Summer TV Snapshot: Does ABC Family's Switched at Birth Deliver?

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean TV aficionados get to rest. In the next couple of months, cable networks including ABC Family, TNT and USA Network will be rolling out plenty of fresh fare to keep fans glued to their TV screens. To help you navigate through all the premieres, TVLine is breaking down some of the season’s most promising new shows. We’ll tell you what they’re about and why you should watch.

First up, ABC Family’s new family drama, Switched at Birth.

WHEN | Mondays at 9/8c, premiering June 6

WHAT IT’S ABOUT | You have to love the self-explanatory title, but just in case you don’t get it…. Sarcastic, artsy Bay (Gilmore Girls‘ Vanessa Marano, above right) and sunny, deaf Daphne (Katie Leclerc) find out that years ago someone at the hospital made a big mistake and they were switched at birth. Soon, their two worlds – Bay’s privileged lifestyle and Daphne’s low-income, single-parent home – are colliding as the two families decide to get two know each other. It’s the ultimate “What if?” scenario.

CHANCE FOR HIGH DRAMA | Although the two broods make a real attempt for their daughters’ sake, don’t expect one, big happy new family to emerge. “You put two families, who are completely opposite, in close quarters and the drama just naturally unfolds,” says Constance Marie, whose Regina doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with Daphne’s biological mom, Kathryn (Back to the Future‘s Lea Thompson). For example, says Thompson, “My character kind of blames [Regina] for the fact that [Daphne]’s deaf, because she got it from getting meningitis. I keep thinking if I had raised her, she wouldn’t be deaf.” That conflict leads to what Marie calls “some amazing scenes” between the moms.

ROMANTIC POTENTIAL | Bay and Daphne don’t just try on new families. They also try on each other’s love interests. “A big issue for Daphne and Bay is, ‘Would I have been the same person if this whole thing hadn’t happened?’” explains Marano. “So there’s a lot of experimentation going on.” In the premiere, both girls spark with boys from the other girl’s neighborhood. “If it wasn’t difficult enough that these girls share parents,” says Marano, “they’re also now sharing boyfriends and friends and a sibling.”

WATCH THIS IF YOU LIKE… | Family dramas with heart, like Gilmore Girls and 7th Heaven. “There’s definitely moments where the two families clash,” says Leclerc. “But there are also very sweet moments where you see the connection with the characters. You really see that they care about each other.”

Watch this preview clip, then tell us in Comments if you plan to check out Switched at Birth: