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5 Reasons "Sons & Daughters" Won't Make It

sonsdaughters.jpgUSA Today was one of the many publications that gave "Sons & Daughters" a good review. I, for one, was looking forward to the premiere. It actually didn't disappoint. Unfortunately, sometimes being good isn't good enough. So don't get too attached, because this show just can't last -- for several reasons.

The Timeslot. Wow this is a tough spot. Why didn't ABC just put the show on against "CSI" or "American Idol?" Oh wait -- they are going to be doing that if they keep it in this timeslot. By next week, "American Idol" will be knocked down to twice a week (from the current three-times-a-week commitment), and Tuesday's show will probably drag into the 9:00 p.m. hour. With 35 million watching "AI," that leaves few stragglers -- and they are probably watching or TiVo'ing "Scrubs."

Too Many Characters. The male lead is the brother to one sister and one half-sister. There are multiple children and the mom and step-father and Whitey, a peripheral character that knocked up the half-sister. Despite being routinely reminded of who is who, it's hard to keep up. If you think there are too many characters on "Arrested Development" (and I love every one of them), this cast will make your head explode.

Hard to Follow. Maybe it has something to do with all of the characters, but everyone seems to have their problems. And they are funny, but it's a lot for a half-hour show. There's also no laugh track, which audiences seem to hate. Even "Scrubs," with multiple seasons under its belt, still struggles compared to laughers like "Will & Grace" or "Two and a Half Men."

Improv. The show claims to be partially improvised. The cast seems to blend well and if they are making it up as they go along, it was certainly hard to tell where the script ended and where improv began. However, while it sounds like a good thing, I'm just not sure an audience will care about who can wing it; they just want to see good, easy-to-follow storylines.

Innuendo. There is a lot of innuendo going on in the show, from almost every character. Some of it goes by so fast, you might miss it. Are people finally ready to think?

The show definitely can be compared to Fox's flailing "Arrested Development" -- and look how well that did. While there is only one "Arrested Development" in this viewer's mind, it does seem like ABC won't need to pick up "Arrested" since they made their own. Not sure if ABC will give this show the same three-season courtesy; hopefully people can hang in long enough to figure out what's going on, because it's actually pretty damn funny.

"Sons & Daughters" airs Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. (EST) on ABC. -- Rachel Cericola

Posted by Rachel Cericola on March 7, 2006 10:16 PM
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I liked it too...which means it probably won't last more than 4 episodes.

-- Posted by: Matt at March 8, 2006 1:08 PM

I was just able to catch the last fifteen or twenty minutes of Sons and Daughters and was less than thrilled. Not laughing. Not going to try it again. Too many characters with a plot that was less than believable. I hope the show doesn't stick around.

-- Posted by: jeff at March 8, 2006 9:18 PM

Let me just say... the last 15 minutes? Did you read my article? No way could you keep up if you only saw 15 minutes.

But to say you hope it doesn't last? That's hardcore. Do you really think they are holding some great TV show just to put in its place?

-- Posted by: Rachel at March 8, 2006 9:21 PM

I watched the first episode and wasn't the least impressed. I didn't laugh once...don't think I even cracked a smile. It was a dysfunctional unfunny family. Absolutely no comparison to "Arrested Development." I heard a couple of very positive reviews and was highly disappointed.

-- Posted by: Karl at March 10, 2006 4:52 PM

Thought the review was right on. Loved the show and thought it was very funny. Loved the innuendo. Very different comedy. Hope ABC gives it a shot.

-- Posted by: Lisa at March 11, 2006 1:07 PM

I watched and enjoyed it as well. It was very similar to Arrested Development (though NO ONE! can replace the Bluth's...and the Funke's). Sometimes excessively so.

But, overall I thought it was really funny; with the dry sort of wit that tends to condemn shows for the majority of the viewing public.

Those who didn't like the show for the most part either couldn't follow the storyline (it wasn't that hard though if you just pay attention in between commercial breaks) or are so hung up on Sons and Daughters being an "Arrested Development ripoff."

Yes, the show is very similar to Arrested Development, but does that make it a bad show? No way!

Sadly, with how ABC tends to treat the really good shows, Sons and Daughters most likely won't last (with some exceptions...Boston Legal being one of the exceptions). Look at what they did to Cupid almost a decade ago (critically acclaimed, lasted only 15 episodes before ABC canned it for low ratings...despite its brilliance and intensely unique storyline). Remember Line of Fire? What about Monk (which went on to gain huge success on the USA network) and The Job (which was reworded and restaffed- kind of -and became Rescue Me which really hit for the FX network).

Sadly ABC just has no faith. So, I think I'll record Sons and Daughters on DVR permanently just in case it isn't successful enough for DVD release (like I did with Kitchen Confidential).

*steps off the soap box*

-- Posted by: Phil at March 14, 2006 2:27 PM

I wouldn't say there are too many similarities to 'Arrested Development.' There is a family and there is some dry humor. I've read a few reviews from major publications and regular people online. Too often I'm seeing the people who like the show make sweeping generalizations about people who don't like it as usual. Humor is subjective. Everyone has different reactions and senses of humor. I liked AD. I didn't go into this show comparing it to AD. I didn't find "Sons & Daughters" funny or even enjoyable. I was able to follow the show(still don't understand why a show is considered 'smart' to some if everbody does not think it's funny). Something about it made it so it wasn't compelling TV to me. I didn't laugh, but I haven't given up on the show. I'll watch a few more episodes before I make final judgement.

-- Posted by: Curt at March 14, 2006 10:23 PM

I also meant to mention I'm not too big a fan of the close-ups. I prefer to see those in Indian cinema, zee tv shows or telenovelas.

-- Posted by: Curt at March 14, 2006 10:28 PM

Never said it was "smart," although I do think it is smart. However, I don't think that's why people can't follow. There's just too many characters and a lot going on and it's moving very fast... and yes, in general, sitcoms without a laugh track don't do as well.

-- Posted by: Rachel at March 15, 2006 5:57 AM

Sorry if my tone was a bit negative. I was just venting a little bit about some of the things I've seen about recent television shows in other threads. You didn't say "smart," but I do agree this show is a bit smarter than most sitcoms. I'm not sure if that adds or subtracts from it to be honest. Even if ABC(NBC produced?) were to add a laugh track(which I'm also not a fan of) to this show hoping to save it, the outcome would be significantly worse. Resulting from how the scripts and improv flow, any laughter would be forced on the viewer harder than normal sitcoms. Television is television. It's hard to like everything. I want to like the show, but I realize none of the execs are going to make the changes so it's a show that is perfect for me and then leave out the millions who already liked it(although I humbly believe they should). Thanks for the write up Rachel. And to show consistency in my overuse of the phrase "a bit" (and parenthesis), I have had a bit too much over-roasted Starbucks coffee(which was free from 10 until noon).
//I haven't watched much on ABC since "Cupid" was cancelled back in '98 or '99
//I was young and naive, yet I still want a DVD

-- Posted by: Curt at March 15, 2006 12:12 PM

Thanks for the follow-up, Curt!

And I would LOVE to see "Cupid" come out on DVD. Jeremy Piven is a god in this woman's eyes.

-- Posted by: Rachel at March 15, 2006 1:20 PM

No problem. I finally got around to bookmarking this site, so please keep up the good work.

-- Posted by: Curt at March 15, 2006 10:29 PM

if it's any consolation, there is a torrent of all aired episodes of Cupid. The files were copied onto a computer from VHS it looks like and a couple episodes have really bad quality, but for the most part it's legible.

-- Posted by: Phil at March 17, 2006 12:32 AM

Thanks Phil. I hadn't searched for a torrent in months and figured it was a lost cause. I knew there had to be a reason I lost all of my bookmarks and had to find this site by searching for this article on Google.

-- Posted by: Curt at March 19, 2006 10:05 PM

ha! I too found this website from a google search, pointing to this particular page. And reading through the rest of the site, I'm glad I found it!

Anyway, the Cupid torrent I found was on but if there are no seeders on there anymore, I have the episodes on my filelist 24/7 on Soulseek (with fast transfer rates).

-- Posted by: Phil at March 20, 2006 2:35 PM

This is the best sitcom on television. I'm a huge fan of "The Office," but sometimes it falls flat. "Sons & Daughters" never fails to satisfy. I have watched every episode, though, which helps, I'm sure. I've tried to to get others to watch and I think it is a difficult show to join in progress. If this show fails to make it, however, it will be just another sign that broadcast television simply can't keep up with HBO and others, who continue to produce some of the funniest and smartest shows on television. Unfortunately, if a show isn't a inane reality show or a ridiculous forensic crime drama, it doesn't have much of a shot at making it on primetime television.

-- Posted by: Nick at April 11, 2006 12:18 PM

In my opinion, it's subtlety that is the difference between a show that's considered smart and a funny show that's not considered smart.
I think channels like Comedy Central need to take the lead on producing situation comedies, as opposed to leaving it up to broadcast networks, who will usually take the easy way out with reality shows and predictable dramas.

-- Posted by: Nick at April 11, 2006 12:27 PM

I agree, Nick. Unfortunately, Comedy Central is notoriously CHEAP... and a lot of times, you get what you pay for.

-- Posted by: Rachel at April 11, 2006 12:30 PM

This is a great show. Cameron is a great character and the rest of the cast is terrific. This show has more than potential. Keep it rolling. Please don't kick it around like arrested development on FOX.

-- Posted by: Wendy at May 11, 2006 6:00 PM

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