Good nature fills the air — at times a little suffocatingly — in “The Road Home,” as John Tinker and Bruce Paltrow, who created and wrote the pilot for the new series, hand over agreeable people with built-in difficulties and a larder laden with possibilities.
Alison Matson (smokey-voiced Karen Allen), her history-teaching husband Jack (Terence Knox) and three of their four youngsters return for their 12th vacation at Alison’s beautiful North Carolina tidelands home.
Her spirited mother Charlotte Babineaux (Frances Sternhagen, known to TVers as Cliff’s mom on “Cheers”), dad Walter (Ed Flanders of “St. Elsewhere”) and their son Dickie (Alex McArthur) keep the place intact.
Though Dickie’s mismanaging the family shrimping business and trying something illegal, life looks alluring enough to Jack to suggest that he and Alison settle their young ‘uns into Allison’s family home and start a series.
Chances are, viewers will take to the large, loving family and its inevitably upcoming uglies, much needed for balance.
Pilot, filled with tender sentiment, has been shrewdly directed by Paltrow, and production designer Gary Weist provides eye-pleasing backgrounds.
Acting is superior, and camerawork by Karl Herrmann, editing by Casey Brown are solid. J.A.C. Redford supplies a lustrous, supportive score. But the series better heat up its issues and answers and forget such mellowing out as everyone dancing on the lawn during a downpour.