Did we like it?
As many of our favourite US imports have faded away or got a bit rubbish, we’re so, so happy that there’s a new show we can really get our teeth into.
What was good about it?
• So many great elements are pulled together into a compelling, gimmick-free family drama. A mix of characters, huge personality clashes, some nasty secrets, some glamour, a pleasing gay character… all there, bubbling away nicely for the next five months.
• British actor Matthew Rhys caught our eye long ago and we’re delighted he’s landed a role as hot(shot) lawyer Kevin. There’s more eye candy available in the form of Dave Annable, playing Afghanistan war veteran-turned-drug addict Justin. And Rob Lowe turns up soon.
• The female cast members have so much class: Sally Field as the neurotic mum, Calista Flockhart as a right-wing talk show host and Rachel Griffiths, who annoyed us a bit in Six Feet Under doing a much better job as Sarah, the new boss at family firm Ojai Foods (which seems to sell vegetables when the trucks aren’t breaking down). Plus there’s Patricia Wettig (ages ago she was in thirtysomething; recently she was the president in Prison Break) as the mistress who, we suspect, isn’t going to take being cut out of the will with good grace.
• Nothing in the script ever jars, the performances are flawless and there’s so much going on the attention never wavers.
What was bad about it?
• Tom Skerritt only got to appear in the pilot before clutching his chest, toppling into the swimming pool and dying, leaving behind a secret lover and business anomalies of Robert Maxwellian proportions.
• The music is cool AOR and not particularly interesting.
• There aren’t many laughs and we’re a little worried it may get a little too earnest.