A num­ber of peo­ple are ‘Al­most Fam­ily’ in new Fox drama

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Editor's Choice - BY JAY BOBBIN

And you thought YOUR fam­ily life was com­pli­cated.

Try match­ing it against that of the main char­ac­ters in “Al­most Fam­ily,” a Fox drama pre­mier­ing Wed­nes­day, Oct. 2. From for­mer “Par­ent­hood” and “Fri­day Night Lights” ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Ja­son Ka­tims, the show casts Brit­tany Snow (“Pitch Per­fect”) as a sup­posed only child who learns her fer­til­ity-doc­tor fa­ther (Oscar win­ner Ti­mothy Hut­ton) used his sperm to con­ceive roughly 100 other off­spring. Her once-best friend (Me­ga­lyn Echikun­woke, “Vixen”) and an exO­lympian (Emily Os­ment, “Young & Hun­gry”) are among them, leav­ing the women to pon­der their new re­la­tion­ships to one an­other – and po­ten­tially to many oth­ers.

Not­ing that “we are liv­ing in a world now where while the avail­able ge­netic test­ing just makes it pos­si­ble for peo­ple to sud­denly dis­cover the story of who they are is not the real story,” se­ries cre­ator and fel­low ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer An­nie Weis­man (“Subur­ga­tory”) rea­sons the time seemed right “to tell a kind of un­con­ven­tional fam­ily story through it. Com­plex men be­ing re­vealed to have done trou­bling things, we don’t have a short­age of those events, ei­ther.

“An­other big theme in the show,” adds Weis­man, “is what it feels like from the point of view of this char­ac­ter that we get to ex­plore his fall from grace ... and what it means to be some­one who used to be­have with a lot of power and im­punity but, in the cur­rent cli­mate, can’t do that any­more be­cause he’s un­der a lot of scru­tiny. And also, (the show deals with) what it means to be the daugh­ter of some­one like that, who had such ad­mi­ra­tion for some­one and now is see­ing them fall from that pedestal.”

Re­gard­ing the lat­ter char­ac­ter, por­trayer Snow says, “When you be­come an adult, you re­al­ize your par­ents are maybe not who you thought they were. I think every­body goes through that a lit­tle bit, learn­ing that your par­ents are peo­ple and hu­man, and they did a bunch of things that were right and wrong. And that’s how you came to be. I think that’s her dilemma go­ing through this, learn­ing that this per­son that she looked up to for so long is ac­tu­ally hu­man, and some­body that she has to now re­de­fine in how she sees him and how she re­lates to him.”

In play­ing the doc­tor and fa­ther, Hut­ton – re­turn­ing to se­ries work af­ter ABC’s ac­claimed “Amer­i­can Crime” – re­flects, “There’s an op­por­tu­nity to show some­body who re­ally, re­ally wants to have a con­nec­tion with peo­ple. And with th­ese amaz­ing peo­ple, he sud­denly has to. If he’s go­ing to sur­vive and con­tribute in any kind of mean­ing­ful way, he’s go­ing to re­ally wake up and try to be there for th­ese peo­ple.”

Me­ga­lyn Echikun­woke, Emily Os­ment and Brit­tany Snow (from left)

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