Pilot Perception: The Fosters

Welcome to Pilot Perception, our feature in which we break down the first episode of each new show in order to help you decide whether it’s worth your time.

The Show: The Fosters, ABC Family in the U.S. and ABC Spark in Canada, Mondays at 9/8c

The Pedigree: The Fosters was created by Brad Bredeweg and Peter Paige (Fly Girls), and Jennifer Lopez (yes, that one) is also an executive producer. Timothy Busfield (Studio 60, Lipstick Jungle) directed the pilot.

The Cast & How You Know Them: The family includes Teri Polo (The West Wing), Sherri Saum (Rescue Me), Jake T. Austin (Wizards of Waverly Place), David Lambert (Aaron Stone), Maia Mitchell (Castaway), Cierra Ramirez (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), and Danny Nucci (Titanic).

The Premise: The Fosters is a family drama about two moms, a police officer and a vice principal, raising a blended, multiethnic family of four teenagers, including the biological son of one of the mothers, adopted twins, and a new foster daughter from a troubled past.

A Taste:

What Works: The pilot felt like a cup of hot chocolate – lots of Heartwarming Family Drama. But there seems to be enough of an edge to keep it from getting treacly. I also really liked that the show features a lesbian couple and that this is treated very matter-of-factly by their family, but at the same time, the show does not make the characters live in a fake perfect world where no one remarks on their family structure, and this is turned into some good Teaching Moments. The acting is pretty good and the dynamics between the characters seem interesting and believable so far.

What Doesn’t: The aforementioned Heartwarming Family Drama and Teaching Moments will turn off some viewers, I know. And it can all be a little heavy-handed at times. The writing is serviceable but not particularly great so far. Family dramas have a fine line to walk between cute and cutesy, and it’s hard to tell from just a pilot, so my fingers are crossed that this stays on the enjoyable side, at least.

Our Favorite Line: “So you’re dykes.” “They prefer the term ‘people,’ but yeah, they’re gay.”

You Might Like This if you like family dramas, especially those about a group of people thrown together and learning to be a family, and don’t mind the occasional Important Lesson. It reminded me of the short-lived Second Noah, and also a bit of 7th Heaven. I mean that in a good way. I swear.

If You’re Interested: The pilot is reairing several times this week, so check your local listings. Then set your DVR for ABC Family or ABC Spark next Monday at 9/8c for episode two.

(Photo courtesy of ABC Family.)

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