Sunday, 19 June 2011

A Fan's Farewell to the Walker clan - the end of ABC's 'Brothers and Sisters'

This week I bid adieu to one of my most favourite TV dramas of all time, 'Brothers & Sisters', which starred Sally Field and Calista Flockhart.

Twas with a heavy heart that I prepared for goodbyes, simply because there hasn't been a show like it and probably won't be hence. I recall the first time Channel 4 advertised the series a few years back and I was very intrigued, particularly by the stellar cast which included Rob Lowe. I actually started watching  right at the end of season 1/beginning of season 2 and so glad I stuck it out, for it is a rare show that has one laughing and crying in equal measure - that is simply one of 'Brothers & Sisters' greatest gifts. 

The producers, writers and cast deserve so much credit for gracing the small screen with such a gem, such a differentiation to the inundation of cop shows and teen dramas out there. While TV has made massive strides and breaks more exciting ground than film right now, 'Brothers & Sisters' wasn't caught up in being flashy or fresh - it was just honest and dared to stay that way. For those who don't want to stick it out with a story that actually lets it characters develop - closest to the pace that is like (dare I say) 'real life' - and would rather have gun firing and lots of flashy camerawork, then yes, this show isn't for you.

You will take to this show if you value stellar acting above immensely paced narrative (it's been nominated for numerous casting awards); love the essential beauty of the cinematography and relate to core family values shown with a healthy dose of class and poignancy - and it just hits the nail right on the head in that it gets what family is all about. In that respect, it's pretty damn unique.

What actually surprised me was how much I felt like I came to *know* the Walkers - insane, I know but they were like my family - not in actuality of course but there was an instant resemblance, considering the Walkers are a big family with a very matriarchal figure - Sally Field has tirelessly played Nora Walker to a tee in every episode. I see my own mother and my aunt in her so much.

- every single one of the Walkers, played so achingly well by all but I have to mention Matthew Rhys who played Kevin Walker - and just wow, all the time.
- Emily Van Camp who played Rebecca Harper - I just think she is awesome.
- The ridiculous 3 way/4 way phone conversations that happens at some point in the first 20 mins of an episode.
- The 'all around the dinner table' scenes which were either warm and fuzzy or awkward because you can always count on some relative blabbing out something that is 'not for the table talk'
- Anything with Rob Lowe - his character's dynamic with Kitty Walker was ace.
- Generally all of season 1 - 4 and the richness of various story-lines.

Wasn't a fan of:
- The final episode - I don't think it was an adequate send off for the show, considering what lies at the heart. It felt more like a season finale rather than a series one, with lots of unanswered questions: what of Kitty and her pregnancy? What of Brody's other daughter who just turned up in the last episode - something you do not do when closing a series off for good. Moreover, if the series would be ending for good, it can't really do so without the Harpers making one last appearance because they have been at the centre of the show as much as the Walkers.
- The storyline of Kitty having a pseudo affair with that random guy in season 4 was it? 
- Lack of credible narrative for Justin in the last half of the final season, which was hurried at the end and just came off feeling empty *shrug*

Lastly, I think the show's cast has been the reason it works so well and it's because of that that the show couldn't run anymore, though methinks it is far more worthy than others *cough* Desperate Housewives that has a equally expensive cast, I assume. I sorely wish that ABC had reconsidered doing a season 6 - at least a short one - though most of the show's direction and magnetism has been lost since the departure of Rob Lowe and the reduced screen time of Calista Flockhart. I just think that way, this fan would have seen a decent send off to a magnificent show - the kind of show I would have loved to produced.

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