Brothers and Sisters: The First Season

Tolstoy’s famous quote, from the novel Anna Karenina, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” is the first thing that comes to mind after watching ABC’s family drama, Brothers and Sisters.

This drama follows the lives of the Walker family which is left completely shattered after the death of William Walker (Tom Skerritt), the head of the clan. Spiralling from his death are dark family secrets that start to seep out and threaten the intimacy of the family and raise questions regarding the character of Walker, too.

Academy Award winner Sally Field portrays Nora Walker, mother to the Walker siblings and widow of William. She discovers that her husband had fathered an illegitimate child, a daughter, as the result of an affair. Through the course of this season, she tries her best to come to terms with a legacy of the William she never knew. It was for this role that Field won an Emmy for Lead Actress.

The rest of the ensemble cast is made up of established stars. Rachel Griffiths, Calista Flockhart, Balthazar Getty, Matthew Rhys, Dave Annable, and Emily VanCamp, portray the distinct and unique Walker siblings. Each sibling comes to terms with their father’s death and the discovery of his dark secrets, one of them being VanCamp’s character, the step-sibling from an affair their father had.

Brothers and Sisters is a drama that was anticipated for its star-studded cast more than its story. But now that the first season is over, it is the witty and graceful storyline woven through each member of the Walker clan that has captivated the TV viewing audience. The first season, filled with special features, is now available.

(Originally published in the March 27, 2008 edition of The Review)