What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this grown-up drama deals with the complex relationships between a group of adult children and their parents. As such, some of the issues the characters deal with -- including marriage counseling, infidelity, serious illness, and prescription drug addiction -- might be too mature (and possibly of little interest) for tweens and younger teens. There are, however, some younger characters who are coming of age on the show as the series progresses, so plotlines could change.
What's the story?
In BROTHERS & SISTERS, five grown-up siblings come to rely on one another more than ever before when a family tragedy makes them realize they need to play a larger role in their parents' lives. When conservative radio host Kitty Walker (Calista Flockhart) and her four siblings -- Sarah (Rachel Griffiths), a corporate executive who gives up her job to help her father run the family business; Tommy (Balthazar Getty), her charming brother who also works for their dad; Kevin (Matthew Rhys), a gay pro bono lawyer; and Justin (Dave Annable), an Iraq War veteran and baby of the family -- return to visit their parents (Sally Field and Tom Skerritt) in Southern California to celebrate their dad’s birthday, they find themselves discovering a lot more about one another. They also learn that they must accept their parents as flawed individuals, rather than as the larger-than-life father and mother who raised them.
Is it any good?
Produced by Ken Olin (Alias and thirtysomething), Jon Robin Baitz (The West Wing), and Greg Berlanti (Everwood), it's no surprise that this sprawling family drama is well-cast, well-acted, and well-written, although the plot has taken some drastic twists and turns over multiple seasons on the air. As a result, some fans feel like they don’t know where the show is going and aren’t sure what to expect next from the unpredictable Walker clan.
That said, Brothers & Sisters should entertain adults, who will likely nod in recognition at the ups and downs of the marital and family relationships the show portrays so deftly. But the subtleties of the script will be lost on most kids -- even older teens -- and there are only a handful of younger characters they could really relate to. Without a doubt, the show’s decidedly adult themes (including infidelity, politics, illness, and years of resentment) are aimed squarely at grown-ups.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the rewards -- and challenges -- of loving and respecting your family. Why is it important to see past differences and support one another?
When siblings fight, feelings get hurt; how can brothers and sisters air their grievances without resorting to arguments?
How do teens expect their relationships with their siblings (and their parents) to change as they get older? Who's responsible for maintaining those relationships?