Monday, October 30, 2006

Brothers & Sisters - When Greg Berlanti Saved the Day

Family Portrait,
Date Night,
For the Children

I still feel like I'm watching a continuation of Ally McBeal when I watch Calista Flockhart's Kitty Walker banter with Josh Hopkins' Warren Salter. I still feel that Sydney Bristow is going to bust out and kick Ron Rifkin's Saul's ass and help Balthazar Getty's Thomas Walker steal back files for the family business and hand them over to Patricia Wettig's Holly. Yet, I'm really beginning to love this show.

Oh, and lo and behold, the last three episodes somehow feel smoother, real and heartwarming, with the dynamics and drama of the Walker family finally coming together, and without feeling clautrophobic (I'm using that word today a lot aren't I?). Guess what? If I worried that Greg Berlanti was a one hit wonder with Everwood, (even though I thought Jack & Bobby was terrific too) I don't have to worry because Greg Berlanti is back to save Brothers & Sisters and already in his first 3 episodes, the show feels so much fresher and likeable after a slow start.

In fact, it's almost too easy to just give Berlanti credit, but whatever it is, I like where the show is going. The cast was always top-notch to begin with, but now they seem to jell together like a real family. Matthew Rhys and Calista work well together as Kevin and Kitty Walker. Rachel Griffiths is always good but I enjoy her tension as Sarah with Balthazar Getty's Thomas as the family business' troubles loom.

We do have to thank Berlanti (probably) for bringing on his alums, Treat Williams from Everwood and Keri Lynn Pratt from Jack & Bobby (and recently on Veronica Mars), both who are squeezing into the huge cast seemlessly, Treat as Sally Fields potential love interest, which is so fun to watch these two actors flirt amongst each other, and Keri Lynn as Amber, the new intern at Kitty's show, the smarter-than-you think dumb blonde that Keri seems to play so well (if she doesn't last on this show, can someone give her a show?)

Meanwhile, maybe I'm just all a sucker for new romances but the Scotty (Luke MacFarlane from London, Ontario! and possible real-life boyfriend to recently outed T.R. Knight from Grey's Anatomy?) and Kevin romance is sweet and nicely paced. Dave Annable is completely shocking me that he can actually act (I liked him in Reunion and I liked that show but seriously, it wasn't for the acting abilities from anybody on that show) and totally holding his own against his esteemed colleagues.

I'm still not sure how much a role there is for John Pyper-Ferguson and Sarah Jane Morris as folks that marry into the Walkers family since at this point, they are still basically overpaid extras, but I guess it's a big cast and there's still lots of time to explore (and I'm okay if we stayed with Kitty, Kevin and Sarah).

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