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November 12, 2006: Mistakes Were Made

Sarah, Kitty, Kevin, Tommy, Justin... Rebecca. It looks like Sarah’s suspicions were right and Rebecca is in fact their father’s daughter. After all those combinations, the password, which was composed of William’s children’s initials, was actually relatively simple. Although, to be fair, no one knew about William’s sixth child. Including, it seems, William himself. Holly’s reason for hiding the truth from everyone, although apparently well-intentioned, seems to have made everything extremely complicated. And really hard on Holly. Did William suspect that Rebecca was his child? The extent of his relationship with Rebecca isn't quite clear, but he obviously thought enough of her to keep a photo of her at the ranch and to make her part of the password. The past played a big role in tonight’s episode, as we saw in the flashbacks of September 11, the family’s reactions (including those of guest star Tom Skerritt) and Justin’s decision to enl... read more

Housewives and Sisters: Good Neighbors

While some of us still miss Grey's Anatomy on Sundays, a perfectly entertaining bit of escapism to charge our batteries for the week ahead, ABC's new Brothers & Sisters has been growing on me. Week by week, culminating in this Sunday's most enjoyable episode yet, the show has become both lighter in tone and more emotionally compelling, proving to be a suitably compatible companion piece to Desperate Housewives — which, by sweeps coincidence or not, also enjoyed on Sunday its finest hour since the heights of its first breakthrough season.Housewives' much-touted supermarket-hostage crisis lives up to its billing, in no small measure thanks to killer performances (in one case literally) by Laurie Metcalf as a deranged wronged wife who takes over her cheating husband's store at gunpoint, and by Felicity Huffman's Lynette, whose final hysterical showdown with the mad Carolyn Grisby in the wake of Nora's fatal shooting (Yay!) was the sort of galvanizing moment we'd long been wait... read more

October 29, 2006: For the Children

So Tommy’s wife Julia finally talked tonight, and she certainly had a lot to say. I felt bad for Tommy when she announced to the entire family that she was hoping to get pregnant soon, knowing what Tommy had just found out. They seemed to discuss everything and reconcile before the benefit was over, although the coatroom scene was pretty embarrassing for everybody. Speaking of embarrassing, Nora keeps getting stuck in awkward situations with other men, although at least tonight wasn’t over a date that wasn’t really a date. It was pretty awful of that guy to let his wife think that Nora was hitting on him, and to make matters worse, his wife (Meredith Baxter from Family Ties) believed him. I don’t know how, because I’m sure that’s not the first time her husband did that.I personally found it hard to believe that Kevin would be so insensitive as to offer to pay for Scotty’s lost wages if he would be his date for the night, because Kevin is generally ... read more

Brothers, Mother and Other Odds and Ends

Some random TV thoughts:Each week since its overly somber premiere, ABC's Brothers & Sisters has improved, slowly becoming a more entertaining, if not yet compelling, family drama. The most recent episode, involving a series of eventful dates for most of the major characters, had a mostly deft light touch, showing (I think) the influence of Everwood's Greg Berlanti on the creative direction of the show.It's becoming a more suitable companion for Desperate Housewives, which also has improved from last season's doldrums. Housewives is still far from perfect, but give me some Edie Britt bitchiness, a little manipulative scheming from Bree and several mysterious twists (why was Mike Delfino's phone number etched in ink on the season's mystery corpse?), and I'm relatively satisfied. I can even get past the tiresome Gabby-Carlos feuding and Nora meddling in the indifferently plotted Lynette-Tom story line. (Did you notice, by the way, a walk-on by Who Wants to Be a Superhero's Major V... read more

October 22, 2006: Date Night

It was nice of Jonathan to give the brothers and sisters some friendly business advice, although I got the impression from his final conversation with Kitty that he might not be that optimistic about the future of the family business. I actually felt kind of bad for him when he and Kitty were breaking up, even though Jonathan often comes off as arrogant and I never really liked him for Kitty. He appeared to be genuinely sad, and he also apparently knew Kitty better than she thought, as he seemed aware that she hadn’t fully let him in.But tonight was really all about Nora and Kitty for me. Sally Field was great as usual, especially when Nora realized her “date” with David the contractor wasn’t really a date. How awful, and it only seemed worse when Nora tried to salvage it with jokes about her “comedic timing” being off. It was good to see Treat Williams (Everwood) back on TV again as David, even though things ended awkwardly between him and Nora. Kitty ... read more

On the Set

It is the first day shooting episode 8 – first shot, 11 am – and I am writing from the set.A great mood here at "Brothers & Sisters" in the wake of being picked up for a back nine, or ten or eleven, depending on whom you ask. When the executives told us, I felt like we had a full term in office. Our show, the little candidate, like Clinton after New Hampshire, was elected. Driving home on Monday night, after we heard, I felt like I could finally rest a little, and relax. For a moment. But the news dovetails nicely with the ambition of the episode we're shooting – a more emotional, deeper palate for us – a little advance by "Brothers & Sisters" into deeper waters. Now that we know we are here for a while, we are getting bolder. The network and studio seem thrilled.Rachel Griffiths is shooting a scene with Tyler Posey, who plays Sarah's stepson, Gabriel. A tough scene in which the 14-year-old's sense of being on the outside of the family looking in comes ou... read more

Week 3

I am going to write today about what it takes to get a show on the air. I am a playwright, and one with virtually no experience in television. But I have entered a new world, and I am no longer who I was. I used to be a New York bohemian art-boy, one who grew up working in the not-for-profit theater, which is as far removed from the passionate fear-driven chaos of network television as can be imagined. I would read, swim, write a little, or a lot, and own my day. That changed when I was invited to try my hand at creating a TV show in July 2005. I had worried that the audience for my plays was aging and dismayingly white and limited to those fortunate New Yorkers who could afford the price of a ticket, which is anywhere from $40 to $75 a pop Off-Broadway. The theater was starting to feel like opera to me: rarified and beautiful, but like Venice, sinking into the sea. So when Ken Olin offered me the chance to try a TV show, I took a breath, left Sag Harbor, New York, and came out to L... read more

September 21, 2006: Bloodline

Hey ER fans better late than never right Thanks for your patience while we got the blog up and running Thankfully the 13th season of our venerable Thursday-night must-see kicked off right where the finale left off with Jerry Luka Abby and Sam all in various states of peril When we last saw Sam she was being tossed into a van by Steve and his fellow prison escapee Rafe For you Six Feet Under fans Rafe was played by Michael Weston the guy who brutalized David in a similarly creepy role a few years back And Mary the ER trainee turned gun-toting accomplice was played by Natasha Gregson Wagner daughter of the late Natalie Wood Their escape resulted in Jerry being shot and Luka being paralyzed and intubated helpless to assist a bleeding unconscious Abby As a devoted fan the sloppiness of some of the writing and character development in recent seasons has been frustrating This show is at its absolute best and always has been when we are watching the day-to-day read more

Exclusive! Everwood Reunion on Brothers & Sisters!

New Brothers & Sisters show-runner Greg Berlanti is already making good on his pledge to lure some of his Everwood faves to his new gig. An ABC source confirms that Treat Williams will play a love interest to Sally Field's recently-widowed matriarch in late October. As of now, Williams is booked for one episode, but I'm told his stay could be extended. Next up: Emily VanCamp as Patricia Wettig's daughter? (Hey, Greg said it!) read more

What in the world is ...

Question: What in the world is happening on the set of Brothers & Sisters? It seems they can't get anything done. At least Commander in Chief got a few episodes done before all the changes. Brothers & Sisters can't even complete their own pilot. Is this show done before it even begins? Answer: Fair question, but isn't it better for a show to retool on the front end instead of midstream? I wasn't that concerned by the early recastings, especially when one resulted in bringing Sally Field into the cast (as much as I'm a fan of Betty Buckley, who originally played the mother). Still, it is troublesome to read that former Buffy exec Marti Noxon has already left as show-runner, reportedly after clashing with the untested creator, playwright Jon Robin Baitz. There's no question the show will premiere under a cloud of turmoil and skepticism, but all that really matters is how it looks on screen. And I won't be able to comment on that until ABC actually delivers a finished episode. (Hint, hint ... read more

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