Brothers & Sisters: The Complete First Season (2006)

Genre(s): Drama
Buena Vista || NR - 1320 minutes - $59.99 || September 18, 2007
Reviewer: Kushmeer Farakhan || Posted On: 2007-09-20


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Jon Robin Baitz (creator)
Cast: Dave Annable, Calista Flockhart, Balthazar Getty, Rachel Griffiths, Ron Rifkin, Sally Field, Matthew Rhys, Rob Lowe, Tom Skerritt


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Unaired Bonus Episode
  • Audio Commentaries
  • 2 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Bloopers


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

When ABC's hit drama “Brothers and Sisters” premiered in the fall of 2006, I had little to no interest. I was a fan of Calista Flockhart and Rachel Griffiths from their days on Ally Mcbeal and Six Feet Under, but the show's concept came off as too... “7th Heaven-esque", too goody-goody. All schmaltz and no real drama. Yet when the time came to review it, I decided to give it a go anyway. For the most part, I was glad I did.

The show centers on a very big family headed by Sally Field as Nora, the mother and Tom Skerritt as William, the father. Rachel Griffiths is Sarah, the oldest sister and runner of the family business, Ojai foods. Calista Flockhart is a television Republican commentator and the 2nd oldest sibling. Balthazar Getty's Tommy is a businessman and Sarah's partner. Kevin (Matthew Rhys) and Justin (David Annable) are the two younger siblings, the former is a gay lawyer and the latter is a recovering drug addict just got home from Iraq. Rounding out the cast are Ron Rifkin as Saul, Nora's brother and another partner in Ojai foods and Patricia Wettig as Holly Harper, William's mistress (unbeknownst to the family).

The show kicks off with a tragic event that starts things in motion. William dies and leaves his business to his kids and the family discovers his mistress. Later on in the season, the family discovers the illegitimate daughter of William and Holly, Rebecca (Emily Van Camp). Rob Lowe also joins the cast later in the season as Robert McCallister and U.S. Senator and love interest for Kitty (Flockhart). Throughout all of this, there is drama, drama and more drama.

So...is it any good? Well, the acting is spectacular. In just about every episode, there's some scene where one or more of the actors seem to be trying their damnedest to get an Emmy (and for Sally Field, it worked). But I must admit, it works. I cried like a baby at the end of the first episode and I cried at several other points in the season. It's a tearjerker.

But that strength is also a problem at times because sometimes it's too over the top with the sap. For example, no matter how miserable everybody is or how much fighting is done in an episode, the endings are routinely happy or end with some music montage where everybody is smiling and it's just kind of silly. Not silly enough to make me dislike the show but it's enough so that I don't love it.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Unaired Bonus Episode is by far the best feature on the set. Normally when you see a bonus episode on a TV show box set it's a pilot episode that's different somehow or it's an halfway completed one or something like that but what we have here is a full length unaired episode. The creator of the series Jon Robin Baitz gives a special intro to the episode in which he says that he felt the episode slowed down all of the storylines too much. I vehemently disagree.

This episode was originally supposed to be the 2nd episode of the series and for my money, it makes the third episode and first episode feel more coherent. For example, William dies at the end of episode 1 and the beginning of the second aired episode briefly taps on his death and then moves along as if nothing happened. This second unaired episode is more somber and takes a more realistic approach to death that I preferred. I really wish they had not scrapped this episode.

Walker Family Tree is a 30 minute behind the scenes look at the way the show is put together. It's not bad but I would've liked to see a little more about why each actor was chosen for each specific role. It's grazed upon here and in some of the commentaries but it's never given an in-depth look.

Behind the Scenes with the Brothers: This is something of a set tour where Balthazar Getty, David Annable, and Matthew Rhys take the viewer on a set tour and along the way talk about how much they love working together, hanging out, and playing jokes on everybody.

The Family Business is a little fluffy piece about how Ken Olin (exec producer) and several of his family members all work on the show. Patricia Wettig is his wife, his son is an writer and his daughter had a guest acting role on the show. It's a bit fluffy as I said but it's not bad.

Bloopers are fun. 2 minutes of standard blooper stuff. I like the reappearance of Rhys and Annable's ball kick gag.

Deleted Scenes: There not nearly as good as the deleted episode and you can tell why they were deleted.

Audio Commentaries: Olin and Baitz appear on most of them and an actor or two will pop in as well. The groups talk a lot about specific directing and acting bits but they don’t' dwell too much on storyline decisions which rather irked me a bit. Still, they're not boring and they're all worth watching.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Show looks really good and sounds really good. I'm always really impressed with these ABC show DVDs. I have the "Lost" DVDs, they look and sound great, and this does as well.



.::OVERALL::.

"Brothers and Sisters" is a good show that pulls at the heartstrings. Sometimes it pulls a bit too hard for it's own good but it's an nice distraction from the problems of daily life. An entertaining time killer with great acting.