The Salinger clan won’t pop up on Freeform’s Party of Five reboot — at least “not yet,” executive producer Amy Lippman said at panel for the forthcoming drama during the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Tuesday.
Whereas the original series centered on orphaned siblings, the new Party of Five focuses on the five Acosta children, who find themselves parent-less after their mother and father are deported to Mexico. “This show is about grief in a slightly different way, because what is lost is not gone forever,” explained EP Chris Keyser, who co-created the original Party of Five with Lippman. The immigration angle also gives the reboot two advantages: “One is, it’s real. It’s happening every day,” Lippman said. “The other is, when we did the original Party of Five, those dead parents stayed dead for six years. One of the things that excited us about doing the show now is that the parents are a factor. They’re not present, but they’re dealing with issues of, how are we trying to parent our kids from a distance?”
Despite the altered premise, the EPs believe that fans of the late Fox drama will find something familiar in the update.
“It’s our intention to make it different, and yet at the same time, there are moments almost like Easter eggs,” Lippman shared. “There’s a scene in the pilot that was a scene in the original Party of Five pilot 25 years ago. There’s enough for our fans of long ago to see echoes of the original series.”
Like the Salinger siblings, the oldest character is once again the least responsible, while the second eldest brother is the most maternal and the youngest child is the smartest. “I think you’ll feel a resonance,” Lippman said. “I think there’ll be enough for our original fans to recognize the show in it.”
However, Lippman noted that she and Keyser were “not interested in doing the same thing again. We had many opportunities to do that, just to tell a story about five orphans again. This look at this situation is in many ways much more compelling because [the characters’ predicament is] changing,” as the political and social climate evolves.