The muddled masses yearning for a plot
Cast of thousands: The ever growing IN just its third series, Brothers & Sisters is exhibiting symptoms of the potentially fatal characters-in-searchof-a-plot syndrome.
Like an economy on the skids, despite the overpopulation of the Walker clan ( five adult siblings, their partners and children, the widowed mother, a mistress wife of the deceased father and her child, an uncle who has decided he is gay as he approaches 70, their neighbours, colleagues, old friends and new), the best the writers can think of is a stimulus package in the form of yet another Walker sprog by yet another unknown mother.
Though we know he exists, we’ve yet to meet or even see the mysterious Ryan, but no doubt he will be accorded all the fair and decent treatment afforded Rebecca ( Emily VanCamp), the first bastard Walker, when she emerged.
Well, at least until it was discovered that she was not, in fact, a Walker, whereupon she promptly fell in love with Justin, a man she had considered her half-brother until then.
Also, the characters are given lately to the kind of exposition not often seen outside The Bold and the Beautiful and, in more credible programs, in anything less than their final seasons. They gaze skywards to recite litanies of the near-impossible things that have happened to them so far.
However, you still need to watch
ensemble wondering who’ll be next closely because the things that don’t repeat themselves tend to reverse themselves. Just a couple of episodes ago, Uncle Saul and bona fide Walker sibling Sarah ( Rachel Griffiths) dramatically quit the Walker family wine business. Tonight, over a glass or two of the demon stuff with former boss Tommy ( Balthazar Getty), Saul shyly confesses that retirement is a bore, and is promptly offered his job back. He then explains to Saul that Sarah will also come back if . . . ( cue soap opera strings) he fires Holly ( Patricia Wettig), Rebecca’s mother, the former Walker mistress everyone loves to loathe.
Then there’s the reversal of the God-fearing parents of Scotty Wandell ( Luke MacFarlane), the gay partner of Kevin Walker ( Matthew Rhys). Tonight almost completes their metamorphosis from gay-hating son forsakers to practically wearing Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays banners in the gay pride parade, courtesy of a late dinner with Kitty ( Calista Flockhart) and Senator McCallister ( Rob Lowe).
Incredibly, it looks as if Kevin is going to replace Kitty as the senator’s media officer. His rationale for taking up the Republican’s cause, the thing he has professed to hate in two and a bit series so far? ‘‘ Demonisation cuts both ways.’’ Apparently, so do scripts.
Brothers & Sisters
Yes, it was the TV cover story last week, but this is a great new local show, well worth another mention. And with an episode title such as
, how can you go wrong? , starring John Wood, is a million miles from the family friendly , which kept Wood occupied for decades. Here he plays less than squeakyclean sports agent Wild’’ Bill Telford. A strong supporting cast that includes the near ubiquitous Matt Passmore, pictured, and the rarely seen but always welcome Ben Oxenbould ( ) helps deliver sexy, well written and performed TV. Daffy as ever in its fifth and final season, reaches vaguely for topicality tonight when the grieving brother of a soldier killed by malpractice in a military hospital comes to Crane, Poole and Schmidt for legal help. That Britain has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe probably won’t come as too much of a surprise to viewers who noted with the horror the recent case in the news of the 13-year-old British father. Only slightly more horrifying were the further half-dozen teenagers who came forward claiming they, too, could be the child’s father. This program takes a clutch of teenage couples and sets them up with real babies to care for, just so the little wretches will know what they are up against should contraception fail.