Brothers And Sisters – Sibling rivalry at its best

brothers_and_sistersHere at we have realised that we offer our professional critique on a lot of films, but have never really concentrated on reviewing TV series, which can become more a part of our lives than the quickfire 90-minute movie.

We dedicate more time to TV series than we do with film; we watch a movie and if we don’t enjoy it then we forget about it, accept the lost hour and a half and simply move on, but with TV we make a conscious decision to continue to watch.  We have a greater opportunity to relate to the characters because we see them on a regular basis; we go through life with them and share in the plethora of compelling events and emotions that shape their fates.  We engage on a whole different level.

I mean, who didn’t cry when Madge Bishop passed away in Neighbours?

I could name brilliant TV shows all day, (Lost, Heroes, 24, ER, Prison Break etc) , but I think you would stop reading, so what I will do instead is tell you about a US series that has been showing on Channel 4 and More 4 over the last few months – Brothers & Sisters.

This show follows the life of a seemingly normal family, the Walkers, from idyllic Ojai, California, but looks can be deceiving and even as early as the first episode, it is clear that everything is not as it seems.

William Walker, the head of the family and founder of the family business, has a sudden fatal heart attack whilst talking to his granddaughter at the side of his pool, and soon after his death the skeletons in his closet slowly start to rear their ugly heads.

William leaves behind his wife Nora (played brilliantly by the legendary Sally Field), and five children, all of whom have not only their own issues to deal with, but now two more particularly pressing ones. Not only have they found out that Dad has been having an affair for over 20 years, but he has also seriously embezzled the family business, leaving them on the verge of not only bankruptcy, but a lawsuit too.

The characters in Brothers & Sisters make for a riveting watch, not least because of their intriguing individual issues that they must tackle.

The youngest, Justin, has just returned from a tour of Afghanistan, and has turned to drugs and alcohol to get over losing a friend in combat.  After being told that his part of the will has to be looked after by his sister, he goes missing, gets arrested and nearly causes his mother to have a breakdown, claiming that his father never loved him.

Kitty, a political commentator, is to blame for Justin’s army excursion, according to their mother, and tensions are high between the two when Kitty moves back into the family home from New York to take a TV role. Kitty also has a decision to make when her boyfriend Jonathan proposes; after losing an on-air bet to go for dinner with her political nemesis, Kitty drunkenly cheats on Jonathan.  Is the end for the two lovers?

Sarah and Tommy are the two siblings left in charge of the family business in William’s will; Sarah is made president of the company, much to Tommy’s disgust, and every decision made is heavily scrutinised by the other.  On top of this, Sarah has two young children, one of which witnessed her grandfather perish, and she is going through marriage counselling with her husband Joe, in a desperate attempt to save their ailing marriage.

Then you have Kevin, a lawyer who has recently come out, but is still quite secretive about his sexuality, and who seems to be everyone’s go-to guy even though he is a major gossip.  Whilst interviewing Scotty, a witness in a case, he is encouraged to be himself and when Sarah bumps into Scotty and invites him to a party, it could just spell love for the first time for Kevin.

Although the show is called Brothers and Sisters, there are a lot of other characters in this show that make it such a triumph.

Saul is the sister of Nora, and uncle to the five children, but who seems to have very split loyalties. Saul knows all about William’s affair with one Holly Harper; she believes that no one knows about the illicit relationship, and is even brazen enough to turn up at a Walker family party.  However, with the children not knowing how to tell Nora about the unearthed affair, Nora drops a bombshell at the party… she knows, and has done for 15 years.

Created by occasional West Wing and Alias writer Jon Robin Baitz, this series embodies the qualities needed for a truly engrossing, powerful drama series with heart and sincerity. Difficult relationships and issues are approached in a realistic and gripping fashion, and the glossy style makes for an aesthetically satisfying watch.

There is a lot more I could tell you about Brothers and Sisters, as this review mainly covers episodes 1 to 3 of the first series, but I strongly advise you to watch it for yourself and go through the ups and downs of life with the Walkers.

Can Kitty and Jonathan survive her cheating?  Does counselling work for Joe and Sarah?  Will Justin get clean?  And is love really is in the air for Kevin and Scotty?

For the answers to these questions, why not rent Brothers & Sisters using our 4 week FREE trial with Lovefilm to find out. rating: 8/10

2 Responses to “Brothers And Sisters – Sibling rivalry at its best”

  1. craig davidson says:

    personally i love brothers & sisters, but i can see why some people may not feel the same.

    they seem to deal with real life issues and you really feel that you can be part of the Walker family, as daft as that sounds

  2. carrie brroks says:

    sorry, but if you ask me, this is an awful show. its all the same every week, they fight and make up. BORING. watch 24 or heroes instead, much better tv

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