Last week, ABC unleashed a silent bomb with the premiere of The Family. The show is about Adam Warren, an 8-year-old boy, who goes missing while his mother campaigns for City Council. After the confession of the next door neighbor, the family comes to terms that their child is dead until a decade after the fact when a boy emerges out of the woods and claims to be Adam. At first, his family is grateful for his return but then one by one, they start questioning his identity. In short, innocents are not so innocent in The Family.
The Family has a loose resemblance to MTV’s Finding Carter in the theme they both deal with: a lost child being found after several years. The difference is that The Family spirals that theme in ways that make viewers yearn for more. The main risk with a show reeking of mysteries is either that it drags it out too much, which causes viewers to lose interest, or it packs in too much in too little time, which confuses viewers. The Family does neither. Although something new is happening every two minutes, the torment of the moment manages to pull you in without confusion.
Joan Allen portrays a shocking, career driven Claire Warren, who found solace in politics after the disappearance of her son, so much that when he comes back, she announces her candidacy for Governor. The beauty of her character is the layers it holds: we understand the mother, we understand the need to hang onto something else and yet, we somehow dislike her for seemingly manipulating the situation. Was she the one who orchestrated the kidnapping of her son so she could win City Council and what about his coincidental reappearance when she’s about to run for Governor? ...but mothers don’t do that, or do they?
The cast solidifies with the ever coy Willa (Alison Pill), the overly religious daughter who appears to have a hand in the seemingly unfair arrest of their next door neighbor (Andrew McCarthy), who previously confessed to kidnapping and murdering Adam. Every minute of the show raises questions so if mystery is your cup of tea, you’re probably in for a most delightful afternoon. Most interesting of all is Liam James in the shoes of the older Adam Warren. He displays an extreme aptitude in depicting a troubled, abused and mysterious kid who is trying so hard to fit in this family. As suspected by his older brother, Danny (Zach Gilford), it seems like Adam is not who he claims he is. Everything remains to be seen.
Despite a few negative critics, The Family has so much potential. The show deals with sensitive topics such as child abduction and abuse and how it impacts each member of the family. Although it is not a show for everyone, it is at least, worth a try. The only issue, perhaps, stems from the unnecessary, almost obligatory family drama coming from the affair between the patriarch (Rupert Graves) and the detective (Margot Bingham) on the case. While it is understood why it was written in, the show is so ripe with delicate elements of success that the slightest faux pas could break it. Meanwhile, The Family is here to stay.
♠ Captivating and intriguing show that leaves you on your toes.
♠ Solid cast that mesh relatively well together.
♠ The plot is solid enough to carry the first season.
♠ Unnecessary drama that does not fit in with the character of the show.
♠ The show takes a lot of risks, so it can tank anytime.
Rating: 8.5/10 ¢