Third-episode verdict: Brothers and Sisters

Brothers and Sisters

I must confess I’ve been dreading this one. Episodes two and three of Brothers and Sisters have been sitting, winking at me for ages (it airs Sundays in the US), going “You’ll to have to sacrifice two hours of your life to watch us”.

It’s not that it’s a desperately bad show. It’s reasonably well written and the cast is to die for.

It’s just I hate every single character with a fiery passion. All of them. They’re all evil scum who should be put on a Viking longboat, towed out to sea and then burnt in their boating outfits, sweaters still slung nonchalantly over their shoulders.

They’re the kind of people who say things like “I’d rather trust your gut than my MBA right now”. Or complain about how terrible their lives are because their adulterous, pension-fund robbing dad gave them a trust fund instead of direct access to their millions in inheritance. Or because they cheat on their husbands and wives. Or because they’re smarmy, sanctimonious conservative talk TV hosts – who cheat on their fiancés with whoever happens to be nearest to them at the time.

Or… Or… Or. It just goes on. They’re all evil, cheating, backstabbing, self-centred rich people who get kicks out of screwing up their own lives and watching other people get destroyed by the fallout. If all of this in some way had some depth that illustrated something about “the human condition” (ooh, I’m treading a dangerous course towards the Sea of Pretension here), fair enough. It’s not exactly The Great Gatsby of our times, but probably has ambitions in that direction.

But it doesn’t have any real depth or message: at least nothing we haven’t seen countless times before. Ooh, cheating on your partner messes things up: amazing. Embezzling is bad: astounding. Brothers and sisters might argue about things and have chips on their shoulders: searing and penetrating insights. Thanks for that.

Now, if that’s your kind of thing – hey, guess what, it’s not mine – then this is the programme for you. Otherwise, avoid it.


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.