Snap judgment: 'Brothers & Sisters'

154835__rachel_lFirst things first, I’m not the only one who, every time he hears the title of ABC’s new Sunday-night drama, Brothers & Sisters, wants to shout, ”Brothers and sisters! Pump up the volume!”, am I? Okay, good. Glad we got that out of the way. Anyhow, because I’m not the only one who tuned in for the series premiere last night (according to the overnights, I’m one of 16.1 million, in fact), let’s discuss.

Things I liked: Rachel Griffiths’ textured performance. I especially loved seeing Griffiths (pictured, with new TV sib Dave Annable) dress down Ron Rifkin’s scary Uncle Saul, while trying to suppress a case of the nervous trembles. I also liked seeing all those Alias alumni (Rifkin, Balthazar Getty, Patricia Wettig), though it’s no surprise since Ken Olin is the show’s executive producer. And I enjoyed the fairly intriguing setup that’s killed off the family patriarch (Kelly’s mom‘s favorite, Tom Skerritt) before anyone could find out why he’s tapped the pension plans of the family business. (Ohnohemostcertainlydidn’t!)

Things I disliked: The wonky interaction between Calista Flockhart and Sally Field (because we all know talk-radio hosts are meek little mice who don’t speak their minds…wha?); a decided lack of glamour (this is a nighttime soap, is it not? so bring on the shoulder pads and sequins!); and a general disjointedness that’ll hopefully subside once the show’s creative team puts early unrest to rest.

Bottom line: I’m intrigued enough to check out a second episode next week. How bout you, PopWatchers?

Comments (41 total) Add your comment
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  • MiaS

    Am I the only one that is having trouble keeping the men separate???
    I know people complain when tv families don’t look alike, but still!!!! Even Calista’s boyfriend looks like her brothers/brother-in-law.
    Maybe in the future, they could color code them like you do when you have a batch of puppies!

  • Ed

    I started watching the first half just because of Sally Field and Calista but I got bored real fast. ABC has done pretty good in the dramah department but they’re running their course. Brothers & Sisters is too much like “What About Brian”, “Men in Trees” and Grey’s; not that they’re alike but too much drama.
    Anyway, by now I’m overloaded with new shows, my TIVO is stacking up.

  • Duy

    I too am intrigued enough to watch next week, if only to help make sure Rachel Griffiths has a steady gig. Kinda nice to see Balthazar Getty on TV again, with actual lines. Big drawback: Calista FLockahart and Sally Field annoy me to no end.

  • david74

    Was I the only one ecstatic about seeing M’Lynn and Drum finally reunited? If only for one episode…

  • Laura

    I really liked the first episode. I think there’s a lot of potential for the storylines and good acting. I was sorry to see Tom Skerrit die so soon though; intrigued by the relationship betw. he and Sally Field and the creepy Uncle Saul. Of course, I loved NBC’s American Dreams and we know that disappeared into the low ratings abyss a few years ago, so who knows!

  • Alex

    Well, if you sire 25 (or was it 7?) children who all basically look the same age, you will die of a heart attack on your daughter’s birthday,which, by the way, is sadistic of the writers.

  • Silas Bent

    I love Rachel Griffiths just from her lioness performance at the end of “Six Feet Under” when and after Nate was dying. I liked how she ate Maggie, like a femme Clive Owen, ferocious. I did turn on this show. It was –orrid, without the h. Network TV should take a note from the way HBO handles pilots, because this one was shamelessly written, and embarrassing. “Hi, I’m Ally McBeal, and every line of mine will reiterate just how conservative I am, without actually saying anything.” “Hi, Ally. I’m your gay brother Gay and I am going to mention gay things, you know, what Middle America is safe with, you know, curtains and cooking and eunuchism, in every line. Gay!” The ratings dropped off as the episode progressed. And I proudly proclaim I helped with that, and for good reason.

  • Fatima

    I liked it and thought critics were too harsh on it. it isn’t six feet under good, but it deserves an hour of my time. especially on a sunday night. hope it does well.
    I will agree, however, that they need to quit mention Kitty’s politics everytime she speaks. she needs a character first. she can’t just be “conservative girl”. I think Studio 60 is doing a good job at making that one character be more than just “christian girl”.

  • graeme

    An odd pilot that was a little all over the place and hard to understand who all these characters were, but Flockhart was fantastic in this. If this show takes off, she’s a definite Emmy nominee. I didn’t see an ounce of Ally McBeal in her performance.
    She had some great scenes with Field as well.

  • Jill

    Yes, David, it was great to see ‘M’lynn and Drum’ reunited on the small screen! I loved ‘Steel Magnolias’! I liked this show…even though the critics panned it. Rachel and Sally are definitely the best actors. I loved Calista in ‘Ally’ but I think she has been miscast in this one. Maybe they can get Olympia, Dolly, or Shirley to do a guest appearance!

  • Janet

    I liked the show a lot. Am surprised the critics panned it so much. I think it has a lot of promise. Rachel Griffiths was indeed great – didn’t see her in SFU so didn’t know how good she is. This is no knock on the show but I’m disappointed Ron Rifkin, who I really like, is not going to be a warm fuzzy uncle to go against his Alias type. He’s supposed to be a sweetheart in person.

  • Stephanie Travitsky

    The begining was a bit messy, but I think that it will get better. But Sisters meets Thirtysomething meets Family is not original. The late James Broadwick would be shaking his head if he saw this.

  • Corran

    The thing Michael Slezak hated was actually the thing I liked most. Sally and McBeal’s performances together were amazing. Two A-List stars together in a scene is really great.

  • jon

    Michael, get out of my head! In the scene with Michael Beach, the first words I said of Rachel Griffith’s performance was “could someone gift bag her Emmy please?” (which is also what I said while watching Grey’s about Kate Walsh – it’s my line).
    I think the reshoots mixed some things up and in the writer’s desperation to explain things for viewers who turned in at any time, they did over explain things a bit. However, for someone who loved “Once and Again,” “Relativity,” “Felicity,” “Sisters,” and even “thirtysomething” although I was too young to really understand it, I am glad there’s a new family drama on (and these actors are a dream!)
    Rachel was by far the most natural of all the actors but I think with time, people will settle into the roles. I don’t care what people say with “Men in Trees,” ABC is my drama department…

  • Thad

    When I saw Ken Olin as director and then Patricia Wettig in the show, I had already had enough. Thirty Something part II, sap, and crap. Good performers in this sap fest. too much.

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