The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, October 02, 2019 1:00 am

Fox drama tells 'unconventional family story'

Jay Bobbin | Zap2it

And you thought your family life was complicated.

Try matching it against that of the main characters in “Almost Family,” a Fox drama premiering tonight. 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 ex-Olympian (Emily Osment, “Young & Hungry”) are among them, leaving the women to ponder their new relationships to one another – and potentially to many others.

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.”

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.”

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