Review: ‘Brothers of the Frontier’

The Frye family must flee their homestead when the eldest son, Ethan (Joey Lawrence), is wrongly accused of theft by the evil Byron Holcomb (Don S. Davis). Holcomb sends his sons (Gosselaar and Michael Cram) in pursuit of the Fryes to exact revenge.

The Frye family must flee their homestead when the eldest son, Ethan (Joey Lawrence), is wrongly accused of theft by the evil Byron Holcomb (Don S. Davis). Holcomb sends his sons (Gosselaar and Michael Cram) in pursuit of the Fryes to exact revenge.

On the way, the Fryes become separated and the boys find mild adventure while encountering a brown bear, river rapids, Seneca Indians and a Delaware Indian beauty (Carmen Moore) before they are reunited with their parents (Jonathan Frakes and Sandra Nelson).

The shallowness of the script is reflected in star Joey Lawrence’s blank stares off-camera and the lack of context for the Holcomb clan’s utter hatred of the mild-mannered Fryes. The vidpic had Native American and historical consultants, although authenticity is not what “Brothers” strives for; what it strives for is showcasing the cutesy talents of the Lawrence kids, bringing a ‘ 90s sitcom mentality to the colonial frontier. ]

Excellent use of British Columbia locations is undermined by some startlingly cheesy process and water-tank sequences. Gene Hobson’s ambitious musical score strikes Aaron Copland-like highs, suggesting a nobility that’s absent onscreen.

Brothers of the Frontier

Production

Brothers of the Frontier (Sat. (6), 9-11 p.m., ABC) Filmed in Vancouver, B.C., by Once and Future Films and Three Sons Prods. in association with Viacom Prods. Inc. Executive producer, Perry Simon; producers, Hal Sitowitz, Richard Davis, Robert Lecky, Florence Maggio; director, Mark Sobel; writer, Sitowitz.

Crew

Camera, Miklos Lente; editor, Bonnie Koehler; production design, Dave Roberts; sound, Peter Clements; music, Gene Hobson; casting, Beth Klein.

With

Cast: Joey Lawrence, Matthew Lawrence, Andrew Lawrence, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Jonathan Frakes, Sandra Nelson, Don. S. Davis, Carmen Moore, Darrell Dennis, Michael Cram Lifeless frontier yarn set in the 1700s features the ultra-dreamy Lawrence brothers in lovely matching buckskin jackets, and "Saved by the Bell" hunk Mark-Paul Gosselaar (playing against type as a bad guy) -- which may draw the teeny-bopper crowd but bore the heck out of everyone else.
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