatic, and it’s always very juicy. The storylines were engaging, as were the characters, and the relationship dynamics really made you care, both in the familial and romantic sense. The biggest storyline issue was that one in particular kept popping up and became very unrealistic; while in the first season it was believable, the next seven hundred times it was done it was just annoying and brought down the show (Hint: there were a lot of paternity tests).
In conclusion, if you want to watch a well-acted and mostly well-written family drama, try this out. And also try out NBC’s “Parenthood,” Tuesdays at ten!
Letter Grade: A- (the last season would be more like a B-, which is why the show itself didn’t get a solid A).