Television has reunited many a long-lost group of siblings over the years — shows like Charmed and Sister, Sister come to mind — but Fox’s Almost Family manages to make that familiar concept feel fresh. And also gross.
The new drama, which premiered Wednesday, stars Timothy Hutton (American Crime) as Leon Bechley, a distinguished fertility expert — sorry, “scientist” — whose reputation is destroyed when it’s revealed that he impregnated an undisclosed number of patients (hundreds?!) using his own sperm without their knowledge. No one is more disturbed by this revelation than Julia (American Dreams‘ Brittany Snow), Leon’s only on-record daughter, who already had plenty of daddy issues before this bombshell dropped. (She once got in trouble during Sunday School for suggesting that his ability to create life made him god-like, so… yeah.)
News of Leon’s underhanded (sorry!) deeds quickly spread, as did the concerns of his patients’ now-grown children, resulting in a surge of DNA tests. To make matters worse, one of those miracle babies turned out to be Sam (Mr. Robot‘s Chris Conroy), a guy Julia just had sex with in the bathroom of a bar during a Tinder “date.” And even if he doesn’t turn out to be her half-brother, Sam is still a married creep who told his wife that he knew Julia from an AA meeting. It’s a real shame, too, because Julia looked like she was having trouble walking after their quickie; Sam must be a real good time.
Wednesday’s premiere confirmed two women to be Julia’s half-sisters: Edie Palmer (Vixen‘s Megalyn Echikunwoke), a sexually explorational lawyer trapped in a loveless marriage with Julia’s college sweetheart, and Roxy Doyle (Young & Hungry‘s Emily Osment), a washed-up Olympian with the voice of an angel and the temperament of a seasoned cage fighter. Edie wasn’t thrilled with the idea of suddenly having two half-siblings, especially since she always resented Julia’s privileged upbringing, while Roxy was almost too thrilled to be leaving her former family of “basic people” behind.
And how’s this for one final twist: Amanda (Gotham‘s Victoria Cartagena), the woman with whom Edie is cheating on her husband, is leading the prosecution against Leon, who’s now being charged with sexual assault — and it looks like he knows Julia is the one who turned in the smoking gun. Er, laptop.
OK, we’ve got some questions…
* Given that this show is literally about a guy who impregnates women without their consent, do we think the pilot really needed to open with Lizzo’s “Juice”? Like, we know the song is popular right now, but isn’t that a little on the nose?
* Let’s get this straight: Edie’s mom always “suspected” that Leon was her biological father, but she just… never said anything? Cool, cool.
* Was Amanda trying to be subtle when she brought up the whole burgers vs. salad debate with Edie? Because there was nothing subtle about the way she demolished that meat.
* Speaking of subtly, is Edie trying to get caught? For someone who’s cheating on her husband with a woman, she sure does love yelling about which “team” she’s on.
Time for you to weigh in: Was Almost Family as icky as many of the early reviews claimed? Or did you find the concept intriguing enough to check back in next week? Maybe both? Grade Wednesday’s premiere below, then drop a comment with your full review.