Thursday, June 21, 2007

Honking Box Review: Brothers & Sisters

The Sloppy Dog’s Honking Box is looking a bit hopeless of late. Desperate Housewives shutting up shop for the series, The Apprentice and Any Dream Will Do both ending on a wet fart of a note, Lost bogging off to stupid Sky One, Doctor Who coming to a climax. Quick! We need a new obsession!

Maybe the most hyped US import of 2007 will fill the void. Brothers & Sisters, not to be confused with the micro-budget black soap featuring a marvellously mad dancehall queen named Petronella (fucking Petronella! There aren’t enough Petronellas on TV these days), is a high-gloss, low-impact drama centring on a dysfunctional-yet-damp family unit.

Were it not for its constellation’s worth of credits, the initial premise wouldn’t catch many an eye. Aside from the presence of Sally Field and Rachel Griffiths (who’ll always be Legendary Rhonda™ to us), Brothers & Sisters sees Calista Flockhart’s first major role since the exceptional Ally McBeal. Visually, she appears to be only marginally less in need of a gateau.

Calista was joined by fellow Ally McBeal alumnus Josh Hopkins, though we’d much rather have preferred Jane Krakowski - if there’s a show in dire need of one of Elaine’s bitchy asides, it’s Brothers & Sisters. A suggestion to Channel 4 - can we maybe think about some kind of red button feature where she pops up in the corner like a comedy sign language person? A running commentary of the non-action peppered with the word “snappish” would be all kinds of ace.

At this stage, it feels all very static. But let’s not forget, Brothers & Sisters is essentially a mature, family-based drama, and perhaps a big part of the letdown comes as a result of its scheduling, which was all rather odd. Perhaps they were going for some fraternally-titled theme evening, because slotting it around Big Brother was nothing short of insanity.

Was Brothers & Sisters flanked by dual live editions of the publicity-heavy flagship Channel 4 show in order to heighten its unveiling to the fullest? Or were they using the hard launch of a high-profile, buzzworthy US drama to carry its floundering reality mess?

Either way, you have to wonder what audience Channel 4 thought they were targeting. Brothers & Sisters, in context, looks set to be an intelligent, engaging series - were it airing on More 4, we’d all be a lot more likely to realise this. It’s highly unlikely that 19-year-olds whose general concept of ‘topical’ amounts to a text message about how mash-up Charley’s face is. LOL OMG she iz so butters innit :oP

In honesty, we didn’t actually make it as far as the second episode, so perhaps writing an epitaph at this stage is slightly unfair. In summary though, it seems Brothers & Sisters is a promising option in a summer that threatens to be patchy viewing at best. Just ensure it's shut off from Big Brother where possible, or you’ll never get on board. OMG dis show is rbbsh n dat ally mcbeel gal iz so skinny!!

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